Author Archives: ammarah

next steps

This process post marks the final one in my journey with Publishing 101 and it’s safe to say it has been a story of ups and downs. Blogging and content creation is not an easy task especially when other events in life cloud the mind and stifle creativity. So in an effort to not make this piece completely tear-inspiring, I have decided to leave with a few notes on monetizing your website through various opportunities like SEO and some ways that you can plan to make money on the side by honing in on your passion, in other words, the next steps for your blog.

Making money from a website can be a rewarding and redeeming practice for those that blog as a “passion project” but know that “passion alone does not pay the rent” and with a growing movement in online monetization, there is a multitude of digital supports for such website incorporations (Shwake 2022). One of the primary examples of such support is cost-effective Search Engine Optimization aka SEO. TakeLesson’s by Microsoft defines SEO as, “a digital marketing strategy that targets a website’s presence in search results on search engines” contributing to more clicks and visits to the site and therefore more traffic toward affiliate links or other on-site revenue materials (2021). SEO also offers a competitive edge to your blog as majority of site landings are from organic search engines like Google. This is espescially critical as “Google owns a significantly larger portion of the search market than competitors like Yahoo, Bing, … DuckDuckGo, and many, many others (Hollingsworth 2021). SEO also serves as a primary standpoint on keeping up to date with “major changes” and the “environment” of the cyberverse, understanding what exactly consumers are looking for, and if you wish, how you can tailor your content to those search patterns (Hollingsworth 2021). In application, there are many sites and services that exist to assist with developing SEO in a cost-effective way, from Google’s own Starter Guide to gig-based professionals on Fiverr, there are plenty of options for a range of blog sizes.

Reflecting on my own blog and my personal next steps I can resonate with the quote, “monetization is math, not magic” because as much as I am not a mathematically inclined individual it takes some easy addition to understand that sometimes a growth mindset is all you need to get on top of creating ideas that can lead to making money from your content (Jackson 2022). My blog focuses on my own writing and exploration of poetry that could translate into a physical sale of my own poetry book. I can see a demand for such items with the growth in the wellness sector and the rising popularity of poetry books like ‘milk and honey’ by Rupi Kaur and ‘helium’ by Rudy Francisco, both extensively influential and profitable authors. This ability to “sell the skills you already have directly to people by working on specific projects or by teaching them how to do something” can translate into a range of personal talents that aren’t limited to things like poetry or prose but the whole range of services that people would be interested in purchasing (Georgiou 2023). These sorts of integrations of services can be done in a variety of ways including using sites like Wix and Weebly‘s e-commerce integration subscriptions to easily manage purchases or setting up WordPress e-commerce platforms. One of the most popular avenue’s is Shopify which allows for specialized ‘Shopify Apps’ and social media integration to streamline connectivity for consumers on all platforms.

From SEO to specialized content sales, creating a blog and discovering how you can achieve a monetary edge in the online world can be beneficial in fueling one’s journey with self-publishing. It is important to understand that money is not everything though and if your content, like some sites that I have reviewed in this class, is specifically for non-profit benefits it is important to stay true to your unwritten blog charter and take chart your steps from there.

Stay updated on site with my continuing ‘ink’ content and for any announcements related to a potential print publishing in the future, thank you for all your support so far.



Works Cited

Ajao, Adedayo. “What Is SEO? and How to Use It in Your Writing.” TakeLessons Blog, TakeLessons, 5 Mar. 2021,

Georgiou, Katrina. “How to Sell Your Skills: 10+ Great Ways to Put Yourself out There.” WikiHow, WikiHow, 6 Mar. 2023,

Hollingsworth, Sam. “15 Reasons Why Your Business Absolutely Needs Seo.” Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Journal, 9 Aug. 2021,

Jackson, Brian. “How to Monetize a Blog in 2023 (13 Profitable Ways).” Kinsta®, Kinsta®, 21 Oct. 2022,

Shwake, Emily. “How to Monetize a Blog and Maximize Profits.” Wix Blog, Wix Blog, 12 Mar. 2023,

The post next steps appeared first on ammarah.

