For my third peer review, I got to take a look at Jade Boiser’s blog. For this peer review, I will be looking at how marketable this blog is for its intended audience. I will also be taking into consideration how this blog gains its audience and what can be done to get more traffic so that more individuals can see Jade’s content.
In one of her process posts, I noticed that Jade mentions that her imagined audience is between the ages of 13-20 as she feels as though she can relate to individuals within this age group. She talks about how individuals closer to her age group will find her content relatable. Going through many of her posts I noticed a few things that allowed me to see how her blog is truly created for this age group. The first would be that her posts are easy to read. The words she uses get across to the readers easily and are not complicated for young audiences. Her posts are also short enough that young audiences feel encouraged to read them, and most importantly, they are engaging. I think her posts are engaging for young audiences because they seem relatable. Some of the topics I came across included personal relationships, breakups and what she has learned through her experiences whether negative or positive. Her content allows young readers to feel as though Jade is just like them.
According to an article from week 5 – Searching for a public of their own, I think Jade has definitely nailed it with producing content that relates to the teen demographic. The article talks about how choosing what to share and how much is up to the content creator. Jade choses to share a great amount of personal stories and the connections she makes with the music she listens to. This demographic she is targeting in particular seems to be all about their music and therefore her content can be extremely relatable for this audience.
In order for this blog to attract new readers, I feel as though Jade could perhaps either make her Instagram account public or create a specific one for her blog. I see that she has her private account on her site in the sidebar, however because it is private, viewers on her blog cannot access her posts and see the person behind the screen and it seems a little pointless to link the account if it is private (I do recognize her great use of pictures in her posts- which go amazingly with the content). Also, because the account is private, she cannot use hashtags on Instagram to promote her posts. I think Jade could really use this social media platform to get her blog out there as it has such a unique concept and young individuals could really connect with her through her posts.
This week I was lucky enough to review mysryrianblog.com the first thought when looking at this it has a very clean theme. This blog reaches out to anyone from or interested in the Syrian culture. She includes photos as well as descriptions of the photos. Under the About Us category the author opens up an invitation to all of the readers to share any photos or content about Syria. She also mentions the Instagram account honouring the blog. However one thing I would change about this is the fact that the Facebook link and Instagram link are mixed up. While clicking on both the Facebook and Instagram link, it is evident that both social medias offered here are very informative and interesting to browse through. Another touch I enjoyed about this website is the header translation from English to Arabic. I do believe this website is marketable, it contains a lot of content that would be very interesting for viewers wanting to learn and see more whether its about their own culture or not. It is well organized between her own content and her PUB101 assignments, which made it easier to navigate through every week posts to, process posts and peer reviews. Although the content currently posted is wonderful, I do think it could use more. The theme of the site is mainly black and white, with coral pink as the titles. In my opinion I think this website should have a very colourful background to showcase a taste of this beautiful country.
For this peer review, I am assigned to look at Sam’s Blog.
Sam’s blogs seems to serve the primary purpose of detailing anecdotes of his life as an international student in Canada. In his about me section, he would like to bring his audience “some refreshing knowledge about how to travel to another country and study there”.
Sam explicitly declares in his fifth process post that his imagined target audience would be his “fellow international students with him [he] could share [his] experiences” with hopes of “help[ing] them on their paths”. However, later on in his post, he narrows down his imagined audiences. Sam thinks that “[his] blog will be more tailored towards those who are already immersed in studying abroad”. Sam wants to “share [his] experiences in studying abroad to show how they relate to [all] aspects of [his] life. In summary, I think Sam intends to maintain his blog so that it acts as some sort of helpful guide of future international students.
In terms of design, I think that Sam’s blog is effective. He lays out working links on a black bar right under his image header – according to design principles of hierarchy, the image would draw the eye’s attention the most with all the different colours, following by the black bar that contains all the white-coloured links. I learned that bounce rates increase if blog functions don’t aren’t predictable. When hovered over, Sam’s link change colour, which is totally what I expected. Furthermore, Sam’s links lead to where the labels say they would lead. I think all of these trivial, yet working components make Sam’s website more marketable because they would certainly decrease the bounce rate.
This is what Sam’s links look like normally:
This is what they look like after you hover them:
Sam also incorporates the flag of Hong Kong as his favicon, which might elicit a sense of nationalism within international students from Hong Kong that might come across his blog – this might motivate them to stay, thus, increasing Sam’s marketability.
Sam’s website is surely efficient, albeit boring. Sam chose to put a black serif typeface on a white background. His style is very clean. Some links on the right-hand side of his blog are blue. All in all, however, I personally think his blog looks very dull with the lack of colour – this might increase his bounce rates and consequently, decrease his marketability. Sam incorporates pictures of some of his posts, which is interesting but somehow, everything still feels aesthetically boring. I think some should consider a different typeface, and maybe play around with colours to create for a more exciting look.
Based solely on its content, Sam’s blog doesn’t really deliver the help for potential international students that he promises. Sam’s first post is a playlist he curated of his favourite Coldplay songs. In his post, he gives a very brief introduction of the band, followed by a small blurb about what he likes about the band. While, I appreciate his content as I also like Coldplay, I personally think that this post steers away from the brand he’s trying to create. Coldplay, as far as I know, is not necessarily tied to Canadian culture, or international student culture. His next post is one about photography, which (arguably) may or may not be relevant to his brand.
