Author Archives: YVRchives

Transmedia Integration and Channels

This week’s topic is centered around incorporating more transmedia integration and leveraging various channels for our blog. In Kevin Britteny Lauren’s blog (2013), they reference Henry Jenkins’ definition of transmedia storytelling which describes it as a process by which elements of fiction are disseminated across different media channels to enhance users’ experience.

They go on to quote Jenkins, “a transmedia text does not simply disperse information: it provides a set of roles and goals which readers can assume as they enact aspects of the story through their everyday life” (2013, para. 7).

Regarding YVRchives, I could certainly leverage this to create more accessible content that is disseminated in a more versatile way. The photography medium offers an opportunity to be easily shared on multiple platforms. While social media is the most efficient channel I could tap into, I think a unique form of transmedia would also be beneficial.

For instance, a video game could be a great way to create a story around Vancouver photography that people could easily integrate into their everyday lives. A few ideas I could pursue:

  • Matching the photo to the local artist
  • Vancouver trivia with photography attached to each question
  •  Speed snapshot the local photo

Finally, I could feature a place on my site that centers a virtual photography feed. This would be a dedicated page where my blog audience interacts and engages with the site. People can create their own content, remix other local artists’ work, and even screenshot other virtual content and share it with other users. This would be a great channel for users to access content, and participate with the media.

Furthermore, I’d share all this transmedia on social media channels to garner exposure. I would use hashtags to further disperse this information and integrate it into multiple platforms. This way, I could increase more traffic as well as engagement to my online publication.

References:

Kevinbrittenylauren.wordpress.com. (2013).Pokemon as transmedia storytelling

Mini Assignment #6: GIF

a pink and blue gif with moving text saying: Welcome to YVRchives!; local artists with cursor hovering over it and "everything photography" moving along the page.

Peer Review #3: I Wear Your Grandad’s Clothes

For this week’s third and final peer review, I had the pleasure of reviewing Makena Leyh’s site: iwearyourgrandadsclothes.com. What a great site and theme idea!

Starting off with design, the dynamic page element immediately grabbed my attention. I really like how the blog posts slightly move while scrolling the page, making the site more engaging from a user’s perspective. Upon landing on the homepage of the blog, I’m met with so many captivating images. This paired with the cream background, really makes the content pop. Great work!. I also love how minimal the page is. This design decision allows the site’s content to shine through, rather than being too busy, cluttered, or distracting. 

Makena has done a great job of creating a personal connection with the audience which invites them to engage with the blog further. For example, the site title: “I Wear Your Grandad’s Clothes”, paired with the slogan below “Because sustainability is SO in right now!” is witty, on brand, and a great way to introduce your audience to the site. It is definitely a form of expression and your personality is revealed to the audience. This reminds me of what Gertz (2015) had explained regarding making design and content decisions in a more authentic way to forge human connection. I noted this time and time again on your site which really is the framework of successfully marketing your website to the intended audience group.

I highly suggest you add an “About” page because this will definitely create an even more personalized and dynamic site for your audience. It would be nice to see how you put together an “About” page that reflects your site’s theme and invites your users to explore the blog more.

As for specific blog content, I loved your meme. The image once again had that captivating movement effect while scrolling which drew me in as the viewer. It was clever and again connected with your intended audience. Your guest post with Spiderman was also really clever. You did a good job tying it into the blog’s theme and speaking to the intended audience. This was effective particularly with the sentence:

“I’m really here to spread an important message of how YOU can help me and the rest of the Avengers save the world from our biggest threat EVER – like even worse than Thanos – climate change.”

Your content titles are also super creative and captivating. This once again makes your audience interested in diving into the site’s content.

My final feedback is regarding website marketability to the intended audience. While your designs are great, you could definitely add more content. I was looking forward to seeing more public posts from your site that engage with the theme. This way, someone that’s interested in thrifting and sustainability could connect more with your site. The guest post was a sneak peak into this discussion with an intended audience and I’m looking forward to seeing more.

It would also be nice to see a “contact us” page where viewers could get in touch and potentially request different blog post topics. More posts, and an “About” page will really drive in more user traffic, ultimately making your site more marketable. Organic search is a huge source of blog traffic (Hollingsworth, 2018), making SEOs and keywords great tools to grow your website audience.

Looking forward to seeing you develop more content! Great work Makena 🙂

References:

Gertz, T. (2015). “Design Machines. How to survive in the digital Apocalypse.”

Hollingsworth, S. (2018). “12 Reasons Why You Business Absolutely Needs SEO.” https://www.searchenginejournal.com/why-seo-is-important-for-business/248101/#close

YVR Black & White: Kris Hooper

This week’s artist is one of my personal favourites, Kris Hooper. Hooper works on classic street and candid photography. He has a way of focusing in on certain objects and elements in each shot. He creates a certain focal point in his photos, creating a mini story in each piece.

Kris Hooper taking a film photograph of himself in the reflection of a building.

