Tag Archives: Academic

Reflections on Gender, a photo essay

Gendered rules of genderqueerness 

When I came out as non-binary, I had no gender diverse friends, family or acquaintances. With no role models or anyone in solidarity with me, I took to the Internet. These online sources shaped what I thought I ought to feel and look like as a non-binary person. Also via the Internet, I began to make non-binary friends. These people were extremely influential in my understanding of being non-binary. These sources of information, however, were nowhere near helpful. In fact, they were pretty detrimental to my understanding and acceptance of my identity. In no time, I went from loving femininity, girlhood and myself, to chopping my hair, concealing my body, trying to lower my voice and developing hatred and disgust towards my body and myself. I thought I was way too feminine. I learnt I wasn’t a valid non-binary person unless I was strictly embracing masculinity. This meant short hair, no makeup, a thin androgynous body and dysphoria. I tried going with this narrow conception of non-binary gender, but I was miserable. I went through so much unlearning to get to where I am with my gender(s) today, but now I love my femininity, masculinity and androgyny all together and understand that there is no one way to be non-binary.  

Feminine Menstrual products 

I’m non-binary. I get periods. I’m tired of period products being referred to as “feminine”. I’m all for pushing to call these things “menstrual products”. “Menstrual” is way more accurate than “feminine” anyway. These products are for menstruation, and menstruation shouldn’t be gendered. Anyone can menstruate, regardless of any gendered designations. There’s nothing feminine about my non-binary uterus lining shedding; there’s nothing feminine about a trans-masculine or trans-male person’s uterus lining shedding; there’s nothing feminine about a masculine woman’s uterus lining shedding. A uterus is not inherently feminine; reproductive organs have no gender; they’re socially constructed as such. 

I didn’t think anything of my period pre-identifying-as-non-binary, but due to gender essentialist social constructions of reproductive organs, when I came out, I began experiencing immense, sometimes even debilitating dysphoria about my set of organs. It was especially distressing during menstruation. I put in a lot of work towards unlearning this essentialist, binary gendering and unearning my internalized transphobia, and while this took a lot of time, I finally am comfortable again with my body and its functions, and I can confidently assert that there’s nothing feminine about my non-binary menstruation cycle or the menstruation products I use.  

Bras, binders, bumless panties and boxers 

I don’t know why, I mean no one’s going to see my underwear, but wearing gender affirming undergarments makes all the difference in my self-validation and overall confidence. With my vast collection of underwear, from bras I haven’t worn since adopting the term ‘non-binary’, to binders, to sports bras, to bralets, to boxers, briefs, bikinis, and backless panties, it’s almost like I can achieve any gender identity through matching up my underwear to my internal sense of identity. Choosing my coveted combinations allows me to engage with self-determination and validation of my subconscious perception of gender. So, every morning before getting ready for the day, I sit down with myself and contemplate, “what’s my gender today?”. With limitless possibilities, this reflection could go in any direction. Sometimes it’s an easy answer. Popular conclusions include: Dickies Dyke, femme boy, trans masc, femme, soft butch slutty, anything, all of it, and/or nothing at all. Sometimes I just won’t be able to find any clothes that feel good and right. On unfortunate occasions, it’s a distressing introspection into dysphoria and internalized erasure. Regardless, the most important step of getting ready is always selecting precisely the right gendered combination of undergarments.  

Hairy, man-hating, bra-burning, lesbian feminist 

I stopped shaving my legs in grade 10. It wasn’t political; I just couldn’t be bothered to upkeep the hairless legs I thought I was supposed to have. Then I started seeing posts about it being radical to stop shaving. These were mainly made by white and/or liberal feminists, and while I roll my eyes at them now, these strains of feminism were my gateways into the intersectional feminism that I now embrace. At the time, I hadn’t yet had my non-binary awakening. I remember thinking to myself, “huh, this is a way to keep women subordinate… Fuck that. I’m gonna flaunt my hairy legs with pride now”. And although there are way more radical acts of resistance, and despite being exhausted by liberal feminists constantly talking about their long blue armpit hair and nothing else, not shaving my legs really is quite liberating; first, as a fuck you to patriarchal Western beauty standards, second in my own identity as a dyke and a trans non-binary genderqueer femme boy. Although they’re generalizations aimed to depreciate feminism and pigeon-hole feminists, I find the stereotypes of a feminist personally amusing… Hairy, man-hating, bra-burning, lesbians? I pretty much check all of those boxes.  

Consequences of presenting femme 

I pass a man on the street. He looks at me, I smile faintly, he smiles back. His eyes burn into me. They crawl up my legs. He doesn’t even speak to me, but I feel violated. I’m late. I have no time to dwell. I think to myself, “I look femme today, so I guess this is how it’s gonna go… I do make a hot femme…” I shrug. Without a second thought, earphones in, I keep speed walking. He chases me. He must have walked a couple blocks in the other direction then turned around and ran – sprinted – down the street after me. Out of breath, he runs up behind me. I take an earphone out. He tells me he doesn’t mean to scare me but I’m cute and he had to tell me. He asks me out. I say I have a girlfriend. I keep speed walking. He follows. He asks, “you’re gay?”. I say yes. He asks me if I “want to try straight”. 

This is what I was wearing. (Note: he was East Asian, I look extra EA wearing an oriental shirt, I wonder if this had anything to do with his interest in me).  

If you like me, you’re gay. If you’re not down with the gays, get lost. 

Inserting image...

I’m vocal on my social media about my disdain towards men. I have been since high school, which is when I realized I was gay, and also, probably more importantly, when I confidently established that men are trash. Then I realized I was non-binary. I’m vocal about that too. Social media (well, some platforms) is a place where I can assert myself confidently and safely. I post about social justice, emphasis on LGBTQ+ justice and intersectionality. I post sometimes about the harassment I face; I talk about how I face an increase in harassment when I present as femme. I reblog spells on Tumblr to repel and curse homophobes and transphobes who may visit my blog. I lose a lot of (straight, white, cisgender, male, homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic) followers for this reason. I think this is a nice cleanse. 

I posted this meme one time on Instagram, I think in 1st year, and captioned it “@ cishet men: if you like me, you’re gay, so either admit you’re gay or leave me the f*ck alone”. I lost so many male followers, hahaha. Mainly the guys from high school who hadn’t unfollowed me yet for my other posts calling men out. 

Dragon-Phoenix, Yin-Yang 

My cheongsams and other Chinese clothing represent the intersection of my gender and ethnicity. I own both women’s and men’s Chinese clothing, partially because I don’t care for the gendering of clothing, but mainly because I find it all beautiful, and a way to connect to my culture through diaspora. I used to feel ashamed of my Chinese ethnicity and hated being mixed-race because of Eurocentrism and internalized racism, but after years of repressing my Chineseness, I now feel so content and connected in my Chinese attire. Aside from wearing clothing regardless of gender, I also embody the symbolism of the dragon and the phoenix. Both associated with prosperity, the former is associated with masculinity and the latter with femininity. Together they are harmonious, like the symbolism of yin and yang. I feel empowered by my embodiment of both the dragon and the phoenix, as well as by my ability to wear both phoenix and dragon symbols and to wear both “women’s” and “men’s” clothing. 

Flower-like beautiful boy  

Until researching for this project, I only knew of binary terms for Chinese lesbians: and Po. These are comparable to butch and femme respectively. Being genderqueer, I didn’t know which I’d be categorized as, and I had no other language for the conjunction of my sexuality and gender outside of these terms. I was pleasantly surprised, however, when I read Hu (2017) and learnt some new terms. While and po are connoted with lesbian gender expression, I learnt that in Chinese and other East Asian cultures, zhongxing and huameinan are used to describe gender expression more broadly (Hu 2017). Hu focuses on the term zhongxing, which literally means “gender neutrality,” but also mentions that huameinan means “flower-like beautiful boys” (183). I love being a beautiful boy and adore the idea of being a flower-like beautiful boy. Despite being genderless by literal translation, zhongxing is increasingly used to describe women whose gender expression leans towards masculine (Hu 2017). This term resonates with me too, and I especially like the way Hu describes zhongxing style: 

Typical outfits include stylish short hair commonly seen in popular men’s fashion magazines, well-tailored shirts or polo shirts in a masculine style, loose jeans or khakis, name brand sneakers, and sometimes sports bras or breast binders. Swaggering steps and dauntless attitudes often characterize the ways they carry themselves. (183) 

This pretty accurately describes how I generally like to dress and carry myself. I love having these new terms to describe myself, relating to both my gender and ethnicity.  

