Tag Archives: SFU

Does this mean the end? // Essay 2

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.

¯\_()_/¯

@jessefinkle


References

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

Community Guidelines

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.

Be Nice.

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.

Don’ts:

  1. Use of hate speech
  2. Use of Explicit Language
  3. Use of inappropriate usernames
  4. Creating accounts for trolling/harassment purposes only
  5. Use of offensive imagery
  6. Advertising in the comments
  7. 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.

¯\_()_/¯

@jessefinkle

More Channels, More Problems

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.

¯\_()_/¯

@jessefinkle

GLFFJFL is not a typo.

Today I will be reviewing Hillary’s website GLFFJFL which comes from the english translation on a keyboard from Korean of her name. Her blogs main content is described as revolving around K-Pop (including related music, TV shows, and beauty products). Lets dive into how this translates into hitting her target audiences.

Target Audience

Judging by her websites description, I would assume that her target audience is women who also are into Korean culture. The minimalist design of the website coupled with photos of younger looking K-Pop stars also probably means that her target audience is younger. Likely in the 30 years of age or younger. This is all of the audience targeting information I can gather from her content.

Content

On the main page there is a beautiful full screen picture of a Korean woman marking her calendar, this paired with the text “2017 K-POP RELEASES” leaves no questioning what the site is about. Scrolling down is a neat list of album covers and titles that I assume are new releases of K-Pop music. In terms of marketing to her core audience this is perfect. There has been almost no navigation to find the meat of her content. A couple suggestions, maybe add something to that initial banner that loads to tell the user to scroll down. Another thing would be to add some functionality to the album covers? Make them clickable to play a sample of a song or even open up a new tab to buy the music?

Clicking to the next content page titled K-Drama, there is a couple blog posts written. In terms of content it is good. It includes a picture of the show and a fun writeup of her experience with the show. I think that a quick recap and endorsement of the show is what her target audience would be looking for. People could scan through her posts and decide if they want to engage with the content she is describing.

Design

The aesthetic of the site is pretty minimalist as I previously mentioned. I think this is good for her target audience because it allows them to focus on the content. If Hillary is creating content that aims to help people decide on music or TV shows to watch, you don’t want people to be distracted by all this extra stuff. The recommendations will be better read and received when users can easily find what they are looking for. However, I am not a fan of how her blog posts display.

I am not a fan because it looks disorganized, especially with not every post having the same sized thumbnail if any thumbnail at all. I think that this page would be way more visually appealing and align with the minimalistic and clean design if the layout of these posts was better. Especially concerning her target audience as earlier mentioned.

For the design of this blog, I believe that the content could be better organized to improve her audiences time spent on pages. Instead of having separate pages for each content piece, if Hillary page all of her blogs in categories (such as TV shows) one scrollable page so then users could quickly scan through TV shows and move on to ones that they read and want to watch. In the Kissane article, she cites that NPR switched to this design and saw an 80% increase in page views. I believe that this could greatly benefit the GLFFJFL blog.

Final Thoughts

I think overall the design and content of the blog is heading in the right direction in terms of audience marketing. In my opinion, if she made a few tweaks to clean up design and layout then she would truly be optimizing the website. All in all, definitely a great website that has a unique audience that is easily identified which means it is designed well.

¯\_()_/¯

@jessefinkle

Goodbye Internet…

One hour left of Internet 5EVER??

One hour? That’s it? without debating the how or why. I am given one last hour of internet and then everything on the internet is deleted forever. WOW.

The first thing I would do would be to start downloading pictures from Facebook that I would like to keep for my archives. Other than that, I don’t know if I would need anything else (depending on the circumstances). If there was disaster coming or something, maybe I would download maps, maybe I would download other helpful info like that. But if there was disaster like that, I would assume I would lose power and access to any digital technology anyway.

Mostly, I would miss the convenience of the internet, I would no longer be able to bank online, tweet a company my dissatisfaction, or use group chats to plan hangouts (that one might not be so bad haha). I guess I would get used to playing a lot of this game…

How many times a day do I pick up my phone?

I’m not gonna lie to you, I use my phone a lot. I’m not proud of it, but I’m honest. I use it for school, work, friends, fun, and a thousand more things. I can feel the empty space in my pocket when it isn’t in my pants. I get anxious when it get low on battery. When I am low on data and out of wifi range I feel left out. All of this considered, it might be easier to just count the time that I am not holding my phone.