Sam’s next post on travel is the most relevant content on his blog in my opinion. Sam talks about spending winters in Whistler. He describes in detail what his day looked like at the resort. He included beautifully breath-taking photos, which I thought were very exciting. I think that these types of posts will increase Sam’s marketability as they fit into the image that he is trying to sell. If he is trying to appeal to international students, I think showing pictures of what places are like abroad will certainly be an effective tactic.
This week, I was assigned Monica Alves’ website, Multi Monica, to review. The main goal of this review was to assess her site’s marketability to her intended audience. According to one of Monica’s process posts, she would describe her reader’s as having these characteristics:
Young women in her early twenties
Travel, photography and music lover
Living in North America
Has a steady part time job or internship
Is in a committed relationship
My first thought was that this is a very specific audience. However, Monica further explains in this process post that this is essentially a description of herself, so it only makes sense that her audience has similar qualities. However, she made sure to mention that she is not closed off to other types of readers, and she hopes to grow her blog so that it relates to all kinds of demographics.
For the purpose of this review, though, I am going to use her description of her audience’s persona to determine whether her site is marketable. Lucky for her, I fit 6 out of the 7 characteristics that she described her audience as having.
Upon arriving at the home page of Monica’s website, it is clear that she is doing a good job of catering to her audience. She has both a music page and a travel page, which are two of the interests her intended audience should have. She also mentions her audience as liking photography, and sure enough, her travel page features some of her own photos. In addition, she has a footer where she features her photography (titled “Through my Lens”), and it can be accessed through any page of her website. Seeing as photography, music and travel are the three main interests she described her audience as having, I appreciated that there were easy-to-access pages devoted to each of them. This makes it easy for her readers to find the content that best relates to them.
Another thing I noticed was that Monica included a lot of photos in her posts. This made the website more colorful, and her posts more interesting to read. In class, we have been talking about bounce rate and session duration, or how long people spend on our websites. I found that because of the pictures, I stayed on her website longer. They lured me in and made me want to read her content, which is something that is hard to do. So props to you, Mon.
Overall, I think Monica’s website has great marketability. As someone in her audience demographic, I thoroughly enjoyed her content, and was very impressed with the layout of her website (she has a great balance of white space and color). Out of all of my classmates websites, hers has resonated with me the most.
If she were to add advertisements to her website, I would suggest that she put them on the right hand side of her home page, because there is white space, but the ads would not clutter the page. She mentioned in another process post that she tried putting ads in already, but that it messed up the layout of her website. I think that if she fix that issue and increase the number of users on her site, she will have an easy time monetizing her website.
This is a peer review of Ashley Yien’s blog, adventures with MIA, which can be found here: http://pawsitiveashley.com. Ashley’s blog centers around her French Bulldog, Mia, and branches into other dog topics as well. She blogs about Mia’s dog friends and shares information about the BC SPCA and ways to help dogs in need.
I believe Ashley’s targeted audience are cute dog or animal lovers, whom I believe her blog successfully appeals to. When we first arrive on her blog, we are greeted with an animated header with a cute Frenchie drawing and a cute paw print cursor. This use of an attractive header image helps peak audience interest and gets readers into looking more through her blog. The only critique I have of it is that I believe there should be no apostrophe in “adventures”. I’m not sure if this was a mistake or intentional but good grammar can help portray a professional-quality blog, which helps marketability. On the other hand, I think the writing style of Ashley’s blog, which is sometimes from Mia’s point of view, is very appealing to dog lovers. It adds a humourous and personal touch to her blog posts that I enjoy.
Overall, Ahley’s blog’s layout is simple, user friendly, and visually pleasing which eliminates user frustration and can help further the appeal of her blog to her intended audience. She integrates adorable and relevant pictures into her blog which helps engage readers. Many internet users today want information fast and don’t like to read large blocks of texts.
I believe Ashley really blogs about what she loves and has a clear sense of her personal online-self and a well-defined audience. “Designing from the heart of our messages out means we fully acknowledge that they will not speak the same way to every person.” (Gertz, 2015) She connects well with a wide variety of audiences. Additionally, she includes information on rescuing dogs and dog memes. This helps to further her blog appeal to passionate dog lovers and viewers who are just looking for a laugh. Also, I believe that there is a large community of dog lovers on the internet, which is her targeted audience. By blogging on a popular area of interest, it is helpful in gaining a bigger community for your blog and helps marketablity.
One improvement I think Ashley can make to the marketability of her blog is to include social media accounts. “The experiences of some news organizations offer another finding about the importance of diversification: bringing in revenue from several sources.” (Vara, 2015) An Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest account with pictures of Mia can potentially help attract more viewers and create more potential methods of monetization. One barrier to the marketability of Ashley’s blog is that there is already a high saturation of social media accounts of dogs. I’m not too certain about the number of dog blogs though. “Abundance, it turns out, is a much bigger problem to solve than scarcity, or as Clay Shirky frames it: “Abundance breaks more things than scarcity.” […] It is far better, economically, to have the fewest number of authors, the fewest titles.” (Nash, 2013) I think this can be overcome by providing consistent and quality content that continually appeals to her targeted audience. Ashley’s blog has great potential and I’m excited to see it continue to grow.
