With limited information on what publication truly is, I thought it was as simple as writing a piece, and making it public. But listening and hearing about what industries professionals have to say about publishing has really broadened my perspective.
Before any piece of work is actually written, the first step is figuring out what a personal cyberinfrastructure really is. The American Council of Learned Societies deems it to be something between a “tool or a resource” and a “network itself”. It means that it is something worth revisiting more than just once. Not all ideas are maximized as their “importance were unrecognized or unexplored at that time”. This is merely a timing issue as opposed to the ideas being invaluable. But it is also beyond a simple idea because when executed properly, it can result in a platform that connects people together. So the importance of understanding the idea of driving all of the content itself can be equated to understanding what the purpose itself really is.
With a strong passion for food and culture, my initial plan was to write about how they are actually intertwined. This surely requires more information and knowledge that I was willing to put in, but it was looking at the groundwork as a whole that worried me. The overall vibe would have been rather formal which made me stop for a moment and think. Food should be enjoyable, and my original goal was to create a platform that was very easy going and that people would be excited to hear what I have to say. I wanted it to be a space where individuals could read a very brief review of restaurants that might be of interest acting like recommendations to try it out themselves. So the fact that this was transitioning towards a more professional atmosphere possibly open to debate, discussion, or correction was not at all what I wanted.
To better arrive at that goal, I decided to restructure my blog early on making things more entertaining and the experience slightly more personable. The overlying idea became a food review blog which also provides insight into the business itself. Being able to see past the dishes being presented and understand the people making everything happen or how the business became what it is today is much more meaningful. As John Suler says in his publication of the Online Disinhibition Effect “some people do report being more like their true self in cyberspace”. Overall, reading the passage he wrote about the true self reminded me that above all else, it is most important to be authentic and to be true to yourself. As a content creator, I find this type of content not only more interesting to write about, but it has made each food trip much more enjoyable. As John Suler said himself” Having my mind more at ease, I knew that this was much more of the direction I wanted my cyberinfrastructure to be headed.
With pillar ideas being set in stone, the challenge at hand now becomes the execution. Curating content consistent with my vision was not challenging. The difficulty became the presentation of the content itself. Keeping a close eye on google analytics, I noticed that the overall time spent on my blog was very short with high turnover as well. Even though there was traffic being driven to my site, the presentation of the content needed to be fixed up because it lacked appeal.
In Richard Nash’s VQR publication titled “What is the Business of Literation”, he notes that perhaps the word publishing “is a word that, like a book, is almost but not quite a proxy for the business of literature”. This helped me realize that this really is like a business transaction. Even though someone might be selling the greatest product in the world, having a buyer willing to pay for the product is just as important. Subjectively looking at everything as a whole, my blog might be the best in the world, but it means nothing if people simply do not find it appealing or interesting
In an attempt to make some changes, I condensed the homepage of my blog by shrinking each post to a short excerpt. This allows viewers to more quickly filter through and decide if anything is worth their time or of interest. To take things one step further, all course-related content would contain a simple picture of the “Pub 101” sign made in class while blog content would have a picture of business storefronts. I wanted to make things more personable by giving them an image that they can relate to more closely is they choose to visit the shops or have been to it at one point.
All the changes made to the content itself and the design elements have brought me to the point that I am at least content with where my blog stands. But on an even bigger note, my appreciation for publication has exponentially grown. I started off thinking that it was as simple as creating content. Realizing I was wrong, I learned that it’s more about creating quality content. Still unsatisfied with how everything looked, the goal became creating quality content that is interesting. I am proud to say that I am started to create quality content that is interesting and looks appealing. Even with all the new information, I have learned over the past couple of months, I know I am far from the top. The ultimate goal of building a platform where people want to frequently visit and are inspired to take action is still in place. Although there has been a lot of progress, this is surely far from the end.
- Gardner Campbell. 2009. “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure.” EDUCAUSE Review 44 (5). http://er.educause.edu/articles/2009/9/a-personal-cyberinfrastructure
- Suler, John. 2004. “The Online Disinhibition Effect.” Available from: Cyberpsychology & behavior 7.3 (2004): 321-326. http://truecenterpublishing.com/psycyber/disinhibit.html
- Richard Nash. 2013. “What is the Business of Literature?” VQR Online. http://www.vqronline.org/articles/what-business-literature