Tag Archives: Essay 2

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/

Essay 2

When I was 17 years old, I started my first blog. I have always had a passion for writing but never had an outlet to do so. When I started university, I finally found my way to sharing my art. It started with writing an article for SFU’s newspaper, The Peak, to finding my voice in Her Campus at SFU.

The truth is, I have been waiting 3 years to make it into this Publishing 101 course. I felt like it would be the start of something new for me and finally make me feel like I have a platform for my words to be read. And it did.

I have always known I want create a publication that feels like a safe place for people to turn to and generally keep them entertained. I had a few goals going into creating this blog: Writing in the dark under the stars. Navigating life, Discovering New Music, Discussing Pop Culture, and Showcasing Other’s Talent. I have leaned towards lifestyle, music, personal stories, and serious themes. By serious, I mean talking about taboo topics people may not see often. I have a 3 part series planned for a future post that discuss the question, “will we ever truly know who anyone is?.” answering the question, digging into wondering if we will ever know who we truly are, and ending with finding yourself amidst all of this.  

One example was the article I have written about “Intersectionality.” It follows the story of Jennifer Harris being removed from her university basketball team due to the fact she is a person of colour and over the assumption she is gay. It is a story that is the perfect example of intersectionality that not many people seem to know about. I plan to learn more about these stories and inform my readers of them in the future. I also plan to talk more about life and the acceptance of some things not going the way we plan often.

Overall, I would say that I have created my publication in, as Amanda wrote in her peer review, a digital diary type of experience. It is about life, the ins and outs of the world, and genuinely enjoying what life throws at us. It would imagine my audience is for people of all ages, but I can also see it being catered towards people still finding themselves and looking for someone who relates to their situations.

Through my articles about a hair care routine, nostalgia on the past, lessons I have learned through my teenage years, and even my album reviews, I would say that I am addressing my imagined and real audience through captivating posts. I always made sure that I include an “aesthetic” so to speak photo and ensure my paragraphs are separated and easy to read.

My design includes large squares of photos that summarize the story I am about to tell. Thanks to my first peer reviewer, Maggie, suggested I change my background image to something that does not let the words get lost in it. That suggestion helped shape the way I see my blog and the way that it presents itself.

I take pride in the content I produce. I make sure to write about topics I enjoy and that I know other people will enjoy. I plan to produce more content that is challenging yet entertaining. Informative is more like it. The content I have provided thus far is more lifestyle based. I want to take a turn and make this blog be reflective of my 20’s. I am 20 years old and already feel like I have been through more than enough to keep me going for awhile. I personally enjoy story times, so I would like to incorporate more.

Google Analytics was really useful in terms of figuring out what I needed to do in order to boost my views. It was interesting to learn about the details of Google Analytics, such as bounce rate, and felt like it gave me that push to create the content I want to. I mainly kept my articles to this class and my friends. My friends have provided me with so many positive comments and thoughts. They genuinely enjoyed reading my posts, or so they say. It was not until I went into the analytics and tried to figure out how to boost my engagement and views. I finally took the plunge and posted the link to my article in my Instagram bio and gained 37 new viewers. I learned that people will read my posts when I promote them and they are most active in the mid- afternoon and early evening. This feature helped me gain the motivation I needed to carry on with my blog and reach as many people as I can.

Reflecting back to when I started this blog and writing in general, I have always been afraid to share my work. It reminded me of the article by John Suler that discusses the “You Can’t See Me (Invisibility)” section of our online disinhibition. I always hid in the behind my screen, as he explains “in many online environments other people cannot see you.” (Suler, 2015, par. 6). It is easy to hide who you are through your posts, but I have always made my posts personal, making it near impossible to hide my identity.

I find it ironic as I am afraid for some people to discover my work and read it. I believe moving forward, I need to understand that if I want to make it as a content creator and for the future of this blog, I need to start sharing my work. There really is nothing to lose if people I know start finding out about this blog. I am proud of what I post and would not post it if I felt like I did not want it associated with me.

Overall, my goal for this blog is to keep posting content I love and continue to expand my writing. I am very happy that I was able to get into this course. All of the lessons I have learned in lecture and from the guest speakers are areas of writing and producing content I never would have known about if I did not take this course. There is so much more to creating a blog than it seems on the outside. The analytics, incorporating transmedia channels, collaboration, marketing, and the list goes on. I will take every lesson I have learned in this class and move forward with this blog. I cannot wait to look back on this blog at the end of my university career and see where I am now.

May I continue writing and expanding my work through the creation of this blog and carry these lessons from Publishing 101 with me through these starlight adventures.

References:

Cook, Emily. (2017). Emcookxo.wordpress.com. Former Blog. Retrieved from: https://emcookxo.wordpress.com/.

