Okay, I need to admit something.
I actually enrolled for PUB101 way back in the spring of 2019. I didn’t take it then (because it didn’t fit my schedule), but I was interested because of the positive things I’d heard from some of my friends at the time. I did, however, attend the first lecture to get a feel for what the class was about. And it was great! It was in an actual physical classroom. Anyway, I ended up dropping the class in the second week because it didn’t fit my schedule. But really, I secretly thought, “I can do this class on my own without even taking it! Maybe I should start a blog then?” — I’m honestly so glad I did because I learned so much about myself as you will soon read (this class was great too ).
So, I did (after a lot of contemplating and people on the Internet convincing me to), I started a blog. I wrote about stuff and ideas I’d been thinking about, did some reflections on life, and shared my thoughts on interesting videos I came across. I was just trying stuff out, writing about a whole bunch of topics, and trying to figure out what it is I was interested in. Eventually, I did, and that’s where my blog stands today. Obviously, I fast-forwarded time on the details of this one because you know, brevity.
First and foremost, my blog is for me. It acts as a personal museum of my past where I can go back sometime in the future and indulge and get lost in my own past self — like a digital garden (Basu, 2020). It isn’t all selfish though, and I think it’s best explained with the blurb I have on my home page:
“I don’t consider myself an expert at anything in particular (yet), nor do I consider myself a seasoned veteran at the game of life—though being an extremely knowledgeable and wise sentient shaman would be epic. I’m only 21, and I’ve got a lifetime of experience ahead of me to embrace. My goal with this blog is to share my reflections on my life (past, present, and future), important lessons I’ve learned, and talk about anything and everything that fascinates me. My hope is that through reading the assortment of stories I’ve written you’ll be able to see life in a more positive light.“
That’s essentially what my blog is about. It’s a treasure chest of ideas filled with things ranging from life experiences, personal stories, poems, reflections, things I’ve learned, and much. It’s me sharing my journey through life. At the same time, it’s me sharing insights. It’s me sending out an encouraging message with each of my posts. It’s me trying to be the light in someone’s day.
There’s one topic I know more about than anyone else, and that is myself. (Nguyen, 2020)
And who is my blog for? It is for people interested in personal growth and self-love. That being said, there is a slight quirk to that, and to explain, I want to draw attention to my mission statement:
Writing to inspire personal growth & self-love for the millions. Living to spark joy in the heart of one.
The quirk is that I am writing for people, for those who don’t believe in themselves yet, for lost souls who don’t know they are lost. I know that’s general and obscure, but that’s my goal. Because I’m a storyteller. My posts aren’t blogs or articles, they’re stories—stories I genuinely believe can help people and that people can connect with or relate to.
Which is a great transition into my next topic (!) — value. What value am I providing through my blog? And to whom? I touched on this a bit above, but I’ll expand. Again, it goes back to my mission statement. I ultimately want to help people live better lives. For example, if I want to instill a lesson on the importance of random acts of kindness, I will write about an experience I’ve had where someone did something nice to me and how that impacted my day and how it made me feel. The value is delivered through the stories I tell.
Editorial, design, and content — let’s talk about that. How am I addressing my audience through these channels? I think the core of this is the reader-on-website experience, so I’ll start there (the blog post page of course).
Each one of my posts has a featured image (the one that appears at the top) that relates to the post’s content in one way or another. I source these from Unsplash because all the images are clean and professional. This matters because of first impressions. I choose to use a professional image because it subconsciously sends a message to readers about the quality of the writing. Those two factors don’t necessarily correlate with one another, but if I used drawings I made in Microsoft Paint as my featured images instead, you can see what I mean. People wouldn’t take what I am saying as seriously. And I do want to make an impression on people.
Now moving onto widgets. I have a couple. If you’re reading this you can see them on the right. I’ve got a little blurb about who I am at the top, a search bar, recent posts, archives, and my favorite: reading music. Err, well, technically they’re videos, but, videos can be of musical content! *thumbs up emoji* I really like this addition to my blog because I feel like music (the right type of course, not hard-rock or metal) helps people get into the mood of reading, for me at least.
Comments. No one has commented so far, but I do send what I write to my friends and receive their comments through messages. How has that influenced me? It’s been really nice to hear from them and what they thought of each piece. They love what I write and always encourage me to keep writing.
At the beginning of the semester, I thought the publication of the self was just about an expression of self — since that’s what I had mostly done with my blogging up to that point. And in part, that’s a core feature of publishing yourself. YouTube’s old slogan used to be “Broadcast Yourself” (Parker, 2019). But what I’ve learned is that publishing is also about the audience and what they want. There has to be some sort of takeaway.
That takeaway can be in the form of practical advice and steps, a take-home question that makes people think, or just making people feel something.
This idea that publishing = expression + catering towards audience needs & wants was further reinforced in my mind as a legit concept by me also being part of the publishing team in my club. As the editor of SFU LYFE, a personal and professional development platform for students, I have to make sure the articles my blog writers submit are suitable for the SFU LYFE audience. If they are and do have a takeaway of some form, perfect. But if they don’t and lack a takeaway or the message is lost in the wording of it, I have to be strict in helping sort that out before the article is published.
Looking forward beyond PUB101, I plan to continue blogging and writing. And though I don’t plan on taking PUB201 since I don’t need it for my publishing minor requirements (but we’ll see), I for one will continue to write eternally until the end of time. I also have another secret blog which I won’t disclose the name of here, and I plan to pick up where I left off on that. I kinda stopped posting stuff to that blog in June of this year, and I want to use what I’ve learned in this class and see where that goes.
Basu, T. (2020, September 03). Digital gardens let you cultivate your own little bit of the internet. Retrieved from https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/09/03/1007716/digital-gardens-let-you-cultivate-your-own-little-bit-of-the-internet/
Nguyen, M. (2020, October 06). What to Write About When You’re Not an Expert in Anything. Retrieved from https://medium.com/illumination-curated/what-to-write-about-when-youre-not-an-expert-in-anything-a414572972e7
Parker, T. (2019, May 05). YouTube quietly removes “Broadcast Yourself” motto from its official blog. Retrieved from https://reclaimthenet.org/youtube-removes-broadcast-yourself-motto/