My Experience as An Online Publisher
As a person who was born in the 2000s, I have grown up in the blogging era. However, I have never tried writing a blog before, so PUB101 has given me the chance to be an online publisher.
It was not easy for me to write something every week because I am not usually written a diary or a blog before. Even creating one is a challenge for me. Writing a blog is like writing a diary, because in the diary, I can express what I think and how I feel. But the difference is that this diary are for public, anyone can read it and I also need to edit my diary many times before I can actually publish it. “The genius of the blog was not in the note-taking, it was in the publishing. The act of making your log-file public requires a rigor that keeping personal notes does not. Writing for a notional audience — particularly an audience of strangers — demands a comprehensive account that I rarely muster when I’m taking notes for myself. I am much better at kidding myself my ability to interpret my notes at a later date than I am at convincing myself that anyone else will be able to make heads or tails of them. Writing for an audience keeps me honest.” (Doctorow, 2021). I am actually at first not comfortable about sharing my thoughts on a public space like the internet, I also do not like to share my social media account because I want to be anonymous in an open space like this. But every week, I start to understand blogging a bit more, and I start to like it a bit.
I saw people use WordPress a lot, but their blog design is usually not easy to find the menu, and hard to see all the posts, after I tried it out myself, I can see how hard it is to use WordPress. I have some basic knowledge about graphic design but a blog is quite different from designing a book or a magazine. I am also not good with coding so I did not choose to create my theme. It took me at least a few weeks for me to find the right theme for my website and after a few tries, I can finally find the right theme that not only can change the color, but also the layout and typography. The color I try to approach is the color of tea, a bit yellow, orange and brown. At first, I choose a pink color because I want my blog to look cute, but I do not see this color as popular for the website to the audience so after researching, I found that the orange and brown colors are warmer like my website name “a cup of tea” and friendlier to the audience. I also change my layout that can help the audience easily approach any content and post I published, one of them is the menu that I have to categorize depending on the content and have to find the way the menu can show not only just menu but can lead the audience to actual post I published. After I change my layout and menu, I do personally found that it is easier for me to find things around my website and for my audiences as well. It is not because my audience does not know how to find a post, I want my website can be as friendly and easy to access as possible. The easier to access, the more audiences will willingly approach my blog.
“The best and worst thing about the information age is the ability and our penchant for sharing every damn thought that enters our minds. When designing, testing, and marketing our digital products, we feel compelled to blog our findings, tweet our opinions, and speak about the shit that works and doesn’t work. It doesn’t take long for opinions to morph from one organization’s experience, to industry-wide opinion, to black and white standards and best practices.” (Gertz, 2015). Throughout the first few weeks, I can see some of my peers’ blog designs quite similar to each other, and not only that we could have the same thought about ideas for our blogs. I am sure that not only do I have ideas for movie reviews and blog design. But the competition between me and other movie reviews blogs is the tone and the way they write the reviews. I can be quite behind in writing, but I hope that my design can keep the audience staying and reading my blog. I do try and test quite a few ideas, but in the end, choosing a design that simple and easy to see is the best decision I made for my blog design.
From the first week, I have set the ideal for my blog to be about movie and book reviews, so my target should focus on anyone who likes films and books but hesitates about watching or reading because they do not know if the films or the books fit them or not unless they read some reviews. But because I thought only movies and books are a bit dry and cannot approach a variety of the audience, so I also write blogs about my thoughts on what happened around me and the news. I imagined that there will be a large number of people who will access my blog because the movies I reviewed are mostly recently and still available in the theatre. However, after some weeks, the number of people who access my blog is not much, only one to two people stop to read the movie review. The reason for that is probably because my review is quite short and does not give enough information to the audience. So it does not help them decide if they should watch the movie or not. After six weeks, I do try to write a bit more on each of my blogs, but it is a challenge to recall what I watch and write down a review spoiler-free for everyone. But I do improve my blog with grammar and I try to use easier words that anyone can read and understand my writing.
I think I am providing artistic value to my audience because each film is artwork. I appreciate not only the art in the films but also the messages that each film has given to the audience, so that is why I want to share what I think about one movie with others and want them to realize the art behind each movie. Google Analytics did not give me much information about my audience, but from my peers, I learned quite a lot thanks to them. Whenever we have peer review, I always read what my peer say about my blog, and most say that they enjoy my writing about a movie review, but they hope that I can write a bit longer, so after every peer review, I always try my best to fix and change what I miss. For example, in peer review two, my peer says that my design is needed some change, so I do some changes hope that soon when she returns to my blog, they can see the change between the design before and after.
Twelve weeks is not long enough to improve something I have just familiar with, but it is also quite long to help me understand the publication. I have always been impressed at how an author of a book can think and write down one story, but as an online publisher, it is even harder because I have to write a blog every week which to some people, it is quite boring. I also need to look out for not only copyrights but also fake news. I would not want to be sued because of the copyright and spreading false news in public space. Also that because I know that some of my reviews are children’s movie so I always try my best to keep my words and information fits with children as well. These recent years, the internet becomes popular to also children. However, there are some contents that actually not fit the children like a creepy pasta, but using children’s favorite image as thumbnail: “Someone or something or some combination of people and things is using YouTube to systematically frighten, traumatize, and abuse children, automatically and at scale, and it forces me to question my own beliefs about the internet, at every level. Much of what I am going to describe next has been covered elsewhere, although none of the mainstream coverage I’ve seen has really grasped the implications of what seems to be occurring.” (Bridle, 2017). Because of these people who heartlessly aim at children frail’s minds to do something bad, I also have to be more careful when I review a children’s animation and check the credibility and authenticity when I cite something outside as well.
Overall, I can see that I am still improving every week, but I need more time to make my blog be more accessible to my audience and make it grow. But I can still see how I try to improve after every feedback from my peers so I think my blog will soon reach out to more audiences and grow larger with not only the number of access but also grow with the blog. At the end of the term, I think that I have done a great job in having something to write about every week and know what I want to do with my blog instead of aimlessly trying to write whatever I have in my mind.
Doctorow, Corey. (May 9, 2021). The Memex Method: When Your Commonplace Book is A Public Database. Retrieved from: https://doctorow.medium.com/the-memex-method-238c71f2fb46
Gertz, Travis. (July 10, 2015). Design Machines. How to survive in the digital Apocalypse. Retrieved from: https://louderthanten.com/coax/design-machines
Bridle, James. (Nov 6, 2017). Something is Wrong on the Internet. Retrieved from: https://medium.com/@jamesbridle/something-is-wrong-on-the-internet-c39c471271d2