Tag Archives: posiel posts

Progress post: Week 6

After reading Rachael’s peer review of my blog, I was pretty appreciative of what she had to say; her review was constructive, and I ended up changing an element of my blog which she mentioned: the unbalanced nature of my post thumbnails.

When I use thumbnail images for my posts, it un-balances the titles of each post, whereas without one, everything falls into place in a very orderly way. I would definitely like to have images on my site in thumbnails, but I feel like I’ll need to pan my posts out so that they balance the thumbnails, and makes everything orderly.

I also appreciated her touching on the size of my font on mobile devices, however I have no idea how this is done– I have fixed this issue on desktop, but I will have to ask for assistance in making changes to the format on mobile.

Essay One

Just over two weeks ago on Sunday, October 1st, I had a day just like any other that I’ve lived since moving into my new place of residence in Burnaby. I got up, went to work, came back, went to meetings and fell asleep at around 12am, hoping to catch up on some much-needed sleep. What was unusual about this day in particular is that I had minimal interaction on my cellphone: I had just recently gotten a new Samsung smartphone, and of course had not had the foresight to buy a case for it in advance. Fearing everyone’s nightmare of dropping my brand-new, naked phone and cracking its screen, I chose to go without it for most of my afternoon.

This was a pretty strange phenomenon for me to experience, not having a phone by my side. I felt ever so slightly nervous for some reason, fearing that someone would be looking to contact me and that I was letting them down for not being connected. Not only that, but I had no real sense of what was going on outside of my personal bubble: my place of work has a radio which we keep on for music, but the TV we show is almost always sports-related, and therefore not the best for world events.

By the time I got home, I was able to get re-connected with my phone and felt exponentially more at-ease than before. I texted friends who tried to get a hold of me, scrolled mindlessly through my facebook and twitter feeds, and generally just killed time. Why, I wondered, do we consider it so damn important to be on social media all the time?

I got my answer the next morning.

When I woke up on Monday morning, I underwent my usual routine: I hit snooze 3 times before getting out of bed, showered, and ate my breakfast. On this morning in particular, though, I did something a bit out of the ordinary: I opened up facebook on my laptop (still fearing I’d drop my phone and crack it should I bring it out) and scrolled through my news feed. About 3 posts in, I saw a headline which made zero sense to me:

Trump on Las Vegas massacre: ‘An act of pure evil’

I clicked the article, which featured American President Donald Trump’s address on the then-still-breaking news of the Las Vegas shooting (Liptak, 2017). I immediately googled “Las Vegas shooting” and opened up the front page of reddit to try and figure out what exactly happened. Thanks to the latter, I was up-to-date with what transpired in a matter of minutes.

That morning was the first instance of myself getting important, historic world news entirely via social media, and it likely won’t be the last.

In the news landscape which exists today, it is becoming ever-more likely that even if you have cable and watch TV regularly, the next big breaking news story you’ll hear of will be broken to you over social media. This isn’t by virtue of choice for most: in fact, research from the American Press Institute states that not only do most Americans still get their news from Television, but it’s two times more popular than cellphones and laptops respectively as a ‘preferred’ medium of news consumption (American Press Institute, 2014). Yet, for the younger, millennial news-consumers which dominate social media, social media as a primary source of news is gaining popularity, and fast.

Yet, despite the good that social media channels like Facebook provide when it comes to informing the public about tragedies and major news developments, there are also major downsides to getting news from social media. The topic of “fake news” has been well-documented since the 2016 US presidential election, yet despite all of the rhetoric surrounding the issue, events like the Las Vegas shooting are still breeding grounds for untrue stories and harmful falsities to take hold of the public conversation in crisis situations (Levin, 2017).

How, then, does one avoid ‘fake news’, and assure that what they consume is objective truth? The answer, in many cases, is to avoid platforms as a primary and sole source of news. The inherent issue with social media platforms as news sources is, as Scott Bixby of The Guardian points out, that these sites and apps constantly flood viewers’ feeds not with important, bipartisan news, but stories which align with their own political and personal beliefs. This, in turn, creates an echo chamber of sorts, and assures that those viewing content on sites like Facebook after a tragedy or news event will not be presented with only objective facts (Bixby, 2016).

What is the point of viewing news on social media sites then? It may seem obvious, but as consumers of media we tend to look the other way when we see biased news coverage which is favorable to our own beliefs. We may feel uncomfortable if we log on to BBC or CBC’s websites and are faced with the cold, hard gravity and reality of a situation. We feel better, however, if we instead hear spins on what has happened that fit the framework of our ideology.

