It was the last day of Blackcomb and PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola yesterday, so my family friend took us to the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola which I was two minutes late and missed it last time.
Some people dressed up as bunnies or unicorns jumpsuits, some children even added bunnies’ ears to their helmet to celebrate Easter. I managed to take a lot of photos of people smiling which makes me happy too. It’s heartwarming to see so many smiley faces that I don’t get to see so often in Hong Kong.
Showing her daughter how wonderful the nature is
Capturing the picturesque view from the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola
Enjoying a cup of coffee while snowboarding
Seeing the first snow in life
Having fun in the snow with his sister
Skiing with friends
Check out the other photos I took at Whistler here!
Stanley Park is the place I would always want to go whenever the sun comes out. It’s my third time visiting Stanley Park since my arrival in December (fourth time in total because I paid a visit a few years ago). The first time I came for the sea wall, the second time I came for the cherry blossoms and the third time I came to show my father around.
It’s a sunny day and 420, I cannot think of other places to visit when downtown is filled with the smell of weed. Originally I wanted to show my father the cherry blossoms in Stanley Park so he can take photos, unfortunately, most of them have wilted already. I guessed the best time to visit was two weeks ago when all the flowers were in full bloom.
It was a bit disappointing not seeing the cherry blossoms in full bloom, so we just casually walked around the park and enjoyed the sunshine. While my father was taking photos of two ducks on the sea, I spotted a black smooth surface floating above the water and quickly dived again. We waited for several minutes and it appeared again. I immediately took some photos. Guess what is it?
It’s a sea lion!!!!!!
I have never seen a wild one before, I hope we’ll get to see more of them during our trip to Tofino in 4 days time! Let the travel marathon begin!
It has been raining all week except for Wednesday, so I went to Stanley Park to look for cherry blossoms! It wasn’t as pretty as I thought it’d be because when I see the photos on Instagram, they look very pink, but when I see them in real life, it is much whiter than what I saw on Instagram (looks like people have photoshopped too much!)
I was a bit disappointed, to be honest, so instead of taking pictures of the cherry blossoms, I took pictures of people who are taking photos of the cherry blossoms. At first, I noticed a lady who was sitting under the tree smiling. I took a photo of her. She later started walking around and I noticed that I accidentally took quite a lot of pictures of her, so I thought it’d be polite to send her the photos. It was my first time to walk to a stranger and tell her I secretly took pictures of her. Imagine if someone walks to you and says things like this… Luckily, she was very friendly and was happy that I took photos for her! She has never been a model and has people take photos for her because she never knows how to pose, which I have the same struggle. So I kept chatting with her while I press the shutter in order to capture her most natural look.
I am so happy that she likes my photos and I can make her feel special and confident! Maybe I should do that more often when I secretly took photos of strangers, that could be one way of making friends. Who knows?
My only class on Wednesday was cancelled, so I had five day-offs last week. I decided to visit New York City to visit my father who was having a business trip there.
It is my third time visiting New York City but the first time to visit in Spring. I think it’s the perfect season to walk around in NYC when compared to summer, which is too hot and smelly.
Here are some of the tourist spots I visited, and I highly recommend to all of you:
Central Park – You can rent a boat at the Loeb Boathouse, it costs only $15 per hour and you can row your way to enjoy the most breathtaking view.
We made a reservation for lunch at the Tavern on the Green – a restaurant at the Central Park. The Tavern has a historical exterior and is enclosed in a glass cube overlooking the park. The sunlight that seeps through the glass windows provides perfect lighting for taking photos.
p.s. the young couple next to us just got engaged there! They were low-key until they spilt the champagne on the floor and the waitress came over to congratulate them!
New York Public Library – a historical and iconic building that’s open to visitors and New Yorkers to read, study and do some research. The gift shop is also a great place to buy souvenirs for your families and friends. If you hate touristy postcards like me, pay a visit to the gift store in New York Public Library, it will not disappoint you!
