When I walked into this class, I was beyond excited because I knew publishing was something I had always wanted to do. I already had an extremely active presence on the online realm, but after looking back at these thirteen weeks only now do I realize how little my presence was online. Before I get into my experience as an online publisher, I want to share a little story with all of you.
I’ve told bits and pieces of this story throughout both my weekly process posts and blog posts but I don’t think even I fully understand the impact of what this blog has had on me until now. Ever since I was eight years old, I knew I wanted to live a part of my life online. I would sit on YouTube for hours on end shamelessly watching people all over the internet who were living these fun, creative lives. At the tender age of eight I knew it was always something I wanted to do in the future, but it would have to wait several years. This was my very first mistake in creating content because content doesn’t wait for the most ideal time to be created. Creativity comes and goes, and that’s exactly what happened as I got older. It’s unfortunate to say but as children grow into young adults they lose that carefree attitude, we go from “nothing will ever hurt me,” to “why is the whole world against me?” in a very short period of time. The entire time I was in high school I was struggling to find out who I was and who I wanted to be.
Within my last few years of high school I began working out quite a lot, I hopped onto an application called, Blogilates which was developed by YouTube sensation, Casey Ho. I was accepted into a community of people who were just like myself. We were all sharing our stories as we were trying to reach our desired fitness goals. At first, I was hesitant to share parts of myself but I realized that nobody knew who I was so I’d be okay with sharing parts of my fitness journey as well (Suler, 2004). Over the course of a few months, I was regularly featured on the hot topics page and soon accumulated over 800 followers. It was an amazing feeling to have an online profile that was used for helping others, I would be answering hundreds of messages everyday about my fitness routines and how to stay motivated. With all the positive feedback, I eventually made an Instagram account that was specifically about my fitness journey, and that’s where I began fitness modelling. Three years down the road I would’ve never imagined that I would be working in Vancouver’s modelling industry. Around the same time when I created my fitness Instagram, I had also created a finsta account which is essentially an account that I created to share my daily life with my closest friends. Before I knew it, my entire high school followed that account, liking my daily posts. Through that, I created bonds with everyone in school and eventually it had landed me a slot at both president and valedictorian. I had always wanted to inspire and help others. I believe that this goal has always remained the same, from this specific moment in time until now.
Fast forward to my first couple years of university.. Things took a dramatic change, I was at a new school, going from 150 kids to over 35,000 kids, I was in a new city and I had never felt more alone in my life. I clutched onto my finsta like it was the only thing I had because at the time, it felt like it was the only real part of my old life that I could control. Somewhere between the ages of 8 and 18, I had lost the desire to create. I stopped working out and let university consume my every being, I fell into a cycle that I didn’t know if I could ever drag myself out of. I’ve never had depressing feelings and for the first time I felt depressed. However, I still knew I wanted to create, so much so that I invested in a DSLR camera in December of 2017. Only within these last few months have I actually picked the thing up and used it for what I had initially intended for. As I’ve mentioned before, I had never considered myself a model, I started fitness modelling to promote my fitstagram and to motivate my followers. It wasn’t until my second year of university when I started posting more on my main Instagram account (@tyler.krueger) and creatives started reaching out to shoot. Since then, I’ve developed my user base primarily on Instagram as it encourages people to have a voice and tell their personal stories through their words and their pictures. Not only does Instagram lead access to over 800 million active users, but it’s also used as a primary business tool (Norman, 2019). At the time, I didn’t think much of it because it was never a goal of mine to take still snapshots forever. Looking at it now, I don’t think that if I had spent so much time in front of a camera meeting people all over the city, I wouldn’t be able to get online and start my YouTube channel. Through modelling, I have found it within myself to let my creative outlet soar. Although it might have not ever been an end goal of mine, I have gained back that confidence within myself to stop caring about what other people think and just live the life that my eight year old self always wanted me to live, and now I’m doing that each and every day of my life.
To come full circle, the creation of this blog has helped me in so many different ways. I’ve been able to come out and tell so many of my truths on this platform which I never felt like I was able to do before. I feel as if this blog is just another part of my online presence and I intend to continue to expand it, or as the very least start telling my truths on Instagram rather than having my photos speak for myself. Much like the point Chittenden (2010) made, my blog has allowed for my inner self to flourish. I never want to feel like I have to show off my front stage self again, my backstage self is who I really am and this blog has given me a platform to openly speak about that (Van Dijck, 2013). After looking through my Google Analytics, I was surprised that much of my traffic came from those who were on desktops. I thought that the majority of people accessing my site would be those on mobile devices.
My publication not only embodies who I am, but it also shows parts of who I’ve been in the past, and who I will become in the future. I’ve created my publication to be a complete reflection of who I am as a person through the use of colours, photos and layout. Over the course of twelve weeks, my blog went from a blank canvas to a beautifully painted moment in my life that is ever evolving. Although my blog is about freelance modelling in Vancouver, I believe my blog is also about showing people that they two can live their dreams as they wish. The public I’ve imagined for my blog are those from all creative fields, whether it be models, photographers, videographers, or creatives alike. We all come from a like-minded place that is not only supportive but extremely accepting of who and what we do.
I cannot wait for what’s next for myself. I have so many new projects on the go every day, sometimes I don’t know how to contain my little creative mind. This platform has inspired me to continue telling my stories and sharing them with the world. I have been given all the tools from this course to continue self publishing which I will use for years to come and many more. I never want to fall into a non-creative hole every again, I feel more myself than I ever have and no photo can ever capture that.
Chittenden, T. (2010). “Digital dressing up: modelling female teen identity in the discursive spaces of the fashion blogosphere.” Journal of Youth Studies. Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13676260903520902
Norman, S. (2019). “Social Media: Expanding or Narrowing Our View?” Personal Collection of Suzanne Norman. Simon Fraser University, Vancouver.
Suler, J. (2004). “The Online Disinhibition Effect.” Available from: Cyberpsychology & behavior 7.3 (2004): 321-326. http://truecenterpublishing.com/psycyber/disinhibit.html
Van Dijck, J. (2013). ‘You have one identity’: performing the self on Facebook and LinkedIn. Media, Culture & Society, 35(2), 199-215. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/0163443712468605