Tag Archives: Essay 2

Sharing parts of myself through the blogging journey

This journey is about self-expression, publicizing yourself. It has been a difficult journey for me. I realized the difficulty of self-expression and acquiring a different voice online when you have you can be identified by the reader. If I retained anonymous, the journey could be less stress. I truly admire those who can achieve

I truly appreciate those who can achieve self-promotion and self-expression in the digital, mentioned in van Dijck’s article. Using Facebook and LinkedIn as examples, van Dijck suggests the function of social media for connectivity and narrating a persona, be it professional or playful implies the existence of an online identity, which could be different from the private self and the ‘true’ self. In the blogging process, I experienced difficulty in self-promotion and self-expression. I think the reason is, I let myself out on the internet without being anonymous. 

It is tricky. On one hand, you want people to know your name so that you are recognized for your work. On the other hand, you fear how people see the ‘you’ you portrayed. Originally, I intended to blog about my personal journey in Vancouver, letting the readers know the pieces of my adventures. However, I found that it is difficult to share my personal life online. I am not comfortable enough to share my personal life with my imagined readers, who in some sense, are really strangers (back to week one)! What if they use my photos and use my identity for a scam? (My roomate became a victim of a scam which involves stealing identity recently.)When people misuse the social media, that is when problems emerge. This is why online scam, fake news, fake identity emerge. Where is trust? When people only think about their self-interest? I can hardly engage with a stranger, unlike James Hamblin. While I can see the strangers on the street, the hidden viewers are more alienate to me 

I am not ready to open up myself without anonymity and engage with ‘strangers’. This is why I have been struggling to post posts about my personal life throughout the semester. I, with my picture in my right-hand column, can be recognized and judged based on my posts. I have no room to hide! What if they use my photos and use my identity for a scam? (My housemate became a victim of a scam which involves stealing of identity recently.) Therefore, Suler’s view on the fact that anonymity and invisibility encourage users to express themselves is real. I could feel less stressed if I had hidden my name. My readers can focus on the content, but not on me. They can hence give a fair review of my work while I can distance from the threats of exposing too much.

This is also why I have shifted to write more about film, which seems more objective and informative than personal. I love film and I know people love films. The director of the film takes up a role similar to a blogger– being a storyteller through pictures and sound. This blog is a platform for me to tell my story. It doesn’t have to be me, but only part of the ‘true’ self shines. I can sense the agency of a writer, to narrate in your own style, as long as they are ‘true’ to yourself.

My imagined readers are now those who have seen the same film as me and are looking for casual discussion on the film. I infused my emotion and watching experience in the reviews and in doing so, I let my readers sense my personality, let them know that I am an emotional and real human being. This is a middle ground –to expose myself to a comfortable extent.

This is just a beginning I would like to continue blogging. Yet, I definitely have to tune my writing direction and find a balance between personal and impersonal, private and public. Writing on the film is what I feel like I can continue to develop and I enjoy sharing films I like and gain insights from them. I should consider including more images and videos on my blog. In addition, I have to create more content.

Hamblin, James. 2016 “How to Talk to Strangers” http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/08/civil-inattention/497183/

Suler, John. 2004. “The Online Disinhibition Effect.” Available from: Cyberpsychology & behavior 7.3 (2004): 321-326. http://truecenterpublishing.com/psycyber/disinhibit.html

van Dijck, José. 2013. ‘You have one identity’: performing the self on Facebook and LinkedIn.” Media, Culture, & Society

