Monthly Archives: December 2020
Essay 2: Looking Back On A Blog for Life Livers
Week 12 Final Assignment For PUB 101
Throughout the fall semester of 2020, I had the experience to create my own publishing domain on wordpress for PUB 101. If you haven’t guessed it already, the website you are currently reading this reflection on is the very website that I am talking about. My publication was formed with the idea in mind of creating the type of blog that I would personally want to read. With that as a guideline, I based my blog around a multitude of different avenues passions and interests, but mainly followed the theme of a creative adventure blog with an emphasis on living a holistic, well rounded, and happy life. Through this process I learned a lot about what it takes to create a public space, how hard it is to be creative and original in the digital world, how to engage with an online public by responding and adapting to feedback, and about myself as a digital media user.
Part One: What Do I Even Blog About??
The first steps of my creative process began with our first course assignments where I created a vision board to outline the general “idea” of my website. During this process I pulled inspiration from different Instagram pages and YouTube videos. Both of these content sources came from pages that exuded “vibes” of living in the moment, pushing yourself in outdoorsy sports, adventuring, surrounding yourself with good friends, and having an optimistic and laid back life view. This all may sound slightly broad and general to you. I thought so too. Which is what brought me to the idea of “A Blog for Life Livers”, Where I could be as broad as I wanted by combining all of the things that moved into the general theme of a “life well lived” (hence my website’s tagline).
The second thing that I came to realize was that in order to create my own “original” content that I was cultivating my own garden of different ideas, styles, and passions that I have absorbed throughout my life and inspire me. I was able to explore this idea further in my week five process post “Digital Dressing up: Reflection” where I explain that “I decided to create my online identity for my blog in a way that invited all who simply live life to take whatever it is they need from a wide variety of content. Whether it was stories, videos, poems, or random photography from experiences and adventures, that there would be something for everyone”. During the process of creating my online self, the “voice” that came from the cultivation of my personal digital garden was a projection of the things that moved me and were the source of inspiration of what I chose to display on my website (Basu, 2020). I found that I related my creative process to our week four reading from Tanya Basu “Digital gardens let you cultivate your own little bit of the internet” in a sense that the projection of my online self became a “digital garden” that “explores a wide variety of topics that are adjusted and changed to show growth and learning” (Basu, 2020). By being able to pull from multiple different channels of inspiration such as Instagrammers and youtube channels, I was able to create a space that was my own rendition of the pieces of media that move me. For instance, I drew great inspiration for my blog through a five minute YouTube video released this October 2020 of a young skier who has a passion for skiing and an unbelievable zest for life (embedded below). Content such as this fuelled my desire to create my own digital garden that moved others similar to how this short clip moved me.
Part Two: The Blog in Action
Once I sorted through the first twists, turns, and speedbumps of learning to use wordpress and turning my ideas into digital content, I was able to put my blog into action. I imagined my public to be a demographic of teens/ young adults/ adults ranging from 14-30. I also imagined my public to be similar to that of the heavily engaged public of Instagram. This is due to the fact that pages with similar adventure/wellness/holistic living ~aesthetics~ normally attract that age demographic. I worked to address my public through multiple channels of media in attempts to “enhance (fan) engagement and expand our understanding of the original” as introduced by Henry Jenkins from his article “The Revenge of the Origami Unicorn: Seven Principles of Transmedia Storytelling (Well, Two Actually. Five More on Friday)”. Jenkins’ idea of the “original” pertains to the general essence of adventure and holistic well being that I aimed to create on my blog by using different levels of Transmedia integration (Jenkins, 2009). I found this as a super fun and creative way of engaging my audience through different styles of editorial design and content. An example of this would be the addition of my “media gallery” on my site where I showcase different photos and videos that I have taken/ made that appear on the posts within my website. In addition to this, I was able to dive deeper into creating a digital space to “unwind” the mind by sharing pieces of my own creative writing through short stories and poetry. I found this to be one of my most favourite ways of putting my blog in action and found great creative energy in displaying a “life well lived” through written words. This sentiment seemed to be shared amongst my public of readers and page viewers as my peer reviews, comments section, and google analytics data all showed that my “short stories and poetry” posts were my most popular and well received. I found this to be an interesting development as in the beginning, I thought that the most “attractive” part of my blog would be the videos and photos that I posted and only intended to throw in a poem and a short story as a fun little side thing to keep my content diverse and fresh. I used this feedback and adapted my blog post style for the rest of the term, focusing more on creating more short stories and poetry such as “Magic: Sometimes Lost But Always Found”, “Rain Thoughts” and “The Sun’s Solace”. In addition to this, I received feedback from my peer reviews that spotlighted blog posts such as my “Forest Foraging” post where I talked about mushroom hunting and recipes for coastal BC Mushrooms. I was able to take this feedback and use it to inspire further blog posts similar to this one. Posts such as “Sounds for the Soul”, “Good Food, Good Life”, and “Self Care: Yoga & Mindfulness Tools” all followed the same idea of lifestyle/ wellness blog posts that gave readers tools and inspiration for a healthier and happier life (or“tools for a life well lived”). Through this process I learned that the blog posts that I was the most passionate about and allowed my personality and interests to roam freely were the most fun and easy to write, and it seemed as if my public could sense that too.
