Tag Archives: Process Posts

Some Quick Changes

Dio reviewed my blog last week and after taking his words into consideration, I’ve attempted to make some changes to my blog. He spotted some very specific flaws and I appreciate his efforts. He noted that at the very top left, there is a tab which brings up a submenu that gives the option to direct the reader to the “about” page of the website. He found it a little redundant because there is already an about section on the dropdown menu and I completely agree. With high hopes of making my site better, I have to say that I struggled a bit when trying to remove the about page from the submenu. I only wanted to remove one or the other but I ended up removing the about page from both locations. Since I don’t think that is a very big concern, I will keep experimenting with WordPress and its function throughout the weeks. Another concern that Dio had was that my website lacked social media integration. To be honest, I’ve tried inputting my social media icons during the first few weeks but I just wasn’t satisfied with how they were awkwardly placed on my blog and unless I do some sick coding, I think that was all I had to work with. I do agree with Dio that since my blog is about traveling and lifestyle, pictures from other platforms would really compliment my blog. After reading about that, I quickly made the change even though the placements were still awkward but at least I still have some social media integration. The only place that I found that wasn’t too awkward was at the bottom. I know it’s not the best placement because it doesn’t stand out to readers but I guess it can be like a little bonus/surprise for those who are able to find the icon!

Google’s Excuse for Spreading Fake News

Over the past decade, social media has taken over the communicational landscape as most users interact online to discuss their personal lives, upcoming events, and most importantly, the news. As a result of looking to social media for their daily news, users are subjected to both true and false accounts, which has recently become a problem because the websites have large audiences who are, in most instances, unaware of the validity of the content. Alexis Madrigal’s, “Google and Facebook Failed Us” (2017) highlights Google’s role in promoting false stories claiming the Las Vegas shooter who killed 59 people was a Democrat who despised Donald Trump, when the identity had not even been revealed yet. It was later confirmed by authorities that the shooter was Stephen Paddock, who had later been found dead in his hotel room (Ohlheiser, 2017). The story originated on 4chan, a popular source of racism, hoaxes, and misinformation. Nonetheless, Google played a major role spreading the false information, better known as ‘fake news.’

Fake News
The term, ‘fake news’ refers to content that helps spread misleading, low-quality and false information (Hern, 2017). It is a major barrier to the dissemination of information online, considering the influence of social media on public opinion. As of 2017, two-thirds of U.S. adults look to social media for their news content. Considering how much the role of technology has increased and evolved over the past decade, this is not surprising (Shearer & Gottfried, 2017).

(Shearer & Gottfried, 2017)

Google, which is one of the world’s largest tech companies, has a massive audience to whom they are subjecting to false information. Less educated and older Americans are increasingly using social media to follow the news (Shearer & Gottfried, 2017), which makes them more malleable because they may not know how to properly evaluate the validity of sources Therefore, the likelihood of fake news infecting the minds of readers is likely, especially with such a website as Google, which has a large audience.

(Shearer & Gottfried, 2017)

Google’s Role
Google’s role in spreading the fake news was a result of a change they made to their algorithm in late 2014, in which they chose to include non-journalistic sources in their “In the News” box instead of taking the sources straight from their news feed. This allowed for search results to include content from Reddit discussions, blog posts, videos, and more from non-news websites (Sullivan, 2014). It does not make sense for discussion posts to be included in their news feed when they provide no credibility as to whom the source is and their credentials. Most times, discussions include opinion and are of an anecdotal nature. Regardless of that, it cannot be guaranteed whether discussions have a factual basis or not and with Google’s fault algorithm, this misinformation can seep through the cracks and into the communication channel.

Immediacy
Being that social media takes place online, there is no need to wait for articles to print when they can be posted immediately. Whenever an event occurs, the content is immediately posted. The 4chan post that incorrectly identified the shooter came up in the search results because it was recent. Immediacy works for and against social media because on one hand, social media helps to inform the public of news events as they are occurring, but on the other, the possibility of misinformation is high because not enough time is given to provide evidence to back up points that are made.

Googles Mistake
Within hours of the 4chan post having been shown on Google, it was algorithmically replaced by results that were more relevant to the story. Google acknowledged their mistake in allowing for content in the “In the News” feed to be, in part, derived from the newness of the content (Sullivan, 2014). Google was very irresponsible for allowing such content to surface on their website, knowing that it was not confirmed by authorities and that it came straight from 4chan. They are one of the most powerful information gatekeepers in the world, however, they fail to take accountability for the role they play in damaging the quality of information that they present to the public. They have continually been accused of allowing the spread of propaganda and the promotion of fake news and low-quality content on their websites in order to reach larger audiences (Levin, 2017). Rather than take ownership and accountability for their actions, Google’s response was to blame it on their algorithm and promise that the appropriate moves were being made to ensure that the incident would not occur again. They not only displayed fake news regarding the Las Vegas shooting without flagging 4chan as a questionable source, they also increased the visibility of the inaccurate posts through curated pages (Chaykowski, 2017).

