Rules when visiting my blog:
- no hateful/harmful comments
- no anonymous posts
- comments disagreeing with one another are alright, as long as they are not disrespectful
- understand that everyone perceives art differently; your opinion is not the only one that matters
- no claiming other people’s art as your own
How these apply to my blog specifically:
These rules apply to my blog specifically because the last two are centered around art, and my blog is based on photography. The last rule is especially important to me as I value artistic integrity, and hope that those who visit my site do too. The second rule is based on the statistic given in this article: 25% of people say they have left a comment anonymously. In my opinion, you should not be saying anything that you wouldn’t claim your own.
This class taught me a lot about not only publishing, but also about myself. My experience as a publisher this fall was definitely a positive one. At the beginning of the course, I was hesitant to put my work out there. I am very self conscious when it comes to my creative projects, writing and photography included. As a perfectionist, I hate posting work that I am not one hundred percent happy with. My blog helped me with my insecurities, and improved my writing abilities as well! The main reason I took this course is because I wanted to see how different blogging would be to the social media sites I use daily.
When I first created my blog, I struggled right away with choosing a theme that I felt best represented the layout I had pictured. Right away, it was clear that you have more control over your content on your blog compared to your Instagram or Facebook. I wanted my theme to be simple, yet not blend in with other blogs like Travis Gertz mentions in his article about design. In his article, he talks about why mainstream posts have all been similar lately. He mentions that in a connected world like ours, it is hard to not give in to pressures of copying what is popular. To be honest, I feel that I could have done a better job at making my blog unique. It is still something I am working on. The next part of the course focused on audience awareness.
When using my social medias, I never thought deeply about who my audience was. I would post what I wanted, whenever I wanted, not thinking about what impact it had on those seeing it. This blog was interesting because I wanted to make content that both my audience and teacher enjoyed. Using google analytics, I found out that the majority of my audience was from Canada. Considering that I had promoted my blog on my Instagram, I assumed that most of my blog readers were the same people that followed me on Instagram. In his 2002 article, Warner describes my goal for this blog perfectly. He states that content on a blog should be relatable for both the audience and the creator. As I said before, most of my blog readers are my followers from Instagram. I believe I have achieved this because prior to blogging, I already knew through comments that my audience liked my Instagram. I tried to reflect the same personality on my blog as well.
I read an article recently titled ‘Blogging Is an Art But Attracting the Right Audience Is a Science’. This article talks about how important it is to be consistent with your online identity. Being consistent ensures that you can not only attract the audience you want, but also maintain that audience. This is something that I struggled with, as I went in to the class not knowing exactly what I wanted my blog to be about. I am passionate about many things, photography, hockey, and reading just to name a few. It was hard for me to pick one of these passions and create a whole blog about it. Overall, I believe that my online presence is consistent. My blog posts are cohesive and reflect who I am as a person.
Another interesting part of the course was the lecture on monetization. As I mentioned before, I created this blog mostly so that I could have an outlet to express myself. For right now, I don’t think monetization is right for my site, as I post content mostly for myself.
Looking back at the semester, my view on publishing has had a major shift. Before this semester, I thought the word publisher only applied to those who worked in the publishing industry and created monetized content. However, this course taught me that social media has turned us all in to publishers. The way in which we distinguish ourselves from everyone else is through the quality of our content.
In the future, I plan on continuing my blog and challenging myself to produce more content than I did this fall. My goals for myself after this course are to continue building on my online identity, and incorporating my audience more. Soon, I plan to look back at which of my posts were the most viewed and I will tweak my future posts accordingly. I want to continue blogging so I can look back on my posts in the future and see how my photography skills have evolved.
Travis Gertz AuthorTravis Gertz is both a designer and partner at Louder Than Ten. He went to school to design magazines, ended up designing apps, and now does everything he can to bring those things together. He is not a machine.@travisgertz View profile. “Design Machines.” Louder Than Ten, 12 Apr. 2017, louderthanten.com/coax/design-machines.
Dholakiya, Pratik. “Blogging Is an Art But Attracting the Right Audience Is a Science.”Entrepreneur, 1 Dec. 2014, www.entrepreneur.com/article/240280.
Warner, M. (2002). Publics and Counterpublics (abbreviated version). Quarterly Journal of Speech, 88(4), 413-425.
