Blog Post #15: Author Appreciation (Installment #3)

Photo courtesy of evert.meulie.net

Hi everyone! I hope this “author appreciation” post will brighten your Monday. Or, if you’re already having a great Monday, that’s awesome! Today, I thought I’d talk about an incredible writer who’s very well-respected and known in the world of literature. He’s even promoted his books on The Oprah Winfrey Show! (That’s right… he’s spoken with the talk-show queen, herself) Its… Ken Follet!

I remember watching his interview and him mentioning his teachers would compliment him on his advanced writing skills.

 The Pillars of the Earth is the first title of Follet’s I knew about. I kid you not, it is probably the most detailed book I have ever read! Oprah said that she heard one woman actually burned her husband’s dinner because she was so glued to the book! (I just noticed/found out recently that it was released back in 1989, which totally caught me off guard. The two novels following the title, World Without End and A Column of Fire were released in 2007 and 2017 respectively)

The Pillars of The Earth was actually made into a critically acclaimed miniseries which debuted about ten years ago. The show stars actors Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne and Hayley Atwell.

The Man from St. Petersburg is one from Follet I thoroughly enjoyed as well. (Thanks mom, for letting me borrow it!) Follet’s work is absolutely profound and is at this whole other level. His talent for penning such stunning prose just blows me away every single time. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if we were to see him on MasterClass or another platform where he teaches people how to write historical fiction.

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve all had enough of my incessant gushing! Head on over to your local library or bookstore to check these out. I guarantee his books will not disappoint!

For more on Ken Follet, you can view his official website here: https://www.ken-follett.com/.

Sample Posts

Facebook:  I would use Facebook to basically update that viewership on new content I’ve been working on. I believe that Facebook has turned into more of a rendezvous for content that has been posted on other platforms to be shared. In this post, I’ve given direct information about the date, place and photographer who was on this shoot with me. However, as you can tell, I’ve linked the photo I’ve posted directly back to my Instagram account as that is my preferred platform to post photos.

Instagram: As Instagram is an app that primarily promotes photography, I would post my photo with some short captions or song lyrics that’s meaningful to me. I let my photos primarily speak for themselves as my audience on here comes primarily to look at a stand-still visual.

Blog/Website: “A few days later, I worked with Isaac Mocharski (@mocharski.films) whom I’ve spoken about on many occasions on this blog. Currently, the weather man has graced us with bucket loads of snow, so Isaac and I decided that we were going to try and make-do with what we were given. From there, a “snow angel” shoot was born and before you ask, yes I was cold. But we had an unbelievably time running around Burnaby Mountain Park for twenty minutes trying to make this concept come to life and I’d say we did a pretty good job!”

Youtube: For Youtube, I take advantage of using my voice to explain the backstories behind my creative concepts. I have a series on my channel that is specifically devoted to showing my audience what happens behind the scenes on my shoots, called “shoot with me.” I believe that by showing people what happens to get the finished product, allows me to show them exactly the lengths me and other creatives will go to get our desired shots. This audience is more authentic.

The audience I speak to on my blog are those who are more interested in reading the story behind my creative concept.

Basically, Facebook explains the, ‘Who.’ Instagram explains the ‘What.’ My blog explains the ‘Why,’ and my Youtube channel explains the ‘How’ behind my creative concepts.

Global Footprintz: Peer Review #1

For my first peer review I will be looking at Nina Martinez Travassos’ blog: Global Footprintz

Her blog is pleasing to the eyes, with bright photographs against a clean white background. It feels as though the photos of the places she’s been are the highlights of the blog, though upon reading her posts we can see that her writing that is the focal point. In her first process post she details the ways in which she is adapting her blog from when she ran it last year — into what she wants it to be about now. Moving on from the more diary-like personal blog, she hopes to turn it into a place for travellers to go to when hoping to find information as well as tips for when they’re travelling to the places she herself has been to.

From looking at her first two blog posts of this year the direction that she is trying to go in is clear. By showcasing the many different things to do in various places around the world through lists — for example, In her post on Santo Domingo she lists 5 fun things to do, telling us that her experience there was the best experience that she had while living abroad. She is working towards the brand of a travel book in blog form — think The Lonely Planet. Making her posts about just 5 things to do in each place make them quick and easy for anyone to read, and her past personal posts make them feel unique and personable.

My only recommendation when it comes to the blog posts is to try and address an audience and perhaps try to include some background on each place that is being explored. By doing this it will make readers feel as though they are being spoken to directly. Like a friend is giving them advice on where to go in Santo Domingo — rather than someone on the internet that they don’t know. And by including a little bit of background on the places being talked about, readers don’t need too much prior knowledge upon finding these posts. And it allows for people who initially had no interest in travelling to these places to suddenly become interested once they learn a little bit of history — and then end up reading the entire blog post to learn even more. While it might take more time, in the long run it will only make each post more substantial and interesting to read.