Through social media, people are helping to inform the people in their social networks of news stories. But they are also able free to express their opinions and insight in these forums, regardless of their expertise or education on the topic. This is a much larger scale of communication than the traditional word of mouth (Napoli, p. 755). One of the major issues with getting news from social media is that the users are not always looking at the most credible or trustworthy websites because of their lack of knowledge regarding source filtering and moderation. Consequently, these individuals arrive at websites that are of low-quality, reporting stories without any factual basis or witness testimony.

The Need for Moderation
It is surprising that 4chan was never blocked or blacklisted as an unreliable source by Google, considering their history and user base. Google has to understand that their algorithm lacks the ability to tell right from wrong and that at this point in time, human moderation is the only solution. Their past problems regarding the spread of fake news can no longer be shrugged off, their algorithms have showed that they are incapable of dealing with breaking news events and thus, it is in their best interest to implement humans into their decision-making process.

Social media does not compare to journalism nor does it try to. But for websites like Google to group news with social media is unjust and irresponsible. Journalists take their time to construct the stories have the proper education and knowledge that is required to do so. They know how to develop and present a story from getting witness accounts to providing essential data to supplement their points.

Google was responsible for displaying false reports on the tragedy in Las Vegas, underlying their failure to manage information properly. Social media is great for interacting with friends and providing opinions on stories and events, but it should stay at just that. Websites like Reddit, Facebook, and 4chan have no place in the realm of news dissemination because of the lack of control and moderation they have over the content posted.

After acknowledging their involvement in spreading fake news, Google announced that they were going to try moderating the circulation of fake news by allowing users to report misleading content to improve the algorithmic results (Hern, 2017). They also said that they would refine their search engine to provide more trustworthy pages and less low-quality content in response to the spread of fake news. Google continues to rely heavily on algorithms to provide news to their readers, but with the growing amount of digital news, it would be in their best interest to implement human moderators into the filtering and dissemination of the news content.

References
Chaykowski, K. (2017, October 2). Facebook And Google Still Have A ‘Fake News’ Problem, Las Vegas Shooting Reveals. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathleenchaykowski/2017/10/02/facebook-and-google-still-have-a-fake-news-problem-las-vegas-shooting-reveals/#eed157d7138f

Hern, A. (2017, April 25). Google acts against fake news on search engine. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/25/google-launches-major-offensive-against-fake-news

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

Madrigal, A. C. (2017, October 2). Google and Facebook Failed Us. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/10/google-and-facebook-have-failed-us/541794/

Ohlheiser, A. (2017, October 2). How far-right trolls named the wrong man as the Las Vegas shooter. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2017/10/02/how-far-right-trolls-named-the-wrong-man-as-the-las-vegas-shooter/?utm_term=.98ce6181bc5f

Shearer, E., & Gottfried, J. (2017, September 5). News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2017. Retrieved from http://www.journalism.org/2017/09/07/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2017/pi_17-08-23_socialmediaupdate_0-02/

Sullivan, D. (2014, October 6). Google’s “In the News” Box Now Lists More Than Traditional News Sites. Search Engine Land. Retrieved from https://searchengineland.com/googles-news-listings-beyond-traditional-205213

Peer Review #2 Changes

I really appreciated Rory’s advice as it helped me evaluate what could be improved design wise.  One thing I changed was the size of the font.  I changed this because it was commented on during the in class review as well as Rory’s review.  I changed it from size 12 to 16, and it is so much readable now.

Another thing I tweaked was my header.  I tweaked this right after the design lecture, so it was not included in Rory’s review but I thought I would mention it anyway.  The guest speaker said that the fact that ‘Abad Photographer’ was smaller made it hard to see, so I changed it.  I also made it a bolder font.

The last thing I changed was the RSS Feed issue.  Rory mentioned that clicking the feed button just led to a page of code, so I fixed.  It now leads to a page of all my posts.

Overall, I really appreciate the constructive criticism Rory gave me.  It’s great to see what others think of your blog because it gives you an insight as to what your audience thinks about your design elements.

Essay 1: The Information Ratrace

The Information Ratrace

The urgency of obtaining and publishing news articles has led to the degeneration of the verisimilitude of information. This is not only the fault of news outlets, but of the readers who consume said media as well. Did you, the reader, ever consider to question whether the vocabulary used in the first sentence of this paragraph was properly used, or mean what you had perceived it to mean? For every vocabulary word that one does not know in a given essay, how often does the reader investigate the meaning and context of the word used to ensure accuracy? The lack of verification behind information we receive and from news outlets who publish news stories often leads to problems with misconstrued constructions of what we believe to be the truth.

The PEW Research Center conducted a survey on how Americans receive news from social media sites. “As of August 2017, two-thirds (67%) of Americans report that they get at least some of their news on social media.” (Gottfried, J., & Shearer, E., 2017). Social media doesn’t take into account the contents of what users post, meaning news of any form can be distributed without discretion. Due to the nature of social media’s vast accessibility, it only further perpetrates the issues by allowing articles (whether accurate or not) to spread without verification. Should news articles contain misinformation, it only serves to misinform and spread confusion among the public. This raises the issue of how many people are questioning the accuracy of the news they are consuming. Part of the reason why fake news is so rampant is because many viewers are eager to believe the first thing they receive due to the convenience of locating news on Google or social media. Social media has been so saturated with news stories that it has become difficult to pick apart relevant information from fake news.