Image source:  

Dickies Dyke 

I started calling myself a Dickies Dyke. Firstly, because I like the consonance. Secondly, I very stereotypically love my Dickies. Lastly, I love the word dyke. Roberts (1979) traces the trajectory of the word, outlining its connotation with masculine lesbians, addressing the traditional derogatory meaning, and discussing the politicized reclamation. My foreparents’ reclaimed meaning of “dyke” is associated with activism, resistance, strength, pride, independence and self-determination. Although generally reclaimed regarding sexual orientation, and while I am a dyke in this sense, I feel like “dyke” accurately describes my gender. I know it typically refers to a masculine gay woman, but despite not being a woman, the term really resonates. In a sense I have reappropriated “dyke” again for my own self-determination. To me, as an AFAB person attracted to femininity whose gender fluctuates through femme, femme boy, trans-masc, agender, and several other gender designations, I feel that my sexual orientation in conjunction with my gender accurately places me in the realm of dykeyness. I’m a dyke. I love women and femmes. I’m not as masc as a butch, nor as strictly fem as a femme. I’m strong and independent. I’m an activist. I’m super queer and proud.  

Everything is drag (reflections on makeup and genderfluidity, genderfluxivity) 

I was trying to choose a new profile picture, so I was going through my best selfies. I narrowed it down to two options and couldn’t help but laugh at myself. Not to reduce gender to mutually exclusive binary categories, but I really selected the most masc photo of myself and the most femme. I’m in straight up drag makeup in these two photos; the first being masc drag, the second being femme, both done by my talented girlfriend. 

I know that when I posted the femme photo earlier on Instagram, most people just saw a g*rl in glam makeup, but my girlfriend and I know that I was a boy that day and that she asked to doll me up in femme glam drag. The masc drag photo is pretty clearly drag. I wish that people saw the femme photo as drag too. And I mean honestly, being genderfluid and genderflux, any makeup I ever have on borders drag. It’s all a way to manipulate my appearance anywhere from genderless to an all-encompassing gender, from masculine to feminine, anywhere in ambiguity and androgyny.  

References 

Hu, Yu-Ying. “Mainstreaming female masculinity, signifying lesbian visibility: The rise of the zhongxing phenomenon in transnational Taiwan”. Sexualities, vol. 22, no. 1-2, 2019, pp. 182-202. Sage Journals, doi:10.1177/1363460717701690. Accessed 10 Oct 2019. 

Roberts, JR. “In America They Call Us Dykes: Notes on the Etymology and Usage of ‘Dyke’”. Edited by Harriet Desmoines and Catherine Nicholson. Sinister Wisdom, vol. 9, 1979, pp. 2-11. http://sinisterwisdom.org/sites/default/files/Sinister%20Wisdom%209.pdf. Accessed 19 Oct 2019. 

Existential Femininity: A Social Constructionist Perspective Queering Femininity

Femininity is socially constructed and, as such, can be embodied by any individual in any individualized manner. In this argument I present the concept of ‘femininity’ as an ever-changing construct dependent on time and space/place. Informed by social constructionist, intersectional feminist, queer and existential theory, I suggest that if femininity is in a constant state of redefinition, everyone can define femininity in their own terms. I position femininity in a matrix of gender that consists of gender identity, gender expression, assigned gender, gender attribution, gender roles and various forms of gender oppression, including sexism, misogyny, cissexism, non-binary erasure and gender essentialism. The matrix of gender is further situated in a broader matrix of intersectionality, connecting identity markers of gender to race, class, colonialism, imperialism, geographical location and all other social locations. This argument is based on my knowledge and experience as a non-binary Gender Studies, Sociology and Philosophy student; I draw from the education I have attained both in post-secondary institutions and in my own time. 

To lay down the groundwork, it is essential to understand the complexity and multiplicity of gender. Gender is malleable and fluid. Gender is an abstract concept, far more complex than the simplified Western explanations that are rooted in oppressive hierarchies and false binaries. Moreover, while traditional Western conceptions of gender seem simplistic, equating penis = male = boy = man = masculine and vagina = female = girl = woman = feminine, these definitions are easily complexified and confused. Under the premise of the Western conception of gender, the aforementioned equations are mutually exclusive; that is to say that there are two gender categories that exist separately, never to coincide. The mere existence of gender diversity, however, shows how inaccurate these categories are. For example, there are men who are feminine and women who are masculine; there are people who are both feminine and masculine and people who are neither feminine nor masculine. There are people who are neither men nor women. There are women with penises, men with vaginas, people with neither of those organs or a mixture of the two. And there is an infinite amount of further diversity in gender that disrupts the gender binary. In addition to seeing how the Western gender system is flawed in itself, it is essential to see how this system is niche to the rest of the world. While the Western world operates under a binary gender system, there are other countries and cultures that acknowledge third genders. For example, in India there is a third gender category called ‘hijra’; in Indigenous cultures the modern umbrella term for someone of a third-gender is “two-spirit”. In reality, constructions of gender differ from place to place and throughout time, but through the lens of the Western world, the gender system should operate on their binary terms. The Western gender system is rooted in oppression, colonialism and imperialism.  

By exemplifying how complex and diverse the concept of gender is, this lays the foundation for combatting gender essentialism. Gender essentialism is the assumption that gender is fixed and innate, that gender is something that everyone is born with and that remains a static characteristic. The premise of gender essentialism and of the gender binary go hand in hand on the common ground of equating penis = male = boy = man = masculine and vagina = female = girl = woman = feminine. Gender essentialism dictates that if you are born with a penis (or the resemblance of one) you are assigned a male sex and gender, and as such you are inherently masculine; if you are born with a vagina (or the resemblance of one) you are assigned a female sex and gender, and as such you are inherently feminine. The previous evidence of how changeable the definition and embodiment of gender is, though, renders gender essentialism unreliable. The conflations of gender essentialism leads to the construction of gender roles, but again, these roles are unreliable and ever-changing. For example, a present-day gender role is that pink is for girls; however, pink was actually coded as a masculine until the mid 1900’s. Other gender roles that currently exist are that men are dominant, assertive, active, bread-winners, strong and rational. Women take the role of the ‘other’, meaning that they are everything that men are not; moreover, gender roles dictate that women are submissive, docile, passive, emotional and sensitive. These roles can be problematized from various angles. First, by simply comparing the masculine roles to the feminine roles, it is clear that these roles are steeped in sexism. This gender-based oppression is evident in the way that male roles are primarily positive and powerful, while female roles are weak and devalued. Not only are these roles rooted in sexism, but they are clearly overgeneralizations. Again, by simply contemplating the gender diversity that exists within society, one can see how these gendered traits are not innate characteristics dependent on sex assignment, but rather are developed behaviors that people of any gender can embody at varying degrees. Further, these traits are gendered according to the contexts of time and space/place. 

So, if gender and its associates can be so easily disrupted, conflated, complicated and confused, and since gender is in a constant state of flux, dependent on the contexts of time and space/place, I present a conception of femininity that reflects the changeability of gender. First, femininity can be embodied by anyone, regardless of gender. Second, femininity can be defined by any individual to mean any number of things. Gender is socially constructed, and social constructions are ever-changing; femininity, being a branch of the construction of gender, then, follows suit. The characteristics of ‘femininity’ are constantly negotiated by the values of the society and culture it is contextualized in; further, these values change over time. Most basic to this conception, yet most theoretically complex and existential, femininity can be anything. Femininity is an unexclusive attribution; femininity can be attributed infinitely in this space-time continuum.  