Looking Back: PUB101

Heavily influenced by online creators of our generation and their work, I’ve always wondered about what it would be like if I had my own audience that enjoyed the content that I created. Of course, I’ve had my doubts and thought about who in the right mind would actually be interested in what I deliver. My doubts and worries grew stronger every time a possibility came up to the extent that I’ve convinced myself that being a well-known online creator is mission impossible. But that got me thinking about if being an online creator is only about getting famous. Does one need a following in order to be considered an online creator or publisher? Is it not possible to create for yourself and only for yourself? Well, I’m actually not surprised that I only think about the fame because I’ve been shaped by watching many influencers on YouTube. Seeing how luxurious their lives are and watching their followers grow makes me want to give it a shot too, just for the monetary value aspect. And it’s not only influencers on YouTube, there are full time bloggers that make a living out of it and at a first glance, it does seem like an easy job. Having said that, I honestly think that it can be toxic at the end of the day. As Shelby Carpenter writes in her article about The Toast shutting down over ad revenue woes, the battle for online revenue is harsh and it affects big and small mediums of the like (Carpenter, 2016). Sometimes when money is involved, it takes the pureness and authenticity away from what you are publishing because you’re putting out content just for the purpose of driving revenue. Looking at how far I’ve made it into the semester and this course in particular, I think I’m finally learning the means to be an online publisher.

Thanks to PUB101, I was able to start something that I’ve always wanted to but scared to do it. The anxiety of having people read the work I put out is just overwhelming and being the shy person that I am doesn’t help at all. I never found an outlet where I could comfortably express myself so I grabbed onto this opportunity to start something new! My blog, Be Right Back, is a lifestyle and travel blog. Obviously for the course requirement, we all had to create our own blog. That was the starting point for me. To be honest, I think people who wants to start something and haven’t gotten the guts to, just need to have that kick starter in order to take off in their journey. Like in Thorn’s post (2012) about making it into the media world, he stresses the first point for “Absolutely, Positively 1000% No-Fail Guaranteed Success” (Thorn, 2012), is to start now. Nothing can be accomplished unless you start making stuff now. And his last point: do a good job. We have to keep learning and keep trying. Even if we fail, those failures will eventually turn into successes. Our brains are capable of understanding our own weaknesses and we can use this to make better decisions.

I want to say that the audience that I have been imagining for my blog is exclusive from myself and more to entertain and influence a demographic that I attract with my travel related posts. But looking back to what I’ve created so far, I believe that I’m publishing for myself and I am my own audience. My blog has become a diary for me to document my life adventures and even if I’m not attracting any readers, I feel like I’m still passionate about my travels and it’s enough for me to continue posting. But to be honest, it’s hard to not be consumed by the competitive nature of the online space because if everyone is doing the same thing, how do you make yourself stand out? There are thousands of travel blogs out there and it is still growing day by day. We have the tendency to compare ourselves against other people but we shouldn’t base our lives on their values. Instead, the only opponent that is worth going against is yourself. In Herbert Lui’s article (2016) about competing with yourself, he states that “you can chase your future self” (Lui, 2016). I agree with this notion because you are not building your game plan for other people, you are allowed to personalize it to fit your own ability and make goals based on that.

My blog is pink themed. As much as I want to cater to everyone’s interest, I still want to maintain what I love and have a piece of my identity into the theme. I can definitely imagine myself looking back to the blog in the future and reminisce about the time that I got to do such a fun project for a university course and I’ll also thank myself for documenting my adventures so the memories will still be fresh in my mind. If I do gain an audience then it’s not just about me anymore. If that is the case, then I want to portray myself as a close sister of my readers or the sister that they never had. I want my blog to be valued as an informative yet entertaining domain and I wish to build a strong relationship with my readers where they can rely on me and on my content to have a better experience in their life adventures. The best way to interact is to integrate social media platforms as a tool to communicate. This semester, we’ve talked a lot of social media and as mentioned before in one of my process posts, I think actively using the Twitter app as a way to promote and share my blog can really help my blog flourish.

Throughout this semester, I have been keeping track of my findings in Google Analytics. As expected, most of the users are from Canada with a few occasional ones from the United States of America, Russia, and India. Through this, I’ve learned that success does not happen overnight. You can’t make a blog and wish for it to attract readers and gain a following the next morning. Of course, the only readers are my classmates and professor of PUB101. It’s hard for people to discover something that is not advertised or shared.