Hudson’s Yard and the Vessel – the instagrammable spot was open to the public on March 15, 2019. Visitors are supposed to get tickets to get into the Vessel, it is for the staffs to control the flow and avoid being overcrowded. Fortunately, there were staffs handing out free tickets to us that day. We entered the Vessel at 7pm, which is the perfect timing because we can see the sunset as we walk up.
Flushing – locals called it the new Chinatown. To me, it doesn’t feel like first-tier cities in China such as Shanghai and Beijing, it is more of rural China. I bet we are the only tourists going there because everyone stared at us when we take our cameras out. But it is a lively and vibrant place to visit.
Even though it’s my third time in New York, I am not sick of it yet! There’s always something new every time I go and I am just obsessed with how lively this city is (despite the horrible traffic). See you soon NYC!
In Week 11’s class, we discussed online comments and online shaming, featuring Justine Sacco’s twitter post. It read: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” It went outrageous on the internet after her flight took off to Cape Town.
When we comment online, we usually don’t think much before posting. Unlike person-to-person dialogues, it doesn’t require immediate reaction. You can think about the perfect response or how to defend. It is unfortunate for Justine that she doesn’t even have the chance to defend herself as she was on a flight when her post spread like fire on Twitter. Her life was torn immediately; she lost her job, online shamed by other users. People who retweeted barely know Justine in person, but they can ruin her life in just several seconds with a click on the internet. This is how powerful social media can be.
We are afraid to make comments in real life, worrying that it may hurt the person’s feeling, not knowing what to react to others’ criticisms. However, when you see other users posting similar comments like yours in the online community, you feel like your opinion is backed. You can also post anonymously which seems you don’t have to take that much responsibility. Therefore, netizens teamed up and created a hashtag – #HasJustineLandedYet and online shamed Justine’s reckless tweet.
I then start to reflect my online behaviour. I think I’ve never online shamed anyone because I rarely comment on any social media platform. I know how fast words can spread on the internet and I didn’t want to online shame anyone or be online shamed, so I’ve always been kind of passive when coming to online activities. I am afraid to voice out any opinion online because I’m afraid people against my stance would judge me. I think the online community would only be more harmonious if people can learn how to respect others’ opinions even if they’re against you. Also, online users should think twice before making a comment, the impact could be more viral than you think.
Last April, I have created my first website with Wix.com. It serves as a portfolio to showcase my photography work to others, especially to the employers when I am applying for jobs. I did not intend to write and post other content on the website because I feel self-conscious when people read what I wrote.
I haven’t updated the website for months as I was too busy at school. But when I receive my acceptance letter as an exchange student in SFU, I thought it’ll be a great opportunity to reactivate my website to post so I can document my journey in Canada. I am glad that I took PUB101, which “forces” me to post on a regular basis. It was frustrating at first when we have so much freedom in this course and I was still adjusting to the new learning environment here, jet lag and everything. I remember I couldn’t think of a name for my domain until I was unpacking my clothes from my luggage, then I realised how many stripes clothes I have. That’s how lilyinstripes was born.
It took me a whole night to complete the setup of the blog, from purchasing the domain and picking the theme that best matches my content. As these 12 weeks progresses, I am proud of the content I created and the positive feedbacks that I received from peers and friends from around the world. It has resulted in a reduction in bounce rate to 61.67% and an increase in session duration to 2 minutes 13 seconds compared to the last 30 days. Google Analytics is by far one of the most useful and important tools that I’ve mastered in this course. The analytics provides me with insights to create intriguing content that will allow users to stay longer on my blog.
According to Patel (2019), bounce rate refers to the “bounce” that someone visits your website and leaves without interacting further with your site. As of the statistics by Google Benchmarks 2017, the bounce rate in the arts & entertainment industry is 58.69% (Ritwick, 2018), which is three per cent below mine. I will continue to post when the semester ends, aiming to reach through this three per cent difference by including more engaging content. When I look at the pages that my users most frequently visit, I notice that more people visit the photography page rather than the portfolio page. I think they may have expected to see more of my photography work under “photography” while I put them under “portfolio”. To avoid confusion, I will remove the photography category and use portfolio instead, so people can easily access to my photos.