Anyway, in a 24 hour period I picked up my phone 150 times. If my phone weighed more, I would have some serious arm strength (and some big pockets I guess). Apparently the average is 110 according to Daily Mail. I am above average, but that doesn’t surprise me. Especially since I would assume once everyone realized just how much they pick up their phone they knocked it a few notches down.

Reflecting on this, I am content. I mean I would like to be lower on the scale, but in the scope of things I am not that bad. I have friends who are way worse than me (the worst defence ever). But I use it for work a lot (I work in social media) so that is setting me up to fail. The other factor that didn’t help is that I actually have 2 phones, so that second phone really was a dagger. I wish I could just…

I forgot to disclude my IP address for my Google Analytics, so my numbers were a bit wonky I think. I don’t really see much traffic, which makes sense because I don’t advertise my site anywhere. It isn’t quite where I want it to be in terms of content and structure yet to open fully. Pretty much all of my traffic is from myself I am assuming or a few clicks from posiel or Gillians Blog. So no major thoughts yet. To be continued…

¯\_()_/¯

@jessefinkle

Monetization and Digital Breadcrumbs

Right now, I have no ambition to monetize this website. I don’t consider myself an influencer and I don’t have a very big platform to build this website from. But borrowing from Brian Feldman’s article on NY Mag, I would rather attach myself to a company or something that has resources that I don’t. For example, I have friends that are large influencers on Instagram (let me plug my buddy @braedin again) and I could attach myself to his brand or work with him to do creative projects. I know this has little to do with my blog, but what I am getting at is I don’t feel inclined to build this website and audience with it because I could have an easier time doing it under someone else. That is not to say that I want to abandon this website, far from it. I love getting to take pictures and share stories. But I love doing it in my spare time and just as a hobby. I believe that I would enjoy this website more if it remained simply a hobby.

Looking at Google Analytics, it is quite frightening. I am always well aware that my online habits are easily looked upon by sites like Google and Amazon. Reading Suzanne Normans’s post about trying not to leave breadcrumbs for Amazon in their physical book store, I could see myself doing the same thing. I intentionally don’t click advertisement links from social feeds because I don’t want to be fed those ads everywhere I go. Remarketing is the worst of all. I look up one backpack from Vinta.co and all of the sudden I see the ads in my Facebook feed, Instagram feed, when I am on any random website, and more. It is crazy.

At the same time, it is quite efficient, I have been served ads and seen the product and thought, “wow that is great, I actually need that.” There are powerful tools out there for understanding who is looking at your content, buying your products, or even simply searching your brand. My personal opinion on data trails and digital bread crumbs is that they are extremely helpful for businesses but extremely invasive for consumers.

¯\_()_/¯

@jessefinkle

 

Finding my Career Path

When I was a young child, I was gifted a workbook that prompted me to draw what I wanted to be when I grew up. To this day, I still clearly remember the colourful butterfly I drew on that page.

Remembering the blissful days of my childhood when things were so much more simple and all I wanted to be when I grew up was to be a colourful butterfly one day. If it was only that easy. If only I could fly off, care-free and explore the world… No, I’m not a butterfly, but that beautiful butterfly I drew may have signified my exploratory phase into the beginnings of my career: venturing further into the world of visual arts.

Thus, I grew up to love drawing: something that had never ran in my family background. I would draw on any surface I could set my hands on (yes, I remember drawing on the headboard of my bed with a ballpoint pen) and I spend hours on the internet looking for tutorials when I was in middle school. My cute cartoons and illustrations became more detailed, attempting to replicate a photograph on a blank piece of paper. Realism drawings of still objects became hyper-realistic until people thought I had suddenly become a photographer. I naturally developed an eye to see the world and the spaces around me differently, converting the three-dimensional world into a two-dimensional realm in front of me. I thrived in it and it didn’t take long for me to find a sense of identity through drawing and sketching. Everyone around me was certain I was going to be the next Emily Carr. It seemed like I had my career mapped out for me after many long nights of practicing in my bedroom: my professional career path had already been set for me.

The last hyper-realistic drawing I have drawn to date. — March 2015

 

So it began: my senior year in high school and I was one of the handful of students who had gotten a letter of acceptance into Emily Carr University on the spot. This was what was deemed to happen my whole life by my peers. Was it fate?

Not too long after I received a letter from Simon Fraser University, informing me of my acceptance into their School of Interactive Arts + Technology (SIAT), I had to make a big decision. I had never heard of this program and didn’t know of any graduates or alumni from SIAT. I spent my whole childhood moving a pencil around on paper, was I really going to make the transition to digital design? I thought, and thought hard for awhile, but I sensed an urge to explore my skillset: where could digital design take me? At the end of the day, I followed my gut and took the leap into the realm of design. This period marked my transition into technology and design, pushing my sketching pencils into the back of the shelf.