a collection


letting you in

was what made breaking so easy

trojan were your claims

yet i say come, i say-



i hope you find love

in used cigarettes

in embers that lit

and never digressed

in candy wrappers

rubbed with cocaine

and crushed pop cans

that all sing

my name


your names tattooed onto my heart

and even if i rip it free

i’ll etch it onto swollen skin

and stitch it back with a safety pin


surround my heart with spears and thorns

it changes shape

adjusts its form

stab right through

and i won’t feel

i am modeling clay

to your preemptive


sidewalk flower

i’d eat concrete if it made me metal

grind up pavement between teeth

ensuring its density

so i can feel the wear

on my molars

create rubble from slabs

those freshly laid

and fully set

a bloodied mouth

and slit gums

i’d eat concrete if it made me metal enough

to forget the sidewalks i walked

with you

– ammarah siddiqui

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a digital gemini

My star sign and online persona should have little in common but as a Gemini, the twin sign, my zodiac is representative of how my online self and ‘real’ person coexist. Geminis, for those of you that share my lack of obsession with astrology, is said to exhibit dual personalities with sociable, creative tendencies that contrast inconsistency and mood swings. Whether you believe in the lore or not, I find myself gravitating toward these characteristics and duality as an example of how my online self and physical person are similar to twins but are also two different entities at the end of the day. Reflecting on these differences allows further insight into why people post and how we present ourselves online, cultivating our own internet twin selves.

The justification behind my own posting could be attributed to my current class urging me to write, however, I have a choice over what to post and how to post it. Having this autonomy has provided a unique opportunity to explore my online style of self-presentation, one that revolves around elements like minimalism and introspection. The link between knowledge and internet is also a bridge that I aim to explore with studies, “f(inding) that many schools in our fieldsites recognize that social media simultaneously assists informal learning (UCL Home).” This furthers the importance of content legitimacy on my website and the clarification that all of these works are self-created and do not reflect the majority’s opinion and rather my personal views. I create content to entertain my readers but also offer insight into global perspectives on things like the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that I am passionate about. My blog also gives me the ability to execute Erin Hollenbaugh’s idea of “strategic self-presentation” with my curated content that fits the standard I set for my work and for self-publishing which motivates me to create more content (2020).

Presenting oneself online can be seen through the rise in, “creative reimaginings of blogs have quietly taken nerdier corners of the internet by storm” that offer unique insights into the full range of human expression and passion (Basu 2020). An example of such expression can be seen in Blogroll’s article on Pokemon being used to communicate across media forms through its diverse fanbase and related content being available on a variety of mediums (2013). Depending on the internet medium content creators are able to present themselves in a variety of ways from professionally via platforms like LinkedIn or in more casual contexts on a personal blog or social media site like Twitter. For the purposes of my own content, I generally appreciate a blend of professionalism and casual correspondence with the reader, using personal pronouns while also maintaining a language and professional standard that does not include the use of sarcasm or crude humor. In my self-presentation outside of internet presence, I find myself gravitating to more casual interactions with friends and contrasting professional attitudes with professionals different than my overarching presentation of a blend on my website. Such choices allow me to understand the difference and Gemini form of differences and similarities within my in-person and online self.

The combination of content creation and self-presentation has showcased all the decisions that go into putting an image of self online. This journey has also led to self-reflection and an understanding that while my physical self and online self exist as two entities they are linked and cohesive in many ways.


Works Cited

Basu, Tanya. “Digital Gardens Let You Cultivate Your Own Little Bit of the Internet.” MIT Technology Review, MIT Technology Review, 3 Sept. 2020,

BlogRoll. “Pokemon as Transmedia Storytelling.”, BlogRoll, 21 Nov. 2013,

Hollenbaugh, Erin E. “Self-Presentation in Social Media: Review and Research Opportunities.” Self-Presentation in Social Media: Review and Research Opportunities, Communication and Media Technologies, 24 Dec. 2020,

UCL. “For Some People, Social Media Does Not Detract from Education – It Is Education.” Why We Post, University College London, 9 July 2020,

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comment section crusade

It was an average Monday when I went to do a routine check on the Google Analytics running on my site when I was met with 18 comments waiting for my admin approval. While I was thrilled at my sudden rise to fame, I was quickly disappointed when the comment section was not populated by real people but rather by some very supportive, poetry-loving, bots. At least I think they’re bots, they could be a supportive individual who runs about 18 Russian Escort service websites that is leaving these comments, but I think they’re a bit too robotically insightful to be true. Since I have decided not to approve them onto my site- as their linked websites are not the type of content I would like to affiliate my site with I have included some of the comments for entertainment here.

“Can I simply just say what a comfort to uncover somebody who truly understands what theyre discussing on the web. You definitely understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people ought to look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you arent more popular since you most certainly possess the gift.”

– Zie

This one almost made it to the actual site just out of how much flattery Zie decided to write.

I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this blog. I am hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own blog now 😉

– Irene

The winky face throws me off a bit, but I appreciate how I have convinced someone in a very different line of work to apparently get their own blog now.