Part Three: Main Takeaways
One of the largest takeaways from my publishing journey was from the reading “How I Got My Attention Back” by Craig Mod. This was a reading that was given to us early in the semester and ended up being a piece of content that I took to heart and explored further outside of the classroom. This was displayed in my two part process post series “How I Got My Attention Back” and “How I Got My Attention Back: The Debrief”. During the span of these two posts, I took a month long social media hiatus (inspired by Craig Mod’s article). This allowed me to learn about myself and my own dependence on social media and also allowed me to practice some of the “tools for a life well lived” that I preach on this blog. I was able to remove myself from the jaws of the online world and afterwards, was able to come back to my blog with a set of fresh eyes that had a whole new set of values towards social media use. This allowed me to reflect on the image that I created for myself online and solidify what I feel is the importance of creating a blog such as this one that puts emphasis on mindfulness, well being, and enjoying every moment that life has to offer you. Now that this class is over, I want to continue to use this blog. However, in what way, I am not quite sure. From this experience, I re-kindled my passion for writing short stories and poetry and am now considering transforming this lifestyle blog into more of an interactive “vault” or “collection” that showcases my artistic passions such as photography, cinematography, writing, and poetry.
Basu, Tanya. September, 5 2020. “Digital gardens let you cultivate your own little bit of the internet” MIT Technology Review.
Henry Jenkins. “The Revenge of the Origami Unicorn: Seven Principles of Transmedia Storytelling (Well, Two Actually. Five More on Friday).” Henry Jenkins, Henry Jenkins, 12 Dec. 2009, henryjenkins.org/2009/12/the_revenge_of_the_origami_uni.html.
Mod, Craig. “How I Got My Attention Back.” Wired, Conde Nast, 22 Dec. 2018, www.wired.com/2017/01/how-i-got-my-attention-back/.
Trenton Gravity Research. “Kai 3.0: Thirteen-Year-Old Skier Kai Jones Takes Flight at Jackson Hole”. October, 20, 2020. https://youtu.be/Q52poh9Hq6I
Essay #2: The Conclusion of PUB 101
I always had an appetite for self-expression. In secondary school, I would post on multiple platforms including YouTube and Tumblr under a mysterious username. Although I constantly craved to speak my mind, I would always set my posts to private out of instinct. My self-expression was always limited to a privatized audience. This came as a result of being taught to keep things private online. In Danah Boyd’s book, It’s Complicated, she expresses the sentiment behind teaching the youth to be cautious online. She states that parents are usually concerned about their child’s online presence with worries that they might post something inappropriate or dangerous (Boyd, 2014, Searching for a Public of Their Own, para. 16). I was never posting anything harmful, but it was still a frightening thought to have something negative traced back to me in the real world. My past fears about having an online presence are important to recall when understanding how my habits have transformed throughout the semester.
PUB 101 forced me to defy the fears that I previously avoided. It troubled me to think about how others would perceive me online, so creating a public blog about myself was a significant disruption to the habits that I was normally comfortable with. The first disturbance came about when I was picking a blog name. It was such a critical decision to create a web domain that would last a year. Initially, I wanted my blog to be under a mysterious username, in the same degree as my old habits. However, I figured using my name would be my best bet at creating something unique. Since I was already taking a leap of faith by creating a blog in the first place, it didn’t seem too far off to also name it after myself. In hindsight, I’m surprised that I chose to post things under my real name where anyone could find me. This name choice was a shocking first step that paved the way for many other decisions because it went against all of the preconceived opinions that I had about creating an online presence.