Take the recent Las Vegas shooting for example. On October 1st, 2017, a gunman open fired upon a crowd of people attending a concert. “Links to the 4chan website falsely identified the shooter as Geary Danley, calling him a leftist and Democratic supporter. The misinformation gained traction after Internet sleuths scoured social media to identify the gunman faster than police, and the erroneous report appeared at the top of Google results for searches on Danley.” (Guynn, J., 2017). Despite the lack of information known shortly after the shooting, rumors and misinformation had already begun to spread on the 4chan website, misidentifying the gunman for another individual. For an accusation of that caliber, it can cause undue defamation of an innocent individual, not to mention the disrespect done to the falsely accused to have been associated with the tragic event. The blame not only lies on the users who participated in the misinformation hoax, but on Google as well for listing Danley’s name on top of the search engine instead of the criminal Stephen Paddock’s name. Due to there being no accurate news related to the gunman’s identity, Google’s algorithms are deceived into putting the first result that occurs in their search for related news.

The reason why the blame also falls upon news media outlets is due to the various pressure factors. According to The Guardian, there are “numerous accounts from journalists about the pressures in UK newsrooms that lead to dodgy stories being reported uncritically.” For a news media outlet, having an influx of viewers come to their source as a first means information means more revenue for the media outlet. With profits in mind, news media outlets are likely to resort to obtaining information as quickly as possible in order to draw in readers. As a result, there are many cases in which fake news was reported due to insufficient background checks or a general disregard entirely. News media outlets have recognized methods of drawing viewers in through a particular method known as “click-baiting”; a method in which the title of an article is written in an enticing manner, but does not convey any information about the topic. The issue with this strategy is that the contents of the article are usually very lackluster and uninformative. With the competitive nature of the journalism industry, some companies choose to take any method possible to generate income to eke a profit. However, at the cost of reputation and faith in the news outlet, the resulting fallout of disappointed users may hurt revenue more than the advantage of reporting as soon as possible or drawing in as many users as possible.

As a media content creator myself, it is in my best interest to verify the information I receive, as relevant news can alter my opinions and responses to related situations. This is especially important when it pertains to current and/or sensitive topics. When faced with emerging news, it is prudent to wait for situations to become updated as authorities and experts draw closer to understanding the situation. Double checking information with trusted sources who have garnered trust among its viewer base can help reduce issues with fake news, and brings us closer to the truth.

 

Sources:

Dvorkin, J. (2016, April 26th). Why click-bait will be the death of journalism. PBS. Retrieved October 12th, 2017 from “http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/what-you-dont-know-about-click-bait-journalism-could-kill-you/”

Gottfried, J., & Shearer, E. (2017, September 7th). News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2017. PEW Research Center. Retrieved October 10th, 2017 from “http://www.journalism.org/2017/09/07/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2017/”

Guynn, J. (2017, October 2nd, 2017). Google search spread wrong info from 4chan on Las Vegas shooting suspect. USA Today. Retrieved October 10th, 2017 from “https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2017/10/02/las-vegas-shooting-google-spread-stories-wrong-suspect-4-chan/724109001/”

Rawlinson, K. (2016, April 17th, 2017). How newsroom pressure is letting fake stories on the web. The Guardian. Retrieved October 11th, 2017 from “https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/apr/17/fake-news-stories-clicks-fact-checking”

Peer Review 2 – Response

Thank you to Debbie for writing a very helpful and clear review of my website so far, I will definitely take all of her points into consideration. To make my process post easy to follow along with Dickwitz’s peer review, I have made my headings the same as hers. This way, each response that I have can be automatically traced to her suggestions, recommendations, and overall critique.

At First look
I am happy that she liked the front page of the blog, although I think she may have been done some of the review while I was in the editing process throughout the week. In case you did not know, I will fill you in. Over the past week, I have been trying to elevate the look and feel of my website so I tested out new themes to see if any were better fitted to my blog. Short answer: no. I went through several (at least 3) different themes, customized them, and came to the conclusion that TwentySeventeen, although the default theme, best represents The Life of Pip. I say this because it has the video header, it has room on the side for my custom widgets, it has room for my featured images, and it works best with the typography. I also realized while going through the themes that I am only able to download the free ones because I do not have pro and I don’t even know if I would pay for it. I did still end up changing my blog, even though I reverted back to my original theme. I made sure that the background was of dog art, while the video is still the first element of the website that shows up.

Fonts
I can understand what Debbie is saying about the typography not meshing well with the article content, so I may end up changing the font from Life Savers to Raleway. I liked the font because it was fun to read, but from her point of view, I can understand that maybe fun isn’t always the number one priority. I am thankful for her insight because although I have been sending my blog to my friends and family, they have not said anything about the font. Keep in mind that they could possibly be ignoring the messages.