Women are often still portrayed as whimsical creatures of beauty. Or at least, that’s what we’re supposed to strive for. But I do not accept that. I find beauty in many different forms, but especially in strength. Women are strong, courageous, and mighty. We are also soft, gentle, and whimsical. Women can embody strength in all its forms. For my remix I have photoshopped a sword into a picture of a Mark Spain painting. The woman is beautiful, and appears ethereal and elegant. But by adding a sword to the image, I’m conveying her strength as well. Women are not just one thing and we should not be constricted to one set of ideals. You can be both strong and beautiful. You can find beauty in strength, as I do.
This semester has been not just about creating a website, but about creating an audience. I have always been inspired to create something that benefits others, because a lot of what we learn in life is that the world can be a really negative and greedy place. But I feel that if we don’t take a little time to think about ourselves as well, we won’t be able to help others. If everyone thought like this, I believe the world would be a better place to live in for sure. My blog is for those who have the same ideals. It’s for those who feel a little lost or stressed out, for those who would like to contribute to a space that isn’t trying to sell you something, and a place for others to express their stories and how they get through their lives. I particularly want to cater to those going into University, because when I started, there was an overwhelming amount of opinions about what is healthy and what isn’t. Fab diets, fat loss pills, and insane and unrealistic expectations of how you should work out and look like are huge issues. My blog reflects this with calming or goofy pictures meant to make people reflect what they do in their own lives, or even laugh. It’s a space for people to get information that isn’t from a top-down perspective. Although I haven’t started gathering comments on my website yet, I would hope to see more as I post more content. I get a lot of comments and reviews on my Facebook as well, not necessarily on the website itself, but so far I have gotten a lot of good reviews and look forward to more, with criticisms welcomed.
Personally, I was really moved by Audrey Watters article, “The Web We Need to Give Students”. This class and this article sum up what I believe University should be all about; not just education, but promoting creativity and new ideas and challenging our perspectives. I feel that University doesn’t do that as much in this day and age. It is such a traditional industry that dates back thousands of years — don’t we think we’ve gone beyond that old structure by now? We need to be challenged and driven to new ideas, and constricting us to these traditional teaching practices is stamping out creativity and drive. This class allowed the students in PUB 101 to “have control over the look and feel of their own sites, including what’s shared publicly. This means they have some say — although not complete — over their personal data, and in turn they begin to have an understanding of the technologies that underpin the Web, including how their work and their data circulate there” (Watters, 2015). As Watters (2015) says, “giving students their own digital domain is a radical act”. I call for these education industries to do the same in returning the agency to students, and in return you will have students who will be enlightened and contribute back to society with enthusiasm and passion.
I was really glad we went over online behaviours, particularly the bad ones, and because of this I was extremely interested in Whitney Philips’ article, “Let’s call ‘trolling’ what it really is”. Trolls are essentially “why we can’t have nice things online” (Philips, 2015). In an internet-driven world, I constantly worry about what my younger sisters will have to go through in their online environments. My little sister even knows the term ‘trolling’ and will use it when describing certain people even though she doesn’t have any social medias. Philips (2015) emphasizes that the term itself “implies a level of playfulness that tends to minimize their antagonistic behaviours, or at least establish a firewall between the embodied person and their digitally mediated actions”. This was a huge wake-up call for me and I am able to better position myself on the impact of people’s online behaviours, especially knowing that’s not just us being sensitive when we go against trolls; we are standing up against hate and violence. Especially violence people wouldn’t even commit or act in if they were face-to-face with the person they were ‘trolling’.
Another wake-up call for me was actually when I reflected on my online data trail. I haven’t had much filtration or thought about what I put online besides the basics, like no revealing photos of my body or me at parties, no obscene language, etc. My digital breadcrumb trail extends long and true. I thought about it this way; if I tried to run away and disappear, I am not sure I’d be able to stay ‘missing’ because I know I’m very dependent on everything I use, like my bank cards, phone, computer, etc. Although I have to admit I love anything that makes my life more convenient, it does disappoint me how much companies know about me. Like with how Suzanne Norman experienced going into the Amazon bookstore in Seattle, data is collected everywhere. I believe I’m most noticed in my online shopping, because all the advertisements online are tailored to what I’m always looking for. Maybe we have just grown accustomed to accepting a lack of privacy. Podacademy sums up the issue perfectly in one question: “Should we then as producers of data benefit from the money that we help generate or is the fact that we use these services for free suffice enough to serve as a form of payment in return for our data?”. I would have to argue yes, because what other choice do we have? If Facebook suddenly decided that it’s users had to pay a monthly fee, would I? Probably, I’m too dependent on it now. It sucks but it’s the truth. All I would be able to hope for is a different company to come along and offer a free service.