Not only that, but even when ‘proper’ news sources publish topical stories on facebook, one has to constantly keep in mind that even large news corporations like FOX, CNN and MSNBC will push their own agendas to the forefront whenever they appropriately can.

This is why, in my opinion, social media sites like facebook will never be able to serve as a truly trustworthy news source as long as their algorithms for important news remain similar to those that they use in everyday consumption for users.

Instead, consumers of news must be able to know who they can look to for unbiased news, and face some very uncomfortable, objective truths if needed. This isn’t to say that scrolling through facebook after tragedies is to be avoided; that’s almost impossible. What is possible, though, is to consume news critically, and know that where you’re consuming from is just as important as the content itself.

Having said all of this, it’s also important for content creators to know that everything that they put out has the potential to inform or misinform someone. In my specific case, I have to be aware that, even as a cooking website, any views I express, regardless of factual or political correctness, can be used to polarize a reader further to one side of an issue, should they choose. After all, if it’s in line with their beliefs, why wouldn’t they?

In conclusion, it’s definitely not my belief that social media can be trusted as a legitimate news source, at least not yet. Like any medium, it has to go through its kinks before coming into its own, it just so happens that it faces an exponential number more of those kinks than other traditional mediums based on its setup. I’m not giving up on social media as a news source– heck, without it I’d be that guy in my Monday morning class saying “wait, what happened last night?“. What I will say, though, is that when it comes to getting the facts of a story, I’ll stick to TV and a very short list of websites.

 

Works Cited

Liptak, K. (2017 October 2). Trump on Las Vegas massacre: ‘An act of pure evil’. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/02/politics/donald-trump-las-vegas-shooting-remarks/index.html.

American Press Institute (2014 March 17). How Americans get their news. Retrieved from https://www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/reports/survey-research/how-americans-get-news.

Levin, S. (2017, October 2). Facebook and Google promote politicized fake news about Las Vegas shooter. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/02/las-vegas-shooting-facebook-google-fake-news-shooter.

Bixby, S. (2016, October 1). ‘The end of Trump’: how Facebook deepens millennials’ confirmation bias. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/01/millennials-facebook-politics-bias-social-media.

 

 

 

Progress post: Week 5

What audience have you been imagining thus far? How has that imagined audience informed your design and editorial decisions?

When it comes to my theoretical ‘target audience’, I envisage, well, myself: a typical SFU student.

Ideally, my website should be visually appealing to any viewer. That’s why I’ve tried to make it as simplistic as possible. I feel like if I were to try and make my site more complex, I would lose appeal with viewers my age, who want information presented simply.

I could re-type the same thing over and over again, but at the end of the day the word of the day is simplicity, and with my target audience, I feel like that’s the way to appeal to them aesthetically. To do that, I need an easy-to-read font, nothing too big or small, and a splash of colour to build brand image and draw attention.

Peer Review #2

For this peer review, I had the task of looking over my classmate Rachael’s site, titled “12to12“. The basis of her site is being a centre for her interests, which include Korean language, culture and music.

I want to start off this “review” by saying that overall, I’m a fan of what she’s done so far and want to really encourage her to keep adapting her blog to make it uniquely hers. Having said that, there are some thing which I think could be improved with a little bit of constructive criticism, so this review should hopefully serve as a good source of that.

When you first log on to Rachael’s site, you’re greeted with a very nice picture of a forest sunset, set below her navigation bar and site title. The image is beautiful, first off, and has a very nice look to it. One thing I will say, though, is that I think it’d be nice to have the rest of her site’s colour scheme match that image, or, alternatively, choose an image which might either represent herself or her site’s goal more clearly.

Her title bar looks good in my opinion, however I would suggest increasing her text size and possibly adding social media icons on the right column of her page. Right now, there’s just a lot of white space which could be used up. Alternatively, she could also centre her title, helping balance out the space used.Furthermore, I’m not entirely certain why she chose the text she did on the inset of said image. I really like the quote, but once again I feel like that space could be used to more clearly articulate wither her own interests, or better advertise her site’s goal.

These are common issues described in Travis Gertz’s article “Design Machines”: how do you make your site, with a middle-text, stand out from others when the design is so popular? In my opinion, a different photo or more descriptive text is a good place to start.

On the rest of her pages, Rachael’s colour palette choice becomes clear, and I personally like it a lot. The blue-tinted colours work well together, and her choice to make links a lighter shade than title text pulls everything together nicely.

I enjoy reading the typeface which she’s chosen for her posts: it’s clear, it’s simple, and most of all it’s easy to read. One small thing that could be fixed visually could be the alignment and size of her photos, however this is a really small thing and it doesn’t affect the quality of her posts!