I would also suggest to have a home page of recent posts rather than an image scrolling down to the “about me” section. This allows for readers to immediately see what content is being created on the blog and get to reading them as quickly as possible.

All in all I love the direction that Nina is taking with her blog! as someone who does not travel nearly as much as i would like to, it is interesting to look back at her stories from all around the world. And as someone who hopes to travel more, and knows many people who do have the travel bug, it is also insightful to learn things about each place she has been to and have tips on where to go to have the best time!

While she has only made a couple posts it is obvious what her blog will shape up to be, targeting the audience of people bit with the travel bug, and those who want to know how to the most fun possible when travelling around the world. I am sure I will look back on her blog the next time I plan a vacation — even once this course has concluded.

Feel free to check out her blog here!

Peer Review One

Crystal Zhang is the author of her newly built blog called growingupasian.ca. As this is her first-week starting the website, online self and branding, blog content, website design and target audience are not yet fully developed. All three aspects listed above need further improvement, but I will focus on some design tips I learned from the online presence development course PUB101.

The blogging platform we use for this course is WordPress, which has a variety of ready-to-use templates for all kinds of different purposes. Choosing a suitable template can be a crucial aspect since it creates the first impression on our audiences. When browsing for templates, I recommend using keywords related to the purpose of the blog, for example, the template of my current food blog was found by searching up “food and drink” and “restaurant” related designs. Just by looking at the domain name of Zhang’s website, “growingupasian.ca”, I imagine it to be a personal or lifestyle blog about her stories or experiences being a Canada raised Asian. Hence, she can use keywords like “lifestyle”, “entertainment” or simply “blog”.

Some other aspects to pay attention to are colour choice, webpage layout, usability and responsiveness of the template. The background colour of the blog should have a strong contrast with the text colour to ensure legibility, suggesting to prevent the combination of grey on grey. Yet, try to prevent extremely bright colours that can be hard on our reader’s eyes. For the webpage layout, choose a sustainable design. Avoid templates that do not have a collapse function since, after a few posts, visitors will need multiple long and dreadful scrolls to get to older contents. Usability can affect the user’s experiences on our blog, thus, be sure to remove useless and confusing links and pages. Keep the user interface simple and clean, so visitors do not have to spend time learning to browse on your blog, but use their time to enjoying your blog. Lastly, with the growing popularity of smartphone usage, responsiveness has been an important feature of any website. Find a template that has both a laptop-size screen layout and a mobile-size screen layout. It allows our readers to browse our blogs on their phones easily and smoothly.

Although Zhang’s blog development is behind schedule, with sufficient time and effort she will definitely bring us a whole new experience on her website soon. I am looking forward to her blog updates as I am also a Canadian Asian! 🙂

The Regeneration of [not so] Eloquent Emma: Process Post #1

upon creating Not So Eloquent Emma, I’ve had to try and figure out who exactly is my audience, and what public it is that i’m trying to reach.

To put it plain and simple my public would be the type of people who are interested in what I write about on this blog — so nerds? i’m joking (kinda). My public is most likely book readers as well as movie watchers. My public would be the concrete audience that I am trying to reach, and then the counter-public would be the opposite. For instance if I were to write a positive review for a film, the public would be fans of that movie and the counter public would be the kind of people that seek out positive reviews to hate on them (or visa versa)

As I start to try and “regenerate” my blog from my past publishing class, my main goal is to try and grow as well as maintain my audience. In order to do this I am going to try to branch out to instagram again — something I have tried in the past — as well as link this blog to the twitter I use now and then (but mostly lurk on). Although, one thing I also hope to do is additionally use this blog as a portfolio for my writing, making it both personal as well as professional. Perhaps doing so by including a tab on my blog to showcase pieces i’ve written for the school newspaper (i’m currently working on it!).

Although, my overall number one goal for Not So Eloquent Emma is to be consistent. Whether that is in the type of content I am creating or the amount of content I am creating. I want to try and post the best thing I can at the best time, while also refraining from going on extended hiatuses. For instance posting a movie review as close to the release of the movie as possible, or a list of Oscar movies to watch right before the Oscars. To me this will help me to gain a better understanding of what my brand is — as well as the what audience I am trying to attract.

Too Early To Judge? A Pre-Release Discussion of “The Balled of Songbirds and Snakes”

warning: this post contains light spoilers for the final book/movie in The Hunger Games trilogy

Picture this: The year is 2012, a young girl speaks almost exclusively in Hunger Games references, wants to marry a fictional character named Peeta, and her hair is almost always in a single braid along the back of her head — that girl, is me.