This week, guest speaker Juan Pablo Alperin posed several interesting questions to the class. First, he asked us to envision a future that sees the decline of Facebook and to elaborate on what kind of changes or shifts would lead to this decline. Next, he asked us to reflect on the constraints that Facebook imposes on us as users and to consider how these constraints influence our behaviour online. In this response, I will address the initial question.
Imagining A Future Without Facebook
Professor Alperin started off by addressing the common misconception that the Internet and the Web are the same things. To my dismay, they are two distinct concepts. I have been using the terms interchangeably for years. The shame. Theembarrassment. I will address this question with the newfound knowledge that there is, in fact, a distinction between the Internet and the Web. The “Internet” refers to the physical structures that connect the online world, while the “Web” describes things like HTML and hyperlinks that comprise the core technology of the web. Therefore, Facebook is an application that uses the Internet’s infrastructure.
Every empire falls eventually. Social media platforms and applications are no exception. At one point, Nexopia was the leading social networking platform. Today, most people would give you a funny look if you told them you were on Nexopia. Eventually, the next best thing comes along. Old social media platforms are replaced by new ones that do the same as the last and more. Some applications even integrate popular features from existing applications, such as how Instagram has implemented “Stories” that were initially seen on Snapchat.
Keeping Users Within The Application
Ultimately, all social media giants will fall, but for different reasons than the last. We all learn from our mistakes, and sometimes, we learn from the mistakes of others. Again, social media platforms are no exception. Current platforms have looked to the mistakes of former giants and quietly avoided making the same mistakes. For example, Nexopia failed to consider that hyperlinks would re-direct users to external websites and in turn, decrease its amount of traffic. Now, applications like Facebook and Instagram redirect users to pages that are opened by the app rather than a separate browser – a subtle ploy to keep the user within the app. At this point, Facebook has avoided some of the problems that other networks have encountered. So what will lead to Facebook’s demise?
Will Privacy Concerns Lead to Facebook’s Demise?
Giving up personal information is a requirement of using Facebook. But at what point does this become an issue?
Today, Facebook fell as much as 8.1% to $170.06 in New York (Time, 2018). This decline comes after reports that users may have had their data used improperly. Cambridge Analytica, the data-analysis firm that helped Donald Trump win the presidency, was able to obtain and misuse personal information from more than 50 million Facebook users. The company’s shares show that users are not happy.
It is evident that privacy concerns can be detrimental to a social networking site, even one as large as Facebook. I think that if privacy concerns arise in the future and users become aware of any misuse of personal information, then individuals may become wary of using Facebook. As a result, Facebook may be replaced by a social networking site that is more transparent about users’ privacy.
My findings in Google Analytics allowed me to see that most, if not all of my website’s audience is North American. This means that even though I’m an international student, I have to cater to my audience who are most likely North American and may not be able to relate to International student related content. The audiences were from Canada, America and Peru. To me this is quite surprising because I am Tanzanian and I know for a fact that I’ve asked some individuals in Tanzania to take a look at my sight and give me feedback. This does not seem to have been recorded by Google Analytics and therefore makes me feel as though I should not trust all the data Google Analytics is providing to me. Does Google Analytics only record data from activity taking place in North America? It does not feel like a credible source.
Also, according to Google Analytics, readers mostly go to the site on days that I post. This means that in order to drive traffic to my site more frequently throughout the week, I need to spread out my posts throughout the week. I can post on Mondays and Wednesdays if I’m only putting two posts out or Monday, Wednesday and Friday when I have a third post to put up. Furthermore, it seems as though when I mention the posting on Instagram, it seems as though more individuals come from there. Therefore I should keep promoting posts on my Instagram account as well as on Facebook because it seems as though despite me not posting on that platform, readers are also being driven from there. This could allow me to get more visitors and views to my site, allowing me to be able to activate my Google AdSense.
Shaun with his blog IAMSHAUNGILL draws the viewer in from the front page. It is marketed to two apparent audiences: young people looking for music, fun, and advice, and anyone who might be looking for a male model for photographs. It is better attuned to the audience of young people, as the existence of music mixes and other fun elements make it seem less professional. However, for both audiences, the use of graphics, photos, and hip GIFs from popular cult films is very eye-catching. The great graphic design is essential in a blog, mainly if the blogger has the moxie to go for a really unique individual look, as it can discourage others from appropriating one’s attitude, ideas, or material; a blog that stands out visually has the personality to avoid being plagiarized (Hurst, 2016). IAMSHAUNGILL’s look is immediately visually striking, using a photo of (presumably) the author looking directly at the camera with an intense, somewhat ambiguous look. The look doesn’t immediately push the viewer away, as it is not entirely hostile; but it isn’t overly friendly, either. It is more intriguing, making the viewer wonder what kind of attitude a person with such an ambiguous expression is going to radiate through the prose. Are they going to be as attractive as the photo? More approachable?
The video primer also advises that each blog post should use an image in each post; posts without any unique visual element do not draw in the eye and make the reader curious. The primer also argues against looking clip art, as it tends to use dated; if you do use clip art, it should at least be stylistically consistent within the blog, or at least within the post (Hurst, 2016). IAMSHAUNGILL uses more great visual elements in the listing for each article on the front page, including a very professional looking photo of the author on the “portfolio” link and a very engaging, crazy movie GIF for the latest post, and some very attractive pink neon letters on black to draw the reader into the “No Bad Vibes” post. The front page of this blog follows the advice we have learned so far, but without being obvious that it is following rules. It simply looks good and is engaging visually.
