I remember on our first class, we were expected to come up with a theme for our blog. The only time I really tried blogging was when I tried Tumblr in high school and lost interest after a couple weeks because my blog wasn’t going anywhere and I could not stick to a theme. I thought of how I did not engage in any activities frequently enough to be blogging about weekly, so I decided to safely proclaim the blog was about my life in general. My life always had something going on, but I did not partake in the same activity consistently. Hence, Suzanne mentioned to me that my online persona was “consistently inconsistent” and was she ever right.
I have read some blogs, but I was never curious about having one myself, so I assumed it was quite simple. I just had to write posts about my opinions, experiences, have photos, make it aesthetically pleasing and interesting to read. People would come by and read your content if it was relevant to what they were looking for. Similarly, Chittienden (2010) described blogs as “online diaries [that] represent a popular space for teenagers to write about their experiences and instantly publish their thoughts to the web with minimal technical understanding”.
However, after a few blog workshops, I realized there was so much more to blog posting “behind the scenes”. To potentially monetize off your blog, you had to brainstorm marketing strategies to appeal to your ideal audience, use key words to make sure your blog appears in relevant searches, have an original theme and design, as well as track your analytics to monitor your site growth and activity.
I never liked writing argumentative essays because I believe that I do not possess strong opinions in general. That is why I chose to talk to my blog audience about things relative to me, so I could talk intimately and casually – something I am most comfortable with. I realized it would be easiest for me to post if my online persona portrayed the way I am offline. Even though social media is just highlighting the best qualities of yourself, maintaining “multiple personas” and “performing your identity” (van Dijck, 2013) online seemed too tiring and hard for me to keep up with. I mostly imagined my audience to be my friends or peer group, I don’t really think about what kind of strangers around the world might be reading my posts. After posting this way frequently, I don’t believe I will change my style. It seems to be the easiest way for me to write posts without it seeming like a chore. It is hard to tell who my audience is from my peer group, but it is easy to tell which posts attracted the most activity. For example, when I posted about my hike in Squamish, there was more activity than usual. This was most likely locals or tourists who are thinking of doing that hike, or looking for hikes in that area. Otherwise, in general my site does not get a lot of passing traffic. I think I prefer it that way though.
While I agree with Boyd (2014) about using social media to “[engage] with [the] broader social world,” I never liked having information about me available to everyone floating around on the internet. I keep all my social media networks private and only share things with a limited audience or a select few individuals, and I think that is why I was never interested in having a blog. But if I were to continue my blog now, I would completely change my theme. If I am posting publicly, I don’t want to post anything too personal and I know I have a few posts on my blog about some of the places I’ve been to, and I would get rid of those. Seeing my blog now, I have the easiest time and the most posts about a superfood that I am very interested in. Moving forward, if I were to continue my blog, I would probably change my theme to healthy eating and food only. My blog would then be a lot more focused but still connected to my personal life without revealing too much of myself. At this moment my food posts are short; I would like to make them more detailed if that is going to be my sole focus. Perhaps I could add more fun facts, reasons why that food is a superfood, how I like to eat it, etc. I tried to add more facts about the food in my latest kombucha post since I couldn’t really suggest ways to drink kombucha.
Even with all these new ideas, will I even continue to blog? Now that I have gotten a taste of it, it is kind of fun. It can be tedious and a lot of effort to tinker with HTML and formatting, but it is an effort I don’t mind doing. However, I know bloggers are expected to post somewhat frequently, probably at least once a week. I remember one of the reasons I stopped using Tumblr was because it was too much work to re-blog every day in attempt to maintain and gain new followers. Additionally, blogs are a lot of effort when it comes to monetization, targeting audiences, and just working with Google Analytics in general. I feel like trying to monetize off your blog and attract new audiences is just too much to handle for me since I am not completely dedicated to blogging. It looks like the future for me in blogging doesn’t look promising. However, in one short semester, I already feel like I made a lot of realizations about my blog and how I want to handle it. If I have the blog for the rest of the year anyway, I don’t see the harm in giving it a shot.