Ah yes, 2012 — the year when One Direction was the hottest band and every single book marketed towards teens was either about a dystopian world being controlled by an evil president, or it had like vampires and stuff. Now if i’m being honest, 2012 was probably one of the best years of my life. Besides the fact that i was immensely scared about going to high school, i read The Hunger Games trilogy for the first time that year, and the first movie in the franchise was released in March of that year. needless to say (most of) my anxieties regarding going to a big new school were pushed to the back of my brain as all i could think about was katniss katniss katniss, and peeta peeta peeta.

If you are unaware of what The Hunger Games is, it is a young adult book series written by Suzanne Collins. The first book was released in 2008, and it then had a movie franchise starring Jennifer Lawrence which ended in 2015. It is probably best known for it’s dystopian world where children are forced to fight to the death in an arena that’s broadcasted on television for the rich people of the world to enjoy. And it was also the book series that really got me into reading.

Now, because i am such a big fan of this book series i was more than excited when it was announced in June of last year that there would be a PREQUEL book released in May of 2020. And then in November we got our title and cover: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Although, many people’s excitement started to go down the drain when just a couple days ago we were given our first excerpt of the book — as well as our main character.

In an article by Entertainment Weekly it was revealed that the protagonist for the novel would not be Mags or Haymitch or even Finnick like many had hoped — but would rather star a teenaged (President) Coriolanus Snow.

When i first looked online (mainly Twitter), the responses were somewhat positive. People were upset we weren’t getting a back story for Mags — the aging district 4 tribute from Catching Fire — but they were still interested in what Suzanne Collins would give us. Although, as i kept reading people’s opinions, they got quite negative quite quick. Many people were very upset that Collins would choose Snow to be the protagonist of her book, claiming that she is going to try and make us feel sorry for him. Although, i’d say it’s too early for us to be judging this book– especially seeing as it doesn’t come out for four months.

While i can see where people are coming from with their concerns — I myself am still excited to read this book. One of the most interesting parts of this book will be seeing the games through the perspective of The Capitol, which we really only got a taste of in brief moments throughout the movie adaptations. I am also someone who finds it fascinating to see the backstories of villains, especially when it comes to someone of political power. And in the first excerpt given to us through Entertainment Weekly, we can see that this book will be in the third person rather than first — which is what the original trilogy is told in. This shows that we might not always be in Snow’s head, but rather go into those around him as well. Perhaps showing what others thought of him how, how he might’ve manipulated them, and ultimately how he came to power.

Collins is also not the first person to do a villain’s origin story. Think of the Star Wars prequels for instance — while they might not be wonderful movies, they gave us insight into Anakin’s life and his journey in becoming Darth Vader. (That being said, I will acknowledge that Anakin and Coriolanus are very different. As Anakin was a poor slave and Coriolanus is a rich child of The Capitol, though i will still include this example). And while i’m not a big fan of Todd Phillip’s Joker it gave us an origin story of one of the most well-known Batman villains. Suzanne Collins was able to write a trio of books that showed us the dangers of abuse of power, and in no way made it feel as though Snow was a redeemable character. A moment that really stands out to me is in Mockingjay, when they vote on whether they should hold a new version of the hunger games for the children of the capitol. Katniss votes against it, showing us that she knows that it’s not right and would not be the correct way to end to things once and for all. To me this really encapsulates the story that Collins was trying to tell with The Hunger Games, and will hopefully continue to tell with this novel.

And so, while i understand the concerns that people have for this book — it’s way too early! While it might end up being awful… with four months to go we will continue to get more information on the book, possibly new excerpts, comments from Suzanne Collins, and hopefully some reviews from people who have actually read the book. But, until then, we just have to have hope in what Suzanne Collins has been secretly working on for the past 10 years.

Assignment: Peer Review #1 (“Rerouted”)

For this week, I will be peer reviewing Reace Mok’s blog, “Rerouted.” After reading the “About” page as well as his first process post (which were both very well-written), in order to fully understand what the website involves, these aspects truly showcase Reace’s ability to engage with his audience. He clearly states his intentions going forward this semester and indicates a deep understanding on how to approach the business/branding side of running a blog. The entries he has posted thus far are ideal introductions for a new blogsite.

I personally believe the concept regarding people’s experiences as ever-evolving humans who feel they are currently undergoing or have already gone through a particularly significant “shift” in their lives and would further like to share it on this platform is an intrinsically compelling topic, especially when carried out through the method Reace utilizes in facilitating them. Since he states that he has previously taken PUB 101 and recognizes the differences between the goals of PUB 101 and 201, he is aware that the content he plans to produce is a redeveloped version of his original blog that formerly focused on his own personal “story.”