Everything is Drag

Introduction

This photo essay delves into the complexity of drag culture and non-binary identity through an auto-ethnographic study. With the help of my girlfriend, I transform into several drag looks then reflect on the process in relation to gender identity. Each look has a drag name, pronouns, a unique persona, and a song that they would perform to. The project explores drag in relation to gender performativity and gender roles. In the process, I find that drag, for me, functions as an extension of my gender and allows me to perform and embody heightened gendered expressions.

Tuxedhoe Masc

Pronouns: He/him/his

Song: Comme Des Garçons (Like The Boys) – Rina Sawayama

Tuxedhoe Masc is a femme boy. He is here and he is queer. He is gay and here to say, ‘down with toxic masculinity!’ A play on Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon, the ideal dream boy, Tuxedhoe Masc is indeed a dreamboat. He is tall, dark and handsome. He is mysterious like Tuxedo Mask, but still emotionally available. He is in touch with his feminine side, his masculinity, and the fluidity of his gender, while still being a confident ladies’ man. Tuxedhoe Masc performs feminist masculinities, disrupting traditional gendered expectations, rejecting male dominance and female degradation, and reinventing masculinity as queer (Basaliere, 2019). Feminist masculinities acknowledge the overarching social contexts in which gendered performances play out, and creates a space for new, healthy masculinities.

Ms Dyswhoria

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Song: Femmebot (feat. Dorian Electra and Mykki Blanco) – Charli XCX

Ms Dyswhoria is a bit of a slut. She uses her femininity to play the patriarchal system and get what she wants. She’s a queer queen who fakes straight when she wants something she couldn’t otherwise attain. This act of ‘realness’ (Bailey, 2011) is an act of resilience. The name of this drag look is a play on gender dysphoria. As an AFAB non-binary person, who hasn’t undergone any transition except for some chest binding, in a world where gender roles are rampant, I experience so much social dysphoria. By performing a heightened femininity, I feel as though I’m sticking it to those who dictate that non-binary has a certain look (androgynous, thin, white). I can be hyper-femme and non-binary. Further, I can use that hyper-femininity to exploit the binary gender system that enforces the roles that make me feel this dysphoria.

Stoned Priestx

Pronouns: Xe/xem/xyrs

Song: XS – Rina Sawayama

Stoned Priestx is so extra. Xe doesn’t conform to any rules. This look was the most fun and most difficult to create. Not wanting to conform to masculinity or femininity in anyway, Stoned Priestx beats xyr face to reject traditional gender roles and create endless queer gender possibilities. To xem, traditional gender roles mean nothing; xe envisions a future of queerness and fluidity when it comes to gender. Stoned Priestx breaks the binary and embraces a matrix of infinite gender possibilities. Xe performs to XS by Rina Sawayama as the song is about wanting “more, more, more, more, more,” and Stoned Priestx wants to be the most. Xe is inspired by club kid style and culture which centralizes gender fluidity, extravagance, and DIY aesthetics (Boulay, 2020).

Mixxxed Dynasty

Pronouns: Any

Song: Dynasty – Rina Sawayama

Mixxxed Dynasty is all mixxxed up. In terms of gender, they are queer and fluid. Racially, she is a mix of Chinese, Irish, English and Welsh heritage. This look is an act of reclamation of the appropriation of xyr Chinese culture that frequents the mainstream. White girls is cheongsams, white boys in changshans, popular brands using traditional oriental patterns and materials… The list goes on. Mixxxed Dynasty may be all mixxxed up, but he is sure of one thing: He is tired of the appropriation and bastardization of his culture and he wants to take it back. Mixxxed Dynasty performs to Dynasty by Rina Sawayama, who is also queer and of East Asian descent.

Dimsumdyke

Pronouns: They/them/theirs

Song: Immaterial – SOPHIE

Dimsumdyke is just as their name suggests: A big ol’ dyke. This final look portrays how, for me, everything is drag. Even my day to day looks feel like drag as non-binary, genderfluid individual. Dimsumdyke’s look is a casual look, nothing campy or extra about it at all, as Dimsumdyke is very shy by nature. They perform to Immaterial by SOPHIE as the lyrics reflect the binary that they feel simultaneously caught between and outside. Further, the more camp-like nature of the song contrasts their shy nature to reflect the internal conflict between being a raging genderqueer dyke and the constraints of conforming to society and appearing ‘acceptable’.

Conclusion

Drag is an art form that can be embodied infinitely. For some drag performers, a drag persona is separate from their day-to-day self (CBC Arts, 2020). Conversely, for other performers, including myself, it is nearly impossible to differentiate between drag and day-to-day gender. This project unveiled realms of gendered possibilities for me, all of which overlap in one way or another. The fluidity of gender is quite apparent in my transformations and queering and rejection of traditional gendered expectations. My drag functions to dismantle oppressive systems and create new, healthy, infinite gender possibilities.

References

Bailey, Marlon. “Gender/ Racial Realness: Theorizing the Gender System in Ballroom Culture.” Feminist Studies, 37.2 (2011): 365-386.

Basilere, Jae. “Staging Dissents: Drag kings, resistance, and feminist masculinities.” Signs, 44.4 (2019): pp. 979- 999.

Boulay, Nadine. “Week 5- June 12th.” Simon Fraser University, 12 June 2020.

CBC Arts. “We are not worthy of the talents of non-binary ‘drag thing’ Rose Butch.” 14 Feb 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJaOzlAyoLo.

Looking Forward: Process Post #11

Today was our last PUB201 class, and to be honest I’m a bit sad. Publishing classes are always a fun and a highlight of my semesters — I mean today in our online lecture we started playing pictionary, what other class would that happen in?!

But alas, as it is the last class that does beg the question: where do we go from here?

for me, I’m looking forward to continuing this blog. Especially in a time like this I think not only those who pop in and read my posts need this — but so do I. It’s been so much fun to post different reviews, lists, and everything in between this past semester and I’m looking forward to continue to do so!

However, in the upcoming weeks I do have exams. And if I can’t focus on studying when I’m freakishly busy with work — how on earth am I going to be able focus when I literally have all the time in the world!? So, that being said, I will most likely be able to get back up and running some time after the 20th of April (my last exam).

I look forward to posting all the reviews (mainly books because literally every single new movie has been pushed back to the end of the year or 2021 🙁 ) While also using all the knowledge I have gained from this course. Including SEO, Google Analytics, and everything in between. I also look forward to taking more Publishing courses in the future, and most likely sticking a shiny Publishing minor alongside my English Major.

P.S — Thank you Suzanne and William!

The post Looking Forward: Process Post #11 appeared first on [NOT SO] ELOQUENT EMMA .

Motivation: Process Post #10

The other day I was talking to my friend over FaceTime. I said to her, “my TA wants us to post a response to the overall discussion question and then a another response to someone else in the class — I don’t have time for that!” To which she replied, “actually Emma, you literally have all the time.”

This was a moment when I really noticed the way that this change in pace has affected my motivation to complete school work. I literally have no excuses. I’m not going into work right now, so my usual excuse of having to teach kids dance from 3-6 Thursday through Sunday isn’t going to work when i’m not up to date with the many tasks I know i’m behind on. And I literally have all the resources I need in order to be the successful — ie: working computer, internet, food in a kitchen — and I’m very lucky for that. However, I did realize the other day (while trying to write I long paper in approximately 48 hours) that I have the most uncomfortable desk chair and will likely need to upgrade before my summer courses begin or my back WILL begin to resemble a cave man’s.