 

To conclude, I really like some of the design choices that Rachael has made so far, and I trust that her site will continue to evolve visually. Rachael, if you end up reading this, nice job and good luck with designing your site the way you like!

Progress post: week 4

This week I finalized my website’s design elements. I was pretty satisfied, but at the same time unsure about the look of my design prior to class, so going in and seeing mine used as an example for a ‘well designed’ site was a nice, reassuring surprise!

After this week’s class, I decided to take a look at Twitter as an example of a website which I use often but whose design I don’t typically scrutinize.

For reference, this is what twitter looks like while using its desktop version on my laptop:

Give your boy a follow!

Here are a couple of pros and cons that I find with their design:

Pros:

  • Simple, clean overall look
  • Main content is nicely centered
  • Easy-to-find search bar
  • Important in-app tabs are prominently displayed up top
  • Ability (if you’d like) to customize the background to your individual preferences (I’ve left mine grey for simplicity’s sake)

Cons

  • Left and right columns are not balanced

Other than that once con, I find it hard to really criticize Twitter’s layout: it’s customizable, it’s simple, and it’s easy to navigate.

When it comes to my website, the only thing I’d like to maybe change is the layout up top to make the text bigger and easier to read. Other than that, I think I’m good in the aesthetics department, it’s just the content which I’ve gotta improve!

Peer Review

For this peer review, I looked over the work my classmate Hilary has done so far on her personal site/blog titled glffjfl. The description of her site reads that the site is “about my interest in k-pop and everything that relates to it”, and I really like what she’s done so far to create an online self which exudes her passion for everything K-related. Her ‘about‘ section provides the justification for the unique name of her webpage, and I think it does a very good job of presenting herself as authentic, even as an online persona.

Taking from a few readings combined, the sense I gather is that crating a clear online persona is vital to attract and keep readers’ attention.  Right off the bat when you open her webpage, you see a picture of (who I am assuming is) her, which is very endearing to the average reader just scrolling through.

My favorite aspect of her web page, however, is the way that she’s used her ‘home’ page to lay out album artwork from various songs she’s a fan of. Something like that catches the eye, is very easy to look at, and also demonstrates a sense of individuality for the reader. I think there’s a lot of potential in these tiles, and if she could find out how to directly link videos or thumbnails, I think it would be a great way to make her site as interactive as it is eye-catching.

I also really like how she’s laid out her categories to not be overly-complicated. With a lot of sites, it can be overwhelming and confusing trying to find a category which is relevant to what you’re looking for. Hilary’s layout, though, is very simple and easy-to-navigate. It’s no more complex than it needs to be, which is perfect.

Furthermore, I’m a fan of the overall aesthetic of her website. Much like my theme, the layout she chose is very simple and elegant, and I feel like it captures the essence of her online self very well. In some cases, adding a splash of faded colour (like a faint lavender) might be nice to ‘spice things up’, but I definitely see the benefit of using her layout with simple, tonal colours.

Another benefit of having a rather simple layout is that it allows for the media and text which is posted to really be the focal point of the site. I can’t even mention how many times that websites have been so ‘busy’ looking and cluttered that I lose focus on the media that’s actually posted, but in Hilary’s case it’s very clear to see that the context she presents, be it the album covers on the home page or articles she’s posting for POSIEL, are the centre of attention.

Progress post, week 3

This week, I tried my best to implement as much as I could design-wise into my site while maintaining my original concept.

The first thing, in my mind, that I had to do was to add some colour into my site’s text that would make it ‘pop’ while still being easy to read. What I decided to do was let my paragraph titles sit on a yellow base. In my opinion, this makes the site look unique, but not in a bad way. Other than that, I made sure to choose a font that would, again, be easy to read and not overly flowery.

After doing that, I had my site’s aesthetic down (I think that’s what they call it nowadays). I quickly added some social media links, and now I am pretty much set with my website; all I need is some relevant content.

In regards to the reading from Craig Mod, I’d say it was extremely relevant and enjoyable to read. Funnily enough, I found myself in his shoes last year with a different mobile game, Madden Mobile. I think he raises some really good points about disconnecting for at least some point in time, or at lest making self-care a priority. I often find that self-care for myself involves simply putting my phone on the other side of the room while I relax, do homework, or even take a nice warm bath (my method of choice). Disconnecting like that definitely makes me feel not only more in-control of my life, but lets me take a step back and think objectively of about things that are on my mind.

My Vision board

Here, we’ve got my vision board.

When trying to come up with ideas for my blog, food was a theme which I found constantly popping up. I plan on mixing my sub-categories of personal life, eating well, and living away from home to make a blog about how to cook and bake for yourself as a broke student!