Images
Coding is probably my biggest issue so I have to figure out a way to, like she said, move the images to the left of the article to tidy up space. I am happy however, that Debbie liked my featured images because I worked really hard to make those.

I decided to start editing each featured image on Photoshop to add consistency to my content. What I am now doing is adding the desired image to a 1200×800 pixel .PSD file I have saved which I use as a template. It has the frame and bottom left paw print on it and all I do is add the image, resize it, and change the frame color. In doing so, I like that I have more consistency and flow amongst my content and that there’s some hint of outside color that I don’t usually use. It was hard when I first started using it because this was when I was acting very bipolar with the theme customizations and I had changed the canvas size of the .PSD file, which resulted in me having to reshape the frame and the paw print. I had to do this at least 3 times, which took at least an hour in total. I finally came back to my original theme and stuck to the 1200×800 pixel canvas size, which works really well for the theme.

Composition
I absolutely get what Debbie was saying about the Posts or Categories title coming up at the top of the pages, I am heavily annoyed by this. I have to figure out how to remove these because they’re annoying to me.

I liked her point about capitalizing PIP in the titles because she said it wasn’t so clear, and coming from someone in the class, if she is unclear, imagine the audience outside of the class. I am going to try to fix the galleries on my blog because at the moment, I am confused as to whether I want a gallery for the PIPtures or just posts in which I add media. But I do like her suggestion about the 6×6 gallery instead of the 4×3 because of how much space it would take up, leaving little empty.

My Experience So Far
For me, the hardest part I am having with this whole course is the design of the blog because I find myself doubting everything I do each class. Its very hard having to edit the design and then suddenly hate it and revert back, I also hate that I’m somewhat limited in what I can do because I am not a pro user (Thanks WordPress). Content comes easier to me because I can easily express my feeling through words. If I ever have a thought, I quickly type it into my notes app on my phone or computer, which I am currently typing this post into at the moment.

Thanks to Debbie, I have a better insight of what my blog looks like to the audience. I really appreciate her feedback because much of it was news to me and she made it really clear what I could gain from making those changes. And thanks for those funny moments in the review when you talk about the adorableness of my dog, DITTO DEBBIE DICKWITZ.

Oh noes

Picture from Google Images – Thanks to my friend for showing me this!

Process Post #7

How am I supposed to write about what changes I made from my peer review when my reviewer didn’t even write me one????

Instead, here is a list of things that I personally want to improve (but haven’t really found out how…)

My Sidebar

I want to fill my sidebar with less “generic” things or repeats of my categories, pages, etc in other words, stuff you can find at the top in my menu. Only thing is I’m just having a liiiiittle difficulty (as in, I know how to hide some stuff, but I don’t know what to fill it with and don’t really want to leave that blank space there)

The Font Size of My Posts

Okay, so I was reading my posts and the font is actually kiiinda tiny. I like tininess, I like writing tiny and all that but I understand its pretty hard to read… especially when reading on a computer is way more difficult and our eyesight doesn’t really get better… hah…

The “Templateness” of my theme

Okay this is a hard one… like yes I want to add a little pizzazz to my blog to make it a little less drab and template like… but I’m worried about fooling around with the code and just messing everything up HAHA. I’ll have to tinker around with it a bit, but the problem is, I like how it’s all just really laid out simply and neatly right now. What should I change to make it a little more interesting? Also how??? I know nothing!! If anything, it would maybe be some little personalizations here and there to make this blog a little more “me”.

That’s all I can think of for now, maybe I’ll edit this post later (if I ever get my peer review!!)

Toodles!

Big Changes Ahead

This week I made some big changes to my website.

Based on some feedback I received recently about the site, it was brought to my attention that on my about section the grey text on white background was hard to read. Therefore I changed it to a solid black, as suggested, hopefully this brings the readability level back up.

There were other changes suggested, but because of my lack of skill in custom coding website templates and I didn’t find them very useful, I won’t be making anymore changes. For example, there is no way to edit the navigation bar on the template I am using. Although I find it incredibly easy to use/read and reflects the bare bones design I am going after.

Hopefully I don’t come off as pretentious or stubborn, just my opinion.

¯\_()_/¯

@jessefinkle

Process Post #5 – Explanation Behind My Design

To be blunt to start off with, I didn’t really want to make many of the suggested changes my peer, Jesse, suggested because many aren’t pertinent to what I’m looking to do with my website. That’s not to say that my blog is perfect as is (otherwise he wouldn’t have brought it up to begin with), but the design decisions made do have a reason.

So let’s go through all of the suggestions from Jesse! Perhaps this’ll provide insight.

So to begin with, Jesse states something that captures everything I want to portray: “I did like in your title how you used the parenthesis’ around the ‘s’. It made me think video games and gave me nostalgia reflecting on arcade machines and dusty old arcades.” (Jesse Finkle, 2017). Yup, you nailed it. I even custom drew the background to be an arcade machine, with the arcade screen being replaced with my content posts. Scroll to the bottom and you’ll see buttons and joysticks. Sometimes the image gets scaled funny due to screen resolution, but that’s really the least of my worries.

