Tag Archives: blog post

Essay #2

       Self-branding and online identities have become a common topic in everyday conversations in recent years, especially with the omnipresence of popular social media sites like Instagram. Despite this topic even being a common theme over the course of my Communications degree, I had never honestly considered the benefits that I myself could have by constructing a strong online brand in this digital age. “Many people think that personal branding is just for celebrities such as Paris Hilton or Britney Spears, yet each and every one of us is a brand. Personal branding, by definition, is the process by which we market ourselves to others” (Schawbel, 2009). Publishing 101 served as a strong pedagogical narrative by which I learned not only about the changes in the world of publishing, but also about the ways in which we can now publish ourselves, and the benefits (or even downfalls, when done incorrectly) that may arise from these online publications. Throughout the course of this essay, I will first address the ways in which this course has shifted the way in which I think about publishing, and further, how these new ways of publishing have worked their way into my online presence over the course of this semester. Following this, I intend to specifically address my online self and publication, not only referencing my blog but also my social media platforms. Lastly, I acknowledge my goals going forward, including what I aim to take with me beyond the confines of this course.

       It would be erroneous to claim that I hadn’t considered online works to count as publishing prior to the start of this semester. Of course, tangible books are the obvious thing that comes to mind when someone mentions “publishing,” but it goes far beyond that. Having said this, I didn’t the extent of which publishing expanded to. Publishing is not only online works and articles as well as tangible books; it is further embodied by anything that gets put out to the public, including social media posts and – of course – blogs. “Publishing” is has many definitions, but has come to be best defined as “the dissemination of literature, music, or information—the activity of making information available to the general public” (Wikipedia). While Wikipedia is generally not the best source for correct information, other acclaimed dictionaries are still stuck in the ways of defining publishing as being limited to formal publications that are for sale, which we have come to know is simply not the case.

       As mentioned above, publishing encompasses any online works that we “publish” or make available to the public, including any blog posts or social media posts. As Alive Marwick states, “the logic of marketing and advertising embedded in social software has infiltrated the ways in which we relate to ourselves and to others,” and that we “[use] social media as a neoliberal technology of subjectivity that produces social status as the ultimate commodity” (Marwick, 2013). In other words, we live in a world where we have technologies at our fingertips that allow us to market ourselves, our products, and how we ultimately wish others to view us. Throughout the course, we learned of how wide the span of publishing is now, and how we can use these new technologies tour advantage. Though I am nowhere near the status of being a “micro-celebrity” or Instagram celebrity (nor do I aim to be), I can now recognize that our online presence can be extremely useful one way or another. Even if you’re not trying to become famous in one way or another, marketing yourself as a brand online can be a valiant tool in this digital age.

       With regards to both my social media presence as well as my blog, I found the focus throughout the semester on the importance of identifying an audience and a brand to be largely advantageous. In the early weeks of the semester, I decided my blog was going to be a foodie blog which what chronicle my adventures to various restaurants around Metro Vancouver and write about my experiences. Identifying my audience, I learned, was one of the first major steps I had to take. In a process post I wrote, I identified my intended target audience to be foodies in the Vancouver area. I added that I don’t necessarily imagine there to be a specific age demographic, but likely people out of high school, perhaps young adults in general. This is mainly because high school students may not be interested in food blogs, cooking, and so forth, and may not have the means to go to far-out restaurants. In “Publics and Counterpublics” (2002), Michael Warner addresses that if you are reading his essay, “you are part of its public.” Warner goes on to say that there is a difference between thepublic and apublic (Warner, 2002). Warner describes the public as a ‘totality’: an all-inclusive description of the general amount of people, whereas a public is more specific, like an audience. Therefore, the people frequenting my blog would be a specific public or audience, likely visiting to check out restaurants they may be interested in.

       It is important to recognize your audience and public in order to market it to those specific people and thus further your success and your clout. “Any technology gradually creates a totally new human environment. Environments are not passive wrappings but active processes” (Campbell, 2009); each platform or domain may have a different audience and environment, and must me marketed as such. How I market and design my online self and presence on my Instagram page differs in the way in which I design my blog, as I have identified different audiences for the two. My personal Instagram features more artistic photos of self-exploitation, encompassing the best parts of my ‘self.’ Conversely, my blog markets itself to my (assumingly) foodie audience, and thus my posts tempt to embody food, Vancouver culture, and often an attempted humor. Furthermore, more online publications look to provide a service to their audience in one way or another. Ensuring that the basic service functions of one’s website or publication is an important element to consider because your audience will likely not return if they aren’t able to find what they are looking for. As I briefly touched on in the previous paragraph, my blog seeks to satisfy the service of reviewing restaurants (as well as local food and beverage in general) in the Greater Vancouver area.