The posts themselves are more of a mixed bag. The “No Bad Vibes” feature, which is a weekly mix drawn from the author’s Spotify, is only going to be engaging to readers who share the author’s taste, and yet find it original enough to supply them with new songs to listen to. This is risky, as few people have the same taste, and pop music is pretty well disseminated. The latest post is a personal post, which is very positive and upbeat but a bit vague and hard to glean much specific information from. All in all this blog shows a great deal of creative literacy (Norman, 2018). It is a great-looking platform that is sure to do a great job as it fills up with content. However, it needs to pick one audience: people looking for models, or young people looking for fun.
Hurst, A. (Director). (2016, May 21). Upgrade Your Graphics [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jywS21cDz_A&index=6&list=PLZAuW5ZP5ImWeQeefPOeZ6zj_KUGsp0PD&t=0s
Norman, S. (2018, February 21). Lecture Files Week Six: Digital Literacy.
Shazia in her week five’s process blog post (http://shaponders.com/posiel/week-5-my-imagined-audience/ ) says that her content/site is aimed for 18-25 year old students of international background, also “Vancouver foodies” who like coffee. Her set up of the site is meant to remind the site visitors of Instagram; she says this is because she believes Instagram is the most popular social media platform. Scrolling through her different category pages I do see the nod to the Instagram format; the posts are displayed on a grid with three columns. Something I notice and am wondering about is why there are no pictures featured with her blog posts in the initial inventory. Her concept opens a very good opportunity for pictures, of the food she’s having, the places she’s visiting. Her content inventory right now is black and white, and only text. She has some very interesting posts, but because there is not a lot of stimulation, as a reader I am not as excited to click on her posts as I know I could be. In her week six post (http://shaponders.com/posiel/week-6-changes-in-design/) I read her rationalization for not having the pictures on her homepage, but I would have to lovingly, gently disagree. While the lack of pictures may seem more professional as she says, the vibe I get from her posts is not of professionalism, but of personal interests and passions. I think the lack of pictures on the homepage take from the personality of her posts. Just the black and white text in my opinion leaves her audience less to relate with and be excited by. In addition to engaging her readers, the images also are important for distinguishing her posts from one another (its contents).
For marketability I think this presence has good potential to draw an audience. Vancouver is a great place to have this site rooted in. The food scene is pretty diverse and really great here. I think a challenge for Shazia is making her food/travel/thought blog stand out from the many others out there. There are lots of food/thought blogs out there, she has to present herself in a way that no one else has yet. She envisions her audience to be of international descent, I think that there is not a whole lot of this influence in her online presence yet (her posts, site design). I’m having a hard time picking out specific decisions made for drawing the audience she intends (the international part of it anyway). In her week 5 process post that I previously linked she mentioned that she’s imagining a large part of her audience to be East African students. I think she could start acting on this demographic by going to places that specialize in East African cuisine, and writing about that.
In one of her posts she mentioned that she has an Instagram for this site. I think that that is a really great idea! If she has an Instagram for this site though, why is her site following an Instagram-like format? I think if she already has an Instagram for this site, having the format of this presence also like Instagram, it might get repetitive and boring for her visitors (in my opinion). Because she already has an Instagram I think she could try something new with her site’s format; something that compliments her Instagram presence, enhances it, but it not be too similar.
In lecture this week we were prompted to think about what a world without Facebook would look like/be like. I consider myself not too much of a social media person, I make effort to unplug and regulate my life online, but I found this question really hard to answer. I didn’t realize how embedded this platform was in everything. I honestly cannot even wrap my head around this concept of Facebook not being present anymore. Juan gave us prompts that ease us into this very complex/abstract inquiry. . .I’m going to address those ones . . .
Ways that Facebook has in a sense affected what I do and don’t do on the platform, well for me Facebook is the main connection pathway for my family that I don’t see all the time (not living with me, other side of the world). When I do post something I keep their presences in mind; in this my rare posts on Facebook are pretty not controversial, and not really personal. Facebook has never been a platform for me to express my feelings, or my personality. It was mentioned in class that Facebook is moving into a news feed platform than a personal one, and I would have to agree. While it was never personal for me to begin with, I find myself on the site watching videos and memes more than anything else. I can’t even remember that last post I’ve seen that wasn’t related to a meme, or a video. Other platforms like Instagram, and Snapchat have a better atmosphere around sharing personal content.
As a student now I still see some significance to Facebook though. While it is less personal, I still use it to connect to my relatives. I am not as informed on how my friends are doing through Facebook, but I can connect with them through the memes and videos, which I think is unique to this platform. I think this new age of Facebook facilitates a different kind of connection to other people and content. The content you engage with and share while it may not be your original feelings/thoughts I think it still expresses something about you (your interests/your personality); Your feed in this way is still some kind of expression of yourself, but less direct. I think though where this relevance to life may die out is after college. when the fervor and time for funny videos and pictures is significantly lessened. In my opinion, at this point Facebook may die.
I have recently downloaded Google Adsense onto my blog and began monetizing my site. So far I am unhappy with the placements of the ads on my site because it has been interfering with my blog’s usage. It has been recently pointed out to me that my drop-down menu is blocked my the banner-ad across …
I am not sure how I feel about Google Analytics – it is incredibly helpful to me as a website owner but, at the same time, it is extremely creepy. Looking at my Google Analytics, I learned a lot about my readers… probably a lot more than they would ever think.