I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know how to code and I only had intermediate experience with Photoshop. The summer before my first year in university, I spent hours and days going through online tutorials to learn as much of Adobe Illustrator and InDesign as I could. But I loved it. I loved that making a mistake was a simple and quick CTRL/CMD + Z to fix. Strokes and lines were so much smoother, cleaner and there was no accidental smudging — this was fool-proof.

Illustrations done on Adobe Illustrator for a freelance project — October 2015

Slowly, the time and demand I had for sketching decreased and since my second year, I have not posted a single photo of a drawing. Do I miss it? Yes — I can recall the nights when I was upset and drawing took me into a place of serenity, a place where my worries did not exist. It will still always be a part of me: when I brainstorm for my designs, knowing how to sketch is always at the core and every time, it brings me back to my roots — where I started and came from: pencil and paper.

Rough sketches for a game design.

I have made my transition from an artist to a designer and I’m not turning back.

– E

Check out my portfolio work!

Process Post #week 4

“The medium is the message.” — Marshell McLuhan

With the fall of traditional media like newspaper, thanks to the rise and prevalence of mobile devices which allow access to media content and information regardless of time and space, the transition of dominant medium comes with the revolution of publishing which highlights the importance of being strategic for content on mobile devices. Instead of reading content from a newspaper which is of half our body length, people nowadays do that on smartphones that its screen size is smaller than our hand. When the same or even larger amount of information is displayed on a much smaller medium, it takes editorial, architectural, and technical knowledge” to make strategic publishing decisions for mobile media content.

Homepage of dictionary.cambridge.org

For years, this website has been merely functioning as my tool for looking up words without paying any attention to the page layout and design. And once I do, I immediately notice the prioritization of widgets and functions on its homepage reflected in forms of layout and size. Once users enter the website, the search bar appears in the centre of the page in white, contrasting with other busy colours around it. Users do not need to click on the search bar to start typing. All these echo with what Sara Wachter-Boettcher has suggested as “get purposeful” which involves deep consideration of site goals.

Enabling the media content to travel across different media is also important in order to be strategic in publishing. No matter a user is trying to get the information with a PC, laptop, or mobile app, access to the same database should be ensured. Besides, little buttons that link to social media can foster the spread of content.

Week 3 Process Post

This week I installed and activated Google Analytics and the Ultimate Category Excluder plugins to WordPress so I can easily track my views and prevent these posiel posts from appearing on the front page of my blog. I planned the layout of my blog so that #posiel posts would be accessible on the sidebar rather than the main navigation menu.

One of the readings this week came from Craig Mod, “How I Got My Attention Back”. I would like to share a quote from his article:

“Our measuring sticks for life tend to be optimized for material things, things easy to count. Houses, cars, husbands, babies, dollar bills. Attention is immaterial, difficult to track.” (Mod, 2017)

This quote resonates with me because I can often see how our world is radically becoming more advanced and how visual media is increasingly becoming a the cause of consumerism. In a world where we seem to live thriving off material and physical objects, it is so easy to become absorbed into this culture of consumerism as a means to measure the satisfaction of our personal life. As a result, people are increasingly less aware of the every day situations that are occurring around us as they pay more attention to their own lives and personal obsessions. Attention, like time, cannot be bought or exchanged.

I find that whenever I put my phone down for a few hours, I tend to feel more productive with my time and feel more mentally invested in the work or activity I am doing without constant distraction. That being said, I don’t think I can be offline for a month even if my life allowed it without harming me. For being someone who relies on social media to stay in touch with friends who live hours away, I can’t imagine the time needed to transit to them just to discuss a couple of things with them that could easily and quickly be done in a matter of minutes.

PUB101 – Process Post

I’ve realized that I’m spending more and more time on building this personal website – my own little cyber space – playing with awesome plugins to make it richer with different kinds of content. Unlike on my Facebook and Instagram where I share content with mainly friends back in Hong Kong, my audience here is only all those in my PUB101 class who are my new friends and only read English. It makes a difference of what to share on my social media and in here.

Theme

I started with the ‘Twenty Seventeen’ theme and uploaded my header image as my very first action of the website development. The photo is taken on the top of Mountain Whistler in summer 2016, and its composition makes it the best header image, also showing a little bit of my character as an outgoing and energetic young adult who loves looking at the sky and is eager for adventure. I had tried changing to a few other themes but none can give me a sense of simplicity and an emphasis on the header image like this one which maximizes its size. I want the image to fully occupy visitors’ monitor and their eyes when they enter my website!