But then: “Moving on, I wasn’t feeling the colour scheme. I think a different background image would help people connect quicker to the game design idea.” (Jesse Finkle, 2017). I’m not an artist, I get it. But it was better than grabbing a stock photo of some arcade machine that’s either watermarked or copyrighted. Due to copyright.

Moving on, he brings in a quote from Travis Gertz:

“Whether it’s a lack of our own critical thinking or external pressure clamping down, we shy away from carving our own path. Originality is risky. It’s difficult to quantify and defend. Why try something new when someone else has already tested it for us?”

And then: “Concerning the website, I feel like you have been playing it safe, colouring within the lines, and not challenging what is ‘supposed to’ be there.” (Jesse Finkle, 2017). Excellent quote, and a fair argument. Except the background art is original and drawn by me, with coloring within lines being what little I know of art.

What’s next? The elements in my sidebar. The search bar I’ll explain later below, but having the archives isn’t a bad thing. I pretty much would like to keep that there for posterity. And to see how much content I make in a given month. Jesse also suggests a link to my ‘Game Development’ category. My entire homepage is the game development category. Nothing else shows up on my homepage other than game development posts. My home button leads to the homepage.

But, considering this is for school, I do have to make at least one design change. Thankfully PUB101’s assignment criteria for process posts aren’t specific in the least, as in the case of when I casually dismantled the Posiel website. They say to write what you know. So in the case of the criteria wanting me to make at least one design change, this means to me: “make the most minor change suggested that I agree with (removing one of the search bars) and still qualify for the criteria. After all, I wouldn’t want to lose marks, would I.

So that basically sums up all the changes and suggestions I’ve received. If you’d like to see Jesse’s full review, check it out here, as well as his blog about Instagram photos and the storytelling that goes with it.

That’s all for now. So the next time someone says I’m being lazy, hush. I’m being strategically lazy.

Insert Coin(s) to Continue

Ad-ing to the Blog

In today’s lecture, we spoke about the pros of inputting ads into our blogs. I feel like at this point, this blog does not have enough of an audience yet. Although I am able to post content on a weekly basis, my main issue is the layout and design of my blog. I don’t think that it has enough intrigue to draw the audience in. Once the design and layout of the blog is better, I could see myself working harder to reach a larger audience.

I think that The Life of Pip could definitely be a blog with ads because as a dog lover myself, I value the opinions of other dog lovers. Of course I don’t just take the opinions of people on the Internet but there are instances where I will be curious about ingredients, foods, or products that I can use on Pippen. I would never advertise anything that Pippen does not use himself and one that is not approved by his veterinarian because I myself am simply a dog lover, I do not have the educational background to evaluate what is safe and what is not.

Currently, I have inserted an html box with a BarkBox referral code. This is the closest I have gotten so far, in terms of reaching my audience and their wallet. But with BarkBox, I am not necessarily making any money because if someone joins the program, we both get one month for free, I make no money whatsoever. However, I do save money.

 

My Audience so Far

So far, I’ve been imagining my audience as similar to that of my social media accounts.  I recently linked my instagram to this site, and I’ve asked friends to check it out.  Because my instagram has a clean and minimal theme, I have tried to make my website similar.  This is because I know that my friends like my content on insagram, and I am hoping they will like my website.  The influence of this is clearly seen in my site’s design, from my header to my sidebar.  As you can see, my header is very simple, and black and white.  I did this mainly to not distract from my photographs, but also because I am assuming that a majority of my audience is coming from my instagram.  Another design element that is impacted by this is my font.  It is again very simple for similar reasons.

Audience

When creating my blog, I first thought of how it appeals to the self. In comparison to other blogs and creating my own, I thought of my own preferences and asked myself, “would I really like this if I saw it on another blog?” or “would I really be interested in reading this kind of content?”. Having said that, the audience that I have been imagining for my blog is readers who are close to my age and of course, those who are interested in traveling. With this type of audience in mind, I’ve tried my best to make my blog relatable and relevant. For my first official travel blog post, I added a meme to the post which I believe, enhanced my story. And to be honest, it was the meme that prompted me into writing the blog post in the first place. If you haven’t noticed already, my blog is pretty pink. I feel like this theme is very particular and people will either love or hate it. 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. This week, I’ve been getting a lot of inspiration from looking at my classmate’s websites. At the same time, I was curious about what kind of audience they have in mind for their blogs as well. I think by doing this, I get to imagine myself in their positions and this gives a wider perspective on how the web can be so diverse.

Process Post 4

A blog is nothing without its audience. I spend my time creating makeup looks, taking pictures, and typing out my thoughts on it all to create content for other people to enjoy and learn from. The beauty of an audience for Beauty As Art is my content will grow and change as I do. My makeup style and looks never remain the same. I rarely wear the same look more then once, meaning I have a nearly endless supply of content brewing in my own imagination. As I age, my style will continue evolving as I do. The best part about this is I will be able to carry an audience with me into the future. As we all grow together they can continue consuming my content because it will be forever changing. The fluid nature of this content will also help my audience grow over time because new styles, products, inspirations, and so on will attract new people.