After that first step, I decided to choose a blog theme. I wanted a theme that was minimalistic but also unique; something that wouldn’t take away from the content that I would post. I took a long meander through WordPress themes and initially settled on one of the lesser-known ones called ‘Pink Personal Blogily’. I enjoyed its simplicity, but I soon realized that this lone factor was its greatest downfall, since it lacked a number of customization features that I desired. Shortly after, I adjusted to the ‘Elfie’ theme. This theme allowed for the same minimalism but included more ways to customize features. I tried to keep in mind the design principles that were mentioned in class – balance, rhythm, proportion and scale, contrast and point of focus, and unity and harmony.
I was originally debating between two totally different blog topics – hockey or fashion. But since we’re in a global pandemic right now, the hockey season was constrained. With that being said, fashion was my best option. I consider myself to be heavily motivated by fashion influencers, so I thought it would be a good idea to experiment with fashion using my own personal twist. In “Digital Dressing Up: Modelling female teen identity in the discursive spaces of the fashion blogosphere” by Tara Chittenden, she explained how many females, including myself, choose to express themselves using fashion blogs. Chittenden articulates, “The complex interplay between individuality and connectedness comes to the fore in the field of the fashion blog as teens trade cultural and social capital through processes of posting, linking, and commenting” (Chittenden, 2010, para. 14). This is extremely relevant to the way that I view large fashion influencers and the way that I strive to become one as well. Popularity amongst fashion influencers stems from the idea of following trends while also creating new trends to follow. When reflecting on my own blog posts, I recognize that I do a lot to make myself become a part of the fashion community, but I don’t do a lot in order to differentiate myself from other people.
For the most part, I provide information about products, including reviews and dupes. When looking for influencers to follow, I usually follow people who also provide reviews and dupes. In that sense, I recreate the tactics that big influencers use so that I can garner growth similar to them. This concept can relate to the idea of copycat culture that Travis Gertz outlines in “Design Machines: How to survive in the digital apocalypse.” Gertz states, “When another company achieves success, there’s a lot of pressure to investigate what they did right and apply that to our own organizations” (Gertz, 2015, para. 24). Although this is a good way to start, I also realized throughout the semester that this tactic can quickly become a disadvantage. This downfall is because there are many people who already blog about fashion and do it better than me. At the end of the day, it becomes a question of who will choose to listen to my opinion over other influencers who have a larger following? The only way to win in this situation is to create something unique; something that I haven’t done enough of. I learned this by exploring the statistics provided by my audience. Most of the sessions on my blog are surface-level interactions, with no comments. Consequently, I still have a lot to learn about how to cater to my audience using Google Analytics.
My imagined audience is other fashion enthusiasts who have a similar style as me. Although this imagined audience is whom I would hope to reach, I presume that almost all of my real audience is actually students from PUB 101. I think it would be cool to reach more of my imagined audience in the future, but I also understand that doing so takes time and effort that I have yet to put in. Before this class, I thought it would be easy to create and maintain a blog. But I realized it takes a lot of work. There’s a big difference between having an idea and actually executing it with an audience in mind. I had endless ideas about what I could post, but the way that I imagined them in my head ended up being difficult to successfully market to an audience. Although this is the case, it’s a part of growth to understand what I enjoy posting and vice versa.
After this course, I will continue to blog. I will experiment more with catering content to my audience and trying to find ways to reach more people. It will be fun to look back on my content from the past and see how much I have grown from it. I gained unforgettable knowledge from this course that I know I will use in the future. Since I want to work in the marketing industry, it was fascinating to learn about content creation and analytics. It was a valuable experience to be able to casually experiment with ways to cater to an audience, especially because it is actually a lot harder than it seems. I also learned how to use many different tools like WordPress, Google Analytics, Canva, Pexels, and Unsplash. I will be delving deeper into these new tools to use in my work life.
Boyd, D. (2014). Searching for a public of their own. In D. Boyd, It’s Complicated (pp. 213-227).
Chittenden, T. (2010). Digital dressing up: modelling female teen identity in the discursive spaces of the fashion blogosphere. Journal of Youth Studies, 505-520.
Gertz, T. (2015, July 10). Design Machines: How to survive the digital apocalypse. Retrieved from Louder Than Ten: https://louderthanten.com/coax/design-machines
Essay #2: Self-Reflection
Over the course of the semester, PUB 101 has given me the opportunity to grow and take the first step towards beginning a dream of mine.
I finally began my fashion blog.
All I needed was a little push.
Of course, the deadlines and the worry about grades helped in making this come to life.
I attended every lecture and every tutorial throughout the course. I listened, I took notes, and though it may take a little more time to get there, I learned so very much about how to successfully publish myself online. I have done the readings for the course and made attempts to apply what I have learned.