Cook, Emily. (2019). Starlight-adventures.com. WordPress Blog. Retrieved from: starlight-adventures.com

McCrae, Amanda. (2019). Peer Review #3. Peer Review Blog Entry. WordPress. Retrieved from: http://www.amandasadventures.ca/academic/peer-review-3/

SFU, Her Campus. (2018). Emily Cook | Her Campus. Online Magazine. Retrieved from: https://www.hercampus.com/user

Suler, John. (2004). “The Online Disinhibition Effect.” Retrieved from: Cyberpsychology & behavior 7.3 (2004): 321-326. http://truecenterpublishing.com/psycyber/disinhibit.html

Su, Maggie. (2019). Peer Review #1. Peer Review Blog Entry. WordPress. Retrieved from: http://mlovetoshare.com/poisel/peer-review_1/. http://mlovetoshare.com/poisel/peer-review_1/.


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Essay 2: Reflecting as A Blogger

When reflecting on my own blog, I see a stark difference on what I expected and what the course has taught me. In the beginning, I had an innocent idea of blogs. It’s an online space to express yourself and connect with people who have the same ideas. I still keep that idea when I write on my blog. However, throughout the course, I have changed my perspectives because I am more conscious on how it affects cultures, individuals, and workers. As ‘neutral’ as my content is, I don’t feel ‘safe’ because I am vulnerable with my content. Anybody can find my information and turn it against me or misuse my words to feed their own narratives. I want to explore this ‘fear’ and how the course has made me more careful about what I post and what I share online. It doesn’t necessarily discourage me from using the internet and social media. But my awareness has allowed me to be more appreciative of the people who create ‘controversial’ content that can endanger them or the people around them just because one person on the internet does not agree with it. My goal is to express my self-awareness in an active role. It’s not enough that I consume media writing about someone’s demise to the pitchforks of the internet. I want to be aware of that in my daily conversation online and offline.

Alice Marwick and Rebecca Lewis writes about media manipulation and the dissemination of disinformation online (2017). They discuss the events revolving around Wikileaks’ distribution of the hacked emails of John Podesta, Hilary Clinton’s campaign chairman (Marwick & Lewis, 2017, p. 2). Users from the message board 4chan quickly spread misinformation about the emails and how subcultural groups such as the alt-right groups who have given this scandal greater media attention than Trump’s own allegations (Marwick & Lewis, 2017, p.2). These groups leverage their online presence and take advantage of the ‘vulnerabilities in the news’ and increase the coverage of their messages (Marwick & Lewis, 2017, p.3). This topical example has impacted U.S. politics today and in my opinion, gave voice to the hateful and divisive groups in America. I am reflective of how this affects my own online presence. It’s good to be knowledgeable and aware of the power of these groups, and I want to be more conscious about that in my own online interactions. In my blog, I speak about productivity and the impacts of smartphones on our day to day lives. I address the conflict between our attachment to our phones and this growing dependency to it. I think part of this conversation that I learned from the course is also the responsibility of the user. I cannot mindlessly use my devices and ignore what exists in the same spaces I connect in. I try to have ‘conscious’ content and express that throughout my blog.

Mike Caulfield writes a thought provoking piece on Digital Literacy and what we should follow (2016). What I found relevant to my reflection is his example of the Tree Octopus. These digital literacy acronyms and rules that are commonly shared to schools are useless in determining what is real or fake on the internet (Caulfield, 2016). The tree octopus is a fake cephalopod with a fake creature page that shows it has evolved into an amphibian and survives on land (Caulfield, 2016). What Caulfield found was they did not distinguish this by using acronyms to detect fake news, but just by knowing and learning that it’s impossible (2016). This leads to his proposal that to be digitally literate, you must know the web (Caulfield, 2016). What I think he means by this is that we must be aware and critical online as we are in our day to day lives. There are going to be groups and individuals who will misguide users because they don’t know anything better. Dissemination will be used for political gain or to harm minorities. I want to continue practicing these conscious ideas online. My blog is as vulnerable as anyone else’s. But I try my best to learn more and carry that knowledge with me.

I am reminded of UCL’s social media discoveries and why it’s important to be conscious of how it is affecting our day to day lives (2018). Discovery #12 writes that social media has a profound impact on gender relations (2018). This is a small example on this bigger picture of bettering myself in the online space. They find that users have benefits in using real or fake accounts to express sensitive topics and coming out against heteronormative relationships (UCL, 2018). Even though I am still cautious of my own personal information, I think there will be ways in which I can express myself. Knowledge and discussion will better me as a blog writer or an internet user. While I still carry this fear, I want to play an active role and this course helped me prepare for it.