Navigating Reroute is quite simple because there are only three different pages: “About,” “Podcasts” and “PUB 201” making it user-friendly, contributing to the site’s appeal. Reace evidently demonstrates a clear sense of professionalism and the way he conducted an interview during the podcast episode that I listened to, “The Experience Seeker, Mr. Geordy Reid,” essentially reinforced this initial presumption. Also, “Documenting a change of pace” ingeniously explains what Reroute entails that is simultaneously descriptive, but additionally is a suitable length for a tagline. On the whole, a strong marketability factor is evident when assessing the different components of the site.

The only critique I have is that Reroute is lacking a distinct logo or image/symbol that is unique to the brand. The Slack Team (2019) emphasize the importance of “visual identity” and a logo being “instantly recognizable.” Although he is consistent with the site’s colouring, I feel the site generally is not as eye-catching as it deserves to be and believe it is an important part of branding. I understand Reroute is still in its the emerging stages and am unsure as to whether he intends to change this attribute of the design. Overall, I am absolutely amazed by the content he has shared already and look forward to what is in store for the future of this blog.

Week #2: Process Post

Who is my audience?

A simple answer would be, “Those who actively like and comment on my content, or follow my creative material.” Although this is true, my actual audience are those who come to watch me everyday because they’re interested in my life. It’s crazy to think that you can create your own little world online by just putting yourself out there. 

Since my brand is primarily about myself, those who follow me have to take some degree of an interest in that. I’ve mentioned before on my blog that I used to be fairly saturated within the online fitness community, at the time I was posting on my ‘fitstagram’ about my fitness journey and everything that came with it- process posts, personal struggles, tips on working out, and healthy meal plans. Ideally, my audience was those who were interested in fitness too. Although I didn’t offer a service, or a product, I promoted a ‘self’ and this ‘self’ had a goal of inspiring people of like-minded interests to come together to build a community. When I think of my Fitstagram, it seems unbelievably easy to pinpoint exactly who my audience was, but when I think of my content on both my main Instagram account and my Youtube channel, I struggle to pinpoint my audience.

Instead of targeting a specific audience (such as, the fitness community), I post content for myself. I never started modeling or creating content for those around me, I always just did it for myself. In a way, I don’t feel like I’m targeting any specific group of people or audience, when I go through my analytics on Instagram I’ve found that the majority of my audience is Canadian, primarily from the age demographic of 18-30 with more male visitors than females. My brand now promotes my own self growth journey as a content creator and I want my audience to support that. I’ve found that on Instagram, it’s harder to portray just exactly who I am as a person, as my photos quite honestly portray myself in a certain light. I’m aware that I can’t complain about how people perceive me online, when I post photos of myself wearing bikinis in the snow. My Instagram presence fulfills a certain audience that targets local clothing brands and creators.

Although I’m that person, I’m also the person on Youtube- imperfect, honest, and completely stripped down. By being able to speak on behalf of my content, Youtube encompasses exactly who I am. It’s been harder to build this audience as a lot of my Instagram audience doesn’t know the person behind the lens of the camera. However, the audience I want to build for Youtube are those who can really relate to my content. Although shooting photos is a passion of mine, my heart actually lies in telling stories and I’ve found it easiest to do that on Youtube and my blog. I feel like this audience is more genuine, as I’m more personable on these platforms as I speak for myself rather than letting my content speak for me.

When I first started in the creative industry, I was hungry to be seen and to be known but for the wrong reasons. I never understood the concept of having a real audience. Before, I just thought an audience was those who followed me, but now I know that my audience are those who believe in what I do, and take time out of their days to come watch me. Although I want my audience to comment, like and subscribe, I also want them to do it because they relate to what I have to say. 

It doesn’t take much to get people to follow you when you take your clothes off in the snow. However, those who come to watch me actually strip down naked behind my own words are my audience and my true fans, those are who I hold dear and keep pushing me to create (Kelly, 2008). In this sense, my ‘secret sauce’ is just being myself online, as nobody else can be me the way I can be me (Wilkinson, 2019).

I lose followers everyday, but I also gain followers everyday, and I’ve also had people who have followed me from the day I started my social accounts. Those who follow me though my creative challenges and change in pace with my content are those who I want to target. As I grow, I want my audience to grow with me. Much like changing your brand logo, as I change as a person I need those to embrace that change as I continue to reshape and redefine who I am through my content (Team Slack, 2019). 

Because my brand is myself, to be able to properly build my brand identity, I need to know who I am and what I want to say. A year ago, I didn’t know who that person was or what they wanted to say, but after a lot of self-growth and new found friendships, everything I create is authentically me and my audience comes to see that.