Many of his collections are in black and white which is really striking. While the colours are muted, Kris brings each image to life purely based on composition. Often highlighting a lone person in his photography, he tells a story with each photo. I feel like his images reveal how big the world is and how we all have a story.

He also highlights Vancouver’s distinct streets and infrastructure. Hooper breaks down the city’s development and structure, and whether or not this is on purpose, he has done an incredible job of capturing the city’s skeleton. He shows us what YVR’s core looks like in black and white. The black and white really makes the elements pop and sets an introspective tone for the images.

Kris makes me reflect on everyday life in the city. People commuting to work, shopping, getting coffee with friends — they’re all living their lives. The images may look solemn on the surface but when you look at them with intention, you really see their beauty unfold!

Check out some of his work from the collection Twenty-Odd Squares:

Analytics, SEO, & Audience Growth

The data Google Analytics provides is important because it supports a user’s specific goals. Its benefits derive from how a website owner chooses to use the data that it provides. It is important to have specific goals in place to optimize Google Analytics use. This versatile tool ultimately helps create better-informed decisions surrounding website engagement and marketing. So, if used correctly, Google Analytics helps grow a website’s audience.

A notable aspect of Google Analytics is its ability to uncover patterns and trends from website users. These trends reveal a lot about a website’s audience and not only informs increased viewership, but also fuels better user experience (Hollingsworth, 2018). I could use Google Analytics to optimize SEOs and ultimately create a more accessible site. This would make my site more efficient and help me achieve my blog’s goals.

To the same degree, mobile phones have created key mediums for accessing apps, games, and websites. According to State of Mobile (2022), in 2021, around 233 apps and games generated over $100 million dollars. Mobile phones have catalyzed more screen time than ever, which means more time that could be spent on websites and blogs. This also means more money spent on digital media, creating an opportunity for monetizing websites.

Finally, on the topic of tactics to ensure growing viewership, SEO is critical. Organic search is a huge source of blog traffic (Hollingsworth, 2018), making SEOs a fantastic tool to grow a website audience. SEOs build blog credibility, as well as give deep insight into site users’ behaviour (Hollingsworth, 2018). SEOs are a cost-effective tool that allows website owners to understand what their users really want.

How does this all apply to YVRchives? Well, this knowledge will allow me to leverage the plugins Google Analytics and Google AdSense. I can understand how to serve the best content to my audience as well as monetize my site through ads that will actually be useful for viewers.

References:

data.ai. (2022). State of Mobile 2022.

Hollingsworth, S. (2018). “12 Reasons Why You Business Absolutely Needs SEO.” https://www.searchenginejournal.com/why-seo-is-important-for-business/248101/#close

Digital Breadcrumbs

There’s a saying that goes: if the product you’re using is free (in this case social media), then you are the product. This could not be more true with the rise of data trails and targeted analytics. Dr. Elisa Oreglia explains that a “digital trail” is essentially like breadcrumbs we leave behind when using our smartphones, our laptops, as well as social media (2016). Beyond just scrolling through apps and explicitly engaging with them, our phones have “a series of censors and [we] have this constant background communication between the phone and cell towers”, but also between the internet and our apps (Pod Academy, 2016, para. 13). So, we’re constantly giving away information about our environment, and ourselves.

While this is initially alarming, given that at first glance, it’s pretty exploitative. I’d argue there are more benefits than costs here. I’m personally not worried about my data trails and I don’t try to minimize my footprint. This is because I’m pretty neutral when it comes to targeted ads and companies using my data to better understand me. I think acknowledging that this is the case is helpful in spotting these attempts to exploit me. On the flip side, it’s sometimes helpful for me when what I’m looking for pops up on my feed!

I also think there are more benefits in this double-edged data sword. Analytics are an extremely valuable tool. It’s not just massive companies that leverage our data trails, smaller creators benefit too! Digital creators and artists can use these data tools to build and develop an audience. They can understand their readers better to serve them better. I’d argue, everyone wins here. As long as there is education around the fact that some will try and exploit this data, there isn’t anything necessarily worrisome about data trails.

Media literacy and data trail knowledge is important now more than ever. Understanding that people will try and mold behaviour or influence our decisions is critical in avoiding the pitfalls of these digital breadcrumbs. However, knowledge is key and will help us access the power of these tools. This will also hopefully lead to the leveling of the digital playing field.

References:

Pod Academy, (2016). “Digital breadcrumbs: The data trail we leave behind us.” http://podacademy.org/podcasts/digital-breadcrumbs-our-data-trail/

Women. Life. Freedom.: An Analysis of Iran’s Protests and Digital Democracy

While there have always been citizen movements and protests throughout history, the introduction of social media has added a new layer to these events. Notably, Iran has seen several protests since the Islamic regime took over in 1979. Iran’s Green Movement in 2009 marked the first widespread protests against the totalitarian regime. In recent months, nation-wide protests in Iran were catalysed by the tragic murder of 22-yeard-old Mahsa Amini who died at the hands of Iran’s “morality” police for simply failing to entirely cover her hair. Beyond the political aspect, these events raise the question: what tools are citizens using in Iran and how have they changed over the years? Could this not only reveal the democratization that digital media affords, but also mark the democratization of Iran entirely? This essay will argue that social media platforms create democratic spaces for dialogue. An analysis of Iran’s recent protests reveals the democratic digital space that plays a role in documentation and producing digital evidence, allows information to transcend borders, and how this can unfortunately be hindered by the government through censorship.