Widgets

There are only a sidebar and two footers at the bottom of the website to contain widgets. I’ve added icons to other social media at the top of the sidebar for visitors to share my posts/website as well as to let them learn more about me on other platforms. Especially for Facebook and Instagram, which I’ve placed them as the first two icons, they are the social media platforms I use the most and therefore contain a lot more info about me. In addition, I have added audio widget to share some of my favourite Cantonese pop music, like a weekly selection, with text widget as its caption for a brief introduction to the song.

I have opened two categories so far – ‘posiel’ for required course work from pub101 and ‘daily life’ for sharing my trivial things in my daily life as well as my experiences here in Vancouver as an international student. The development of the two pages ‘About Me’ and ‘Canton Pop Music’ is still in progess.

Stranger Danger?

In a technologically advanced world, it has become the norm to for our eyes to be glued down to our mobile screens wherever we go: whether it be on the bus, on the street or in class. Consequently, it has undeniably caused us to be less aware of our surroundings and the people around us. It’s much easier now with easily accessible technological devices and social media platforms to engage and interact with “strangers” because we no longer need to carry the same feeling that may come with rejection or awkwardness in-person.

The difficulty of speaking to a stranger in public mainly comes from unknown motives; I’ve been approach by many strangers who tried to sell me a product, ask for cash, or for using me as an ear. I’ve almost been accustomed to creating a social barrier between me and the people around me when I am on the street alone because of unknown intentions and out of fear of being taken advantage of.
A stranger to me is someone who I don’t know personally and if I was asked, I would not be able to describe their personality or interests to someone else. I consider a person known when I have had at least one engaging conversation with them to really get to know who they are aside from recognizing a familiar face. Being a shy and reserved individual, once I get to know someone on a deeper and more personal level, I find it easier to approach them and feel more inclined to speak with them again, thus passing the notion of just being “strangers”.

 

My Vision Board + Process

For a lifestyle blog, I really aimed to develop a theme/palette that represents who I am.
Being a crafty individual, I decided to go back to my childhood roots and take out my scissors. I can’t remember the last time I created a vision board or collage, but I had fun with this. I really only had two magazines to work from, but IKEA magazines really did it for me. Besides the journalling images (thanks Google), I found that IKEA really speaks to my overall aesthetics. In fact, I get a little giddy whenever the new IKEA catalogue comes in the mail.

I always love to “embrace the white space”. A minimalist, I strive to stay simple while showing some natural/earthy and light tones: pastel pinks, blues and green tones from nature. I want my platform to be a space that inspires, is easy and enjoyable to read.

I’ve always wanted to have a platform to write about my passions and my hobbies in hopes to inspire my fellow friends and peers. Oh, and I love coffee. No — I’m not an addict… I can survive a day without coffee; I love the smell of freshly brewed coffee which is why I drink it. The energy boost is just a plus.
I’ve recently developed an interest in modern calligraphy probably because I love writing. And I don’t mean writing essays, I mean the action of writing. I love writing neatly and being structured, which leads me to my hobby of note-taking (wait, is that even considered a hobby?) and journalling.
I love to create, and I love to share what I create. And most of all, I love to help people. So that is what I hope to bring to this blog: a space for me to share inspiration, tips and advice on living a fulfilling and influential life.

Off the Grid Waffle Bar

I’ve never been big on waffles but after trying Off the Grid Waffles in East Vancouver….oh boy has that changed! Decidant…moist… & oh so chocolaty *mmm mmm mmm* They offer an array of options: from a savory pizza waffle ($8) to a sweet Strawberry Nutella waffle ($7) (which you can also get in waffle cups! $6) […]

Essay #2

This semester may be coming to an end yet, my online publication will go on. Over the last three months, I was introduced to the world of online publishing and given a chance to create a place that was solely mine – sukhisthename.com. It became a place to share my favourite recipes, new beauty regimes, and […]

Process Post #10: Press Release

Take a drab press release and add some pizzazz. Choose a platform and create a new and improved press release. I chose Twitter as the platform for the new press release. Twitter will allow the CBC to post short yet attention-grabbing tweets, which users can respond to directly, and re-tweet. There can be multiple tweets: […]

Episode 3: October Wrap-Up

October and November were extremely busy months for me. Multiple assignments and projects across all of the courses suddenly began or reached their deadlines, and there was simply no time for anything else. Now that the winter holiday has begun and I am blissfully allowed to stay in my pajamas whenever I feel like it, … Continue reading Episode 3: October Wrap-Up