But anyways, I’m hoping that in the summer I will be able to motivate myself to keep up to date with my classes. I think (and i HOPE) it will be easier due mainly to the fact that those classes are always going to be online. What was most difficult these past few weeks was not just doing classes online, but the abrupt switch to online. I felt like I got whiplash going from a 3 hour lecture on film history to a short recorded lecture that my professor sent out.

So that being said, I’m hopeful for the coming months. And I hope that this all starts to settle down soon. Because if there’s one thing that’s not helping — it’s everyone freaking out.

The post Motivation: Process Post #10 appeared first on [NOT SO] ELOQUENT EMMA .

Imagine: Process Post #9

I’m not too sure if everyone has seen this, but last week actress Gal Gadot posted this video to her Instagram account. And it caused quite an uproar. I could see the sentiment behind it, but all in all I think it’s pretty cringey. Most people just asking: “what’s the point?” There was no charity attached to it, which could’ve to possibly encouraged people to donate to those in need — but it was instead a bunch of celebrities awkwardly singing Imagine by John Lennon horribly off key. Although, what it did do was make me interested in looking to see what different celebrities have been doing online. Not only trying to brighten people’s days, but helping charities as well. And two of the main things that stood out to me were: living room concerts and late night talk show hosts.

Living Room Concerts

“living room concerts” are simply celebrities (usually singers) posting videos on Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, or through live stream services where they perform different songs. While I’m not sure who did the first one ever, John Legend was one of the first big celebrities to do it. Doing an Instagram Live along with his wife Chrissy Teigan and their children. What’s interesting about this is that when John posted the video to his Instagram, he used the hashtag #togetherathome, tagged fellow musicians to do the same, as well as included links to the WHO (World Heath Organization) and this website. And what the website shows is a way in which they are getting different musicians to come together and encourage people to stay home — all through music.

Similarly I’ve been seeing videos on various different Broadway themed sites. As some of you might know, all of Broadway has shut down due to the virus. Thus resulting in thousands of Broadway performers (and those who work behind the scenes) without work. Sn Broadway.com’s youtube channel, they’ve been done a live show hosted by Rosie O’Donnell with numerous broadway guests — all to raise money for The Actor’s Fund! Similarly, Broadway World has been posting videos on their website and Instagram page of various Broadway performers doing living room concerts. And another one of my favourite things has been Andrew Lloyd Webber, who has been asking his Twitter followers to send songs they want him to play on the piano — all while sat in front of his beautiful and giant Cats oil painting! (another awesome charity is Broadway Cares, known for the Aid’s fun they regularly raise money for when shows are happening!!)

Late Night Talk Show Hosts

Now I’ll admit, one of my guilty pleasures is watching late night talk shows. I don’t watch them all the time, but I really enjoy some bits of Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon’s shows. And in this quarantine I’ve actually been tuning into Jimmy Fallon’s Youtube channel quite regularly, because he’s been doing The Tonight Show: Home Edition for the past few weeks. I believe Jimmy Kimmel was actually the first talk show host to do this, but I genuinely enjoy the way that Fallon has been running his show from home. He has his wife film (as well as not laugh at a single one of his jokes), and his two young daughters often steal the show — with an inability to listen to him, and the youngest always ending up climbing all over him. What I also really enjoy about Jimmy Fallon’s show is that they’ve been highlighting various charities throughout the episodes (on the first episode alone they have already raised over $53,000 dollars for Feeding America). So I think he’s done a really good job of not only continuing to entertain people, but bring awareness of what’s going on. [Seth Meyers, Conan, James Corden, & Stephen Colbert have also been doing at home episodes of their talk shows]


I think there’s quite a difference between the video Gal Gadot posted, and the one’s I’ve included here. I get what she was most likely going for, but it definitely didn’t have the same affect as these celebrities, who are coming together to bring awareness to not only the virus, but bringing help to those who have been affect most — all while continuing to do what they do best and entertain the general public.

The post Imagine: Process Post #9 appeared first on [NOT SO] ELOQUENT EMMA .

The Power of FaceTime: Process Post #8

I’m an introvert. And so, I’m someone who usually prefers time to myself. So, if i’m being honest, self-isolating hasn’t been the most difficult thing for me to do. However, as the weeks go by, I have begun to get restless. As much as introverted people enjoy their time alone — that does not mean that we are all recluse. Some of the things I have enjoyed doing during my self-isolation is reading and watching movies, but I’ve also been FaceTiming my friends and family. I think I’ve used the FaceTime app on my phone more in the past couple week than I have in the however many years I’ve had an Apple device! (like 8 years?)

I live at home with my parents, but I have three older brothers who live with their significant others. Two of them live in Vancouver, while the eldest and his wife live in Toronto with my baby niece. And so, in order to talk to one another regularly, we’ve been having makeshift family dinners in order to connect with one another during quarantine (at about 3pm because of the Toronto/Vancouver time difference and because my niece eats at 6’clock). In some ways I would actually say that the virus is bringing us closer, as ironic as it might sound. I see the two brothers who live in Vancouver quite often — but I’m definitely not able to talk to the oldest as often. Although, through the power of the internet, we’re all able to check in on one another and make sure everyone is doing well — and it’s of course awesome to see my baby niece walking and “talking” (she has about two words in her vocabulary “light” and “hi”).

Alongside my family, I’ve been trying to stay in touch with my friends as well. One of my best friends and I would always meet up at SFU on Wednesdays, during a break we both had between classes. And so, even though we’re not in school, we’ve been facetiming at the same time! It’s not only nice to see my friend, but it still feels like I’m maintaining a part of my old routine.

So while I’m doing a lot of reading and watching a lot of movies, I’ll be honest and say that those are things I would always do during my free time. So, during this time, I’m also trying to keep in touch with those around me — and I’d suggest you all do the same!

The post The Power of FaceTime: Process Post #8 appeared first on [NOT SO] ELOQUENT EMMA .

A Spoonful of Vanilla Helps the Medicine Go Down! Peer Review #3

For my third (and final!) peer review I am going to be looking at the blog of Christina from A Spoonful of Vanilla

A Spoonful of Vanilla is a blog filled with recipes everyone and anyone can try at home — giving us recipes that are also vegan and gluten free ones too! With a simplistic and minimal theme, what really stands out and draws you in are the photos. The baked goods she makes stand out against the white background and almost beg you to try and make them yourself. And while each photo is of a different baked good — they all fit together cohesively to push the aesthetic of her blog as a whole. And that is seen even more so when you look at her instagram — made easily accessible through both the side bar and icon in the upper left corner. Her Instagram is filled with just as many photos of delicious looking treats. Baking is inherently visual, and so I think instagram is a great social media app to use alongside the blog. Because If you see a photo of a delicious looking cake on instagram, and the caption says: “there’s a simple recipe for this in the link in my bio” — I’m going to click the link! I also think this minimalistic theme makes it look very professional and clean — two things you definitely want from a baker!

One of my favourite features of this blog is that on each recipe you can easily adjust the serving size — which would make it about 100% easier to double or halve the recipe if you wanted to. And if you’ve tried to halve a recipe, you would probably know that it’s not as easy as it may seem! Each recipe also clearly shows the amount of servings it will make, the difficulty of the recipe, prep time, baking time, and then the complete time in which it will take you to complete the recipe! I really appreciate that this is at the top of the recipe — because it helps to know right away if you even have time to make something, or if it is easy enough for an amateur like me to do! 

Alongside her recipes Christina also sells her baked goods. This is easily noted by her “orders & pricing” tab at the top of her blog. And she clearly states that she works in a peanut-free kitchen— which is great. However, this feels much more like a blog — with a business on the side. Rather than a baking business — with a blog on the side. A suggestion I have is altering the bio on the right sidebar. And perhaps saying “I’m a baked based out of Vancouver, BC etc etc.” Which I think would put the business aspect front and centre! I also think adding an about me page could similarly help and make the site feel more personable — thus making customers feel like they know who’s making their cookies!