       Through an immense and tedious 10-week-long trial and error process, I finally settled on a simplistic layout, removing the (apparently) tacky carousel-style photos on my home page. Gone with this was all of the numerous background images I tested out that just didn’t work. I created a logo that I felt embodied my blog in a clean and crisp way, keeping in mind the design elements that our guest speaker Mauve Pagé taught us at the start of the semester. I attempted to link colours together by bringing the gold found in the logo into other elements of the pages, such as titles and links. Travis Gertz had an interesting take on design elements and layout as well in his work, “Design Machines: How to survive in the digital apocalypse” (2015). Gertz’s main argument is based on the premise that all websites have started to look the same in an attempt to “look sexy” and appeal to the masses, but by appealing to the masses many actually become lost among the massesof other sites (2015). Unfortunately, I found it difficult to break free of most of the stereotypical constraints of which Gertz spoke about due to the confines of this course, being both the short timeframe as well as the resources made available to us. Nevertheless, these are useful pieces of information to consider when we inevitably use online mediums in our future professional lives.

            In summation, these four months have shaped the way in which I view publishing. Although I understood publishing to go beyond physical books, I didn’t understand the broad span that the term encompassed. Not only is it books and online articles, but also virtually anything that disseminates products and information to the general public. This includes social media presence as well as forum posts and, of course, blogging. Through the combination of the creation of my food blog with various guest speakers, tutorials, and online readings over the last 12 weeks, I have learned that identifying an audience and marketing yourself is a useful tool at any level of this digital world be live in. Despite my blog not gaining a large enough following to truly be able to use applications like Google Analytics or AdSense to my advantage, I can now realize these as important tools that help to compliment ones persona and identify important information. Going forward, I can confidently say that although I may not become a blogger, I have gained important and useful tools to brand myself, whatever that ‘self’ may be.

 

Bibliography

Campbell, W. G. (2009). A Personal Cyber Infrastructure. New Horizons, 44(5), p. 58-59

Gertz, Travis. (2015). “Design Machines. How to survive in the digital Apocalypse.” Louder Than 10.Retrieved on 12 April 2018 from: https://louderthanten.com/articles/story/design-machines

Marwick, A. (2013). Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age. Canadian Journal of Communication, 40(1), p. 143-146.

Schawbel, D. (2009). Personal Branding 101: How to Discover and Create Your Brand. Mashable. Retrieved on 10 April 2018 from: https://mashable.com/2009/02/05/personal-branding-101/#ge_SBxPsZEq4

Warner, M. (2002). Knowledge and Public Works, 88(4), p. 413-425.

Experiencing Canada’s sacred forest in Vancouver


THE TEMPERATE rain forests of the West Coast of Canada are magnificent to behold. You could say that forests are our sacred groves. In a young and secular country with a small population and vast expanses of pristine wilderness, our forests are our natural temples. This is where we go to worship the beauty and majesty of nature, and what attracts many of our visitors. But you don’t have to be a rugged explorer to appreciate our northern paradise. The West Coast temperate rainforest can be found lovingly preserved at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.

As you walk softly on a thick carpet of reddish pine needles you feel enveloped by the lushness, moist air and sun-dappled greenery. Iridescent ferns, bright mosses, and trickling streams of fresh water catch your eye at ground level. Crowds of evergreens — cedar, pine and fir trees — soften the middle distance. Birds twitter among the branches, while squirrels gambol up and down tree trunks and butterflies alight on lush ground-level foliage. There is a quiet sanctity, a reverence in the air that slows the gait and lowers the voices of casual visitors.

I also learned there was indeed a connection with the Native people of this area. In fact, the word Capilano is derived from Kia’palano, a Squamish word for “beautiful river.” And Chief Joe Matthias Kia’palano was hired in the 1930s to tell stories and teach visitors about the Native way of life.