Looking back, I’ve definitely looked past on the complexity of publication during the beginning of the term. I wasn’t aware of the technical elements that were required to run a blog and I definitely wasn’t aware of its impact. From the theme of the blog to the content that I created, every single detail has its own impact and while it’s easy to overlook them, the reaction from the audience says a lot on its own and it reflects the current trends and shows what people are drawn to when it comes to content. I definitely want to continue on with my blog for my own purposes, as a diary that I can look back on. My online presence as of now is quite underwhelming, and while I don’t wish to work on elaborating it anytime soon, I do wish I can make it challenge for myself and work on my online presence in the future.

References

Carpenter, Shelby. 2016. “The Toast Is Toast: Literary Humor Site Shuts Down Over Ad Revenue Woes.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/shelbycarpenter/2016/05/13/the-toast-is-toast-and-its-devastating/#44854347c877

Lui, Herbert. 2016. “You Should Only Compete with One Person: Yourself.” Herbert Lui: Thoughts on Life, Psychology and Culture, HerberyLuinet, herbertlui.net/you-should-only-compete-with-one-person-yourself/

Thorn, Jesse. 2012. “Make Your Thing.” http://transom.org/2012/jesse-thorn-make-your-thing/

Does this mean the end? // Essay 2

Starting a blog this semester has been interesting to say the least. It wasn’t the first time I wrote for a blog; actually, it was the first time I did it for free.

My publication is focused on visual art and storytelling. I am a hobby photographer and I love creating. Whether it be simply taking a photo or editing a photo to create a new world, I love seeing what my mind can come up with. Whenever I see other creators online talk about the behind the scenes of their adventure, process, or life I am interested in their story. This was part of the inspiration to add the story component to my blog. If I want to post about the visuals I create, then I should also tell people the stories of how they come about. The audience that I am hoping to attract is people who are interested in photography, visuals, and the stories behind them. There is an adventure photography niche on Instagram that I am a part of and that is who I am targeting. Another inspiration for my blog is that I want to be a creator, I love making the ideas and notions in my head into realities. In Debbie Chachra’s 2015 article about the privilege of people who make, she describes that creators take pride in their creation and leave their mark on society through their creations, (Chachra, 2015). Although Debbie is arguing against the importance of makers in her article, I love the idea of leaving my mark on something or even inspiring someone with a creation of mine. I don’t necessarily want to leave a trail of products behind me, but create to influence others and have a positive impact in that way. This also speaks to the value I want to provide other people with my publication. Aside from hopefully enjoying the visuals and stories, I want them to be inspired, learn something, or simply feel like they can create too.

Reflecting on this experience I have learned a lot. I have learned that I enjoy writing when it is for me, up to me, and about things that I care about. There is something freeing when you can create and not have to get it approved by your manager. I think this is the feeling that people who quit their jobs to pursue their dreams chase. I am also really vested in documenting. I like the idea of documenting life and moments so that one-day I can look back and see what I’ve done. In the Leetaru article from Forbes, he talks about how the digital world we live in forces us to always be looking forward to the future. The past is just a memory hole that we never look at, (Leetaru, 2017). I understand what he means, most people save digital files on computers, external hard drives, or on clouds and then they never see them again. But when I want to document my life, I don’t just mean take pictures and videos and save them somewhere and leave them. I want to document my life; create vlogs from video clips and blogs from my photos & stories. I want to organize these creations so they are ready to be viewed in an easily accessible archive. As much as my website could be a place for others, it can be a place for me as well.