And while these examples may have been all positive, trolls on the internet and created bots with ill-intentioned coders are the plague of many online creators. Websites like Popular Science are going so far as to turn off comments on their site, as they find, “internet comments, particularly anonymous ones, undermine the integrity of science and lead to a culture of aggression and mockery that hinders substantive discourse (Konnikova 2013).” In plain-speak, having troll comments can make readers doubt the information, no matter how reputable the source.

The reason that I brought up my own comments relates to the impact of commentary on one’s mental health. For myself, the comments were positive, leaving behind a positive impact on my self-image and view of my created content. This is not the case for many other minorities who decide to publish themselves virtually though, with a study by the Guardian finding “that of the 10 most abused writers eight are women, and the two men are black (2016).” This disproportionate attack on minorities is continually found within the Guardians writers with hate spewing into the comment sections of journalists with specific religious, gender, and racial markers (Gardiner et al. 2016). This creates a dangerous crossover of a public platform and racists with hidden identities, a ground for hatred without clear consequence.

Personal mental health also takes a major blow from such online activity and the issue grows day by day. It’s also important to recognize that the internet wasn’t always like this, “in the early days of Twitter, it was … a place of radical de-shaming” a place where differences and obscurities were related to and supported (Ronson 2015). Times affirms such a “personality” of the internet, saying, “once it was a geek with lofty ideals about the free flow of information” but somewhat recently having turned into an entity that helps as much as harms (Stein 2016). Trolls can exhibit a range of habits from “clever pranks” to “harassment and violent threats” with the most dangerous idea being the lack of knowledge of how the internet could react (Stein 2016). Creators do understand that “you can’t exist .. for very long without learning that something you write is going to upset someone, sometime, somewhere,” however the response of disagreement should never be something of potent hatred or false accusation that trolls deliver with ease (Atwood 2022).

So whether it’s bot comments that sing your praises or hateful speech that makes you sick, it’s important to distance yourself from comments that are not from those whose opinions really matter.


Works Cited

Atwood, Margaret. “Your Feelings Are No Excuse.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 1 Apr. 2022,

Gardiner, Becky, et al. “The Dark Side of Guardian Comments.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 12 Apr. 2016,

Konnikova, Maria. “The Psychology of Online Comments.” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 23 Oct. 2013,

Ronson, Jon. “When Online Shaming Goes Too Far.” Jon Ronson: When Online Shaming Goes Too Far | TED Talk, TEDGlobalLondon, 20 July 2015,

Stein, Joel. “How Trolls Are Ruining the Internet.” Time, Time, 18 Aug. 2016,

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a drugged candy web

The start of my story with digital literacy is past my frame of remembrance, but I do have distinct memories of what my school called, “digital boot camp” a chapter in adolescent Ammarah’s majestic entry into dreaded high school.

The day consisted of logging onto your device, downloading Office Suite, installing WordPress, and writing up your very first blog post for your “Edublog” (Educational Blog- genius isn’t it?). Now while I may not have imagined that one blog being the start of a long journey with publishing myself online, my experience with content creation and the psychology of internet interaction has taught me a few things about online dangers and how trusting anyone- or any site blindly, is akin to devouring a tainted lollipop offered by a sweet stranger.

So in honor of five years of blogs and personal sites, here is a list of my top three curated internet dangers.

One: Anonymity

There is a sense of power that runs through a user when no one knows who they are outside of what they describe themselves as, making many believe in perfect anonymity in the cyberverse. And while it is true that, “most people you encounter can’t easily tell who you are” you still leave breadcrumbs of IP addresses and emails, and most importantly, the messages you convey (Suler 2001). John Suler explores this phenomenon in reference to disinhibition, as people when anonymous feel they “don’t have to own their behavior” and can disassociate from the ramifications (2001). This can create a dangerous incubator for “the spread of misinformation or fake news, as well as cyberbullying, trolling and hate crime” all under created names or no name at all (CBBC 2021).

Two: Misinformation

Building off on anonymity, misinformation is also an instigator of tensions online, with tabloids turning into creative writing pieces and Wikipedia offering the reigns to history to anyone who creates an account. Wu Peiyue writes about one particular case of historic internet hoaxes as she describes fantasy writer, Yifan’s discovery of “millions of words” detailing “imagined history” on Chinese Wikipedia, that no one had contested for years (2022). This doesn’t include all the potential, untracked articles, papers, and projects that anyone with internet access could have created with the misinformation they unwittingly propagated. This is combined with the growing trust in platforms like social media for reliable news, with “adults under 30 ..(being) almost as likely to trust information from social media sites as they are to trust information from national news outlets (Liedke 2022).” This growing trend combined with our knowledge of anonymity and misinformation makes for an uncertain road for the average data consumer and a dire need for studies related to misinformation transmission.