References:

Kelly, K. (2008, March 4). The Technium: 1,000 True Fans. Retrieved from https://kk.org/thetechnium/1000-true-fans/

Krueger, T. [Username]. (2017, April 15). STRIPPING IN THE SNOW [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dj52cWAt-To&feature=youtu.be

Team Slack. (2019, November 25). Say hello, new logo. Retrieved from https://slackhq.com/say-hello-new-logo?cvosrc=spredfast.twitter.brand&cvo_creative=sf97658134&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=spredfast&utm_content=sf97658134&utm_campaign=a_spredfast_twitter_all_en_follower_engagement_sf97658134_20190116&sf97658134=1

Tyler.krueger (2019, January 17). Don’t call me angel plz… [Instagram post]. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/B7cplqXDDNJ/

Wilkinson, A. (2019, June 20). Slack’s $25 Billion Dollar Secret Sauce. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@awilkinson/slack-s-2-8-billion-dollar-secret-sauce-5c5ec7117908#.2pzdc0z38

Peer Review #1

Just going by a first glance at your site, I was completely blown away! Your site is completely and fully authentically you- from your homepage, to your about section, to your beautiful content.

Quite obviously, music is your passion and you’ve made sure your domain reflects that. The cover photo you’ve chosen gives your audience a statement piece to look at as soon as they click on your site. Despite your URL being your first and last name, one glance at your site can tell your audience exactly what you do and what you’re passionate about. 

The way you speak in your writing is very wholesome, as you realize your own growth on Youtube and online platforms. I absolutely love the part in your about section that mentions how you’re not only passionate about music, but you’re a full-time student working on finishing your degree. This shows your determination as a student, as well as your ability to hustle. I believe that by adding that part to your blog may inspire others who may also be passionate about music, to put themselves out there despite being full-time students. 

I believe that your site reflected a well articulated “professional self” as your homepage jumps straight into your content (Youtube) and your achievements. By using visuals, you are able to conduct your audience to the places you wish them to go, which looks more like your social media accounts. The brand you present- which is yourself as an artist is presented clearly. You have a great aesthetic, using dark and warm tones across your blog giving your audience a warm and cozy feeling. This feeling is also associated when watching your Youtube videos. By filming your covers on your stairs, you invite your audience to “come into your home” and listen to you play. Instead of filming in a studio space or heavily decorated area, you’ve kept it simple. By doing this, you’ve focused more on the quality of your content, spending more time connecting with your audience.

I took a look at the comment section on your social accounts and you keep a very active presence answering your fans/followers. By creating what Kelly describes as a ‘direct relationship’ with your fans, you are gaining their support (2008). When talking to your fans, you are creating this special bond between you and them as well as exposing your authentic self. Not only does it help your fans grow with you, but it opens a door for you to gain more support down the road and expand your brand. Although you don’t treat your fans like customers, you give them the four things they want- ‘to be seen, be heard, be acknowledged, and be appreciated’ (Kessler, 2017). Lastly, to touch on Wilkinson’s piece on, ‘Slack’s Secret Sauce,’ you have your own secret sauce which I believe comes from your wholesome personality, inviting those into your home to enjoy popular songs sung your way. Not only is it a unique experience, but it builds a sense of belonging in your community.

Your blog and your content has left me fully inspired. Your blog is a great place for you to direct traffic back to your main content (Youtube & Instagram). The only suggestion I have for your site is to add to your “Contact” page on the upper right hand corner of your menu. Although most of your primary audience is watching you on Youtube and Instagram, by having a contact sheet to fill out on your blog could be useful for brands and those in the music industry to contact you or even for fans to give you song suggestions. Other than that, I am delighted to have gotten to review your blog!

Keep inspiring!

References

Kelly, K. (2008, March 4). The Technium: 1,000 True Fans. Retrieved from https://kk.org/thetechnium/1000-true-fans/

Kessler, S. (2017, August 28). How SoulCycle, Drybar, And Casper Created Cult Brands. Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com/3065284/how-soulcycle-drybar-and-casper-created-cult-brands

Villegas, M. (2020). Marylou Villegas. Retrieved from http://marylouvillegas.com/

Villegas, M. [Username]. (2017, April 15). Redbone x Childish Gambino (Cover) [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g22VALzgif8

Wilkinson, A. (2019, June 20). Slack’s $25 Billion Dollar Secret Sauce. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@awilkinson/slack-s-2-8-billion-dollar-secret-sauce-5c5ec7117908#.2pzdc0z38

Blog Post #14: Circle of Three Review

Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

Hi everyone! I know this is a little late, but happy new year and I hope you all are crushing it with your resolutions! This week’s review is going to be on Circle of Three, by Patricia Gaffney.