I would like to continue on the blog and see how it goes, however, especially as I move into PUB 201, I actually have a lot of inspiration to create a new blog based on the EDM industry. It is something I am truly passionate about and can possibly monetize off of, whereas with this one, I don’t think it feels proper to have a lot of ads on my blog. I also have a lot of inspiration for it so I look forward to creating that before the next semester even starts.
You can find my inspired articles here:
Podacademy’s article/podcast by George Philip, Jennifer Anne Lazo, Rooham Jamali and Rudy Al Jaroodi: http://podacademy.org/podcasts/digital-breadcrumbs-our-data-trail/
Beauty As Art is a community promoting self expression, confidence, and self love. It’s meant to be a place of support and safety for all viewers. To support this mission, the following guidelines will be enforced regarding conduct as a community member. Users can be banned for any of these offenses:
- Attacking other users, including name-calling, insulting, or threatening
- Posting irrelevant, abusive, or inappropriate comments
- Posting comments which target or degrade minority groups
These guidelines will be enforced to create a safe and supportive community for all users on this site.
Throughout the semester in Publication 101 classes and creating my own blog, I have learned a number of things in terms of content creation, audience, design, and many more.
When I created my blog back in September, it was difficult to settle on what I want my website to be about. When I finally decided to make my website focus about my faith and experiences, I was then burdened with having to find an appropriate theme and design for my website. It was difficult as the question I always asked myself before selecting a theme was “do I think the theme is a good fit with the identity of my blog?” I ended up settling with the theme Hestia as it was a simple theme and would fit my blog well.
When I first thought about who the audience of my blog will be, I thought of having everyone to be part of the potential audience as people who read my blog would read through my content as food for thought. However, as the weeks passed, I came to understand that the people who will take the time to read my blog will be those who are looking for something in their lives are have gone through some time of adversity because an aspect of my blog focuses on overcoming challenges, obstacles, and struggles.
As the semester moved onwards and looking into the feedback from peer reviews, a question that came to me was “who do I want to be to my audience?” It was because my blog lacked the identity of the person behind it, similar what John Suler says in his article, The Online Disinhibition Effect about invisibility and anonymity. As I know vulnerability is part of what builds trust, I took the advice and added a couple photos of myself to take away the lack of identity of the author.
In terms of design, I choose to not do much with what has been provided from the theme I went with. This is because I enjoyed the minimalistic look that came with the theme. It was also because I felt that the theme that was provided was a neat, organized design and does not have much clutter on the pages. I found that it was also very simple to use and my first thought of it was that it is something that would be very easy to navigate around. However, what I really like about the theme was the white spaces that comes with it. As I learned in class about the importance and effectiveness of white spaces, this design was perfect for my blog.
The idea of “white space” is also something that will stick with me after the semester ends, not just when I think about online content, but with any form of designing I do. As a business student, knowing how to attain the audience’s attention is a major goal. So, according to Mark Boulton, knowing how to use white spaces effectively will “give your readers a head start, position products more precisely, and perhaps even begin to see your own content in a new light” (Boulton, 2007).
There was also some interesting information from my Google Analytics. According to Ginny Mineo, the average user spends approximately 15 seconds on website before deciding whether or not it is worth their time to stay there. However, in my Google Analytics, I found that the average session duration on my website to be about four and a half minutes. Although I am sure that not everyone who visited my blog found the content to be worth spending a lot of time reading about, the information that Google Analytics showed reminds me that there is still a group of people who is interested in what I have to blog about whether they end up reading only one post or if they have kept up with me throughout the semester.
I am not too sure about where I will be in terms of blogging after this semester as I find that it is not exactly a passion of mine. Because I do not see it as a passion, I feel that if I continue to blog and try to commit to it, it would feel more like an obligation instead of something I do for own enjoyment. However, as a business student, I have expressed interest in the field of marketing. If I do end up deciding to concentrate in marketing as a career, I believe that the work I would be interested in doing would be similar to what the things I have learned in Publication 101 classes such as, customer analytics, creating content to market to the public, being involved in social media, and many more.
Boulton, Mark. “Whitespace.” A List Apart – Whitespace. 2007. Accessed November 25, 2017. https://alistapart.com/article/whitespace
Mineo, Ginny. “55% of Visitors Spend Fewer Than 15 Seconds on your Website. Should You Care?” Hubspot – 55% of Visitors Spend Fewer Than 15 Seconds on your Website. Should You Care?. July, 2017. Accessed November 25, 2017. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/chartbeat-website-engagement-data-nj
Suler, John. “The Online Disinhibition Effect.” Psychology of Cyberspace – The Online Disinhibition Effect. 2016. Accessed November 25, 2017. http://truecenterpublishing.com/psycyber/disinhibit.html#status.