When I started my first blog, I asked myself “How should I differ from other travel or photography blogs?” I knew exchange or studying abroad may seem interesting to my audiences, so I thought it’ll be a good idea to share Hong Kong culture to my Canadian friends and also allow my family and friends in Hong Kong to know what I’ve been up to in Canada. Tobi Cheung, one of the classmates who did a peer review on my blog said the Cantonese characters and pronunciations in each blog posts adds a personal touch and connection to my audience (Cheung, 2019)[, which is exactly what I wanted to achieve. Even though Cantonese is not a very common language to most Westerners, I hope to connect with my audiences by showing Hong Kong’s language so my users can understand my background and the place where I grow up in better. I see language as a way to connect with others. I realise most Westerners cannot tell the difference between Hong Kong and China (that’s the most frequently asked question by Uber and taxi drivers), we share similar language, similar characters but they are not the SAME. Therefore, I’ve decided to always include a Chinese keyword in traditional Chinese characters and its Cantonese pronunciation, so it tells more about what’s special about Hong Kong. As Adam wrote in the peer review, “One of humanity’s defining features is its ability to communicate with language.” (Schmidt, 2019). I hope my audience can get an overview and know more about Cantonese and Hong Kong culture when they read through my blog posts.
Looking back at the blog posts I’ve written, I realized how much I’ve grown and experienced in the past couple of months. First time blogging, first time studying abroad, first time skiing, first time seeing aurora and of course, my first solo trips. I am glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and experienced so many new things here! I will keep on posting when the semester finishes. I will be doing lots of travelling before I head back to Hong Kong, hopefully, there’ll be more photos coming up! Also, stay tuned to my blog if you’re interested in my life in Hong Kong! The support from all of you is the greatest motivation to keep my blog running.
This is by far the most rewarding class I’ve taken in university. Thank you all for making the first half of 2019 extra special and memorable!
This week we had Darren and Sarah from Capulet Communications to share about affordable marketing in a multi-channel universe with us in class.
I worked in a PR agency as an intern for five months last summer. I mainly had to do clippings for our clients, mainly luxury hotels and resorts. I scan newspapers, magazines and screenshot online articles, social media posts when they got coverages. I realise that almost all our clients have several social media platforms to publicise themselves, mostly Instagram and WeChat (for the Chinese market). Part of my job includes helping the clients to look for influencers that match their brand images, and I realise that most of them are active on multiple social media platforms to develop their online self. Most influencers are active on Instagram as a platform to interact with their fans and audiences, while they use websites or YouTube channels as a relatively passive platform to allow audiences to know more about their work and private life. This is indeed a great way to increase its traffic.
There are a growing number of brands who rely on social media to expand their influences and reach a greater variety of audiences, even for reputable hotels who have a long history of development. They use attractive images, usually instagrammable spots in the hotels, and uses short captions to attract people’s attention. People now prefer bite-sized information rather than wordy passages, it is challenging for the PR to bring out the distinctive features and hotels’ selling points by just a few sentences when drafting for captions. There is so much information online and everyone can place ads, thanks to Google and Facebook. PR must, therefore, develop a gimmick or something authentic that creates discussion in our society.
If marketers and PR only stick with safe options, they would always be mediocre. Darren shared a quote today in class – “Risky is safe, safe is risky.” This not only applies to marketing, but also to our lives. We should take a step forward to leave our comfort zones, make bold moves and risky decisions to stand out from the crowd.
It’s my second solo trip and this time I’ve picked Toronto – a city where two of my best friends from primary and secondary school life. They immigrated to Canada over 6 years ago and rarely go back to Hong Kong. It’s my first time to visit them in Canada, in fact, it’s my first time to visit friends in a foreign country! The last time I met with them was already 2 years ago when we first entered university. That time we talked about the struggles of adjusting to uni life, reminiscing the good old days in secondary school. Two years later today, we are one year away from graduation and we start discussing worries of stepping into adulthood – internship, graduation, life and etc. It’s shocking how fast time passes which we are about to step into a new stage of life. We started to think more about our future and in a more mature manner, it was different from the time where we did silly stuff together in primary and secondary schools, but I am glad that we’re witnessing our growth despite our long-distance friendship.