An epic journey across Canada by train

Via Rail, the company that’s been running The Canadian since the 1970s, is well aware that this is a big trip, across a big country. They support the excitement and anticipation in so many ways, from announcements about passing landmarks through on-board activities and superb menu options.

We ate our first meal in the dining car that evening as we left Ottawa. I had halibut, cooked to order without breading, vegetables, salad, a gluten-free chocolate mousse dessert and peppermint tea.

The train is a relaxed way to see the breadth of the Canadian geographic experience.

My room-with-a-view aboard The Canadian.

In the meantime, the attendant had lowered the bed in my room, tucking away the chairs underneath, and leaving me a shower kit with soap and towels and a single chocolate on the turned-down bed. I retired to my private room, nothing else to do but crawl into bed and read, everything I needed within arm’s length distance. I slept very soundly in a surprisingly comfortable bed, rocked to sleep by the motion of the train.

I expected the diverse scenery we passed to be a highlight of the journey. But what I didn’t expect is that the culture inside the train is even more absorbing than the passing scenery.

Discovering the heart of Canada in Ottawa

Ottawa is Canada’s capital, a small city of about one million people that spreads out from the scenic place where three rivers meet. This is the political heart of Canada, a storied area with sweeping views, steeped in history, and the perfect place to begin travels in Canada.

Ottawa is beautiful, the best of Canada is here.”

My friend and I spent about three days exploring Ottawa, and learning about the history of the country and some of the many attractions this city has to offer. “Ottawa is beautiful, the best of Canada is here,” he said.

Parliament Hill is a great place to start your Ottawa tour. That’s what we did. We walked around the entire hill, on the promenade that runs along the Ottawa River shoreline. You get great views of the Parliament Buildings from below and the Canadian Museum of History across the river.

After our walk around the back of the Parliament Buildings, we walked to the front, and stood near the Centennial Flame. In front of us was Centre Block, with East and West Blocks on either side. It’s a very grand site, massive Victorian Gothic buildings flanking a huge expanse of lawn. The House of Commons, Senate, Library of Parliament, Peace Tower and Memorial Chamber are in the Centre Block, and this is what most tourists come to see.

Another highlight is the War Paintings in the Senate Chamber. I loved going up to the top of the Peace Tower, which offers 360 degree views of the Ottawa region. The final stop was the Memorial Chamber, another moving moment, as this sunny, uplifting room, the colours of heaven, contains the names of all Canadian soldiers who fell in battle.

 

 

 

 

Art and culture in the Haliburton Highlands

This week, my friends and I wandered the Haliburton Highlands in search of art, culture, and natural beauty – and opportunities to enjoy them. We found a profusion of all three. In fact, it is safe to say, the Haliburton Ontario region can be characterized by the thriving art and culture scene, and the beauty and serenity of the rugged Haliburton Highlands. Haliburton Ontario is home to some very good artists and a surprising number of arts organizations.

The Haliburton Sculpture Forest is adjacent to the Haliburton School of the Arts, in and among the forest that surrounds this rural location near Haliburton Ontario. My favourite piece of art in the Sculpture Forest is by one of my favourite Canadian contemporary artists, Mary Anne Barkhouse. An Indigenous artist, Mary Anne’s bronze sculptures are devoted to giving animals a sense of majesty, and they are all over the province – including in front of the Museum of History in Ottawa. In the Haliburton Sculpture Forest, her bronze dog “Gelert” honours the dramatic legend of a Welsh prince and his dog. You read the legend of Gelert here.

Craft is also a big part of the Haliburton Highlands, and there are some great craft artists here, as well as a few who blend their work into what could easily be called art. Our trail took us to Blackbird Pottery, a three-year-old studio owned by artist April Gates. The addition of Blackbird Pottery to the Haliburton Highlands. Blackbird Pottery is a very good example of where art and craft meet. The quality of the work reflects someone who takes a serious and professional approach to art and craft. Blackbird Pottery is located in an old school house just outside of Haliburton village. It’s an airy room that easily merges retail space with room for workshops, and it’s open to visitors four days a week.

Whistler, British Columbia

As a novice snowboarder passing through BC in January, there is one place you go – Whistler.