I’m in the process of developing community guidelines for my blog. As I’ve created my website as a safe and happy place, I want to keep bullying and harassment to a minimum. If this requires blacklisting words, or blocking certain users, I’m prepared to do that.
However, there is a different between bullying/harassment, and a disagreement. Where I feel some sites go to far is when they silence disagreements between users, or disagreements to their own opinions. If a comment challenges, or questions the sites content, I find that these comments are deleted or shut down. This worries me because it silences a potential dialogue that could happen between a user and an author. As well, it worries me when I see every disagreement between users being moderated or stopped. When there is no bullying or harassment happening with a disagreement I don’t totally see the point in silencing it. I want my blog to be a place for dialogue, and If this dialogue includes respectfully questioning or disagreeing with my own opinions, I welcome these disagreements and I am open to hearing other opinions.
As of now these are the only things I know I want to include in my community guideline, but I hope to come up with more things to help my community be one of happiness, and one that lacks bullying.
Creating my online presence this term has been difficult but incredibly rewarding. Over the last few weeks, I’ve focused on the design of my website, as well as how I want to set it apart from every other beauty blog out there. I knew going into it that there are a thousand beauty blogs on the internet, and that the only way to succeed in such a widespread and competitive community would be to focus on being different. At the end of my quest to be different, Makeup Your Mind was born. With the creation of my blog I knew I wanted to focus on beauty and self care, because focusing on self care through beauty is a way I can set myself apart from other bloggers in this space. In creating my blog this term I spent the most time focusing on ways to build my audience, as well as looking for more ways that I can stand out in the crowded beauty space.
Building my blog has been no easy feat, and it is far from over, but I feel that I have created a platform that I can build off of in the future. In this process of building my blog, I turned to Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus article “How to Start a Successful Blog in 2017” on their blog The Minimalists. This article outlines steps that a blogger can take to make their blog more successful. I assume that many of these tips come from experience, and I turned to a few of these in the process of building my blog. The first thing I notices was a list titled “How to build a blog in 5 easy steps”. I was drawn to both “Designing your blog to get your desired look and feel” (Milburn, Nicodemus) and “Write compelling content that adds value to readers” (Milburn, Nicodemus).While I found the list a whole to be eye opening and helpful, these points specifically reminded me to focus on the look and feel of my blog, as well as the content. As the article goes on it gives more tips on creating a successful blog, but it does not expand on its initial list, while I found this to be strange, the points on the list were still a pertinent point in the formations of my blog.
The first step I took in creating my online presence, was designing my blog. I went into the process knowing that I wanted my design to reflect the soft and welcoming theme that I wanted my posts to portray. I achieved this through soft colours and scripted fonts. However, some of the changes that I’ve made to the CSS of my blog have reverted back to default settings, and I haven’t had the time to change them back yet. This brings me to the challenges that I’ve faced in designing by blog. The design still needs work, but I feel that my content grows and matures, my design will too. The design process is impotent to me because before my audience reads anything, they will be greeted with the initial design and feel of my website, and I’m driven to make an impact with this initial view. Over the course of the term I’ve made some important changes, and I hope to make many more in the coming months.
Travis Geetz’s “Design Machines: How to Survive the Digital Apocalypse”, has shaped my view of design, and has also inspired me to be different. In this article, Gretz complains that companies that have streamlined the creation process of a website or blog have damned the internet to conformity and simplicity. He repeatedly states that we are living in a world where everything on the internet is the same, and this scares me. Though I am using a pretty standard WordPress theme to build my blog, I want to make it my own. I chose a simple theme so I can manipulate it and change it as I need to. Wanting to stand out is also motivated by my goal of building an audience, and Gretz’s article stuck with me because of this goal. I Don’t want people to come to my website and feel like they’ve seen it a thousand times. I want people to feel like they’re seeing something new, and I want them to be compelled to explore my blog. This goes back to how people view a blog before they actually read anything. Gretz’s article inspired me because I want to hook people with my unique and design, so they are excited and motivated to stay to read my posts.