When I picture my audience as of now, I mainly imagine people who want to change their relationship with makeup for the better, want inspiration for new looks, information on different products, or maybe even learn some new techniques. Makeup isn’t limited to any one type of person. Not by gender, age, race, or anything else. While currently my type of makeup may be suited for people in my age range, I think anyone can take inspiration from the looks and adapt them to be uniquely their own. I don’t want to cultivate an audience who feels I am telling them what they are and are not allowed to do. I hope to provide a little inspiration and information for them to work with. This is a place of creativity for anyone to venture into who is willing. The information is not limited to any one group.

I’ve just been being me as best as I can through this semi frantic typing on my computer. Whoever wishes to enter is welcome. I am as true to myself as possible in my writing. I’ve tried to design a blog which is blatantly honest from the moment you open it about what you’re getting yourself into. Both in my design and writing I’ve tried to say: this is me. Because that is the true heart of Beauty As Art.

Yours Truly,

Meera C.

Peer Review: Motorcycles and Stuff

Motorcycles and Stuff

Blog Link: http://motorcyclesandstuff.ca/blog/

 

If you’re new to the world of motorcycles and hoping to become more knowledgeable about bikes, gear, and riding, you should take a look at Motorcycles and Stuff. This blog has been put together by a fellow publishing student. Upon arrival to the blog, it’s hard to miss what it’s about. Motorcycles are without a doubt the center of everything. The brightness of the green of the title has definitely helped with the readability of on the front page. However, on the sidebar, the bright yellow writing over the collage of motorcycle photos is challenging to read. The bright yellow also clashes with the orangey gold title bars on the side. Matching the two yellows could help with continuity and readability.

The menu is organized well. It makes navigating to the different types of posts easy and the lettering stands out well against the background. As the blog continues to grow however, these sections will become more cluttered. It may be worth adding drop down sections to the menu with subsections to assist with organization. Organizing these subsections through different categories makes the process pretty simple. The font of the menu is consistent with the blog posts content, however it seems a little out of place when looking at it with just the title and sidebar. It may be worth examining some new fonts to help with the appearance of the front page.

From what I’ve observed, it appears as if each blog post appears on the front page with an excerpt as they are published. When you scroll down the front page you can see every post which has been put out. This is a little overwhelming. It’s also hard to tell as a potential consumer of motorcycle oriented content what is specifically motorcycle oriented and what is posiel oriented. Siphoning posiel content away from the home page will help declutter the front, make a viewers first impression more brand focused, and separate posiel and branded content.

When reading through the About section of this blog, the author has done a fantastic job setting up what this blog will be about. It seems like the perfect place for a newcomer to the world of motorcycles to get a foothold. Connecting to the author is slightly challenging though. The small personal details given are enough to make you intrigued by the author, but the author declines to even give a name. The opinion pieces are harder to feel connected to without a sense of who is behind the computer.

Overall, Motorcycles and Stuff is setting an excellent foundation for being a focused blog, centered around the world of motorcycles. It’s well suited to motorcycle newbies and makes the intentions of the pieces clear. I look forward to reading more from this blog and to see how it continues developing.

Yours Truly,

Meera C.

Process Post Week 5

Finally, I have been able to know where I’ll be reflecting my website along with my theme of humility. When we were introduced to thinking of how I should think I think of the type of font I should use , along with the amount of whitespace I should allow inside of my website, I started of trying to find a theme that would allow more freedom of customization. I was already thinking of doing too many things. Later reflecting on my theme of my website that has to do with humility, it struck me so quickly that I don’t have to be extreme with doing too many things because with humility comes great simplicity, So I have a stronger sense of direction with the editing of my website to remember to design it with not trying too many things ,but to have great simplicity inside of it.

To my readers: Who are you?

Header image from Google Images

Process post #6

To my readers: Who are you? Why are you here? Why are you reading this?

Maybe you stumbled upon one of my posts while looking for general information on one of the topics I wrote about. Maybe you know me and are checking out my website. Maybe you’re just here because you’re reviewing my blog for pub class (yeah, I thought so).

As the writer of this blog I always imagined my audience to be similar to my peers. People around my age, probably knowing me in some regard, casually reading my blog. I write my blog posts really casually as if I were having a conversation with someone in real time. My blog posts are if I were telling you a story of one of my experiences recently, if you asked me about a place I’ve been to before, or what I’ve been baking lately.

For this reason, thinking that all the readers of my blog are my peers similar in age and part of this millennial generation, I write casually about day to day experiences in Vancouver which you can maybe reflect: “hey, I’ve been here/heard of this place” or go, “hey this is interesting, I’ve never thought of this, maybe I should try it”.

Design wise, I just chose something that is easy to navigate and looks pleasing to myself. I’m not a design student so I’m not catering to a specific crowd of theme. I also terrible at coding so I’m just working with the template the best I can, hopefully learning aspects of design as I progress in this class.