Other than that Christina has an extremely cohesive blog. It is clear that it’s about baking, and the mix of visuals and text are perfectly balanced. One of my hobbies I’ve begun to adopt in the last few weeks of quarantine is baking, so I’m hoping to try some of Christina’s recipes soon! 

you can find a spoonful of vanilla and Christina’s recipes here

The post A Spoonful of Vanilla Helps the Medicine Go Down! Peer Review #3 appeared first on [NOT SO] ELOQUENT EMMA .

Going Online: Process Post #7

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you are aware of the coronavirus that is causing much mayhem across the world. As of Friday March 13th it was announced that all in-person courses at SFU would be going online! Now, while this is something that most definitely had to happen, but I am also frustrated for a couple reasons. First of all, I genuinely enjoy the classes I have this semester and enjoy going to class because of the lectures my profs do, and, I am terrible at committing to online courses.

The first time I ever took an online course was in Grade 10. I did a special dance program when I was in high school called the “Pre-Professional Dance Program” (or as me and my friends called it: PPDP) which pretty much meant I got to leave school one blog early to go to dance class. My high school worked on a 4 block day timetable, which would then switch a the end of the semester (very similar to university). The class that PPDP would take the place of was gym class. Thank goodness. As well as one the two electives I got to choose each year (also fine because the only elective I cared to take was drama) However, PE 10 is a course that is required (at least in BC) for one to graduate high school. As is the dreaded Planning 10 class — which students often end up taking online so they don’t have give up an elective. Although, because of my PPDP, I was forced to take these two classes online. Yes, Gym online.

To be fair the gym course was easy enough, I did about 10 quizzes (which were all open book) and I just had to prove that I was getting enough daily physical activity (which was also easy seeing as I was doing about 20 hours of dance a week). However, the Planning 10 course is a whole other story. First of all, even if you did the version of the course that was in class, it’s boring. But put all the information in online power points where I can easily change the tab and watch tv on Netflix? even more boring. I procrastinated the hell out of this course, and (somewhat) luckily there was no completion deadline on it — so I could take however long I needed. Although when they say that I don’t think they mean almost 2 years. Finishing Planning 10 online was one of my greatest achievements, mainly because I don’t think anyone (including me) thought I could do it.

I was of course scared when I decided to then take another online course in University, especially seeing as there was no way they’d let me take 2 years to complete it. But with my determination, I was able to complete it and get a solid mark along the way. However, that was one course, and a course that was intended to be online. Whereas all the courses I am taking right now (3 to be exact) were not made to be taught online, and couple of them are bound to be quite difficult for me to now comprehend via my laptop rather than two and a half hour lectures.

My main goal for the 4 weeks is to try and stay organized. I still have assignments that are due and final exams to prepare for, but the only way for me to not become overwhelmed is to prepare myself. One of the ways I hope to do this is maintain the schedule I already had. I had class on Monday, Wednesday, & Fridays — so I will do my school work on those days.

But with all this being said, I completely understand the decision for us to switch to online courses. While we might not realize it yet, the situation we are all in the middle of is quite serious. Social distancing is one of the best things we can do not only for ourselves — but for others. As an introvert myself I don’t find this too difficult — but if you are someone who usually loves to be out and about 24/7, think about it first.

Week 11

This week I got to read about public shaming and what happens when it gets too far. Frankly, it is not surprising to me at all. it is sad but true to say that online shaming and cyber bullying has been part of our generations for quite some time. There are all kinds of movies and tv shows being made that talk about this topic. And unfortunately, real life is just as cruel as the fiction.

In Jon Ronson’s ted talk, he talks about Justine’s tweet and the public shaming that followed with it. Her life was fully destroyed because of one tweet. And in his opinion, it was taken too far. No one deserved what she got, even for one badly landed joke. He talks about how social media used to be a democracy, a place where the voiceless gets a voice. But it has turned into a monster. It has become a surveillance society. Everyone is watching, and everyone is trying dig up deep dark secrets of others. This is such a scary thought to process. I would like to believe that social media has done more good than bad, but unfortunately the negativity that it creates is undeniable. A lot of people change their behaviours online because of dissociative anonymity and invisibility. They think that because no one can trace back to what they are saying, and no one knows where and who they are, they can do whatever they want. It is a naive thought since no one can hide away from the data we create. But people use these excuses to hurt and shame others, which then get taken too far sometimes.

I then think about my own behaviour online. I don’t think I have ever participated in a part of a online shaming. But I am still affected by the fear of that happening to myself. Since my instagram is public, I’m always so careful with everything I post and share. I am so afraid of the possibility of online shaming that a lot times I would rather be silent than to voice my opinion about certain things. I am aware that it is a very passive way of handling things, but unfortunately in this day and age, it is sometimes the only way.

The post Week 11 appeared first on Heyy, Jessie.

Essay 2

The past few months has been life-changing for me in all aspect of life. And one of the best things that has happened is that I’ve finally built my own blog. Having a blog has been a dream of mine for quite a while. I have tried multiple times to start one, but always ended up forgetting about it, and giving up. But this time, with the help of PUB 101, I was finally able to keep up with my blog. Frankly, I’m quite proud of what I’ve built in the past three months. And through this process, I’ve also learnt a thing or two about myself, my blog, website design, and more.

Comparing to the beginning of the year, I’ve gotten to know my online self a bit better through PUB101 and the blogging process. I’ve noticed my behaviour changes when I’m on different media platforms. When I am on instagram, which is where all my friends are active, I am very cautious with my every move. From the perspective of the Online Disinhibition Effect, I treat my Instagram account as the “true self”. It is supposed to represent who I am in real life. And especially since my account is an business account, I HAVE to be on my best behaviour on Instagram. In my mind, everyone is closely watching and judging me on Instagram, which is why I always overthink and analyze everything I post and share. What ends up happening is that I would not post anything for weeks, sometimes even months, because I don’t consider anything being good ENOUGH for my feed.  But when I am on my blog, I behave very differently. I am affected by “You Don’t Know Me dissociative anonymity)” and “You Can’t See Me (invisibility)“. I feel much more carefree when I’m posting on my site. Yes, my blog still has my name on it, but people who visit my website are not necessary people that I encounter with in real life. I don’t feel that my audience has an existing expectation of me, and I don’t need to be actively matching that exception. I feel that I could post whatever I’d like, and no one could judge me or define me over it. That is why I did not promote my blog to anyone on Instagram for quite a while. I wanted to keep my blog as a safe space, away from all the opinions from people that I care too much about. It has been quite an interesting journey seeing the different sides of my online self, and slowing learning to understand and accept that they are all me, and I don’t need to shy away from certain things or hide certain parts of me.

Not only have I started to understand my online self, I’ve also realized what my blog is really about. In the beginning of the semester, I envisioned my blog being a lifestyle/personal blog. I wanted to write about fashion, dance, travel, life. I wanted to share my stories, advices, and thoughts about everything that I’m interested in. Now thinking back, this plan was a bit unrealistic, unorganized and lack of focus. Going through all my post, I realize that I never ended up posting anything about dance or travel. I have mainly been focusing on posting some of my projects in fashion and photography, and as well as in the topic of wellness. Learning and researching about different types of blog and their definitions has helped me re-define my blog. I’ve learnt that lifestyle blog covers a variety of topics and it is mainly advices and suggestion based. And personal blog is more about the author of the blog and her/his personal stories, experience, and daily life. Now, I consider my blog more as a personal blog, with a focus on wellness and personal growth plus a part of my portfolio. Wellness and personal growth is something that I’ve been focusing in my own life for quite some time now, and posting about it has been very beneficial for myself. So I’d love to continue on that path and see where it would take me and my blog.