It’s almost the end of the semester and I’m trying to get myself together. Wipe my tears, take a deep breath and continue on my term papers. Hang in there guys, just several more weeks to go!! (This semester goes faster than I expected!)
p.s. One of my friends always says I’m good at picking gifs when texting, so I’m really excited when I get to make my own gif for the assignment! Can’t wait to send it to my friends!
If you’re interested in skincare or new to skincare and wish to get honest product reviews and recommendations, tobi’s routine is the place for you.
Design and content
Tobi uses the Savona Theme which has a minimalistic and chic design. I like that she uses a simple design where there aren’t many distractions, my focus goes directly to her content when I clicked onto her website. There are plenty of white spaces to balance out the heavier focus. It’s comfortable to browse through her website, not only because her content is interesting, but there’s also a unity of design present on her website. The colours she used on her website is mainly black and white, even for the photos she picked, they are all in white backgrounds. This makes the whole blog looks harmonic and clean due to the consistency of colour. The only colours that appeared on the website are the photos of the beauty products. This allows the content to stand out and it’s the first thing that catches my attention when I read through her blog.
Tobi’s blog is user-friendly. She clearly listed out the categories in her main menu, which is very accessible for users. There are search, recent posts, recent comments, archives and categories on the sidebar. I could easily navigate and search for a particular post.
Tobi always includes an excerpt, so readers will know what the post is mainly about before clicking into it. Reading through her posts, she always includes some skincare tips and her experiences, it makes readers feel relatable. I like that there are three related posts on the bottom of each post which I think can make the website more engaging and attract readers to stay longer on the website.
Tobi’s blog is a place for people who are interested in skin care and are looking for honest reviews. She shares good recommendations for products that are suitable for young girls and don’t have specific skin concerns. There are plenty of beauty bloggers out there but I think what Tobi did to stand out from the crowd is that she includes her first-hand experiences and reviews for her audiences.
Many of the beauty reviews on YouTube are usually sponsored content, viewers thus don’t know whether the products are really that worthy or are that just for the sake of earning money, as many influences nowadays rely on ad revenue to keep their blogs/channels going. In one of the weekly readings – The Toast Is Toast: Literary Humor Site Shuts Down Over Ad Revenue Woes by Shelby Carpenter, she mentioned that online revenues have a huge impact on both big and small sites. Using ads is one of the common ways for websites to reach their target audiences. Reading the ad-free tobi’s routine, I know that all her content are truthful and reliable. When influencers nowadays rely on ad revenue for a living, they do not enjoy the autonomy that Tobi enjoys, where she can write about anything she likes.
Last week, we had Monique Sherrett from Boxcar Media TBC sharing about marketing, monetisation, audience and analytics. She talks about the SMART objectives and the customer journey. I will share about my customer journey as a visitor to Tobi’s blog.
Awareness – I know about this site because of PUB101. I think it would be great if Tobi can include her social links on the blog as well, such as Instagram and Facebook. I think it will increase the site traffic if she includes her website in any of her social networks. I’m sure people are interested in beauty product reviews!
Engagement – There aren’t many comments on her blog posts but I can feel that Tobi is working hard to connect with her audiences. She uses “I” and “you” quite often in her blog post, like in the What’s exfoliating, she reminds audiences about the cautions of using scrubs. The way she writes make readers feel like we’re close to her, even if we don’t really know her in person. I think this is a good way to interact and bring her readers closer to her life and style.
Retention – I definitely had a great first experience and I will definitely return to this website in the future. Keep it up!
Overall, it is a website worth visiting and I look forward to seeing more beauty tips from Tobi!