Author Archives: Amaan

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).

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.

Essay 2: My online publishing experience

I created AmaansWorld as a sort of journal entry into my mind. I wanted it to be a space where I could write freely about my thoughts and adventures. Very quickly I decided to narrow down on the audience and give it some kind of a ‘direction’. As a result of deciding on an audience, the baseless rambling became cohesive blogs, and the crazy theories became neatly explained ideas. Originally, I wanted this website to be a space for myself, but very quickly I decided that the audience for this space would be my friends and family who would want to keep up with me during the pandemic and stay entertained.

WordPress woes:
I used Reclaim Hosting to host my domain and used WordPress to design my website. WordPress is fairly easy to use, but it does have a bit of a learning curve. I found that the default theme I was in was extremely limited and lacked a lot of customizability that the other themes had. I switched over to a theme called Signify after weeks of battling the default theme.

Design elements:
Since I wanted my blog to be a reflection of my personality, I decided to use yellow as the primary color for my theme. Yellow is often seen on parenting, wellness, and travel websites because of its ability to make viewers feel warmth and optimism (Bryne, 2019). It also makes them feel happier and gives the blog a more youthful vibe (Bryne, 2019).

I decided to give only the blog page thumbnails as it would entice people to read the blog. I didn’t feel it was necessary for the process posts, mini assignments, and other posts as those are all academic pieces of content that will be read and judged anyway. The blog section is something I wanted to grow organically, and the most effective way (other than good SEO) for me was to use thumbnail pictures to entice people.

I also added a comment box for people to be able to interact with each other and form a community. My vision was to be able to give my audience of friends and family a public space to share comments and interact with the content and each other. Unfortunately, due to the low website views, no one left any comments. 

My Analytics
My analytics showed me that most, if not all of my visitors were just my classmates checking my website or my parents looking at it. I did have some random views from Russia, but I didn’t see as much of my friends and family on there as I would have liked. Unfortunately, I was not able to gather much about my audience from Google Analytics. I do think that if I improved my SEO for the blog the results would have been much more organic and promising. I also think if I shifted my websites direction to more topical content I would have more organic growth.

Online Disinhibition and me.
I noticed that my content had led to online disinhibition. Online disinhibition is the idea that people do things in cyberspace that they wouldn’t otherwise do in real life (Suler, 2004). In my case, I noticed my online persona fell into solipsistic introjection, where my mind has merged with my online persona (Suler, 2004). I could feel the more charismatic and interesting version of myself take over my text messages or place an order for deliveries. I that my online self is more interesting, charismatic, and social than my actual self and I’m seeing the lines in my online-self and my real/offline-self get blurred.

The issue of audience and anonymity.
Since my ideal audience would have been comprised of people I know, I think my content was self-censored to a certain degree. While it’s true that short term focused writing about emotions has benefits such as enhanced immune function, lowered blood pressure and anxiety, less depressive symptoms, etc. (Novotney, 2014).  I feel that I was not fully able to grasp those benefits because of a lack of anonymity.

Initially, I wanted this blog to be a stream of consciousness like a diary entry because of the immense benefits to self-esteem, social anxiety, and emotional distress, blogging has (Novotney, 2014). However, I was unable to upload anything I thought was too personal as I lacked anonymity and had a fear of judgment from my peers and audience. As a result, my content was not an honest reflection of myself, but rather how I wanted to be perceived by my peers. This is a phenomenon that has been noted by other researchers; anonymity behind blogging can allow for more free expression of ones-self as they no longer consider what their friends and family might think about their thoughts (Novotney, 2014).

I do think, that because of the nature of this blog (it being used for coursework) I was not able to fully open up and express my thoughts. Especially because I envisioned a community forming on my websites.

Online Comments and Content.
While I do have comments open, because of the low turnout to my blogs I. I think that as I kept blogging my content got more and more personal. I do believe that if someone had left a negative comment about my content, I would have very quickly changed direction with it.

While I do have comments open, because of the low turnout to my blogs didn’t receive any comments. This I think was a blessing to a certain degree, as I am pretty sensitive to criticism and a negative comment would have led me to change my content in some way. I noticed that as I kept blogging my content became more and more personal. However, I do believe that if someone had left a negative comment about my content, I would have made it less personal.  Furthermore, I think it would have affected my offline persona negatively too. Studies have shown that the vast majority of people do nothing and hope it would go away on its own (Khosa, 2016).

Trolling and gender.
While I am concerned about cyber-bullying and trolling on my blogs, I am statistically least likely to be affected because of my gender. For some reason, women are usually trolled online more often than men. Usually, because they are trolled by men (Gardiner et al., 2016). In fact, it has been proven that girls are far more likely to be cyber-bullied than boys (Greenfield, 2015). Some of the comments can go from mean-spirited to downright scary and disgusting like with Jessica Valenti who had to quit social media after her five-year-old child was getting rape threats because of her feminist work (Boggioni, 2016). To a certain degree, I carry privilege with me being online even though the internet is viewed as an equal platform. But just because of my gender, my website and content is less likely to be trolled.

Closing remarks:
I think this semester has given me insight into the work that goes behind becoming a successful blogger. I’ve learned that you need to be secure in your own identity and online image and that sometimes you can get lost in the online character you build for yourself. I do recognize that somewhere I did have it easier as I was a smaller blogger and a male. I think that had I been a larger blogger and a woman this would be a vastly different story. Moving forward, I think I will keep blogging but perhaps under a new, more anonymous blog as it will allow me to be more open with my expression. I do intend to keep Amaansworld running as a reminder to myself of the work I did.


Boggioni, T. (2016, July 28). Prominent feminist writer drops off social media after rape threat against her 5-year-old daughter. Retrieved December 07, 2020, from

Byrne, S. (2019, July 22). How Colour Psychology in Web Design Can Increase Conversions. Retrieved December 07, 2020, from

Gardiner, B., Mansfield, M., Anderson, I., Holder, J., Louter, D., & Ulmanu, M. (2016, April 12). The dark side of Guardian comments. Retrieved December 07, 2020, from

Greenfield, S. (2015, December 01). The Internet Has Changed Bullying- For The Worse. Retrieved December 07, 2020, from

Khosa, N. (2016). How personality effects victim’s response to cyberbullying (Master’s thesis, Thesis / Dissertation ETD, 2016) (pp. 1-51). Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University. doi:

Novotney, A. (2014, June). Blogging for mental health. Retrieved December 07, 2020, from

Suler, J. (2004, June 1). The Online Disinhibition Effect. Retrieved December 07, 2020, from

Mini Assignment #6: Create a Gif

This week I was tasked with creating a gif. I used a mobile app to put together pictures I had taken of myself during my 14-day quarantine to document my beard growth to create this gif.

Oddly enough I start to look slimmer towards the end of my quarantine