Through building my blog, I’ve also gained some knowledge and experiences in website design. I’ve spend hours and hours on WordPress trying to build my site into what I wanted it to look like. One of the biggest challenges was selecting a theme that fits my every need, which has been proven absolutely impossible. This problem is mentioned in the reading of “Design machines” .These website building services don’t care about the content or the individuality of the websites. Design machine’s example is squarespace, and how “its entire business model relies on the fact that you can paste any ’ol passage of slop into their system and it will look acceptable.” But thanks to the restriction of themes, I was able to dive into the learning of plugins and more design rules.Through class and readings, I have learnt about things like whitespaces, balance, rhythm, and more. It has also help me realize how much I’d like to master this skill, and I am planning on taking a few graphic or website design classes in the future.

Overall, this has been one of the most relevant, beneficial, and fun classes that I’ve ever taken at SFU. I’ve really enjoyed learning about my online self through the process of building a blog. I am definitely going to keep this blog going, starting with an re-design of the whole site, since I’m now more clear about the direction of my blog. And once my upgraded site is finished and running, I am planning on incorporate more content between my Instagram and the blog. I would like to show a more 3D and true version of myself to people in my life through my online presence.


 

Reference

 

The Online Disinhibition Effect

Design Machines: How to survive the digital apocalypse

Revealed: Which are the Most Popular Types of Blogs?

 

The post Essay 2 appeared first on Heyy, Jessie.

The end of a chapter but the beginning of a book

The end of a chapter but the beginning of a book

For as long as I can remember, my camera has always been my side-kick.  Something about being able to capture a moment, an emotion, or a light in turn captured me.  From the beginning of the semester I knew I wanted to create an online space for my photography. In reality, it was the reason I enrolled in PUB 101; while I didn’t lack initiative, I lacked the knowledge and tools to create and curate a platform for my photography.  Finding a domain name and aesthetic was the first challenge.  It was important to have a very visual, professional, and clean blog – a space where images could stand out. Eventually, after much thought, I settled on One More Klick.

One More Klick features a blend of photography, travel, and the outdoors. “Klick” is another word for kilometre, which was very fitting with both the outdoor and travel aspects of tis blog, marking the distance traveled, in addition to klick also being the phonetic sounds of a camera’s shutter.  Since traveling, photography, and the outdoors are a passion of mine, I aspire to always challenge myself by going further, reaching higher, and persevering through the fear of the unknown.  For these reasons, there will always be one more klick – whether it be one more photograph, or one more kilometre.

With the help of photographs taken during various travels and adventures, my blog aims to share the stories behind photos, and provide context.  While some posts feature more personal stories, they still hold some informative content – whether it be in the form of tips and tricks, political context, or specific photography settings to achieve a photograph.

Currently, the majority of the audience reading One More Klick consists of direct family and friends, with some page views coming from countries outside of North America. Some of the perks of traveling abroad include creating friendships and connections across the globe.  Maintaining these friendships are even easier in light of the digital age.  According to the 2018 Digital Media Report, there are over 4 billion active internet users across the globe, and there has been a 13% increase in active social media users since January 2017.  The internet allows for greater connectivity, breaking the barriers of time and space.  In just the touch of a finger, users can connect with anyone, anywhere.  This immediacy has allowed me to connect with people from around the globe in little to no time.  For example, I reached out to Hasham to ask for his permission to post his photograph for the Friends in Foreign Places blog post.  Despite residing in Qatar at the time, within a few hours I received a response and we were connected once again.

This is especially useful for this blog, as I hope to expand the audience internationally.  Already, this blog has most of its’ international traffic coming from the United States, with other countries including France, the United Kingdom, Australia, Croatia, Ireland, and Luxembourg to name a few.  

It’s possible that some of the page views from the countries above are just bots, which are basically software that run automated tasks over the internet.  This would become more apparent when cross referencing with the amount of time spent on the page and the bounce rate.  Because I don’t know of anyone personally in Kenya, Sri Lanka, or Russia, I would assume that they aren’t actually real people reading my blog.  If you’re reading this and you are currently in Kenya, Sri Lanka, or Russia, let me know!

With the goal of eventually creating a stronger following and international audience, having a strong social media presence would be a huge asset.  Currently, Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram hold the podium for most popular social networking sites:

2018 Digital Media Report, page 68

“Let’s face it: we have entered an era of media convergence that makes the flow of content across multiple media channels almost inevitable.”

Henry Jenkins, 2003

In his article Transmedia Storytelling, Jenkins (2003) highlights the importance of using a multitude of different social media platforms as opposed to restricting your content to just one.  The advantage here is not only more exposure, but also meeting your audience where they are.  With this is mind, I have created a Facebook page to share my blog posts.  Having a separate page for One More Klick that is independent from my personal page means traffic won’t be restricted by my own personal privacy settings.  Eventually, I will create an Instagram page which will feature different photographs linking them to their blog posts.  If it weren’t for social media, very few people would know about my blog and even fewer would be reading it. 

With blog posts being shared on social media, it was increasingly important for my blog to be responsive and mobile friendly. In Design Machines: How to survive in the digital Apocalypse, Travis Gertz (2015) criticizes the homogeneity of basic website designs. While I was trying to create a unique and customized aesthetic for my website, I ran into some serious challenged. While the desktop version worked perfectly, the layout didn’t translate well for mobile devices. As the majority of internet users access websites on their mobile devices, it was extremely important for my website to be responsive and mobile-friendly.

Social media allowed for networking and collaborations with other artists.  My first essay 21st Century Nudes covered the topic of censorship of artistic nudity on social media platforms. This essay was inspired by Vince Hemingson, a photographer, filmmaker, and bestselling author based out of Vancouver, who’s beautiful photographs routinely encounter censorship.  In wanting to share my essay on social media, I reached out to Vince for permission to tag him.  Not only did he agree and share my article with his network, he commended my work and asked for my feedback and comments on his Artist’s Statement for his Nude in the Landscape series.

Already, creating this blog has allowed me to build concrete skills by learning how to use WordPress and Google Analytics, along with broadening my artistic and professional network. This blog acts as a live document, changing and improving as I continue to learn and create. I plan on continuing this blog alongside my adventures, and hope that one day it might flourish into something larger.



References

Gertz, T. (2015). Design Machines. How to survive in the digital Apocalypse. July 2015. Retrieved from https://louderthanten.com/articles/story/design-machines

Hemingson, V. n.d. Artist’s Statement: The Nude in the Landscape. n.d. Retrieved from http://hemingsonphotography.com/fine-art/nude-in-the-landscape/

Jenkins, H. (2003). Transmedia Storytelling. January 15 2003. Retrieved from https://www.technologyreview.com/s/401760/transmedia-storytelling/

Kemp, S. (2018). We are social – Digital report 2018. Retrieved from https://digitalreport.wearesocial.com/

Community Guidelines

Leave it better than you found it

Hello, and welcome to One More Klick!

A common saying in the outdoors community is “leave it better than you found it”.  While this often relates to trail conservation, it also relates to this community.  Do not comment anything you wouldn’t want your mother to read.

In other words:
  • There is zero tolerance for disrespecting or degrading any race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, gender, identity, etc..
  • Any hateful, disrespectful, or derogatory comments will not be approved.
Stay on the trail:
  • Promotional and spam-like content will not be allowed.
Look, but don’t take:
  • All of the artwork and writing should not be copied, used, or taken without explicit permission granted by the owner of these works.
  • All writing, photography, videography, and other artworks are made by me, unless specified otherwise in their caption. If you are wanting to use any of the footage, art, photography, and/or quotes, please reach out.
Join the community:
  • You are welcomed and encouraged to ask questions, share your experiences and suggestions.
  • This is a safe space for travellers, artists, adventurers, outdoor enthusiasts and the like to share thoughts, experiences, and tips. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

Thank you for respecting these simple rules, and happy klicking!

Sincerely,

Magali Bureau


redesigning my about page

Repurposed

The About page is where people go to gain a better understanding of a website or blog. Basically, my about page is the first impression newcomers will get of my blog and me. Keeping this in mind, it’s important for this page to be captivating, professional, and beautiful. Looking at my current About page, I knew I wanted to make some changes – not only in the style, but also content. My current bio explained the basics, but was too short in length and was unengaging for my likes.