Whistler is pretty much the Mecca of winter destinations, and I had been hearing about it for years from all my friends in Hong Kong who have done winter seasons there. It’s big. It’s epic. It’s famous. I had to see what all the fuss was about.

I wanted a solid week somewhere with great snow, easily accessible lifts and long, varied runs of all levels, where I could really focus on improving AND feel comfortable. Whistler ticks all of that. Also, there is an entire cafe/shack on the mountain that sells different grilled cheeses called Ollies.

Anywho, I was nervous Whistler would be too commercial or too touristy, but holy crap I loved it. Like, I-looked-into-changing-my-flights-to-stay-longer loved it. It was just what I needed at just the right time. Yes, yes there is a reason it’s consistently ranked North America’s #1 resort.

Which also leads me to my second point, for those (like me) who are unaware, the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort is actually two mountains – Whistler and Blackcomb, makes sense right? There are dozens of chairlifts and gondolas that go up both, and there is an incredible freestanding gondola linking the two mountains with the village sprawling below along both mountains.

My days were pretty similar. I would wake up, go get coffee and walk over to Whistler mountain, catch the gondola up and spend most of the day riding on the mountain before catching the Peak 2 Peak Gondola and crossing over to Blackcomb and riding down. I ate a lot, I spent a lot of time in my onesie, and I read. It was so chill and great. Each day I felt like I was riding better and better.

With so much snow, I was fizzing. I knew the trip was going to be great, and oh my was the village of Whistler so cute. It was a real-life winter wonderland.  Whistler is one of those places that gets under your skin. I know I’ll be back. Have you been to Whistler? Do you ski or snowboard? Are you a fan of winter wonderlands? What’s your dream holiday?

 

HAPPY V-DAY GAMERS

On this Valentine’s day, I received my new keyboard and mice. Right, they are Razers, and more importantly, they are pink !!!! I believe it is most girl’s goal or even boys.

Keyboard – Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2 (Tournament Edition)     

Mouse – Razer Lancehead (Tournament Edition)

Few days before Christmas, I heard that Razer is releasing a new edition of Blackwidow, which is perfect for gifting on Valentine’s. Keyboard, mouse, and headphone are all included. For now, this edition is available online or in stores already.

I have been using Razer’s products for years since I brought my attention to gaming field. In my opinion, Razer is the first to offer accessories worthy being called gaming gears; each product provides gamers with the precision, accuracy, and speed.

In this edition, besides colour, the function is pretty same as the original chroma. Also, the new version of keyboards is bundled with a pad. The pad can be attached to the bottom of keyboards, which makes it easier to handle, especially after a long time playing games, my left hand would become sour.

And finally, “Chroma” can be used on mice too. With Razer Synapse 3, everyone can customize their chroma keyboards or mice. Colour and effect are both adjustable.

Unfortunately, I didn’t buy the new headphone because I just got another headphone a few weeks ago. As I mentioned above, I think this new Quartz Pink set are indifferent, compared to the original series. Functions are excellent as always. However, the price is pretty much the same within series, so I guess I will go pink, as always.

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Fortnite


Today, we are going to talk about this game “Fortnite”, belongs to EPIC GAMES. Fortnite is one of the favorite game types nowadays. Each game has 95-100 people, and there are solos, duos, and squads. The screenshot above is my first duo win today, as you can tell, I won with no kills, definitely got carried by my friend, LOL.

I started playing Fortnite since October 2017; it was one month after they released for Windows. In the beginning, I was playing with my friends in squad mode. To be honest, there wasn’t a lot of people playing this game new coming out, so we didn’t win until two months after.

MY VERY FIRST WIN

Sorry for this picture’s quality, I was too excited that I took it with my phone. However, since the game called “Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds” got popular, two of my friends left our squad, we tried to play duos. In January, more and more people were getting familiar with Fortnite, EPIC finally announced new skins and characters. There are tons of choice to make in the store, but I have to say it is relatively expensive, each skin(character) costs almost 10-15 dollars. On the other hand, this game is download for free, so I guess it is acceptable for most players.

Fortnite is also released for Xbox & PS4. I attempted to play it on Xbox once, and no doubts, it was tough to control than playing with a computer.

I recommend this game because it is easy to play for people who have never played this type of game before. Second, the company is working very hard to update new elements for every week. Third, Fortnite has a variety of weapons which are “gun” people’s favourite.

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