Thanks PUB 101, it was fun.
Boyd, D. (2014). Searching for a public of their own. It’s Complicated, 213-227. Link.
Chittenden, T. (2010). Digital dressing up: Modelling female teen identity in the discursive spaces of the fashion blogosphere. Journal of Youth Studies, 13(4), 505-520. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13676260903520902
Van Dijck, J. (2013). ‘You have one identity’: Performing the self on Facebook and LinkedIn. Media, Culture, & Society, 35(2), 199-215. DOI: 10.1177/0163443712468605
Starting a blog this semester has been interesting to say the least. It wasn’t the first time I wrote for a blog; actually, it was the first time I did it for free.
My publication is focused on visual art and storytelling. I am a hobby photographer and I love creating. Whether it be simply taking a photo or editing a photo to create a new world, I love seeing what my mind can come up with. Whenever I see other creators online talk about the behind the scenes of their adventure, process, or life I am interested in their story. This was part of the inspiration to add the story component to my blog. If I want to post about the visuals I create, then I should also tell people the stories of how they come about. The audience that I am hoping to attract is people who are interested in photography, visuals, and the stories behind them. There is an adventure photography niche on Instagram that I am a part of and that is who I am targeting. Another inspiration for my blog is that I want to be a creator, I love making the ideas and notions in my head into realities. In Debbie Chachra’s 2015 article about the privilege of people who make, she describes that creators take pride in their creation and leave their mark on society through their creations, (Chachra, 2015). Although Debbie is arguing against the importance of makers in her article, I love the idea of leaving my mark on something or even inspiring someone with a creation of mine. I don’t necessarily want to leave a trail of products behind me, but create to influence others and have a positive impact in that way. This also speaks to the value I want to provide other people with my publication. Aside from hopefully enjoying the visuals and stories, I want them to be inspired, learn something, or simply feel like they can create too.
Reflecting on this experience I have learned a lot. I have learned that I enjoy writing when it is for me, up to me, and about things that I care about. There is something freeing when you can create and not have to get it approved by your manager. I think this is the feeling that people who quit their jobs to pursue their dreams chase. I am also really vested in documenting. I like the idea of documenting life and moments so that one-day I can look back and see what I’ve done. In the Leetaru article from Forbes, he talks about how the digital world we live in forces us to always be looking forward to the future. The past is just a memory hole that we never look at, (Leetaru, 2017). I understand what he means, most people save digital files on computers, external hard drives, or on clouds and then they never see them again. But when I want to document my life, I don’t just mean take pictures and videos and save them somewhere and leave them. I want to document my life; create vlogs from video clips and blogs from my photos & stories. I want to organize these creations so they are ready to be viewed in an easily accessible archive. As much as my website could be a place for others, it can be a place for me as well.
Moving forward I want to keep this publication going. My goals going forward for this blog would be to keep posting content to it, grow an audience for it, and also keep it organized so I can use it as an archive for myself. I will continue to take photos and have stories that go with them, so having content will not be a problem for me. The challenge will come with being consistent in putting it on my blog. My second goal will be the most challenging. I want to grow an audience for this publication linked to my Instagram. In Lindsay’s article talking about Zoella’s book deal, she talks about how these grown audiences have opened up opportunities elsewhere in creators lives, (Lindsay, 2014). For Zoella, her YouTube channel led to her getting a book deal, for me I am not sure where it would lead. I would love to one day have more opportunities to travel, document, and tell stories from new and exciting places. Therefore, continuing the blog seems like an obvious choice. Instagram would be a great place to grow and flourish, but bringing that audience to my own website will be key. I own the space on my website, which is more valuable then a following on an app that I just have an account on. Investing in a publication that I own, operate, and benefit from seems like a no brainer.
