The process of creating a blog was much different than what I anticipated. I thought that it would be a fun and straight-forward process. And while the process was fun and exciting, it was also confusing, frustrating, and sometimes aggravating. One of the main things I struggled with was finding a purpose for my blog. The amount of freedom that I was given in this course was foreign to me. I think the current education system has conditioned me into thinking that there is always a right or wrong way to do things, and this mindset was really difficult to overcome when I started blogging. After reading Gardner Campbell’s (2009) A Personal Cyberinfrastructure, I realized that the amount of freedom afforded in this course was necessary in order for students to learn the ins and outs of cultivating an online identity. Campbell (2009) notes that by building a personal cyberinfrastructure, students will “acquire crucial technical skills for their digital lives … [and] engage in work that provides richly teachable moments” (para 7). Therefore, it is only through a hands-on, self-driven approach that students may be able to fully explore and understand the intricacies of the online realm.
Overall, while I learned how to blog in Pub 101, I also learned about the “so what?” and “why?” questions underlying what is done online. Similarly, while creating blog posts, I want to leave my readers with an impression; one that makes them feel special. In explaining the online exhibition effect, Suler mentions how “as you move around the internet, most of the people you encounter can’t easily tell who you are” (Suler, 2004). Because the online world is such a vast space, identifying one’s personality through it can be difficult. With regards to my audience, I try to talk to them as if they were physically present with me, because I feel like a more direct approach is personable and allows my audience more room to engage with me as an individual. Even when designing my blog posts, I strive to use relatable pictures or other methods to make them more interesting. In addition, I want my audience to have the opportunity to grow with me on my journey, even through my lows and highs since the human experience is so complex for every individual.
I did not have a distinct audience in mind when I created my blog. Instead, I followed Warner’s (2002) suggestion to “put on a show and see who shows up” (p. 82). Unfortunately, I failed to understand the importance of defining my audience. Now, however, I realize that keeping a potential audience in mind is an integral component of the blogging process. At the same time, this is a personal blog first and foremost. Therefore, my decisions are mostly informed by my personal preferences, and my imagined audience is a secondary consideration. I decided to stick with a minimalist theme because it is trendy and easy to navigate. This is ideal for my target audience because I expect that most individuals in their late teens or early twenties are comfortable with a clean design. With regard to my content, I kept a casual tone and tried to include personal anecdotes where possible.
Pub 101 has inspired me to do a better job of linking my existing social media accounts to each other. In class, we learned that the medium we use can ultimately influence what and how we post. Thus, I think that transmedia integration is an effective way to provide my followers with a more nuanced and comprehensive look at my online self. To be honest, I do not think that I will continue with this blog. Admittedly, this blog is a bit of a mess. But, at the very least, Pub 101 has equipped me with the tools that I’ll need to clean this mess up.
Campbell, G. (2009). A personal cyberinfrastructure. EDUCAUSE Review, 44(5), 58-59.
Suler, J. (2004, June 01). The Online Disinhibition Effect. Retrieved April 08, 2018, from http://truecenterpublishing.com/psycyber/disinhibit.html
Warner, M. (2002). Publics and counterpublics. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 88(4). 413-425.