Moving forward I want to keep this publication going. My goals going forward for this blog would be to keep posting content to it, grow an audience for it, and also keep it organized so I can use it as an archive for myself. I will continue to take photos and have stories that go with them, so having content will not be a problem for me. The challenge will come with being consistent in putting it on my blog. My second goal will be the most challenging. I want to grow an audience for this publication linked to my Instagram. In Lindsay’s article talking about Zoella’s book deal, she talks about how these grown audiences have opened up opportunities elsewhere in creators lives, (Lindsay, 2014). For Zoella, her YouTube channel led to her getting a book deal, for me I am not sure where it would lead. I would love to one day have more opportunities to travel, document, and tell stories from new and exciting places. Therefore, continuing the blog seems like an obvious choice. Instagram would be a great place to grow and flourish, but bringing that audience to my own website will be key. I own the space on my website, which is more valuable then a following on an app that I just have an account on. Investing in a publication that I own, operate, and benefit from seems like a no brainer.

Overall, this whole experiment of creating a website, writing content, and posting it for the world has been a fun ride. I have learned why I want to create and affirmed the idea that it is so freeing to create for myself. It creates a great space to document my life and also in a format that is accessible. Focusing on continuing the blog and growing it could prove fruitful but only time will tell. Anyone out there that loves to create should try just doing it for themselves every once and a while. It can be one of the most freeing activities and maybe it will pour a little life back into your soul. I know that it has for me.

¯\_()_/¯

@jessefinkle


References

Chachra, D. (2015). Why I am not a maker. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/01/why-i-am-not-a-maker/384767/

Leetaru, K. (2017). In A digital world, are we losing sight of our undigitized past?      . Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2017/09/29/in-a-digital-world-are-we-losing-sight-of-our-undigitized-past/#37319061cd01

Lindsay, K. (2014). UNPOPULAR OPINION: These YouTube authors are ruining the publishing industry. Retrieved from https://www.xojane.com/issues/zoella-girl-online-youtube-authors

Parodying the ‘Authenticity’ of Online Self through the “Gillian Lies a Lot Project”

At the beginning of this course, Pub 101, I had set out to establish a space to be creative in the form of a blog and through writing. I saw this opportunity to step away from my personal life and create the “Gillian Lies a Lot Project” to have fun, to be imaginative, and to play around with the idea of hiding behind a screen. The concept of anonymity has been a strong influence in my what I produce online through this blog.

As an art student and as someone who plays with the idea of parody in her artistic practice, the concept of personal blogging and vlogging (i.e. daily vloggers on YouTube) was the inspiration for taking this blog to a parodic level. Not simply as a mere parody of vlogging or blogging, but parodying the thought that people assume all content online is a true representation of a person’s life as well as the whole scope of branding an image of a famous person onto a product just for marketability and money.

Take the Zoella controversy a few years back about the rumours that her novel “Girl Online” was ghostwritten. Not focusing on the truth of the issue, but of the issue itself, this controversy raises the issue of making money and marketing to young consumers “by churning out ghostwritten stories and slapping a famous face on them,” (Lindsay, 2014). As Lindsay points out in her article UNPOPULAR OPINION: These YouTube Authors are Ruining the Publishing Industry“when emphasis is placed on marketing and celebrity, publishing companies are supporting the name, not the writing, and consumers are buying the novelty, not the words — and this isn’t something we should be celebrating,” (Lindsay, 2014). I think this was my main issue with monetization as well. I could argue that my content could be rationalized for monetization as it is an extension of my actual practice and work and I continue to play around with parody in my art works. I could also argue that monetizing my content would be an extension of my parody or critique of selling an image. However, monetizing the content on my blog simply doesn’t appeal to me mostly because I don’t think my blog is worth anything at this point. If I were to monetize my work, I would like to do it on my own terms when I feel like my work is crafted enough that it is worth selling to the public.