I have fallen behind on posting before, saved too many drafts instead of publishing them, and due to unforeseen circumstances (my poor camera!), have not been able to continue taking photos for my posts. Let’s hope Christmas brings nice things!
And I was quiet.
I’ve always been a quiet person. I’ve always been a quiet student. I don’t like to draw attention to myself and being able to hide behind a screen has made it even easier to blend into the background. I could’ve been more active and participated. At times, I wanted to, but it takes a little more courage, especially when most of the class also has their cameras off.
But that is my truth.
Overall, I would give myself a B or a B-.
Guidelines and Balance: Monitoring an Online Community
Week 12 Process Post
In a digital world, the comment section of any online space can look like a war zone. It has become increasingly easy to hide behind the security of ones screen and launch negative comments like virtual rounds of an automatic rifle.
Creating an open online space also means an open space for the darker side of the internet in regards to online comments, shaming, and negative feedback on a publishers content.
In the article “The Psychology of Online Comments” by Maria Konnikova, it is explained how numerous websites have created community guidelines by removing the comment section. Although the anonymous space of the internet plays can key role in creativity, it can also lend a hand to concepts such as the online disinhibition effect and the diffusion of responsibility and encourage un-civil behaviour (Konnikova, 2013).
Personally, I have not yet had an experience with “trolls” or negative online comments (which could be due to the fact that my blog is basically unseen by the public eye). However, in the case that I do blow up as an online blogging internet sensation, I have outlined below a couple of my own community guidelines for my own website:
- Regulate the comment section: comb through the comments to remove any overly negative, rude, or inappropriate comments that take away from the general “vibe” of the site. AKA, keep things happy, inclusive, and fun. Life is hard enough and I don’t need something as silly as the comments section of my website to promote anger and hate.
- Create a sense of balance (for myself and my readers): Although it can be easy to only focus on combing out negativity, I also want to make a point of responding to positive comments and highlighting little pieces of encouragement and joy that has been created within my online space,. This could be done by making a “community sunshine patch” page that works to highlight the more “sunny” portions of my online community. For instance, I could repost testimonials regarding positive feedback on this page such as “I tried this recipe and my family loved it!!!”, or “I started a daily stretching routine and I finally feel like I’ve claimed a space for zen in my own mind”. Another thing that I could do with this “community sunshine patch” page would be to screenshot and highlight positive interactions between commenters to encourage others to engage with one another and make an online family (awwww).
- Display a set of descriptive community guidelines on the homepage of my website that clearly states that this page will not tolerate any slandering or hate towards others, gender, age, abilities, viewpoints on topics, race, or religion. Basically telling commenters to be open minded, respectful, and kind.
Works Cited: Konnikova, Maria. 2013. “The Psychology of Online Comments”. http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/the-psychology-of-online-comments
Week 11 Process Post
This week, I am reflecting upon ways that I have integrated different forms of media within the content of my website in order to make it eye catching and interactive for readers and page visitors. At the beginning of the semester, my plan was to integrate different channels of media into my blog such as photos, videos, music, references to alternate websites such as Pinterest, and links to alternate pages such as sites for recipes and additional readings. By doing so, I aimed to create different levels of story telling that added to the general theme of a “life well lived” hoping to layer content that applied to all areas of life, to best fit the idea of “A Blog for Life Livers”. Much like how Henry Jenkins explains Transmedia Storytelling in his article “Revenge of the Origami Unicorn: Seven Principles of Transmedia Storytelling (Well, Two Actually, Five More on Friday)”, I worked to integrate different channels of media into my website in such a way that accounted for the idea that “each medium makes its own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story” (Jenkins, 2009). Although Jenkins’ article mainly refers to Transmedia integration in relation to multiverses and fan fiction, I believe that this concept still applies to my website and the creation of my blog as I looked to use multiple channels of media integration within my site to “enhance engagement and expand ones understanding (Jenkins, 2009) and help readers dive deeper into a life well lived.
Henry Jenkins. “The Revenge of the Origami Unicorn: Seven Principles of Transmedia Storytelling (Well, Two Actually. Five More on Friday).” Henry Jenkins, Henry Jenkins, 12 Dec. 2009, henryjenkins.org/2009/12/the_revenge_of_the_origami_uni.html.
Week 12: Trolling and Wrap up thoughts
This week was our last ‘learning lecture’. The last one where we actually learn something, the next lecture will be our final lecture where we go through each other’s blogs and share our experiences.
This week was about trolling and cyber-bullying.
Frankly, I’m a bit biased when it comes to trolling and bullying. I’m all for it as long as it doesn’t involve me. Now I’m going to expand on that before it gets misinterpreted.