Just because I’ve focused on design, doesn’t mean that I’ve forgotten about content. Going back to Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus’ article, Compelling content is important in creating a successful blog, and its also important in building a strong and loyal audience. Stephanie Walden further addresses building an audience in her piece “7 Tips for building a social media audience”. This article helped me look at the specifics of building a successful and loyal audience. Specifically, it outlines picking platforms. This ended up being important, because going into the process of building my online presence, I didn’t realize that success on one platform, could build success on my other online platforms. The platform that I’ve put my efforts into, apart from my blog, has ended up being Instagram. This platform suits the makeup/beauty aspects of my blog, as well as the self care aspect. This is because both of these things can be successfully portrayed through images. Focusing on Instagram as proven to be a wise choice, because it has definitely driven traffic to my blog, and it is another place for me to have a presence and an audience online. I feel that my choice to focus on Instagram will further assist my blog because of my decision to use Instagram as a way of including my audience in my blog through #selfcaresunday. By using the hashtag and tagging me in posts, I will be able to interact with my audience on Instagram and include them in my blog. To build my audience I have focused on being different and I have focused on utilizing different online platforms to build my online presence.
So Far building my blog has been a challenge, but I hope to be able to make progress with it in the future. I plan to take my online presence beyond this class, and I hope to expand my presence and my audience in the future. My goal with my blog is to make people happy, and to make people feel good, and I feel like I’m on track to accomplish both of these things. I feel by blog will add value to my readers lives, whether it be a simple foundation recommendation, or a self care tip, I hope by expanding my presence and my blog, and I hope I can help many more people in the future.
Gretz, Travis. “Design Machines: How to Survive The Digital Apocalypse .” Louder Than 10, 10 July 2015, https://louderthanten.com/coax/design- Machines.
Millburn , Joshua Fields, and Ryan Nicodemus . “How To Start A Successful Blog In 2017.”The Minimalists , 3 Apr. 2017, http://www. Theminimalists.com/blog/
Walden, Stephanie. “7 Tips For Building A Social Media Audience . ashable , 24 Dec. 2013, http://mashable.com/2013/12/24/grow-social- audience/#0sSMyxkgWZqr.
Building your own blog can be very challenging. Prior to taking Pub 101, I thought being a self-publisher on social media is very straight-forward, self-explanatory, and not very challenging. I see Youtubers vlog about their lives, Instagramers take pictures, filter them, and posts them, and bloggers write about anything they want. However, throughout the course I realized there are many obstacles and challenges one will encounter when building a blog from nothing.
One of the biggest challenges of online publication was to design my blog. Thankfully, WordPress had many templates to choose from, however, I found out that a few of my classmates picked the same template. In order to differentiate my blog, I made a few design changes. Design changes were not easy to make as I had no background in CSS. I know some basic in html, however, CSS overpowers html coding which was evident in my first blog post. I was getting frustrated because I couldn’t seem to make the font size larger which I knew was not very user friendly. Some factors that helped with my design are the peer review feedbacks and tutorials. In tutorial, I was taught how to change the basics of the CSS, where to find the proper coding, and how to change specific elements of the design. Peer reviews were also helpful as I was able to get feedback from the audience and see what is working and what could be done better. Følstad, Haugstveit, Kvale and Karahasanovic (2016) discussed about the benefits of design feedback. Design feedback allows users whom are concern about their design to see what is working and get suggestions on how the design could be changed or improved (p. 421). Følstad et al. (2016) further emphasized that design feedback from users serves a valuable component to the online social platform. It provides rich insight both into how the design is received by the intended audience and find possible new directions to explore and further develop one’s design process (p. 421). Overall, as my blog develops, I believe there will be design factors that I can work on to provide an user-friendly website.
When I first started my blog, I had the idea of talking about food. It was something easy to talk about and nothing too personal. However, as I developed my blog I decided to begin to talk about my medication condition. Although it is a personal issue, I wanted to use my blog to record my journey with Acromegaly. Hollenbaugh and Everett (2013) discussed about the online disinhibition effect where anonymity on the Internet has been found to decrease inhibition and increase self-disclosure (p. 283). Suler (2004) stated that individuals act differently than they normally do in cyberspace as compared to the face-to-face world (p. 321). Individuals tend to feel less restrained, loosen up, and express themselves more freely resulting in the term the online disinhibition effect (p. 321). My online blog allows me to be somewhat anonymous and for me to speak freely and feel safe. This is also the reason why my photographs do not show my face; to maintain anonymity. Furthermore, Hollenbaugh and Everett (2013) stated that self-disclosure help build relationships and that close relationships are characterized by increasing breadth and depth (p. 283). By discussing about Acromegaly, I hope to bring awareness to the public as it is not a common disease and reach out to those whom have it. There is a lack of information about Acromegaly other than the basic symptoms and treatments and by speak about it I hope to help those with Acromegaly by providing some sort of support and educate people whom do not know about this disease.