That said, I was super surprised about the activities of my users. Of particular interest for me were: a) how my site was accessed and how much time was spent on my site; b) which site pages were most viewed; and c) the activity flow of my readers.
How the Site was Accessed/Time Spent on Site
I was a bit surprised about how my readers were reaching my website! I was not too surprised about my site being accessed directly because, when I tell people about my blog, they usually just type in the URL themselves. However, I was surprised at the Social categories because I have only advertised my blog through Instagram.
In terms of the bounce rates, I was surprised that people who have accessed the site through a social networking site spent the most time on it. I suppose that this is because those who do click on the link in my Instagram bio (I am assuming that this is where people are coming from) are the most interested in actually cooking and thus, will spend more time on the site.
In the future, I think I will advertise my website on my social networking platforms (probably just Facebook) more and see if that increases traffic to my site. Also, to decrease bounce rate (and thus increase the amount of time that people spend on my site!), I think I will change up my homepage in a way that the user would want to stay on my site for longer. One idea I have to do this is to have a pop-up of some sort that says something along the lines of: “What are you craving?” or something and then having the user be redirected to the recipe that they are craving, or a recipe similar to that craving. Hm, that sounds complicated but I think it would be effective.
The Most Viewed Pages
I was a bit surprised that only two of my recipes even made it to the top 10! I think that the sour cream banana bread post is the most popular recipe because I personally think that its featured photo is the best looking.
Thus, I think I will work on improving my featured photos. I only really like three of the featured photos that I have taken (the banana bread one, the smoothie one and the oatmeal one) and I want to replace the rest. I think having more attractive photos will increase the likelihood that users will visit other pages.
User flow was the most interesting to look at, as I could see which pages my readers visited, and in what order. I found it interesting (rather than surprising, per se) to see how users reached certain pages.
I think having the banner on my homepage helps to gain readers’ attention to certain recipes (and thus leading them directly to these recipes, rather than having them click through my site), as well as the sidebar on each of my posts. I will pay better attention to user flow and add more links onto my homepage and/or sidebar and see if I see any differences!
Google Analytics has provided me with great insight that I would otherwise not know. That said, it is up to me to implement the changes I mentioned above and see if it helps my site grow.
This week, I’ll be reviewing Naomi’s blog, honestlynaomi.com, with a focus on marketability. My first impression of Naomi’s site is that it is clean, elegant, and easy to navigate. Naomi has implemented a pop of colour in her logo, as well as a personal tagline that reads “daily doses of my lifestyle and pop culture, with a little sarcasm mixed in.” As a reader, I immediately know that this will be a personal and lifestyle blog, and I can decide whether I would like to explore further based on this initial information.
I think that Naomi’s blog will attract females in their late teens to mid-twenties, especially those who are interested in fashion, food, travel, and the post-secondary experience. I like how Naomi has explicitly outlined her target audience on her “About” page, which reads “if you love fashion, food, and travel you’ll feel right at home here.” Through this statement, Naomi recognizes that “a public is self-organized… it exists by virtue of being addressed” (Michael Warner, 2010, p. 413). By addressing her audience in both the “About” page and in the sidebar, Naomi has effectively acknowledged and welcomed her audience.
Naomi’s site is a personal and lifestyle blog; therefore, the marketability of the site rests on Naomi herself. I think she has done a great job in this area – she has a descriptive “About” page, a sidebar featuring a personal message and photo, and a customized logo. I think that the personal photograph in the sidebar is a nice touch that humanizes Naomi and allows her audience to put a face to her posts. In “How To Survive the Digital Apocalypse”, Travis Gertz (2015) raises concerns that we have designed ourselves into a corner by being reliant on design choices created by machines. By customizing her logo, sidebar, and theme, Naomi has addressed the concern that “originality is risky” (Gertz, 2015).
I suggest that Naomi post content more frequently and consistently, especially if she is looking to monetize her blog in the future. This would increase the amount of traffic on her blog as well as show potential sponsors that she is dedicated to her site.
Naomi’s blog currently features two posts. So far, Naomi’s posts have explored her personal life and food. These topics are broad enough that they will appeal to a range of individuals including her target audience. In order to increase readership in the future, I suggest that Naomi monitor her Google Analytics after posting some more content. This will allow her to determine which posts receive the most traffic. In turn, she can tailor her content to reflect what her audience is interacting with the most.
Layout and Site Structure
The menu consists of four major categories: “Life”, “Food”, “Fashion and Beauty”, and “Travel”. One suggestion I have is to reduce the number of categories until more content has been posted. I suggest removing the “Travel” category because it does not feature any posts, and I think that most users navigate away from websites once they reach an empty category or a broken link. By removing unnecessary categories, Naomi can enhance user flow within her blog. In turn, Naomi will enhance the marketability of her site by keeping users on her blog for longer periods of time.
As a reader, I was a bit confused by the “Fashion and Beauty” category – it consists of a few images of clothing and make-up, but the images are not accompanied by any text or description. This can be easily addressed by incorporating these images into a text post and providing links to the products. As a result, Naomi would increase the content on her blog, as well as provide potential opportunities for affiliate marketing.