Bullying large media personalities or corporations who are mean and all round terrible is not something I feel too bad about. For example, people have relentlessly bullied and trolled the Trump campaign and Rudi Gulliani on social media for all the dumb things they do. While I agree that they are human and probably have feelings too, I don’t feel so bad for them getting trolled.
When United Airlines dragged that doctor off the flight, I joined in with the tweet storm making memes at United Airlines. Even though the poor social media coordinator had nothing to do with it. And that’s where I stand with it. My limitations. I love being part of a movement or bullying those who deserve it as long as my view aligns. Its mob mentality personified.
But the problem arises when someone bullies someone I don’t agree with. For example people were quick to cancel Sasha Obama for saying the n-word (even though she’s black?), and Kevin Hart for making homophobic comments 10 years ago even though he denounced his earlier comments and has moved past them. There was a twitter storm, there was outrage, but I didn’t agree with it.
And that’s the thing with trolling and bullying. I think we all like it as long as we aren’t the victim of it. We love to see Trump being trolled, or Juliani get memed. But as soon as the target shifts, we are uncomfortable. With trolling, either you have to like all of it, or none of it.
That’s why I’ve kept comments on my website. I recognize that there will be mean comments and there will be rude things said. And I’d like to say that I have thick skin and that it won’t affect me but realistically, it will. If someone left me a comment saying the yellow was ugly there is a fair chance that by next week my blog would be blue.
While I am not Trump or United Airline, I have decided to put myself into the public spotlight and I must unfortunately bear the heat that comes with being in it. Luckily my views aren’t too controversial, and I’m not that big so it’s a lot harder for me to get hate. But it does make you think: is it worth being a big blogger if you have to neuter your views at risk of outrage?
Week 11: Andrew McLuhan
Alright so today was definitely an interesting class. If you have taken a communications class at SFU or have simply walked by the faculty, all you hear about is Karl Marx and Marshall McLuhan.
So imagine my surprise when our guest lecturer announces he’s the child of Karl Marx. Just kidding! He was actually the grandson of Marshall McLuhan. Which was the equivalent of meeting an academic celebrity. Just like his grandfather he was very well spoken and articulate.
He spoke to us about the “medium is the message” and McLuhan’s philosophy and views.
McLuhan was definitely an academic rockstar. He was on TV well before it was acceptable for academics to be on TV, he was open with his ideas and he explained them well. The medium is the message touches upon the idea that form is more important than the content.
Here’s an example. When the TV first came out, people thought wow the message is what is playing on the TV. It will revolutionize communication. But the TV revolutionized more than just communication. It impacted interior design, status symbols, and urban design.
You might be wondering; how?
Well, before the TV, houses were centered around a fireplace. Now, they are centered around a TV. Since a TV was this new invention, not everyone could afford it making it a status symbol for those who could. Before a TV, people had to live closer to downtown to be able to get information and stay updated with people. After the TV came into the picture, you no longer were no longer limited to live in urban areas to stay connected. People were limited solely based on employment.
We’re seeing this shift happen today. With the pandemic and people working from home, we are seeing a shift in urban density. Why would you live in an expensive studio downtown when you could live in a cushy mansion near the suburbs? The medium is the message. The idea that the form, not its content has a greater impact on society.
In the modern context we see how Zoom has made learning limitless. We are no longer limited geographically to get an education. Time zone’s mean nothing for classes as they are prerecorded. In future, this could also mean that people are no longer limited financially to get an education either.
What has been communicated, means nothing compared to what it was communicated with. What has had greater change on history, all the letters ever written or the invention of paper and email? McLuhan was an absolute genius and to watch his grandson follow in his footsteps of becoming an academic was equally inspiring.
In terms of how McLuhan’s teaching relates to my website, it doesn’t directly. But I shouldn’t be asking what I should be changing about my website, but discover what the website has changed about me. I have become a slightly more expressive person, and I think I have now gained some web-design skills (as long as there’s a theme available).
Mini Assignment 6
Fall down 10 times but get up 11 right??
Here is a quasi-GIF that wears two hats: one that passes as a never ending short video loop that normally constitutes a GIF due to the amount of times I fall over and over again. And secondly, I hope this video inspires you to try- regardless of how many times you may fall down in the process.
Week 10: Maybe I should have focused on the backend.
Think week was an exciting one. We learnt about SEO. I have always heard about SEO and the benefits of it but i never really knew how it works. Until this week.
Basically you have to allow Google to access various parts of your websites and it decides where you rank (based on how well optimised your website is).