Three: Digital Illiteracy

The final internet danger that has me especially fearful is the average individual’s digital ill literacy. Digital literacy as a whole can be broken into three tenets, “finding and consuming skills,” “creating digital content,” and “communicating and sharing digital media” (UOTP Marketing 2022). Digital illiteracy in my definition relates primarily to the consumption of media and how with the propagation of false information, individuals often lack the necessary toolkit to determine what constitutes a reliable site or source. WikiHow runs a three-step test to determine the credibility of the site itself including looking into the site certification and quality of the content (Lloyd 2023). Such tests combined with useful tools like Snopes allow individuals to better understand where their information is coming from and if the fact they are using is really a known truth. Digital literacy also involves critical analysis of bias within media, especially with large, trusted sites like CBC being “in favor of the left,” a bias many may not even recognize (Carafa 2002). So while large, reputable news sources may only have slight biases that may not influence content excessively, there are other sites with heavy biases that can also go unnoticed.

So while digital boot camp was a bit of a headache at the time, it has offered insight into the importance of digital literacy and the dangers of internet quirks like anonymity and misinformation. I wouldn’t take candy from a stranger and taking information blindly from someone on the internet is no different.


Works Cited

Carafa, Tiziana. “Is CBC Really Biased?” Policy Options Politiques, Policy Options Politiques, 9 Dec. 2021,

CBBC. “Social Media: Should People Be Allowed to Be Anonymous Online?” BBC Newsround, BBC, 26 Feb. 2021,

Liedke, Jacob. “Trust in Social Media Is Changing. Here’s How It Breaks down by Age.” World Economic Forum, World Economic Forum, 4 Nov. 2022,

Lloyd, Jack. “3 Easy Ways to Find If a Website Is Legitimate.” WikiHow, WikiHow, 10 Feb. 2023,,itself%20%28e.g.%2C%20%22wikihow%22%29%2C%20and%20the%20…%20See%20More.

Suler, John. “The Online Disinhibition Effect.” Psychology of Cyberspace – the Online Disinhibition Effect, The Psychology of Cyberspace, 2001,

Tone, Sixth. “She Spent a Decade Writing Fake Russian History. Wikipedia Just Noticed.” SixthTone, SixthTone, 11 July 2022,

UOTP Marketing. “What Is Digital Literacy and Why Is It Important?” University of the Potomac, University of the Potomac, 9 Mar. 2023,,use%20digital%20platforms%2C%20and%20communicate%20with%20others%20eloquently.

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blink and you’ll miss it

Media and the internet have evolved faster than the rate of comprehension, creating new norms and nuances that we could not have seen coming. Some of these changes happen overnight while others slowly erode the very fabric of the internet, and our contemplation of it. When it comes to changes online, blink and you’ll miss it. These variations are often not good or bad but are just different and we can explore some recent ones by looking into memes and slang two online expressions that can influence the way we interact.

To me, memes are the encapsulation of human existence in a visual, uncomplicated form. There’s an image, or two, a few lines of text, and suddenly you’re laughing at a picture that otherwise had little meaning. Memes can be reused, reduced, and recycled like any sustainable internet phenomenon and have brought about a new age of laughter and even political commentary. Alexis Madrigal says it best,
“in the end, the meme itself is powerful. It spreads to tens of millions of people. It makes one woman rich. It helps market soda (2018).” Because what are memes if not the culmination of creative and ideological expression? They may not be the most elegant way of communicating how much you hate Donald Trump, but these images are able to condense profound insights or passive opinions and spread them at a rate unimaginable. Many individuals who became internet sensations overnight dealt with ranging experiences from Ghyslain Raza facing immense “cyberbullying” and “death threats” to Laina Morris who “initiated her own Internet fame, and she has embraced every bit of it (Merrill 2015).” Instances like these show that there is a light and dark to the internet and that even seemingly harmless memes have great power.