As the semester comes to an end, I know that I will procrastinate with my blog. I plan to continue with my blog and also because I did pay for a whole year for web-hosting. I plan to blog at least once a week about food and expand my documentation of my medical journey by posting once a week/bi weekly. I wish to have enough content that I will be able to see more activity on my website. In conclusion, I’ve learned a lot by taking Pub 101 and saw a different perspective about online self-publication. I’m glad to have taken this course!
Følstad, A., Haugstveit, I. M., Kvale, K., & Karahasanovic, A. (2016). Design feedback from users through an online social platform: Benefits and limitations. Interacting With Computers, 28(4), 421-436. doi:10.1093/iwc/iwv017
Hollenbaugh, E. E., & Everett, M. K. (2013). The effects of anonymity on self‐disclosure in blogs: An application of the online disinhibition effect. Journal Of Computer-Mediated Communication, 18(3), 283-302. doi:10.1111/jcc4.12008
Suler, J. (2004). The Online Disinhibition Effect. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 7(3), 321-326. doi:10.1089/1094931041291295
Launching a blog this semester has been a great challenge and creative outlet. My passion for makeup has been growing for a few years now, and many of my friends have been pushing me to find a way to share it with more people. This course gave me the perfect opportunity to explore this as an opportunity. I knew early on my blog was going to have a focused concept driving my content: makeup. I drew inspiration from bloggers I looked up to like Tanya Burr and Zoella. The most important thing I learned from examining both their websites was twofold: be consistent with posting and be yourself. When you’re true to yourself and your voice is clear to your audience, you have the ability to hold their interest. I keep going back to those blogs because I can count on them to be producing new content and I can count of the quality of that content. Despite our drastically different styles, they are still my role models for blogging and brand identity.
To be honest, I was surprised when I checked my google analytics and adhering to the lessons I learned from their blogs was working in my favor. As I checked my google analytics, I was somewhat shocked to find people actually reading my posts, and not immediately leaving my site, but staying to see more. When researching how to understand google analytics, I ran across a brief walk through in the Social Media Examiner which helped me gain the most basic overview, including what an exit rate was and how it should be interpreted. I learned how people were linking to my posts, staying on them (and presumably reading them), and then instead of immediately closing the page some viewers continued exploring my site for more. For me however, the most exciting and interesting thing to be learned from my google analytics was the locational breakdown of who reads what posts. Seeing where in the world they were when they read my blog fascinates me beyond measure.
However, the growth in my analytics did not happen by chance. I noticed the shift in my analytics report around the same time I began actively utilizing social media channels as a part of promoting my blog and developing my brand. Instagram and Facebook are the most effective tools at this stage. When I started sharing posts with links to Instagram and Facebook my readership immediately increased. I must be doing something right, because according to Forbes magazine, improves brand loyalty, helps the brand become recognizable, elevates the authority of the brand, increased inbound traffic while decreasing marketing costs, and aids with search engine results. The utilization of social media does not just attract new readers though, it also helps the consumers of my content feel personally connected to me, which in this age is key to brand loyalty.
Beauty As Art is definitely still a work in progress. When it began I had a few unreasonable ideas about what I wanted it to look like and what I felt my voice as a creator was going to be. I wanted to be a space for absolutely anyone to feel they could relate to. However, that is an unrealistic expectation when developing a brand. You have to understand the niche your writing is for. BasA is a blog for people my age. This blog features looks which reflect me as a person which means it’s likely to reflect such a demographic in the viewers the blog attracts. As my ideas about myself as an online creator and who my audience is have evolved over the semester, so too has how I’m planning to structure my blog. My ideas about what my posts will look like and how they will showcase my makeup and products is going to be restructured in the coming months. Drawing inspiration from She’s In The Glow, I’ve decided to implement some of the advice I received in my final peer review. I’m going to build in a Shop category to better showcase the products being used in my looks. Not only is this a better way to manage products on the blog, but it will also help with the readability of my posts in general. My biggest concern with my posts thus far has been length because I am a very wordy writer.