Interestingly enough, I paid 0 attention to SEO on my website. I never knew how time consuming it was. It’s certainly an investment, and a good one at that but I’m just not sure if I need it. The topics of my blogs aren’t things that people search for, and if someone is looking up ‘Amaansworld’ there’s a high chance they know me and will likely find the website.
That being said, the SEO on my website currently is very poor. There’s like 8 different posts search results before anything related to my website comes up. I am on page 1 of google which i guess is good news. But I didn’t expect to be so far down. There’s a lot of Amaansworlds’ out there apparently.
I think as I will keep blogging more and updating the content, and UI of this website the SEO will organically get better. But if it doesn’t improve in 3 months of new blogs and website changes, I will start working on the SEO on the backend.
Week 9: Advertising Money
This week we had a pleasant surprise in class. Trevor, my professor for PUB456 was a guest lecturer for our class today. Of course he gets the most interesting topic about raising money.
Trevor made good points about how blogs can be monetized or at least leveraged for free stuff. It made me reflect on my niche and made me realise that if I had picked something other than a diary entry I would have been able to make some good money. Had this been a food blog or a hotel review blog, I think I would have enjoyed some of the leverage that comes with that.
Unfortunately as a blog with an extremely limited target audience in an even more obscure niche the only real sponsors I could get would be Audible, Skillshare, or Betterhelp.
Those guys have way better and bigger options than me for advertising. Plus because I don’t really talk about any products I can’t really put up affiliate links.
We did touch upon an interesting idea though. The idea of integrity. Since most of the advertisers who would want to advertise on my blogs would be running ads they weren’t allowed to run elsewhere, would I be okay with that? I mean do I really want to have an ad for dick pills playing on the side for a few cents each month? This was an easy “no”. But a few hundred extra dollars each month? It becomes a maybe.
For now I want my website to be free of advertising so that I can maintain some level of free expression. Plus because of the size of my website I won’t really be getting a lot of money from ads anyway.
Week 8: Copyright
So we just had an interesting lecture about copyright and blogging today. The lecturer, Jon Festinger is a copyright lawyer which was pretty neat. It definitely got me thinking about some of the pictures I’ve been using on my website.
Luckily for me all the pictures I’ve been using are either my own, or free to use for non-commercial purposes. I’m also using free-to-use online tools such as Canva and Unsplashed for some of the media requirements of my website. But I have noticed that if this was a larger blog I do run the risk of being sued for copyright infringements. Some of the videos I have made have background music I sourced from unknown websites, some of the icons and pictures I have used have been downloaded from websites I forgot to source. I think moving forward I will have to be a lot more diligent with my design choices and ensure I am linking and citing appropriately, and not just in my essays.
As for website updates, there aren’t any major overhauls. Since the set-up of the new theme and the colour scheme + header, I haven’t had to do too much work. I’ve just been working on writing content. It was pretty interesting to consider how I have so much power in the space of publishing where I can now put out content that can reach hundreds of people if I want to. Especially when just a few generations ago only some held the authority to publish work and have it reach the mainstream.
Week 7: Canva is underrated
GOD BLESS THE CREATOR OF CANVA. I needed a new header because I actually could and decided to use Canva to make a new header. Canva is seriously underrated. I was able to make this new header and change up the entire colour scheme of my website in just a few minutes. Next, I decided to add a featured image for my blogs. I had to download an extension that allows me to hide my feature image in my blogs but have it show as a thumbnail for the blog menu.
Some of the feedback from the previous peer reviews spoke about how I should organize the blogs all on one page rather than clicking to go to another page like I had last time.
I’m happy to report that the new theme has fixed even that major issue.
The blog colour scheme is now yellow because I feel that yellow has a nice playful connotation which is what I want the website to have. It was really tricky picking the right shade of yellow because if it’s a little lighter or darker it starts to look really aggressive or pick up a dirty urine-like hue. Luckily I was able to get the right shade, I used this online colour picker tool to copy the colour hex-code from another yellow image.
Week 6: Starting from scratch
Alright so I gave in and changed the theme. It was a tough decision because I really wanted to continue with the existing theme but it is just too restricting for me.
So this new theme that I’m using called signify is making my life a bit easier as it does everything I want it to. Except change the font. For some reason I cannot figure out for the life of me how to change this font.
On another note, I’ve been trying to pay more attention to what my target audience might be and what kind of content I should be putting out. I know this isn’t the best audience but I genuinely think it’s just my friends and family. This website is sort of like a diary for me as opposed to a project I want to commodify, which is probably why the content fluctuates from what is going on in my day to what is going on in the world.