Overall, this whole experiment of creating a website, writing content, and posting it for the world has been a fun ride. I have learned why I want to create and affirmed the idea that it is so freeing to create for myself. It creates a great space to document my life and also in a format that is accessible. Focusing on continuing the blog and growing it could prove fruitful but only time will tell. Anyone out there that loves to create should try just doing it for themselves every once and a while. It can be one of the most freeing activities and maybe it will pour a little life back into your soul. I know that it has for me.
Chachra, D. (2015). Why I am not a maker. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/01/why-i-am-not-a-maker/384767/
Leetaru, K. (2017). In A digital world, are we losing sight of our undigitized past? . Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2017/09/29/in-a-digital-world-are-we-losing-sight-of-our-undigitized-past/#37319061cd01
Lindsay, K. (2014). UNPOPULAR OPINION: These YouTube authors are ruining the publishing industry. Retrieved from https://www.xojane.com/issues/zoella-girl-online-youtube-authors
Process post #12
This is my personal blog, so while of course discussion and sharing is encouraged, I am sharing a part of my life so there is a need for respect for me and others.
For these reasons, here are the community guidelines I created for my blog:
- Sharing suggestions is encouraged, but rudeness and put-downs to the way I do things is uncalled for.
- Threats, shaming, or any other posts with intent to harm toward me or any other users are not allowed.
- Irrelevant/automated comments will be deleted.
- I don’t post too many personal things about myself because I think going fully public is a choice, so if you know me personally I’d appreciate if you don’t willingly volunteer information about me… thanks…
These guidelines seem right for me at the moment because I don’t have a set audience/large audience and my blog is a personal blog at the moment rather than a promotional/monetary blog. If my blog should grow or change, then these potentially will need to be updated.
At this moment comments have to be filtered through me first and that is the first step in implementing my guidelines. At this moment there isn’t any social media linked to this blog so commenting seems to be the only way of interacting around here so it seems like I am the sole moderator of my own blog!
This blog is dedicated to sharing. It is also dedicated to being a conversation. As a creative outlet for myself, I will be posting my pictures and stories. What I would ask of you is that you would help me continue to get better. Be constructive and supportive. We are all striving to get better and I can’t grow unless I know where to grow.
I would ask that you be kind when giving constructive criticism or your opinions. No one wins when hate is being thrown around and we all know that keyboard warriors love doing battle in the comments sections. There is no room for that on this blog. Here are the don’ts of this blog.
- Use of hate speech
- Use of Explicit Language
- Use of inappropriate usernames
- Creating accounts for trolling/harassment purposes only
- Use of offensive imagery
- Advertising in the comments
- Be a douche
If you are breaking any of these community guidelines you may be put on probation or banned from participating in this blog. All reports of violations will be seriously considered and attended to by a real human. However, I do reserve the right to change these guidelines without notice. I also can enforce or not enforce these guidelines at my discretion.
Process post #11
Hello all here is my very random stop motion video – we did an iMovie/movie media workshop in one of my classes and we covered stop motions so that’s why it immediately came to mind when I had to tell a textless story. I had it make it on iMovie because I couldn’t find the app that we used in class so it was like twice as difficult (not that difficult tho) and kind of a pain so sorry it’s a little lame haha. I probably should’ve sped up the frames – it looks way better if you play it at 1.5x speed on YouTube.
I used amigurumis that my sister made for me.
When considering cross-media usage, I think using Instagram or YouTube would be the best transmedia integration for my website. This is because my website is about reviews and the use of pictures would best represent the music or dramas that I talk about. Also, as all of the digital album covers are square, it would be easy to organize or post about the albums using the Instagram layout. However, in each post, I would need to include more of my opinion on the music from the tracklist to the entire product packaging of the albums. Another way I could do this would be instead of writing so much on each post, I include a link to my blog and/or YouTube. However using YouTube, I would need to put in a lot more work. I would need to create a channel that talks about all the music releases that occurred in the month, as posting every 2 weeks would be quite time consuming. The plus side of using YouTube though, would allow me to engage with my audience a whole lot better. I would get a lot more exposure as well as allow my audience to get to know me as a person instead of just someone who sits behind a computer and writes posts. And maybe I’d even be able to create my own brand if I get as famous as Michelle Phan and become the 7th most paid YouTuber!!