This semester I was able to start a blog I am proud of and am passionate about. Beauty As Art is something I am planning to carry forward with me. Blogging has given me a creative outlet to showcase my skills and artistic abilities with makeup, as well as giving me a wonderful opportunity to write. The content I’m creating also has a place of value to my readers. I’ve heard from some of my friends who found my site through social media that they love my blog and the looks I’m creating. They feel they are learning about new products and how to create fun, new looks they can be confident about. And that’s really what my blog is about: helping people have the confidence to express themselves and be proud of who they are. I know my blog is helping me feel even more proud of who I am and what I’m capable of.
For my second and final essay on the course Pub 100 I am going to write about my whole experience on making my first blog. When I came into class on the first day I did not even know what blogging was. The closest thing I ever got to a blog was when I had a teacher in highschool who made the class turn in our homework through WordPress. But this class taught me a whole lot more about blogging. So I decided to make a blog that would show people a little bit more about myself and the activities that I participate in. I planned to post pictures of me and make the blog more fun than just a blog that I used to turn in essays and peer reviews. Some of the things that I was looking forward to when I was going into this blog was to learn how to be able to monetize it in the future or even monetize my instagram accounts. That part really interested me because a lot of people nowadays can use their social media accounts and blogs to make a lot of money. I can name at least ten vloggers with big houses and supercars just because they record themselves doing things and they write about themselves. As vlog nation puts it, “As you grow your fan base and build a community around your YouTube channel, your viewers are going to get more and more interested in your brand. They’ll recognize your logo when they see it on videos, websites, and social media, and they’ll click through to watch whenever they see your face, your brand colors, or your logo on a video link.” I was thinking let’s get that money!
One of the first things that I remember I had to do what I had to choose a background color for my blog and I chose white so that the blog would look cleaner and so that people would be able to read the words better. Then I chose a theme with a black border so that the blog would not look too plain. I wanted the people who visit the website to have a nice and relaxed feel when they read about the things that I do. I thought that it might have been a pretty good idea but I could be wrong. Throughout the course I got to see what some of my other classmate’s blogs looked like and I must admit there was at least once or twice that I considered changing the whole theme of my blog to something crazy colorful or animated but I decided against it so that the people who visit my website wouldn’t be too distracted. On top of that, according to Brenda Barron from the Business.Tutsplus website, “To put it simply, a beautiful website theme with a clean modern design is more inviting and can encourage your target audience to spend more time on.” I definitely want my readers to have a welcoming environment where they can spend more of their time learning more about me.
I must say that my blog hasn’t really been racking up that many views and comments but I think that if I just give it enough time people will catch on that there is a cool blog out there and start to visit my website. Although the google analytics feature on my blog was not working at all I could still kind of judge the traffic on my blog by the amount of comments that popped up. Most of the comments belonged to people in the class who were forced to comment on my blog for class credit. But like I said earlier, once I start posting more pictures and maybe other forms of media hopefully people will start picking up on the blog and maybe I can even monetize the blog and buy a car. Since the google analytics feature on the blog was not working out too well for me I decided to use my instagram statistics and insights on the assignments/process posts that I was originally supposed to use the google analytics on. And through those insights I saw that a majority of the people who follow me like my pictures more when I am travelling then when I am just doing boring mundane things.
So I have decided that I would travel more and experience more and be able to bring more content into my blog and my other social media outlets. I might even try and start to blog everyday if I have time and maybe even start a video log or a vlog so that people can see a lot more of what I do and what i’m up to on a daily basis because like Alex Williams from the New York Times writes “Because it really is every day, bro — to cite Mr. Paul’s mantra. It has been for more than 335 straight days and counting.”
The peer review that I received was insightful and I appreciate any critiques that come my way. The design change I made was to adjust the font size for the preview posts under the “Recent Posts” section of the website. I went to the Appearance > Customize > Typography section on WordPress to adjust the font style and font size. I also made sure that each row had two posts between the width of the web page as to differentiate each post from each other.
I believe my site has a welcoming design. The burgundy bands are, in my opinion, warm and comforting colours that are befitting of my site. The horizontal banner of Koby on first glance is what draws the viewers gaze and it should initiate an “aww” feeling for the audience. My font choice for the title and sub-title are relatively simple as it is thin and legible. My site has stayed consistent throughout the term as I like the simplicity of it.
This has been an interesting experience for me as it was the first time I have ever created a website and been an administrator of my very own website. The site is based on the observations that my dog Koby is doing throughout her life. As the site is not based on my own personal experiences, I have to curate the site to cater to Koby as a character and animal (dog) lovers alike.