My next steps for the website is to have a nice banner that compliments the theme, change the colour scheme to avoid clashes, and figure out a way to fix the font.
Mini A5: Animated GIF
The blog pengsphotos.com is a blog aimed at photography hobbyists who are interested in learning more and engaging with the online photography community. The blog includes stories from my own experiences, lessons from those stories, basic information to improve photos, intermediate photography skills, and some opinion pieces regarding photography values. The imagined audience would be beginners who are interested in learning as much as they can from others to improve their photography skills. The real audience is small but is comprised of hobbyists who enjoy reading about other’s experiences for the entertainment rather than the lessons.
This imagined audience is addressed through the writing of mostly jargon-free blog posts and stories that are written from my experience, I then turn around and attempt at relaying the lessons I learned from those experiences. Photos taken by me are included in the blog posts to further explain concepts and enhance stories to give them meaning. In terms of design, the blog is made to be minimalistic yet easy to navigate. Drop down menus are made for the subcategories of the course assignments, and a static home page with an interesting photo and a short introduction are used to welcome new and returning readers.
In terms of value, the site is created to entertain readers as well as inform. This could be referred to as edutainment, which is “education meant to be educational” (Merriam Webster n.d.). However, this specific blog is meant to be read as entertainment first and education second. Playful learning is the term used by Mitchel Resnick (2004) in “Edutainment? No Thanks. I Prefer Playful Learning” in the Associazione Civita Report on Edutainment to describe an alternative approach to learning. Not through educating and entertainment, but through the active and willing participation of learners to learn through play. An example on the blog being the stories of failure having entertainment value with the secondary benefit being lessons that the readers can take away to use in their photography.
The use of stories engages the readers and teaches them a lesson through playful writing to emphasize the amusing mistakes that I make. This allows the reader to be engaged rather than knowingly consuming education that’s delivered as “a bitter medicine that needs the sugar-coating of entertainment to become palatable” (Resnick 2004).
This value would be provided to the main audience, who are readers that willingly read stories related to photography in order to gain entertainment value from it, though are interested in learning new skills and methods as well. What was learned from Google analytics was that not many people are interested in reading the lessons written on the blog, but they would rather read stories that are written with entertainment as a priority. Given this though, not many people visited the blog, so more valuable conclusions are not available to be made since google analytics were implemented too late in the semester to gather more data.
In the beginning of the term, the blog was thought of as being a purely educational blog with entertainment being secondary to education. Posts written had a stiff feeling as they truly embodied Resnick’s metaphor of the bitter pill. As posts were written throughout the semester, they became more playful as the writing got easier and flow of language along with my voice became clearer and established itself.
My thinking about writing blog has changed in that It has gotten more fluid. Syed Balkhi (n.d) wrote on the blog Constant Contact several tips to write more engaging content for online blogs. One that I had used to improve my writing is the “three sentence rule” which is keeping paragraphs short to allow the reader to process information more easily. In the beginning, I wrote posts quite long when I thought of the blog as education primary, and as I used this advice, my posts became shorter and more focused on entertainment. I became a lot more comfortable writing and it ended up being fun for me!
Looking forward, I would like to develop my blog further and possibly start integrating videos online to share stories and video content. My online self after this course will be more casual with less of an emphasis of communicating concepts to others, but rather to communicate feelings and ideas or opinions. I would also like to work on my writing skills as well. I would like to be able to more easily communicate feelings to give my readers more context for mistakes and situations. An example of this would be to cause them second-hand embarrassment.
Balkhi, S. (2020, November 11). How to Craft Epic Blog Posts That Engage Readers and Keep Them Coming Back. Retrieved from https://blogs.constantcontact.com/engage-readers/
Edutainment. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/edutainment
Resnick, M. (2004). Edutainment? No Thanks. I Prefer Playful Learning. Retrieved from https://llk.media.mit.edu/papers/edutainment.pdf
Process Post 8: Final Thoughts
I wanted to build my publication around goalkeeping because it is what I typically do when I am not doing homework. I thought it would be fun to share some of the different drills and fitness that I have to do as a goalie I didn’t really think about my audience mostly because of the fact that it could interest a variety of people. Even those who are not necessarily athletic people or didn’t know a whole lot about soccer, it’s still a topic that could make anyone second guess skipping to a different site. When it came to the design of my website I wanted to portray that yes I am an athlete, but I am a female and I enjoy a lot of girly things, so when it came to the design I wanted the color theme and the layout of my website to show that femininity side of me, and I really enjoyed the result of the looks of my website.