The book takes place during the aftermath following a tragic loss. But, while a family is trying to heal and move forward, really take a look at the nature of their relationships with one another and start to question certain critical choices people make altering life’s trajectory that might not always pan out the way we expect them to.

More specifically, the mother (Carrie) and daughter (Ruth) mourn the death of their husband and father (Stephen). It also primarily incorporates Carrie’s mother (Dana), who, amidst the family’s evident tension, grudgingly accepts the fact that she isn’t getting any younger and expresses feelings concerning her own marriage throughout the story.

 After months of Carrie remaining unemployed, overeating as well as sleeping long hours in order to cope, she’s suddenly offered two completely different job opportunities, an office position (which Dana insists is a good fit for her) and the other – helping create a life-size Noah’s Ark replica. (don’t ask!) Wanting to be a better parent to Ruth than she’s been since Stephen passed, she accepts both. One is where Carrie befriends a co-worker, and the other gives her the chance to meaningfully reconnect with the man she never stopped loving.

Amongst the craziness Carrie goes through, Ruth is obviously taking her father’s death hard. From enduring regular teenage angst on top of grief and spending time with a guy who obsesses over morbidity, to landing a part-time job and running away after a shocking revelation, Gaffney expertly digs deep into the vast complexities of a relationship between a mother and daughter and husband and wife.

What I absolutely adore about Circle of Three is how self-reflective the main characters are. The concept that struck me is often, we choose to just accept things for what they are, but then a seismic shift occurs, sometimes prompting us to expose ugly truths by thinking back on how we’ve felt about major decisions we made thinking they were out of love. However, what complicates these types of decisions is that the love is mixed with obligation, fear, and influence… And as cheesy as it sounds, these factors cause us to not necessarily remain true to our hearts or what we’ve known all along is right. In the end, it isn’t until everything’s out in the open when the actual healing process begins.

Process Post #1

This week, two tasks we were required to complete is participate in Week 3’s Activity on Canvas and the first peer review. What I find has helped with these kinds of assignments is it allows me to observe certain media strategies that have worked for others as well as make appropriate changes based on constructive feedback. As I begin the semester as someone who has previously taken PUB 101, I think it will absolutely be beneficial for Four Purple Walls to have even more suggestions from different peers.

Dr. Norman mentioned in lecture that discussion contributions during lecture is an important component of this course. Building a brand and further learning how to express oneself/possessing a deeper understanding regarding what one wants their online presence to project including the opportunity to have the recommendations of individuals also going through the same process (but evidently looking at my website from different perspectives) is highly beneficial. I hope to continue to do so throughout the semester.

I also aim to monetize my site by utilizing ads. My goal is to decide which plugin would be best to install and ensure they appear in approaching weeks.

New Year, Better Attitude

Welcome back! This is the first week of Spring semester- I don’t know about you but I’m pretty torn about going back to school. This is a super unusual feeling for me as I absolutely love going to school. For some reason, last semester felt eight months rolled into four. I also think I hyped up graduation a little too much, as I felt so close last semester and now I feel so far. With just three semesters to go, it feels like a lifetime. Luckily for myself, I have chosen classes this semester that not only compliment my degree but my everyday creative life. 

Taking a full time academic schedule leaves little time for play, but I proved to myself last semester that it was quite possible to create content whilst going to school. That is, anything is possible if you want it bad enough. For me, I’ve always wanted to inspire others through what I post online and the content I create, so that’s what I continue to do. Believe me, chasing this dream has been about twelve years in the making, but hey- better late than never I always say. 

I decided to take the first week off of this month to decompress from my wild New Years celebrations. So, I’m coming to you, the second week of the new year pumping out content. 

This week, I shot on four separate occasions with three different photographers. First, I shot with Jihoon Lee (@7th_instinct), who is a first year Communications student at SFU! He had an assignment to complete for a class that involves photography, so we wandered around the halls of the AQ until we found his desired location. Between Saywell Hall and the AQ Pond, we shot a bunch of different shots that were to accompany his storyline. I was supposed to play a hardworking business woman who was coming home from work. The rose I was holding representing success, and the different ways I gripped the rose were supposed to depict that. I love working with creative concepts because it allows us to tell these meaningful stories through rich photography. 

A few days later, I worked with Isaac Mocharski (@mocharski.films) whom I’ve spoken about on many occasions on this blog. Currently, the weather man has graced us with bucket loads of snow, so Isaac and I decided that we were going to try and make-do with what we were given. From there, a “snow angel” shoot was born and before you ask, yes I was cold. But we had an unbelievably time running around Burnaby Mountain Park for twenty minutes trying to make this concept come to life and I’d say we did a pretty good job!