I tried editing my About page through Elementor, as it offered a whole lot more versatility and customization to the elements, especially in comparison to the blocks theme that I’ve been using. Because I didn’t have an exact idea of what I wanted the layout of my About page to look like, it took a lot of time and trial and error.

What I liked about my previous page was the definition of “klick”. I wanted to keep this, but redesign it to make it more appealing and cohesive with the style of the logo that I had created weeks prior.

Original design of the definition on my first About page:
First updated draft:
Changing examples:

I wanted this definition to be the first graphic on the page, as it would set the tone for the rest of the blog. Yes, I do know that click is typically spelled with a “C”, and yes, the “K” was on purpose. In one image, I hoped to capture the explanation and theme. Just like in dictionary definitions, I wanted to use “klick” in a sentence, so I used this first sentence – which was originally used in Joffre Lakes; however, I ended up changing it to something much more relevant to my blog:

I had the plan of creating three distinct clickable categories in columns below with brief descriptions of these different categories. I wanted this graphic to blend seamlessly with the categories below. Originally, I wanted to extend the grey a little further down, and add a white mountain in the middle to blend the grey from this graphic and the white from the following section. While I was doing this, I realized I was creating an arrow in the wrong direction. Instead of having a white arrow pointing up, which would have been the case had I kept the white mountain on the grey backdrop – I created a negative valley (as in lack of colour, not unhappy) to draw attention to the following section.

Third and final draft:
Finally, with the added category columns, this is what the top part of my About page looked like:

Each of these columns are responsive, meaning that it react to your curser. When the mouse hovers over the column, it becomes a darker shade, inciting you to click on it. These columns, images, and titles are linked to their respectful pages. For example, if I were to click the “local” column, it would send me to the landing page for the local category.

Already, this so much better than my previous About page, which is below for reference:

Editing my bio:

Next up was rewriting and redesigning my bio section. I chose colours that would match the image, along with a readable and professional font. My original About page lacked warmth and friendliness, so I tried to keep this in mind when redesigning and rewriting this next section:

Staying Connected:

All that was missing was connecting my social media account and contact information. I opted for simple responsive icons. The icon would increase slightly in size when hovering over it with your mouse, and for consistency, I chose to have the colours change to the blue and yellow of my logo:

Mouse over the Mail icon
Mouse over the Facebook icon

When clicking the facebook icon, it would open my facebook page in a new tab with to make sure I’m not kicking them off my blog. Similarly, when clicking the mail icon, the user’s email would open up in a new tab, ready to send me an email.

The trouble in troubleshooting

So while I’m really happy with the design and content of my new About page, you might be left wondering why you still see my old About page, as opposed to this new and improved one. To my big disappointment, when I was troubleshooting this page for different screen sizes, I realized how illegible it is for mobile devices. Somehow, the graphics, icons, columns and images didn’t transfer well onto a smaller screen: not only was the layout lost, but some images disappeared and the content was just not easily readable.

Final note:

This was especially frustrating, as I had spend days working on it this. While the layout did still work on tablets and desktop computers, over half of my audience accesses my blog on their mobile device, so keeping this up was out of the question. I rather have an elementary version of my about page rather than make this illegible gibberish live on my website. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to try and fix this before the end of the semester, but I plan to sort this out as soon as possible. If nothing else, I learned the importance of troubleshooting regularly throughout my progress to make sure its compatible with all devices.

Week 10

This week, we had a guest speaker during lecture to talk about multi-channel marketing.

I found it super fasinating that how many channels actually exist in our world. There are so many more channels than just the typical tv, newspapers, magazines, online, billboards advertisement that everyone thinks about. And not all channels are equal. They all tell stories in different ways. When we have different goals and want to attract different kind of audiences, different channels would be chosen. The guest speaker also talks about the challenges that companies and brands face when comes to marketing. There are too much noise in the world and so much competition. And now that advertisement has become so accessible for everyone, it is becoming harder and harder to attract more and good-quality attention.

Now when I’m on social media these days, I would sometimes apply these perspectives scrolling down my feed. I follow quite a few fashion houses’ Instagram accounts. I’ve noticed how these fashion brands have integrated advertisement with editorial shoots, short films, etc. A lot of the times, it is hard to tell whether certain posts are editorial or ads. In my opinion, the purpose of these Instagram accounts are not to sell anyone anything, but to raise brand awareness, build loyal followers who might one day turn into actual buyers.  Because the majority users of Instagram users are young professionals who might not have the money just yet, but are interested in learning more about whatever they are interested about. And if fashion is one of them, they for sure will follow lots of fashion brands. By posting these editorial style ads, brands are slowly immersing themselves into the mind of these followers. Again, it is more about awareness, not selling.

As for my blog, and what media platform I choose to focus on, Instagram is for sure the number one channel. I think my intended audience demographic would most likely be active Instagram users. On top of that, most of my own online activities are on Instagram, and I’ve created most of my followers on there as well. It only makes sense to start my promotion there. Besides Instagram, I would also look into promoting my blog on Facebook and twitter at the same time.

The post Week 10 appeared first on Heyy, Jessie.

PEER REVIEW No.3: Eats and Feats

After a long semester of hard work, Eats and Feats has produced a useful series of food and location reviews for Vancouverites looking for adventure. The title is so terrifically catchy while the subtitle–”explore Vancouver, BC”––does a nice job of orienting any passerbys as to the overall thematics.


“I genuinely believe Vancouver has so many things to offer, delicious food, amazing events and gorgeous sceneries and I love to explore so I decided on that. I wanted to write a blog that would help people see what there is to do here because there is never a shortage of things.”

–– Eats and Feats author Helen writing about her purpose

Let us jump into the review below, which will gradually unpack the visuals, written word, and overall premise of my classmate’s great blog.

THE VISUAL STRUCTURE

HOMEPAGE
Underneath the horizontal menu bar, Helen has good combination of three main visual elements (the title and then two featured posts), which align with the suggestions proposed during our guest lecture by Mauve Pagé. The featured posts are well-selected as some of the blog’s finest, with bright and attractive imagery of food. Not only do those pictures attract the eye, they also activate viewer engagement given their “clickability” (scroll function). So, as a visual element, these featured reviews seem to be integral to the website’s immersive capacity and accessibility, while also being foundational to the website’s success as a whole system––specifically if we consider encouraging desirable outcomes for page traffic and bounce rate, which were outlined as important factors to growing a business according to our other guest lecturer by marketing expert Monique Sherett.

SIDEBAR
In addition to what has already been mentioned, I would like to commend Helen on the use of her sidebar which really encourages readers to conveniently explore other posts from the blog. Not only does she include a juicy little glimpse of her longer About Me, there are many links (in the form of both tags and titles) which make navigation from one page to the next a lot smoother than in other websites I have seen (including my own).

PHOTOS
Also, I would be remise not to highlight the extremely comprehensive and necessary use of food and site photography. Particularly when it comes to images of meals, Helen is careful to crop and angle her photos, and ensure that other factors like contrast are tweaked so that all the relevant textures and colours are accurately conveyed. This plays a crucial role for the viewer as they imagine themselves interacting with what is described, and the images are always well arranged so as to perfectly complement the written descriptions.

While there is always some room for improvement that could be considered, namely in the form of customizing the visuals, the visual structure of the site mostly serves the viewer quite favourably.

THE WRITTEN WORD

TECHNICALITIES
Although the grammar is not completely consistent throughout the blog, Helen’s careful use of descriptive language really illuminates the scenes she describes and does a good job to pique viewers’ interest.

FORMATTING
The immediate impression is that Helen has an excellent sense of paragraph structure and dispersion, something that I struggle with personally. She is thorough when including important information such as location, menus, and pricing, although I would suggest potentially bolding, italicizing, or adding icons to these areas for “skimmability”.