Peer Review of @jessefinkle

I’m going to be reviewing Jesse Finkle’s blog: @jessefinkle, a blog about Finkle’s photos on his Instagram, and stories behind some of those photos. During this review, I’ll be going over the design and layout of the blog itself. Let’s dive right in.

Upon visiting the site, the front page doesn’t convey much information to the reader, so my first instinct is to scroll down. Considering the background is white, grey typography isn’t the most ideal color to be using. Perhaps switching to a more bold color or even the standard black would make it easier to read. Other than that, the actual content is easy to traverse through, as the posts contain many pictures to break up the text and make it easier to read. For a blog about visual art and storytelling, you can be sure you will get what you came for. The many photographs help the reader greatly in following along with the storytelling.

My next point brings me to the general layout of the navigation. I mentioned earlier how the front page doesn’t convey much. To elaborate, my eyes are caught on the “Hello Peeps”, and is continually drawn down to the green button. However, I don’t know anything about the site or the author, so I’m not very inclined to click it. Noticing there’s more content south of the opening real estate, I scroll down, further ignoring the menu bar. I would have preferred the menu bar be more visible, perhaps with a color that stands out to the reader. Navigation being an integral part of accessing the other parts of the site, giving it some attention would benefit the blog greatly.

The about biography could be moved to the very top, just below the menu, and swapped with the green “Preview My Visuals” button so that the reader will know what they’re getting into before pressing the button. This goes back to what I mentioned earlier about ‘real estate’, where its very important to hook your reader into your site. Even providing some of the photos from his Instagram along with a short description would give the readers a taste of what they can expect going into the blog itself, or even what Jesse is capable of as a photographer. Overall, the site seems very standard in its design, so I do hope to look forward to the development of Jesse’s blog.

If you’d like to know more about Jesse Finkle and his blog, go pay him a visit at: @jessefinkle.

Process Post #4 – Who is the reader?

This week, I’ve sat through readings and a lecture about what ‘publics’ and ‘public spheres’ are. In particular, Michael Warner’s Publics and Counterpublics states that a public is “a relationship among strangers”, and “Writing to a public incorporates that tendency of writing or speech as a condition of possibility / reaching strangers is its primary orientation.” On the fundamental level, he’s correct. Online blogging is basically addressing a bunch of people you may or may not know. But I just can’t agree with that. I want it to be much more than talking to a screen. Viewers of my website are inevitably going to be any number of strangers who form a “public” who view my content. But at the end of the day, the “public” is still comprised of individuals who are reading my content as individuals, and can respond to my content as individuals. So how is that any different from talking one-on-one with a real person? (Rhetorical, don’t answer that).

My writing have been described as “…not only fun to read but it seems like he is chatting and interacting with the reader in-person.” (Wan, C., 2017) and “a bit harsh, but honest.” (Hudnall, A., 2017).

Phew. Looks like the nature of my writing is getting across as I intended.

My goal is to tear down that barrier of being strangers as quickly as your eyes can read (or listen, I guess). So when I write, I do so as if speaking to an individual person, not by presenting a lecture or reading off of a script. It seems easier for me to convey my point across if I’m just thinking about talking with and individual, opposed to generically to a crowd . While it is unequivocally difficult to address an audience of various backgrounds, trying to connect to my readers seems to help in that regard. My words and phrasing don’t pull their punches (nor should they have to) mainly because I am unaware of the nature of the audience that I “should” be addressing. But when I know I’ve entertained or elicited a reaction from my reader, I know I’ve engaged my audience, and that I’m doing my job right.

Regarding the actual content of my blog, I purposely simplify some terminology to explain terms that may seem obvious to someone who plays a lot of games. Often times, at the beginning of my posts I’ll give a basic definition in my own words of the topic, to give the reader a baseline what my views are. This is so I can get everyone on the same page, no matter if you haven’t played a game in five or fifty years.

Do you take Debit?

Hey Richard, I haven’t met you in real life, I have never played video games with you, but I am about to give you my opinion on your website Insert Coins(s) to Continue….

Quick Introduction

The website is a blog about video game development. Obviously Richard is passionate about video games as he writes posts reflecting on games and their design. He is an aspiring game designer himself who is working on designing his very own game. I will show you a screenshot of what you see when you first land on the home page.

First Impressions

Initially when I landed on the site I was confused. The white, purple, and brown aesthetic didn’t exactly scream game design website, if it wasn’t for the large site title at the top of the screen I would think I made a typo in the web address. I did like in your title how you used the parenthesis’ around the ‘s’. It made me think video games and gave me nostalgia reflecting on arcade machines and dusty old arcades. Moving on, I wasn’t feeling the colour scheme. I think a different background image would help people connect quicker to the game design idea. Also the two search bars and the title being off centre should be fixed (just disable both search bars).

Design Decisions

In the post from Travis Gertz titled: “Design Machines. How to survive in the digital Apocalypse,” he says:

“Whether it’s a lack of our own critical thinking or external pressure clamping down, we shy away from carving our own path. Originality is risky. It’s difficult to quantify and defend. Why try something new when someone else has already tested it for us?”