Lastly, on Saturday I transited my way to Surrey- which believe me is quite a trek. I’m in a group on Facebook called, ‘604 Vancouver Models & Photographers’ where creatives from around metro Vancouver post listings for hired work, TFP (time for print or publications), and hair and makeup artists. I applied for a bridal demo with Sima Shoker (@simvirshoker), who is both a hair and makeup artist. When I arrived I was put into a lovely pink gown and then I sat for two hours getting all dolled up. Since this was only my second time in the chair, the experience is still quite magical to me. I remember when I was eight years old sitting in a similar chair at Walt Disney Worlds, ‘Bibbity Bobbity Boutique’ being transformed into Hannah Montana. Instead of being transformed into someone else, I watched myself get transformed into a lovely blushing bride. 

Right after this, I rushed back home and met Isaac once again for a spontaneous night shoot at Burnaby Mountain Park. Once again working with the elements, we were able to create photos that captured the beauty of what mother nature decided to grace us with.

It’s crazy to think where I was a year ago to where I am now. I always felt like I never had the time to create, but looking at it now, I didn’t want it bad enough. Now I do. I feel as if everything is falling in place, but to be honest that scares me a little bit. I’m a firm believer that life comes with both highs and lows but for right now, in this moment, everything seems to be in complete equilibrium.

Mission Statement (first draft)

My mission is to inspire those in all corners of the Earth to be themselves online or offline. By telling my own stories and sharing my experiences I’ve faced with self-acceptance, I invite readers in not only to question, but to take away from my words. I believe that in a world becoming so technologically advanced, it’s important to remind those to embrace the change that is yet to come. Inside and out.

Mood Board

Since I am the face of my own brand, I’ve developed a vision board (or what I call a “mood board”) to encompass all the goals I hope to achieve this year and for years to come. These goals and aspirations not only have to do with the content I wish to produce, but with my own character as well. Unlike broken new year’s resolutions, I believe that I’m at a place in my life now where I’m so unbelievably committed to my content that there is no way possible that I cannot achieve these goals as I’ve always been a firm believer that,

“you shouldn’t be asking yourself if your dreams are crazy. you should be asking yourself if they’re crazy enough.”

Week #1: Process Post

I’ve always wanted to create. Since I was eight years old, I would lay awake at night dreaming with my eyes wide open. I knew that I had the capability of inspiring others around me but I didn’t know how to make that dream a reality. Unfortunately, eight-year-old me wasn’t aware that the how-to’s lied right inside of myself. The dream of making it as a Youtube star never left my mind, but as I got older my dream felt farther and farther out of my reach. I cared far too much about what others around me thought of me than what I actually thought of myself. 

It wasn’t until I was sixteen that I felt more comfortable putting myself online- doing various photoshoots with my friends at the local beaches. It’s insane to think about now because at the time our parents were driving us to these rendezvous points to take pictures with an iPhone 7 plus. When I put it into terms like that, it makes everything I do today that much more rewarding. It just goes to show that if you really want something bad enough, you’ll stay on your grind to make it happen. At the time, I never gave much thought to what I was doing, but four years later, I realize that even back then, I was trying to build a brand for myself.

At the beginning of my junior year, a lot of my older friends had graduated and moved away to start their lives at new schools in new cities. For the first time, I feel like I really hit rock bottom. Looking at it now, it was completely stupid to get this torn up about my friends leaving, but at sixteen it felt like the absolute end of the world. It’s funny how you have to hit an ultimate low in life before you decided that it’s time to start picking yourself up. I decided to start focussing on myself and that ultimately meant going to the gym everyday. I began sharing and posting my fitness journey with others, and it soon became a hit. Not only was fitness a coping mechanism for myself, but it also paved the way for my creative self to flourish. I started posting about my progress on several different media(s) and gained a lot of traction from all corners of the Earth building a small, but engaged niche audience. Even though, I’ve been back and forth with fitness since then, I was able to gain just the right amount of confidence I needed to get myself out of my rut. Since then, I’ve lived every day trying to inspire others around me to break free from their own selves.

I believe that my professional self is exactly who I am as a person. I’ve been working up to this moment in time for twelve years to actively put myself online, and everything I share is completely and 100% authentically me. I never post work that I don’t believe in, and at the end of the day if I can just put a smile on one persons face then that’s enough for me. Much like ‘Slacks Secret Sauce (Wilkinson, 2017),’ there is no secret sauce to becoming successful online. The great thing about the web is that everyone starts out on an equal playing field-nobody starts an account with followers, or a dedicated fan base. I wish someone would’ve told eight-year-old me that there was no secret, that every tool I needed to succeed lies within.