PREMISE
I have to respect that Helen has committed to creating a positive “public sphere”, if we can recall Nancy Fraser’s description of this term coined by Habermas. She gets to the point while impressively weaving in a tone of warmth and welcome for her readers.

Given some of the sinister things we have read about the internet this semester, I think we can all agree that websites with more upbeat attitudes, such as Eats and Feats, are probably needed in the larger scheme of things. Importantly, from a strategic standpoint, this could potentially help Helen achieve some form of monetization either through sponsorships or the kinds of affiliate ads debated by Tom Bleymaier in his article titled On Advertising –– Maria Popova.

However, Helen’s “favourites” will have more value if they are allowed to shine through comparison and contrast. By this I mean to suggest that introducing some experiences that are more negative could potentially suggest more credibility in the minds of Eats and Feats’ readers, and potentially even contribute some playful humour.

THE OVERALL CONTENT + Suggestions

In a city often critiqued for a supposed lack of activities and cultural opportunities, Helen is clever to centre her blog around dispelling this mischaracterization about Vancouver––one blog post at a time. It is a solid initial premise and one that can also serve her well in the long term.

This foundation works well because it allows Helen to better tailor her content towards a specific audience, very much in line with . In short, the blog knows it It is a solid initial premise and one that can also serve her well in the long term.

WHAT IS AT STAKE HERE?
With that said, going forward I would encourage her to ponder the following questions: What makes this content well-suited to the blogging format? What knowledge is imparted that distinguishes my posts from Yelp reviews or a “foodstagram”? By brainstorming some answers to these questions, I can envision an exciting future in which Helen leans further into her own unique opinions and investigates new possibilities for content.

A FRESH TAKE
Beyond the food/activity review structure (which seems to be the blog’s “bread and butter”), investigating other thematic pathways could present exciting avenues for readers to live vicariously though the author. For example, potential premises for engaging content might include replicating favourite restaurant dishes at home, trying out intimidating new activities like paddleboarding around English Bay, or chronicling a week of eating out on a relatable budget. Of course, it is perfectly okay if the author dislikes those specific suggestions: The point is that there is still somewhat of a need for Eats and Feats to distinguish itself as a unique voice amongst all the noise. I am simply suggesting that one way to “stand out from the crowd” would be by diversifying the scope of subject matter by incorporating an element of risk or challenge into future posts.

Granted, we must keep in mind that is always easier said than done! And, in fairness, Helen has made some subtle disclaimers that she views this website as a first step into navigating herself within the digital landscape. Thus, the everyday casualness to her tone is a natural and understandable extension of such a context.

SUMMARY
All of this is only to say that I would encourage Helen to really go for it. Perhaps she wants to lean more into the diary-like lens of everyday adventures or perhaps her angle will be to illuminate the underrated underbelly of Vancity: Either way, she is already off to a solid, well-reasoned start, complete with enticing imagery and relevant information. Well done, Eats and Feats––I hope you continue your blog after our course wraps up so that I know what adventures I can explore during those long summer days!

Check out her extremely generous review of my blog here.

The post PEER REVIEW No.3: Eats and Feats appeared first on Messy Musings.

Week 9

In last week’s lecture, we learnt about analytics, audiences and marketing. It was very interesting for me to see how the numbers in analytics translate into the audience online engagement to our website.

Looking at my blog’s google analytics, I notice that Monday and Tuesday seem to be the peak of traffic. And I think that definitely has something to do with the fact that our lecture is on Tuesday, and I tend to upload all my new posts on Monday night or Tuesday. The bounce rate of my blog is around 51%. People averagely spend around 5 min on my site. From what we learnt in lecture, the lower the bounce rate, the better. Because that means people are actually taking time reading my blog. That is definitely something I could improve on.

Another interesting thing that have come up in my analytics is where my audiences are located. Most of my audience are from United States, and the second most are from Canada. In the ranking of city, most of the visitor of my websites are from Vancouver, which is not surprising. But the second city in ranking is New York, which makes me quite happy since it is my favourite city in the whole world. I also get a few random users visiting from Spain, Belgium, Brazil, etc. It is exciting to think how someone across the world are visiting my blog. Another part of the demographic of my audience that has surprised me is the fact that there are more users are in the age of 25-34 than the ones in the age of 18-24. Since I fall in the category of 18-24, I’ve assumed that would be my audience’s demographic as well, but apparently it’s not the case.

I also notice that posiel.com of course is my main referral. But ever since I added my website address onto my own Instagram account bio, I’ve noticed an increase of incoming traffic from Instagram. In the future, I will definitely try and promote my blog posts on my social a bit more often, in order to drive up the traffic. I also get analytic report from my Instagram account since it is a business account. And it is very interesting to compare my website statistics with my Instagram’s.

In my opinion, these analytic statistics are so important because it helps us to understand our audience better, so that we could tailor the content better to our intended audience. But at the same time, it is quite a scary thing thinking about how  every step we take on the internet every second is recorded and analyzed by others.

The post Week 9 appeared first on Heyy, Jessie.

Nishita’s Blog

Nishita’s Blog
Here’s a little bit of me!

*The above image was taken from Nishita’s Blog.

A peer review on audience and channels

Nishita’s Blog is vibrant and eclectic gallery of multi-media art. The overall aesthetics are consistent, easy to navigate, and convey a style that seems to be very reflective of Nishita herself: on her about page Nishita shares her love of hip hop, which is ever-present in the style and colours for this blog. The pages themselves are purposely monochromatic: the dark background acts as the perfect wall, drawing all attention to the images of art. As Travis Gerts explains in his article Design Machines: How to survive the digital apocalypse, “nothing makes a drop of colour brighter than when it’s set against a wall of grey”. Most of the images are vibrant, and bright pieces of art, contrasting well against the simple and dark theme. With this in mind, I find the title of her blog really hard to read against the busy background – changing the font colour from black to white, or even to the same red as the paper garland would allow for the title of the blog to pop, and become a lot more legible.

While navigating Nishita’s website, the first noticeable graphics were the large Instagram icons on the right, under the blog tab. There is a main instagram page that is private, as well as public art page While this is a wonderful way of building a following and audience, I would recommend linking your blog to your Instagram, which would allow for a stronger use of this cross-promotion. In addition, I would recommend making the main page public to allow for greater audience and reach – especially as it is labeled main, which leaves me to assume that traffic would be preferably diverted here as opposed to the accompanying art page. If this is not the case, I would remove the main link altogether. This seesaw between personal blog and art blog speaks to the multidisciplinary qualities of social media, and the undefined rules of online networks, which are “bringing change to all forms of information” (Kissane).

The mixed modes of art is really wonderful: this blog truly highlights Nishita’s talent and versatility. When it comes to videos, however, I could be cautious with the auto-play. For example, the blog tab automatically plays the last video at the bottom of the page – a vibrant alleyway filled with colourful street art and vendors. At first, its hard to say where the sound is coming: I check all my other tabs to see if there might be an add somewhere, or a video that popped up. We’ve all seen those people I class, in a café, or in a library, who interrupt the silence with an unexpected video, and panic trying to turn the sound off. Similarly, I often find myself browsing websites in a public space, and exit the website immediately as opposed to taking time to find the source of the sound. Keeping this in mind, especially if this blog is looking at retention, lower bounce rate, and overall keeping track of the analytics. If the auto-play function is something particularly desired, perhaps the blog could have a pop up muted video, like in Lonely Planet’s landing page, so the user immediately knows where the sound is coming from.  Similarly, having a preview of the post as opposed to the entire post would allow for reduced scrolling, and potentially more retention: the easier it is to find what you need, the better the experience for the user, which means a higher chance of returning to the blog.

These simple suggestions could help elevate the blog to the next level, creating a stronger sense of legitimacy, and foster a strong following. Overall, Nishita does a beautiful job of curating her website to best highlight her art. If you’re an art enthusiast, or an artist yourself, I recommend you check out her work here!