I would argue slang is one of the most difficult languages to master, it’s not static and while there are some evolving guides, slang often varies depending on the demographic you are part of. It’s also a pretty universal experience to have a time when you just did not understand a reference, or think someone was speaking strangely but they were using slang you just didn’t know. The blame is not only on the uninformed though, apps like TikTok have an “interface (that) makes it difficult to link out to external information” a strategic tactic that has users, “digging through the comments for an explanation for something living rent-free in their heads (Weekman 2022).” For those wondering, I don’t know how to quite encapsulate what ‘rent-free’ means so I turn to Urban Dictionary to offer you assistance. Like memes these words also have powerful messages that often rely on a backstory that viewers must understand, often taking one word and inputting innuendos and layers to the point where the definition cannot quite set you on a straight path to understanding the slang. From fake accountants to relationship status nails, the internet can create neuro links that the average user can only take so much of. This said, having shared online experiences, words, and customs can create a culture that transcends traditional barriers of space and characteristics, a girl in Canada can suddenly relate on a deeper level to her counterpart across the world- a microcosmic feat of globalization. These transmissions of phrases do come with their problems, with “internet slang” … increas(ing) its influence over everyday language, …concerns about how those trends appropriate African American Vernacular English (AAVE)” are also prevalent in media (Thompson 2022). Policies on hate speech and appropriation can be used to mitigate such risks but in such an evolving landscape stopping such issues is easier said than done.

Memes and slang serve as examples for the case of internet evolution while also showcasing the dangers and benefits, in equal measure, of various platforms. It is up to us, the creators and curators of the internet, to use it responsibly.


Works Cited

Madrigal, Alexis C. “What Sorry to Bother You Gets Right about Memes.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 24 July 2018,

Merrill, Brad. “5 People Who Became Memes, and How They Reacted.” MUO, Make Use Of, 6 Apr. 2015,

Thompson, Dillon. “Is the Internet Changing How We Talk about Slang Words?” In The Know, In The Know, 17 May 2022,

Weekman, Kelsey. “In the Know Glossary: Your Guide to Internet Slang, Trends and Celebrities.” In The Know, In The Know, 16 May 2022,

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art of a time

in our time

we were art


bold brushstrokes

on pulled canvas

awaiting paint

and the artist’s practice


vermillion, scarlet, and blood-red hues

i was fire and flame

unset embers

to your ocean eye, seafoam

night sky blues


and as mixed as the palette did become

acrylic and oil

are not symbiotic mediums


brushes grew brittle

and water clouded grey

and the paintings of us began to fade


i like to think of us now

in monet

brighter colors and blurrier lines

a prettier picture from a step away


see our faults in van gogh

with little detail

and more swirls


if our flaws are picasso

it’s all straight cut


our pastels never mixed

and pigments never touched


we will always be

art of a time

on a dusty top shelf

that’s a favorite of mine

-ammarah siddiqui



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four walls

one day

we’ll have an apartment.


i’d pick out too many cushions

and want mirrors on every wall

you’d pretend to be bothered

but wouldn’t mind at all


we’d hold up paint chips

at Benjamin’s

like movie couples do

and i would re-realize

how much i love



we’d squeege windows

and mop paint off floors

i’d smear a drop across your cheek

and you’d seek redemption

in another hue


i’d bet i could build a couch

and end up with a chair

because when it came to mistakes

you wouldn’t care


we’d karoake in the kitchen

and close cabinets for a beat

put mixed berries in pancakes

spill the syrup

and complain they’re too sweet


you’d rearrange my mixing bowls

and i’d eat your special snacks

we’d watch the same amount ahead

of the episode we paused at


one day

we’ll have an apartment


and i will never love

any four walls

or any one person


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window – chatgpt

This poem was written by ChatGPT with the provided prompt:
"Write a poem about a window"

A window, a portal to another world

A gateway to beauty, yet to unfold

It frames a picture, a moment in time

A place to sit, and watch life unwind


The glass is cold, to the touch

But it warms with the sun’s gentle clutch

A reflection of all that surrounds

The skies, the trees, the sights and sounds


Through the window, we see a view

A world that is both old and new

The hustle and bustle of daily life

Or the peaceful calmness of the night


In the morning, the light streams in

As a new day is about to begin

And in the evening, it casts a glow

As the world outside starts to slow


A window is a lens to the soul

A glimpse of life, beyond our control

It reminds us of what’s outside our door

And inspires us to explore even more


So open the window, let in the air

Feel the breeze, let down your hair

For a window is more than just a pane

It’s a reminder of life’s beauty, once again.

This poem was written by ChatGPT with the provided prompt:
"Write a poem about a window that doesn't rhyme"
A window stands before my eyes
Its pane of glass a clear disguise
For on the other side I see
A world that’s waiting just for me

Through it comes the light of day

And nighttime shadows dance and play

It shows me rain and summer sun

And all the beauty yet undone


Sometimes I’ll stand and watch awhile

At people passing with a smile

Or gaze into the starry night

And feel as though I’m taking flight


But though it seems just like a screen

This window is more than it seems

For in it I can see a dream

And all the hope that it can bring


So though it doesn’t rhyme or sing

This window is a wondrous thing

A gateway to the world beyond

And all the stories yet unwritten and untold.

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