Process post #10
At this moment, my blog has no links to any forms of social media. In class we discussed various forms of media and how most people have their profiles set up on various forms of media so they can reach a bigger audience. As I was reading Kathryn Lindsay’s article, I thought of how many YouTubers I knew that started off from Youtube then got signed on a record label if they posted covers of their singing, and I also knew a few that made a video Youtube series that eventually turned into a book.
From the nature of my blog the way it is right now, I don’t see myself fitting in very well with any media platform except Facebook or Instagram, but the first one that came to mind was probably Instagram. I post a lot of photos on my blog and these photos could totally link to my blog posts with more details if people wanted to read on for more information.
I already have an Instagram account, but I haven’t linked it to my blog. Why? My Instagram is very personal to just myself and my surrounding friends – I have it privated to people that don’t know me and potentially don’t accept people requesting to follow me that I don’t know. My friend recently brought up that she felt Facebook was one of the most personal social media platforms of all – especially because everyone at one point of their lives added people they barely knew just to have more friends and connections. I didn’t think about that at first, and while I did several friend purges throughout the years, she inspired me to do another one (haha).
But going back on topic, my current Instagram relates nothing to my blog. Actually, in general, most of my social media platforms don’t relate, they are sort of inconsistent – Facebook is mainly used for messaging people, and planning/coordinating big events (inviting and being invited to). Instagram, I post sometimes just random things. Snapchat is for pointless everyday updates and quick conversations. My blog is mainly just for this class, or things I found myself posting that I would not normally post on my Facebook. It might have a little overlap with my Instagram currently, but not enough to fit in with my ongoing theme for this blog.
To integrate an Instagram, I would probably create a new, secondary Instagram to my privated one and post specifically for my blog. It would probably be photos that I use for my blog (scenery of places I went, food I make/try) and these photos would be a preview for the blog post (I would use the photos again in my blog probably) and the caption would be short – mainly a snapshot of what would be included in my post. Sort of reminds me of kind of the approach fashion bloggers would use to connect their blogs and Instagram, except mind isn’t about fashion – just healthy eating and my personal activities! Maybe I’ll work at giving it a shot – I’m generally a lazy Instagrammer but if I find myself taking photos for my blog, its just as simple to post them on Instagram as well!
Kathryn Lindsay. 2014. “UNPOPULAR OPINION: These YouTube Authors are Ruining the Publishing Industry.” http://www.xojane.com/issues/zoella-girl-online-youtube-authors
Being that this blog is highly connected to story, photos, and my Instagram account, it makes sense that Instagram be the main channel to focus on. For most posts in the Picture + Story section there is a photo that is posted to my Instagram account. I can then use that to point people to the blog. Using the old ‘link in bio’ call to action.
For other channels, I could leverage my Twitter and/or Facebook accounts as well. I would be more inclined to use Twitter because I have semi-branded myself on there the same as Instagram. I could become more active on there and start to develop following and engagement. There are lots of photographers who use Twitter alongside Instagram but it is definitely is a tougher platform to grow.
I would be less inclined to start promoting my blog on Facebook. I don’t want to create a page and then have to pay money to promote it because Facebook is a pay to play platform. I also don’t want to ‘brand’ my personal Facebook account because I personally find that annoying when friends start doing that and posting about their brand/website/product all of the time. I tend to unfollow/unfriend people like that.
My current plan for including more channels to market my blog would be to leverage Instagram and Twitter followings. Focus on engagement on both of those platforms and grow them organically.