Firstly, social media plays a vital role in documentation and producing digital evidence. Gender inequality and the disregard for human rights have been inscribed in Iran’s legal system and decades of discrimination and oppression have led to several uprising movements against the horrific government. Social media’s role in the recent protests has been multi-faceted and while it is not necessarily a central driver in mobilization, it is certainly a helpful tool. Social media creates a democratic space where citizens can “[spread] awareness and solidarity” and offers “the ability to witness your fellow citizens and your fellow women taking a stand” which certainly creates an incentive to mobilize (Alterman, 2022, para. 6). Digital media helps document and circulate the injustices occurring which consequently fuels protests. This documentation creates a digital footprint and essentially archives this historic moment. So, while the democratization of digital media does not determine “the exact shape and form of protest, movements, or the eventual movement to democracy” (Alterman, 2022, para. 6), it does offer an opportunity to share information, critical updates, and news. According to Andrea Ratiu (2022), because traditional media is heavily biased and controlled by the Islamic regime, many Iranians turn to digital media for their news — Whatsapp, Telegram, Instagram, and Clubhouse being the most popular sources. For example, Clubhouse has become a powerful tool for Iranians to circulate opinions and document the recent events (Khalaji, 2022). Clubhouse allows users to join drop-in meetings and conversations virtually, creating a public sphere like space. Expect this “public sphere” is open to the underserved, including both men and women.

card queen of hearts cutting her hair in protest and crying. her hair is blue and the card is spades.

Moreover, digital media allows information to transcend borders and unites voices. Unlike traditional media, social media creates opportunity for dialogue and two-way engagement, both inside Iran and internationally. According to a Pew Research Center study, 86% of Americans get their news online through their phones and 53% get their news specifically from social media (Shearer, 2021). Twitter, for example, is used by 23% of Americans, and more than half of those users get their daily news on the app (Atske, 2021). These numbers point to the reliance on social media for news and the important role social media plays in circulating information. Iran’s nation-wide protests have not been solely confined within borders, but have traveled worldwide, with people amplifying Iranian voices. In this way, social media helps highlight the issue so that Iran is not isolated. Evidently, digital media is a critical tool for marginalized people around the world (Ratcliffe, 2022).

                   Artist: Mahdieh Farhadkiaei

For instance, many artists outside Iran have band together in solidarity for Iranian women’s freedom. Many Iranian artists are creating powerful pieces to spread awareness and fuel the conversation surrounding the tragic injustices Iranian citizens face daily. These brave people speaking out against the regime are part of a larger counterpublic: “a subset of publics that stand in conscientious opposition to a dominant ideology and strategically subvert that ideology’s construction in public discourse” (Fattal, 2018, p. 1). This counterpublic is manifested in forms of feminist Iranians, artists, singers, authors, activists, leaders, and many others that unite for the same reason: they are tired of this horrific regime that hinders their basic human rights.

Combines an image of the Azadi (Freedom) tower with Matisse’s dancers and the ‘women, life, freedom’ protest slogan.

This piece combines an image of the Azadi (Freedom) tower with Matisse’s dancers and the ‘women, life, freedom’ protest slogan. Artist: Jalz

Identity & Self

This week I worked on my essay and mini assignment #4. The mini assignment was interesting because it opened my eyes to just how easy it is to remix and repurpose someone else’s original content. Staying with the theme of my website, I remixed Vancouver street photography and film videography from 1933 versus April 2022. It’s interesting to note that as a student, I can freely use copyright protected content for educational purposes. So, I can use other people’s work to create and inspire my own piece without paying royalties. I enjoyed remixing the purpose of each work to create a contrast between Vancouver’s landscape, lifestyle and environment between these times. It also depicts the huge change in film quality and access to photography mediums overtime.

As for my essay, I focused on tackling how social media platforms create democratic spaces for dialogue. I analysed Iran’s recent protests and how they reveal a democratic digital space that plays a role in documenting and producing a digital footprint of the protests, how it allows information to cross borders, as well as how it can be censored by the government, hindering its democratic purpose. This was an especially meaningful project for me because this event has impacted my family. I still have family in Iran right now and social media is a critical communication tool for them. It was really important for me to research on the subject and explore how it connects with digital media as well as how it connects to global artists. Writing this essay gave me a new understanding of the events and I cannot express how proud I am of the brave women (and men) leading these protests. I am proud of my identity and aim to further reconnect with my culture. 

Women. Life. Freedom.

Mini Assignment #4: Remix

Vancouver 1933 VERSUS Vancouver 2022