I created my publication using WordPress as it was the website editor that was required for the course. The website is about the everyday experiences of Koby the Beagle. She has both a Facebook and Instagram page prior to the creation of the website and the posts on those social media platforms address her as if it were her point of view (first person, I). However, my site addresses her as third person because I am the owner and administrator. It would make more sense since I am viewing her as separate entity and not assuming her thought process within the posts as if it were her own thoughts. The public that I have is catered toward animal lovers in general but more specifically dog/beagle lovers.
My content has mostly been pictures followed by short excerpts relating to or describing what Koby ‘may’ be thinking in regards to the picture. The three peer reviews that I have received have critiqued my blog posts in that they desired for more wordiness in describing the pictures posted on the site. The design of the site has been well received as per the three peer reviews. I strive for simplicity in the overall design of my website with the font, picture and colour choices. The burgundy bands along the sides of the site, I feel are a warm, comforting colour that makes visitors of the site more welcomed. The giant horizontal picture of Koby shows her whole body with her mouth open as if she were smiling. That decision creates an “AWW” feeling for my audience as it is the first thing they see when the page is opened. The value that I think I am providing for my audience is to hopefully make their day better by seeing a cute dog go about life in her point of view as told by the owner. Sometimes people need to take a break from their everyday lives and just enjoy viewing some Beagle pictures. The Google Analytics are not impressive as it only seems people that access the site are people from the class. The indication of visitors from other countries seem to only wander upon the site by accident and do not stay for long. I have comments on the site but they are only from the course instructor and fellow classmates. Obviously I would want more engagement on my site and I believe this can be achieved by linking the website to Koby’s social media pages. On Facebook 76% of people frequent the platform daily while 51% of Instagram users frequent that platform (Pew Institute, 2017).
Looking back, my publication has been consistent with weekly posts both for the blog and class portion respectively. I feel it is crucial to create an acceptable design right off the bat as then you can focus more on the content. The design has remained the same since the beginning of the term and I do not intend on changing it unless there is a new theme that I come across. Looking forward I will try to connect with other pet bloggers as they can help promote my site (Kelley, 2014). My niche is essentially pet lovers with my voice as the main speaker in the blog posts. The variety of pictures is what I think keeps my blog interesting so that may benefit me but I need to remain patient and keep plugging away and commit to having Koby’s blog succeed (Gray, 2017). I will continue to blog until my domain expires. The reasoning is that although I wish to be patient to grow the site, I believe I will have more success on Instagram as the reach is much better and she has many followers that consistently ‘like’ pictures that I post. Not to bash personal websites as a whole, but I believe it is difficult to promote a personal website unless there is external help like existing social media pages or promotion from recognized pet bloggers. I appreciate the blog creation process and am proud of the design of the site but in the end I believe the success will be greater in a platform that I can be more committed to with my time.
Gray, A. (2017, May 30). 4 Things to Consider When You’re Starting a Pet Blog. Petful. Retrieved from: https://www.petful.com/misc/starting-a-pet-blog/
Kelley, J.A. (2015, Sept. 28). How Do You Become A Successful Pet Blogger. Blog Paws. Retrieved from: http://blogpaws.com/executive-blog/blogging-social-media-info/how-to-get-traffic-to-your-blog/how-do-you-become-a-successful-pet-blogger/
Pew Research Center. (2017). Social Media Fact Sheet. Retrieved from: http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/social-media/
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.
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/
In light of past, recent, and unfortunately continuing stories of people being harassed online, it has come to my attention that guidelines must be established if there is to be a comments section.
Maria Konnikova (2013) writes about the ‘online dishibition effect’, which is basically where the moment in which one sheds their “identity the usual constraints on your behaviour go, too”. This is especially true in cases where users can comment anonymously, which may encourage participation, but has just gone to increase uncivilly and incredibly negative comments.
I would like to encourage participation, but it seems necessary that I point out that there is a fine line between free speech and hate speech. Due to some of the sensitive topics that may be discussed here on this blog, it might be beneficial for these guidelines to be understood before writing a comment:
No racism, sexism, or any sort of hate comments whatsoever.
No promotional comments unless previously validated through the admin beforehand.
Any violation of these guidelines will prompt the removal of the comments by admin. Comments are taken down if admin doesn’t think it contributes to the conversation or is irrelevant or hateful in any way, or threatens other readers or authors. If there are any questions, please email the admin for more information.
When it comes to people’s safety, some form of filtration is necessary. If a comment is not constructive to a conversation, it will not be included. I love to hear feedback and opinions on the matter. But in a space that is supposed to be one in which people should come to for positivity in an already hate-filled world, I need to establish this before my website goes further.