Concerning the website, I feel like you have been playing it safe, colouring within the lines, and not challenging what is ‘supposed to’ be there. It seems like you haven’t customized much from how the theme comes stock. Elements in the sidebar such as archives or the search bar are not helpful and should be taken away. Replace them with something different or even more negative space. There is also a lack of engaging imagery on the home page, a really cool game related banner across or behind the site title could grab someones attention quicker and keep their eyes scrolling down. The sites usability is functional, which I like. The lack of annoying and unimportant bells and whistles is good, although you need to add a link to your game development category from the menu on the home page.

Victor Kaptelinin talks about how it is important to make sure concepts that you implement are relevant and useful. This speaks to some of the general concepts you have applied to your blog. For example, is designing your website like pages in a notebook a relevant concept when your subject is video game design? I think you could borrow from video games a bit more when thinking about elements like buttons or transitions between pages.

Overall

It seems like you put a lot of effort into your blog posts, the content and your writing style are great! I enjoy your style because it comes across as this cynical authenticity that I can connect with. It is obvious that you are passionate about design and video games. On the other hand, the overall design and aesthetic of the site doesn’t seem to reflect that. If you added some engaging and relevant imagery to the site, updated the colours, and added some cool video game inspired functionality your website would be so much more enticing. Great work, I understand that the site is continually under construction and I am looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

¯\_()_/¯

@jessefinkle

Informed Imagination

When making decisions about images, copy, design, and production I have mostly been thinking about myself.

I don’t want that to sound selfish or conceited, but I am operating under the assumption that I know what I want and what I want caters to my target demographic. My target demographic is 20-30 year olds who enjoy visual art & photography and are engaged by behind the scenes stories. I believe that there is a large interest group from this that I am a part of and engage with on Instagram. I guess, I am designing for the target audience, but I am using myself as the ‘Persona’

Persona Definition
Personas describe your ideal customer. They help you make decisions about marketing and sales processes. These characters are called personas, and just like in plays and movies they need a full backstory so that you…can fully understand their goals, motivations, and problems.

I am also trying to create an authentic experience on this blog. Authenticity is something that I struggle believing in. Sometimes I don’t think it exists and sometimes I catch a glimpse of it (or at least think I do). When writing editorial, this is forefront in my mind because I want to come across as authentic as possible. I don’t want to seem over edited, too polished, or fake because I want people to connect. When someone lifts the veil, you lose the magic. What I mean by this is sometimes the connection comes from the mystery of not knowing. For example, when you are a kid there are so many great mysteries in the world. You connect with them so much because they seem like magic. When you get older, you figure it out and slowly realize that everything isn’t as it seems.

What I am trying to get at is my decisions on this website stem from self motivation. I am not operating under the motivation that I will be famous or anything. I am trying to write for myself, not trying to fool anyone, and hopefully that comes through in the stories and design and people can connect.

¯\_()_/¯

@jessefinkle

 

Wishes and Wants of Audience Location

Hello to my public! If you’re reading this then that’s you! Whether you like it or not according to Michael Warner, although if you don’t like it I suppose you could always leave this page, please don’t.

Let’s restart.

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to visit this website. Upon settling on a concept for this website, I figured my audience would be pretty geographically obvious. I have a website exploring the great Pacific Northwest so its viewers would most likely be it’s inhabitants. But then it was brought to my attention that my website could instead act as a tourism beacon and thus my audience would be people from different parts of the world hoping to come and explore our lovely little enclave.

If that’s the case than fantastic! But in all honesty, I’m inclined to think the majority of my web traffic is from a little PUB 101 class from a university located somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

Just a hunch though…. hi guys, see you on Tuesday!

Process Post 3

I don’t think I ever considered how much work goes into making a website look professional. I sort of assumed the default settings were it! But having taken some time to examine a few sites which are successful, it’s clear how content is not the only aspect drawing the audience in. The design elements we’re working on is not necessarily my forte. I am very content focused. When thinking up my concept for my blog the main thing on my mind was the content I would be putting out; what sort of posts, how to make it consistent, how to make it unique from the other beauty blogs around, how to stay true to myself, etc. I gave zero thought to the actual design of the blog itself.

However, learning more about the amount of effort creators put in when designing a blog which is unique and professional has helped me begin brainstorming changes I hope to start implementing in order to help my blog develop into its own unique experience. There are two main changes I hope to make for the homepage moving into the coming week. One is to start adding photos to my header which will randomize each time you visit the site. My hope is these photos will correspond with different looks found throughout the site, so there will be more photos as more content appears revolving specifically around the Beauty As Art brand. The other is the font for the text under the main header. I am still undecided about what I will be changing it too but I’m not happy with it yet. As far as blog posts themselves go, I am happy with design thus far. My main critique revolves around the actual format of the content. I would like to implement better indentation and spacing to assist with readability, especially when listing products and application techniques. Though these changes are small, I think making them will benefit the design of my blog in a noticeable way.

Design is not my forte though. I am more content oriented overall. I would welcome any feedback into how to continue developing the design of my blog so it can better feature the content I am trying to create.

Yours Truly,

Meera C.