At this point, Naomi has not integrated any forms of social media onto her site. I would recommend incorporating at least one social media platform using the widget feature. In “Publics and Counter-Publics”, Michael Warner (2002) posits that “no single text can create a public… nor can a single voice, a single genre, or a single medium” (p. 420). By incorporating social media widgets onto his site, Naomi would interact with her audience through various mediums in order to contribute to the “reflexive circulation of discourse” that is required of a public (Warner, 2002, p. 420).
I think that Naomi has done a great job designing her site with her target audience in mind. Naomi’s audience likely consists of young females who are students or hold part-time jobs. This is an audience that does not want to exert too much time or energy navigating a website. Naomi’s blog is great in this regard – the design is clean, there is minimal unnecessary content, and the blog is easy to navigate. One minor suggestion I have is to clean up the “About” page by removing the comment box. The comment box creates a lot of unnecessary clutter and throws off the visual equilibrium of the page.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Naomi’s posts and I think that she is off to a great start. One thing that stood out to me was how Naomi directly addresses her audience in her “About” section and in the sidebar. As a reader, this acknowledgement made me welcomed and appreciated. There are a few minor changes that can be made to the menu and “About” page, but this can be done fairly quickly. I look forward to reading more of Naomi’s content in the future!
Looking at my Google analytics, I can’t say I’m too surprised with what I see. I wasn’t really expecting to see a lot of traffic on my site beyond a few of my classmates, and a few of my close friends. This isn’t very concerning however. I made this blog with an intention of it being kind of private, and I feel like if I had a lot of traffic it would lose the meaning of what I initially wanted it to be. As a result, I don’t foresee any massive changes coming in terms of what I’m publishing here.
I don’t have much interest in monetizing my blog at all. This is very much a personal blog to me and it doesn’t feel right to me to monetize my content (at the moment anyway).
However, if I were to monetize my blog, I suppose I would make quite a few changes. I would probably try to come up with a lot more original content, not just my thoughts and opinions. As well, I would probably shorten all links to different products that I mention in my blog posts with an ad shortener link or something of the like. Right now though, I have no interest in it. I feel like it’s extremely tiresome to want to click a link and have it redirect to an ad page first, and since my current content (opinion posts) probably aren’t worth having readers click those links, they would get tired and turned off of reading my blog.
I have neutral feelings towards data trails. My dad who is a tech security designer always stressed to me and my siblings that ‘nothing we ever do is private on the internet‘ and I’ve grown up with that sentiment. I am used to the idea that there is data tracking on whatever I do on the internet, so that thought does not bother me, although maybe it should. But I’ve always thought about it like ‘if they are tracking billions of user’s data trails every day, why would my information specifically be important to them?‘ I’m not special and there’s got to be an information overload from the sheer amount of information tracked on the internet daily. Most of the information tracking that happens just goes towards targeted ads which don’t bother me because I have Adblock on (sorry! I do turn it off on some websites so they can make a profit).
Another extension I have installed in my browser is called “Ghostery” and with this extension, you can hide your data trails to some extent! Ghostery shows you which companies are tracking your data on website pages and allows you the option to hide your data from certain trackers. You need to manually turn them off though. It can make your page load faster if the page has a ton of trackers that slow down your browser. With this extension, I am able to minimize what little worries I have about my data trails being tracked by third parties. If you are worried about your activity being tracked, you might want to try downloading this extension!
Fall Out Boy was a really cool punk band from Chicago, Illinois that had four fantastic albums then went on hiatus in 2009. Legend has it they came back and released 3 more albums with their latest one titled “Mania” featuring rap and dubstep and minimal use of guitar. This is not the band I fell in love with. Liking Fall Out Boy was always awkward as the Bass Player and lyricist Pete Wentz liked to wear skinny jeans and guy-(eye)liner. This meant when you told people your age in middle school that you liked their music you were some sort of weird vampire goth freak to them and they called you names. It was always unpopular to like things like Fall Out Boy and Star Wars growing up, I got bullied for my interests but I didn’t let that stop me from enjoying my favorite things. It was from the bullying I received from liking these things that I would develop my early stand-up material and fell in love with the self-deprecating style. Fall Out Boy was the reason I learned to play guitar, some days they were the reason I got out of bed. I related to the emotions and feelings Pete would write about as I was an angsty teen. Today I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I went a full 24 hours without listening to Infinity on High or Follie a Deux to completion. I tend to bounce between those two albums. Infinity on High holds such personal importance and meaning to me, but I consider Follie to be their best work. Patrick Stump is my all time favorite vocalist with his rich soulful style voice. If you ever have a chance check out his cover of David Bowie’s song “Life on Mars” and see what I mean. This September I am flying down to their “home turf” to see them perform at Wrigley Field.
A really old blurry photo of a fat me in the middle of Fall Out Boy
My roommate Louie is a wonderful* kind** and a caring*** cat who lives with me in my apartment. He is always there to wake me up at seven am by making wonderful harmonious sounds as he violently slashes at the blinds and meows at me in the shower until I get out and feed him. I rescued him from the SPCA last August after I saw his Raccoon-like tail, and we celebrated his second birthday this January. He loves Turkey and cardboard but HATES pop cans, cucumbers, and me experiencing any kind of joy…
For my third peer review, I will be reviewing Matan’s blog, The Pawer of Photography, focusing on his site’s marketability.
I actually remember talking to Matan during the speed dating exercise that we did early on in the semester because his blog name is so catchy. Like I mentioned in my reviewof Lauren’s blog, Goode Eats, I am jealous that his last name can be used as a pun. Lucky people.