As the term moved on, it became less about the fitness and drill aspect and more on what goes on inside of the head of a goalkeeper in different situations. I tried to plan out how I was going to film when it came to practices but there were times where we didn’t have anyone on the side to film, or the weather prohibited us from filming. Down the road if I want to continue to post on site, I think I would plan a little better and organize how and what I will film. In Shelby Carpenter’s article, she explained the difficulty in keeping up with content and how much to put out before you eventually run out of ideas. The way that I viewed this for my site, is that there are an infinite amount of drills and ideas for drills to put out onto the internet where it can be viewed by other young or older goalkeepers. It doesn’t just have to stop at goalkeepers or even athletes in general, there are people that can scroll and find a person who is flying through the air and catching a ball, falling on the ground with no hesitation towards the repercussions for their bodies. It is just a matter of whether the producer of the content can keep up and get the videos out there.
When the term publishing came to mind for me in the beginning of this term, I could only think of books and their publicists, movies, and businesses. After taking this class I didn’t realize that publishing could be such a broad term and are needed almost everywhere. Not to mention that I thought that I was pretty good at technology in the beginning of this semester and after having to create and manage a website, I found out that maybe I’m not the greatest. I found it interesting considering that these days we use technology in almost everything we do and to be offline is like going away to Mars (Mod). When it came to producing content it seemed like a good idea to view it as a social media account. Because everyone can attest to going onto various social media platforms a lot. My only problem was that I don’t post a lot on my social media accounts, I just go and browse to see what is going on in other people’s lives and have found a lot of respect for those who can just write so much content and stay on top of it.
I have not received any comments but I would like to keep it open because I think it could really help shape my website and people might bring up some good ideas. Of course there are going to be situations where people might comment some not so very nice things to say. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and have their own ways of carrying out what they want to say, technology has provided a way for us to say things with some anonymity therefore making it easier to say some things that probably shouldn’t be said face-to-face. That being said, after reading “The dark side of Guardian comments” I have seen ways to handle certain comments if they should ever get out of hand which I certainly hope they don’t.
Looking back I would say that I had this crazy way of thinking that publishing was this narrow term that applied to books and movies, etc. and it was more a peer review. Now I see that it is way, way broader than that and can be used in so many different aspects of lives. Moving forward my goal is to try and find time to continue to blog because it involves doing something active and fun for me. Overtime if the website turns out to be a success maybe I can get some sponsors like showing off goalie gloves, athletic wear, etc. I had a lot of fun experimenting with my website and seeing other classmates create great content too.
Carpenter, Shelby. “The Toast Is Toast: Literary Humor Site Shuts Down Over Ad Revenue Woes.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 13 May 2016, www.forbes.com/sites/shelbycarpenter/2016/05/13/the-toast-is-toast-and-its-devastating/?sh=15630d0948f6.
Gardiner, Becky, et al. “The Dark Side of Guardian Comments.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 12 Apr. 2016, www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/12/the-dark-side-of-guardian-comments.
Mod, Craig. “How I Got My Attention Back.” Wired, Conde Nast, www.wired.com/2017/01/how-i-got-my-attention-back/.
Process Post #11: The Comment Section
Peer Review #3
I will be reviewing a website by my peer Milton Jang his website is MiltonJang.com The first thing I’d like to say is Milton’s blog is everything I wish mine was the front page is simple yet it captivates the reader with just enough to keep you exploring the website it features a Logo and then “I’m Milton” written and his little self quote below is little about me section with the cutest picture of a dog and it fits in so well.
His sidebar features an About the site page which goes in depth of telling us what he and his blog are about, a Blog which drops down to archives which shows magnitudes of his work sub divided by the months that he did them Immensely organized and his work was beautiful , nothing dull and many option to choose from he has everything intact to keep his audience engaged and never lacking
The question today is if i find Miltons blog marketable and i would like to say yes i do , i do not exactly know who he is marketing to but it certainly appeals to me he has a portfolio which includes featured pieces he has worked on this in my opinion speaks to his professionalism and his expectation for the website . My review ? Milton took this as more than just a class assignment , looking at his website the only thing that comes to mind is that anything worth doing is worth doing well , he put his heart and soul into this website and im proud i had the task of reviewing it. I had a lot to think about after and it only made me want to make my site better, so Milton thank you for a job well done.
To Milton, I would say keep doing what you’re. doing and don’t lose whatever fire made you keep this blog passionately going, Inspire more people like you did me, and don’t listen to hate because it will certainly come… you have built a brand don’t let it fall under your current standard. The world is your Oyster.