Since enrolling in PUB101, everything I thought I knew about publication has been expanded. I have learned so much about how much effort goes into creating a website. From branding to content, and advertising, there are so many aspects that are vital to a blog. I had to come up with a topic to write about, then how to identify and engage my audience, and how to understand my website analytics. This essay will reflect on how and what I have learned while establishing my presence as an online publisher over the past semester.
Since the beginning of the term, I have been working to develop consistent branding, content, and cultivating my digital garden. In other words, space where I can focus on what I would like to research, rather than catering to a large audience (Basu, 2020). A digital garden is more about creating a niche to call my own (Basu, 2020). I did not struggle to set up my site at first. However, after receiving feedback from tutorials and peer reviews, many of my classmates found my blog a bit confusing and busy. I was quite happy with it up until that point, but I knew there must be a way to please both myself and my audience. Around week 7, I tried to work more on branding and completely changed the theme on my site. Fortunately, there are now many more options for customization. I decided to make my blog all about reviewing albums because I do a lot of research into music on my own time. I figured turning a hobby into productive schoolwork would be a win-win. While researching albums I reviewed, I learned more about each artist and found even more music I enjoy. In the first lecture, it was stressed to base my blog on a hobby or interest I already have, as it would make posting about it each much easier. I thought about doing album reviews because I knew it would be sustainable, there are so many albums out there. I believe that the content I have put out over the term has been consistently good because I have enjoyed writing all of my posts.
Over the term, I have not had much engagement on my site, besides my classmates. Ideally, my audience would be composed of individuals who have an interest in music. The albums I have reviewed are mostly from the 2010s, with a few exceptions. However, their genres are relatively expansive in hopes to garner an audience of individuals with different tastes in music. This would allow for constructive debates about albums, where my audience could propose their opinions and perceptions of the albums I have reviewed. According to Nancy Fraser’s article Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy, any media that provokes social interactions could have its own public. Meaning, if I were able to garner a wider audience, their comments and discussions with one another would be enough to create my own little public. In an attempt to address my audience, I incorporate links to my current favorite music, as well as the albums I review in every blog post. I provide in-depth knowledge on popular albums to educate my audience on why or why not I think they are good projects. In terms of analytics, I have found that the majority of my audience visits my home page or PUB101 page, usually the days before class. I have found that most people come to my page to look at assignments for class, rather than the reviews I post each week.
I never realized how expansive the term publication is until I enrolled in this course. Originally, when thinking of publication, I thought about print or books. Now I realize that there are so many different aspects in publication. I now know that publication is the creation of a public through the circulation of text, a digital commons where discussions take place (Stadler, 2009). My online self is already fairly expansive in terms of my personal social media. Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, VSCO are all platforms that I use consistently. I hope to continue taking publishing courses, and will likely continue posting on my blog, as it is something I have come to genuinely really enjoy. In the future, I hope to be able to expand my blog a little bit, incorporating more than just reviews. Overall, I hope to continue portraying myself as authentically as possible online.
Although developing my website has been a lot of work, and still needs some tweaking, I am extremely proud of the content and design of my blog. From cultivating its overall look to putting in work each week to produce the best album reviews I could, this is a project I hope to expand. With it, my online identity, which I am constantly working to put forth my most authentic self. I am excited to see what the future holds for my blog and to see it grow to its full potential.
- Basu, Tanya. September, 5 2020. “Digital gardens let you cultivate your own little bit of the internet” MIT Technology Review.
- Nancy Fraser. 1990. “Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy” in Social Text No 25/26. Available from JStor: http://www.jstor.org.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/stable/466240?seq=1
- Matthew Stadler. 2010. “What is Publication?” Talk from the Richard Hugo House’s writer’s conference, Seattle, WA. May 21, 2010. http://vimeo.com/14888791