Anyway, first impressions of Matan’s blog: it reminds me of Instagram. Since his site is a photography site, this is to be expected. I really enjoy the simplicity of the site.
The marketability of Matan’s website is a bit questionable because it seems that his website is just for himself as a place to store his work, as per his About page. However, I see a lot of potential for this site to be used as a way to attract clients or employers by using the site as a portfolio to showcase his work rather than simply store it. At the moment, the site seems to be more of a private space, rather than a public one. As Warner (2002) writes, “[a] public is self-organized . . . [i]t exists by virtue of being addressed” (p. 413). Thus, since the site is made publicly available, it should be treated as a public space! I would suggest interacting with your site guests through each photo post through your captions/write-ups underneath. At the moment, it appears that most have very generic captions; I feel the most connected to Matan in his posts where he writes more than just a line or two.
Going off what I just said, here are some examples of the write-ups underneath Matan’s photo posts:
As you can see, Matan’s Lantern post lacks engagement with his readers whereas his Seafoam post does a bit of a better job because it asks a sort of rhetorical question. I really like his Seabreeze post because it gives us a better idea of who he is. However, depending on who his target audience is (if any) I would change up the information I share – perhaps add more information about the type of photography you like to do and why? Regardless of who his target audience is, I think Matan should be mindful that this site is available to the public and thus his posts should reflect that and address an audience!
In terms of design, I think that the site is very simple and easy to navigate. Couple of things that I would suggest he change are the background of the website (instead of the mountain image, I think the site would look a lot better if a solid colour background is used) and to change the size of the photos in the photo posts, as they are very large and take up the entire screen on my laptop.
One other suggestion I have is to not categorize all of his photo posts under “photography” – it is pretty self-explanatory that this blog is a photography blog. Instead, I would categorize the photos by the type of photography (e.g. “street photography”, “nature”). It would help clean up the blog and serve as useful for his readers, who may be looking for certain types of photos.
Overall, I think Matan’s site is straight-forward and serve its purpose. In short, I would suggest: a) rethinking if he’d like to have this as a private or public space; b) catering his content towards an audience, if he so chooses to; c) reconsider his choice of background; d) resize photos; and e) add more specific categories and eliminate the general “photography” category.
Looking forward to see how Matan’s site improves!
Warner, M. (2002). Publics and counterpublics. Quarterly Journal of Speech 88(4), 413-425.
Looking and reading through Kim Kind of Cooks, the intended audience is very easy to visualize. I can easily imagine some twenty-something year old who wants to try to eat better, finding this site and feeling right at home. The design and structure of the site is very easy to navigate, with lots of tags and categories that help narrow things down by ingredient or meal type, without it feeling too overwhelming. The design of the site makes me think of the style of a 70’s diner, the thin, sans serif typeface in particular is very reminiscent of that kind of look. The use of white space is also effective, making it look very clean without it feeling too empty. The photos help add the much needed colour that the site would otherwise need, and it works well (being a photography blog I feel I should also compliment how good the photos look, they really do pop). I however am not a huge fan of the slideshow that plays on the homepage. While it does serve as a good introduction to the site, displaying recent posts in a loop right above the all the other posts seems a tad redundant to me. The content of the site is both easy to find and digest (pun indented). By limiting the majority of the content to stand alone recipes, it allows the audience to jump right into the site without any prior knowledge of it. The actual recipes are organized very well, and include cook/prep time, detailed cooking instructions, and even a handy option to print the recipe straight from the site. Each recipe also includes some personal notes about the dish, as well as links to similar recipes. Audience engagement also seems important here, as most of the personal notes end on a question for the audience, or the suggestion to leave their own modifications to the recipe. In terms of social media, only Instagram is being used, which isn’t a bad thing. For a photo oriented food blog, Instagram can be a powerful tool, however it looks a bit lacking right now. I would suggest adding exclusive recipes to Instagram, giving people motivation to follow it. Overall I’m impressed with Kim Kind of Cooks, the site is simple but effective with a striking design and substantial content. My only suggestion would be to branch out into other mediums to show your cooking. Instructional YouTube videos are effective, albeit a bit overdone.
Kim, if there does end up being a potluck for the last class you better bring some of that chili. It looks REALLY good!
For now, the “Blog” category works as a good place to hold all her personal blog posts. But in the future, she may want to consider breaking up this category into more distinct groups based on her content. This could be something like “Vlogs” and “Travel”. The more content she creates, the easier it should be to put posts under assigned categories.
The header photo adds a strong personality to the blog. Her position and the title integrate well together. However, as I start the scroll down, that personality is lost as the blog design is reduced to her posts and whitespace. Her sidebar could be utilized better if it were made “sticky”, in that the bar would move along as readers scroll down the blog, never leaving the screen. This would help fill up the whitespace and add a stronger level of balance. Speaking of the sidebar, I love the “Corner of Fame” feature, in which she draws attention to other content creators she likes. This is a nice way to promote fellow bloggers and create a connection.
Usability and Design
Strong readability. The pixel size is big enough to read clearly, but not overpowering. She also separates her content into short, easily digestible paragraphs. One of our guest speakers, Mauve Pagé, discussed how performance, balance, rhythm, proportion/scale, contrast, and unity, all work together to shape the experience one has in engaging with websites. She explained how creating an online identity involves the use of consistent colours, fonts, style and theme of photos. This blog uses these elements successfully.