As this blog was the production of parody, my audience was geared toward the people who consume blogging and vlogging and see it as an authentic representation of life. But after publishing more posts and more content, I imagined my audience to be smart enough to recognize that these ‘lies’ I’m teaching is a reflection of life in the media or life in general. At this point, I recognize that my audience is neither here nor there, rather I’m producing this content for myself and not for anyone in particular. I’ve learned something from Jesse Thorn’s 12 Point Program for Absolutely, Positively 1000% No-Fail Guaranteed Success: 5. Be Authentic; rather than making content for an audience and tailoring my content for marketability, I’m following my passion and creating my authentic content that speaks true to the medium and the issues I play around with in my work. “Rather than defining yourself by the medium you create, define yourself by what you offer to your audience,” (Thorn, 2012). I don’t define myself as a blogger or even an artist but by the work I produce. I’m not a videographer or a vlogger, I make videos about parodies of issues I encounter in my life.

I think this is the main reason I don’t have many visuals on my blog. I know the point of this course is to publish yourself to the online world and to establish marketability towards an audience. However, in the midst of trying to be different, I got carried away with wanting my blog to reflect what the concept was about rather than marketing it to an audience. Which is why my blog is very plain. There are absolutely no visuals aside from the colours of my header title and the hover links and a few images in posts like this image that I created in this earlier post. I think this also extends to my decision to not monetize, as ads are a very visual aspect of a site, it almost takes away from the plainness of the concept, as Debbie Chachra says in Why Am I Not a Maker, “creators, rightly, take pride in creation,” (Chachra, 2015), I think this pride is expressed through not monetizing and keeping my content pure from ads and unmotivated by ad revenue.

Looking forward, I think the “Gillian Lies a Lot Project” has an expiration date. But that doesn’t mean my blogging will have one. I very much enjoy blogging and have done it sparingly in the past before this course, so if I were to continue blogging, I think I would take it more seriously than this blog. Not to say that this blog wasn’t a serious commitment, but I would create a more sincere content that speaks more to myself rather than my practice. I think the “Gillian Lies a Lot Project” has restricted me in posting some content that I thought was cool but didn’t fit in with the concept and so therefore, a more looser blog will allow me to experiment with my online presence more than just trying to keep in character.

 

I hope to continue making this type of content along side my personal content that I will inevitably create.

 

Sources:

Chachra, Debbie. 2015. “Why I Am Not a Maker.” The Atlantic. 23 Jan. 2015, https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/01/why-i-am-not-a-maker/384767/

Lindsay, Kathryn. 2014. “UNPOPULAR OPINION: These YouTube Authors are Ruining the Publishing Industry.” xojane. 26 Dec. 2014, https://www.xojane.com/issues/zoella-girl-online-youtube-authors

Thorn, Jesse. 2012. “Make Your Thing: 12 Point Program for Absolutely, Positively 1000% No-Fail Guaranteed Success.” Transom. 11 Apr. 2012, https://transom.org/2012/jesse-thorn-make-your-thing/

Essay #2

This semester we covered a variety of topics in PUB101, such as design, online behavior, marketing, and monetizing your website. Our blogs were meant to be either personal, business oriented or informative and encouraged to be professional. I saw a lot of different ideas sprout up from others in the class; baking blogs, nature blogs, fashion blogs, even political blogs- a popular topic in class. I decided at the start of the semester to make a bold choice and put my personal life on the line: I would record and document my experience in the dating world of Vancouver, and post about it on my blog. I started this with a lot of confidence, but my first few posts ended up being about my reservations on the topic. I was anxious about putting myself out there and danced around the topic of even going back on Tinder and similar dating apps after past experiences and knowing how I usually react when trying to date people in this way. I persisted, and tried to design my blog in a feminine way, using bubbly fonts and pastel pinks. I even had a countdown to Valentine’s day, a day I had titled “Single’s Awareness Day” on my blog. I still had made no progress in putting myself out there in the Vancouver dating world, and was working on adding more and more things to my blog which contained almost no content. Meanwhile, fellow classmates were updating their sites with things they were passionate about, and I continued to put pressure on myself to put myself out there. I wanted my blog to be a humour blog for an audience of like-minded, witty women. I tried to appeal to these women by fitting to stereotypical female design elements. Meanwhile in my personal life, I was making no progress and still dealing with personal issues that were stopping me from moving forward with my love life.