To think about my first few photoshoots shamelessly posing in front of an iPhone 7 plus, to now also shamelessly posing in front of commercial grade cameras and video cameras working with some of the most talented creators in Vancouver- nothing’s really changed. My dream remained the same, but my grind and work ethic just got harder. Growing my audience hasn’t been the easiest task at times, but I promised myself that no matter what- I would continue to push my own creative content, rather than just creating what’s popular. By staying authentic from the start, I’ve been able to organically grow my brand as well as my number of real followers. I focus on building what Kevin Kelly deems as, “True Fans” rather than just picking up likes and comments (2008). 

To this day, I wish I started earlier. I used to constantly remind myself of this in the past, but what I came to realize was that I wasn’t ready to begin. I needed to completely strip myself down as a human before I was able to put myself online. The truth is, who I am offline is exactly the same person as I am online. There is no worlds-apart difference between either persona. I am me, and all I can do is be the best me I can be. 

I am so unbelievably lucky to have broken free of my own creative constraints.

References

Kelly, K. (2008, March 4). The Technium: 1,000 True Fans. Retrieved from https://kk.org/thetechnium/1000-true-fans/

Wilkinson, A. (2019, June 20). Slack’s $25 Billion Dollar Secret Sauce. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@awilkinson/slack-s-2-8-billion-dollar-secret-sauce-5c5ec7117908#.2pzdc0z38

*Important Update on “Posiel” Content

Hi all, as you can probably tell, this section of the site was for assignments from a course I took during the Fall of 2019. It was a great experience and I’m glad I was given the opportunity to create Four Purple Walls. But since the course has long since finished, I am choosing to no longer post under “Posiel.” However, I will continue writing book reviews and whatnot on the “Blog” end.

Thank you so much and I hope you’ll stick around for future “Blog” posts!

Weekly Blog 11 : Travel Note of Czech Republic, the country that came from fairy tale 🇨🇿

Nietzsche said, “When I sought for a word to express music, I found Vienna; when I sought for a word to express mystery, only Prague came to my mind.”

85 years ago, Kafka, a great literary master, died in Vienna, and was immediately “shipped” back to Prague, a city engraved with an important mark of his life.

Some say that the immortal halo of celebrities has remade the city. Goethe delighted the German city of Weimar, Mozart made Austria’s Salzburg charming, and when we came to Prague, the Czech capital, we discovered that the old town has been added a mysterious legend due to Kafka.


Weekly Blog 10 : Travel Note of Morocco : The country of God’s palette 3 (Blue ) 🇲🇦

Until now, I have been praising the beauty and uniqueness of Morocco. Along the way, I met many people and experienced many things. I have to say that I deeply love the culture of this country and the people here.

But of course, it is worth mentioning that not all experiences are good. But all the good and bad experiences on the road will become memories in the future, so I am grateful when I encounter good things, and I also face and accept them when I encounter bad experiences. Moreover, I am willing to record all my experiences. For better or worse, what I have experienced is also an experience in life.

Chefchaouen, the city of blue 💧

A few years ago, I often saw such refreshing photos on social media platforms: narrow streets, chic houses, all painted in various blue colors, or dotted with bright potted flowers. The rich Arab style makes people fascinated at first sight, can’t help but yearn for it. Looking at the source of the photo, I learned that this is the small town of Chefchaouen in Morocco. Since then, I have been thinking about Morocco, thinking about this fascinating town,and finally, I am here.

Weekly Blog 8 : Travel Note of Morocco: The country of God’s palette 🇲🇦

The reason why I chose to go to Morocco is actually very simple, because it has just been exempted from visa to China.

Also, the world is so big and I have really limited amount of time for travel, so comparing with those developed countries such as Europe and the United States that may change a little in another ten years, I prefer to spend my time in a relatively underdeveloped country which may have significant change in these future five years.

Essay 2 – My Own Experience As An Online Publisher

Essay number two should focus on your own experience as an online publisher. Write about your experience this fall (and beyond, if you like) with creating your online presence and expanding it.

How have you created your publication? What is it about, who is it for? Who is your public (imagined and real)? How are you addressing that audience through editorial, design, content? What value do you think you are providing (this does not need to be monetary value), and to whom? What have you learned about your audience from Google Analytics (or WordPress stats)? Are you gathering comments on your site; if so, how has this influenced you?

Looking back, reflect on how your thinking has changed about publication since the beginning of term. Looking forward, what are your goals for your online self past the end of this course? Will you continue to blog? To work on elaborating your online presence?

The essay should be a minimum of 750 words, and it should reference at least three sources. Sources can be academic pieces (e.g., course readings), online posts or journalism, or other online examples that inform your thinking. Please post your essay online, on your own website (or else make special arrangements with your instructor)