I suggest she insert a “To the Top” arrow that will appear in the lower corner of her blog when readers have scrolled down enough. This will increase usability by allowing the reader to quickly navigate back to the start of her homepage.
I personally did not notice the social media icons at the bottom of the blog until much later in my time reviewing this website. Moving these icons to a more visible area would increase the chances of readers visiting and following her social media accounts.
It is quite clear to me what kind of audience this blog is striving to attract. I see her content resonating with young girls, teens to early 20s, possibly just starting their post-secondary educations and looking for a blogger that they can see a bit of themselves in. Teddy’s blog posts address topics like starting college and the challenges that come along with it, vines, memes, and other various pop culture. These are all current trends which her target audience would be interested in, and if she is ever struggling to come up with new topics, she can always look at Google Trends, a resource that was brought up in our lecture on digital publics and the public sphere.
I liked the blog post “San Francisco Travel Diary” for her honest reflection of the city, the good and the bad from her perspective. In this particular post, I think it would be beneficial to include hyperlinks of the places she went to. By adding this, readers are given more valuable resources to draw from, and may even be inspired to take a trip to San Francisco themselves. I would love to see more travel posts.
I advise her to remove the word “relatable” from her tagline “My relatable adolescent stream of consciousness”. Firstly, I think the word relatable should be used with caution as you don’t want to assume that your content will be relatable – this may rub readers the wrong way and I think it’s best to avoid it all together. In “Publics and Counterpublics“ by Michael Warner, Warner suggests to “put on a show and see who shows up.” Rather than starting a blog with a preconceived notion that your content will connect with others, try to produce posts that are entertaining to you, and from there, you can measure your reach through analytics. This tagline edit would also improve the flow of her title, making it a little less wordy.
One final piece of advice I have for Teddy to strengthen her overall brand marketability, is to explore more ways she can authentically and meaningfully express herself online. Pushing herself to dig deeper and reflect further on the experiences she shares with us, would really take her content to the next level. Another thing she can try is including hyperlinks to reliable sources that relate to her content, thus improving the value of her posts. I think she should continue to vlogging, as this seems like a passion of hers and a place she can really shine.
This week, guest speaker Professor Juan Pablo Alperin spoke to us about the vast world of the Internet and world wide web. He explained that although the Internet and web are often treated as synonymous, they are two distinct concepts. The Internet is the broader, physical infrastructure and actual network. The web is an application. These technologies aid in the shirking of time and space, reducing barriers between countries and creating what McLuhan refers to as a global village. But even though the barriers to Internet access are low, the design does in fact still affect who can use and benefit from these platforms.
The Fall of Facebook
Professor Alperin gave us a couple discussion questions at the end of his lecture which we were encouraged the answer in this process post. They were: What would be the events that could lead to the decline of Facebook as the dominant force on the web? What are the shifts/changes that might be possible? Reflect on the constraints Facebook puts on you and the influence it has on shaping what you do. How can you break free of those constraints?
Facebook’s mandate is“to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected”. This is a social media platform I use almost every day and shapes my online behaviour and view of the world more than I’d like to admit. Firstly, Facebook requires me to share my personal information with them in order to gain access to an account. This along with many other social media platforms may appear to be free to users, but it does come at a price. We must exchange our personal data for access to the platform, thus constraining us from keeping our personal details private and commodifying our online actions. How Facebook makes its money directly affects how we interact with the platform. They use surveillance to collect highly profitable info on us and sell it to advertisers, who in return have the ability to embed targeted ads into our newsfeeds. The owners of Facebook have the power to steer our choices in particular ways, undermining democracy as they create echo-chambers – showing us only what we want to see based on our digital footprint.
On another note, Facebook shapes my participation online. This platform claims to create a more “authentic” experience for its users but more importantly and less publicly admitted, they want to gather as much info on you as possible to figure out who you are and what they can sell to you. Facebook recently made a new update to their algorithm, tweaking what people see on their newsfeeds to more “meaningful” content from personal connections rather than business pages. This emerged from what I’ve heard as a “context collapse” where people are sharing less info about themselves online such as status updates. Personally, I’ll like this change, but part of my job is using Facebook to distribute our content, so we did some research on how we can maintain engagement with our audience, and basically, we need to create conversation and increase interactions through our posts. This is something that forces me to alter my online practices for the benefit of Facebook because the more we comment and share info about ourselves, the more data Facebook can sell to advertisers.
If the unattractive side of Facebook becomes more apparent to its users (such as the fact that it is able to mine your data and use it as it pleases, as well as form a narrow outlook of the world around you by filtering what you see on your newsfeed), users may start to worry about the negative implications it has on us and begin to delete their accounts. This would allow users to regain their privacy and control over their online lives, but I don’t see this happening anytime soon. In my opinion, the act of boycotting something doesn’t tend to successfully make a lasting difference. Another potential force which could lead to the decline of Facebook’s dominating influence on the web is the rise of a new social media platform. One that is bigger and better, giving users a stronger sense of power over their online behaviours on an Internet that is alternatively shaped heavily by corporate control.
For my remix, I decided to combine two things that I love: Disney’s Up and the movie Flipped. I took screencaps from the movie Up, and added quotes from the movie/book Flipped on to them to create a 3-panel comic using the asofterworld template.