During this period however I was offered a job by the marketing department at my work to run the social media outlets for the restaurants I worked at. I would be paid to update the Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for the pub I serve at and take part in marketing meetings. It was an extra push of motivation for me to get back on track with updating something regularly online. A two months into this course, shortly after Valentine’s day, I realized I wasn’t going to make any progress with my original blog idea. I decided to change my angle and turn my site into a humour blog about “adulting”, something I found myself doing a lot of all of a sudden. Romance went on the backburner and I was facing having to think about second jobs, moving out, getting over an ex, potentially hooking up with a different ex, watching my friends move away… it was becoming a lot to handle. I had installed google analytics on my newly refurbished blog but it wasn’t giving me a lot of hits. I was trying to write more about my personal life but I was still stressed out. This class had shown us a lot of different ways we can use social media to our advantages to market ourselves and gain followings and blog readers. While I was struggling to use these techniques on my blog due to commitment issues (funny enough, the same reason I couldn’t commit to all those relationship topics), I was able to use them for my marketing job. Instagram and Facebook have their own forms of analytics and though a small budget I was able to use these charts to expand the audience of people viewing the photos and advertisements through these accounts. I was receiving positive feedback though comments on my posts, as well as likes from regulars. The attention on the Facebook page grew, and by reaching out to breweries and locally sourced food companies in the online community, we were able to enter into an exchange of sorts. For example, I would mention Phillips beer as a feature I had, and they would retweet it, and then give my pub a shout out, thus widening our audience and putting us on the map for Phillips lovers.

At the beginning of this course I thought that publishing a blog would be easy- I would post about my fun dating life and share my posts on Facebook. I would be incredibly open about my career, sex life and personal feelings about everyone and everything that was happening in my world, day to day. But I discovered that without the proper marketing techniques, right connections and social media hook ups, your blog just disappears into the ether of unclaimed and abandoned sites. You need to share and tweet your posts, as well as network and comment on other people’s blogs. It’s more than just mysteriously scrolling your url in a public washroom and hoping someone will peak interest enough to spend .5 seconds on your site on their phone while they’re on the toilet. My education about the different types of publication has advanced a lot as well. I had no idea how much design and proper formatting could make a difference in your blog. Even the right font can grip people and give them that visual element to hold on to and draw them into your site.

I think that I will continue my personal blog after this semester is over. I just moved out of my parent’s house this last weekend, and the source of my holding back on new relationships is leaving my life forever come the end of this month, so a blog about adulting might be more relevant than ever now. I think I’ll finally have a chance to experience a really independent lifestyle, and I think without certain things holding me back it would be a good time to document. Before I start elaborating my online presence I want to be sure of the image I want to give off. I want to rethink how much I actually share on the internet and not list people and events as accurately as they occur in real life so as to leave some form of privacy. A friend of mine has a blog where she uses her full name as her url and posts the most personal things imaginable to it, a move I consider bold but also somewhat foolish at the risk of future employers or even lovers reading it and getting false perceptions. I’m not sure if I want to pursue an online life that closely. As for my marketing job, I want to improve with the amount of reach I get, and I’m going to continue reaching out to other local medias to do so. The comments I gather on the social media pages and the feedback I get from higher ups is encouraging and it makes me want to give back and comment more and participate on other sites in return. I hope to bring these traits over to my personal blog and move up from there. But first the adulting. Then the writing about it.

https://www.instagram.com/the_blackbirdbar/?hl=en

The Blackbird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above is a link to the website for the pub that I work at, and it gives a general look of the aesthetic the bar is going for, which I try to recreate in the Instagram, linked at the top.

Whereas below is a link to my own Instagram. So far all my posts of the year have been photos from my last vacation. I haven’t had a lot going on in my life lately that warrens a lot of posting, which also explains the absence of personal posts on my blog.

https://www.instagram.com/wallisbomb/