References

Caulfield, M. (December 19, 2016). Yes, digital literacy. But which one? Hapgood. Accessed on November 26, 2018. Retrieved from https://hapgood.us/2016/12/19/yes-digital-literacy-but-which-one/.

Marwick, A. & Lewis, R. (2017). Media manipulation and disinformation online. Data & Society. Accessed on November 26, 2018. Retrieved from http://posiel.com/outline/full-semester-outline/.

UCL (2018). Social media can have a profound impact through gender relations, sometimes through using fake accounts. University College London. Accessed on November 26, 2018. Retrieved from http://www.ucl.ac.uk/why-we-post/discoveries/12-social-media-can-have-a-profound-impact-on-gender-relations-sometimes-through-using-fake-accounts.

My Experience as an Online Publisher — Essay #2

Prior to this spring semester at SFU, I had only experienced the surface of online publishing. I’ve made posts on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter but I’ve never been so involved and dedicated into creating my own personal cyberinfrastructure. Throughout these weeks of taking PUB 101, I’ve gained valuable experience in developing my online self, curating content for my imagined audience, and cultivating my creative side. In addition, I have acquired some useful technical skills by working on my blog.

I didn’t have to think too long about what type of blog I wanted to develop. I’ve always had an interest in reading lifestyle magazines, watching lifestyle vloggers, and following lifestyle influencers on Instagram. Thus, I created a lifestyle blog, but I wanted it to cater to my lifestyle and my online self. So I decided that I wanted my blog style to be very simple. My blog contains content surrounding fashion, beauty, fitness, and everything lifestyle. I thought that it would be perfect for general women in their 20s or 30s who live a normal, simple and modern life. This was the audience I imagined, and I felt that my style of blog can be relatable to my targeted demographic.

Keeping my imagined audience in mind, it has influenced many decisions I’ve made for my blog. For example, I put in a lot of effort into making my blog look pretty, simple and clean. This is because my targeted demographic is mainly females, thus much of the aspects of my blog is feminine. I think “about how [I] should treat each piece of content, designing to reflect its subtle personality. The content should speak to the few people who can identify with this personality because this is the only audience that matters.” (Gertz, 2015) I’ve maintained a simple and feminine theme throughout my blog by making my colour scheme white and coral. Also, my font is either cursive or light and simple. I target my content to audiences who appreciate aesthetics and are looking for content that lightens up their lifestyle. I cater to this by posting about fashion and makeup tips for example. Furthermore, I include a lot of relevant and quality images in my posts to capture my viewers attention.

Google Analytics has been a helpful tool in my journey as an online publisher. It really helped to see if my content is appealing to my targeted group of people. I discovered through looking at the statistics provided by Google Analytics that a majority of my audience were females. From seeing this statistic, I believed that I was successful in creating content that appealed to my imagined audience. Also, I saw through Google Analytics that many of my viewers visited my blog through Instagram. Therefore, I have been continuing to work on and integrate Instagram more into my blog. I have also been working on writing better keywords for my blog in order to attract more users through organic searches. By gathering and analyzing this information, I was able to better cater my content to my intended audience which helped me market my blog.

Thus far, I have only gather a few comments from my fellow classmates which I am grateful for. I found it challenging to successfully engage my audience and I hope that my content will attract more comments in the future. I believe engagement with my audience can inspire and encourage me to continue creating and improving my online content. Audience engagement is one of the areas I wish to improve on for my blog in the future. “It allows you to use online marketing to its full potential and purpose in order to build stronger relationships with your audience as well as grow your brand loyalty and presence online.” (Henwood, n.d.)

At the beginning of the course, I though publication was simply the act of putting content out for the public to see. I soon learned that it was a lot more intricate than that. I’ve never though about my online self, my online presence, or my online audience until this course. Publication involves “how we carefully craft the way we appear, the way we behave, and, as a result, the way we are perceived by others.” (J Max, 2015) I’ve learned to develop my online self and create quality content to effectively attract an imagined audience. After gaining experience as an online publisher, I’ve gained respect for other online publishers. I discovered that developing a cyber infrastructure demanded a lot of time and effort. On the other hand, it is a rewarding and enjoyable experience. I learned a lot of technical skills during this journey. For example, I improved my Photoshop skills and learned more about Google Analytics. At first, it was daunting to have so much freedom and lack of structure to the instructions for this course. In the end, I was grateful for having a creative outlet where my innovation wasn’t stifled. |Fascinating and important innovations would emerge as students are able to shape their own cognition, learning, expression, and reflection in a digital age, in a digital medium.” (Watters, 2015) I’ve really enjoyed developing my blog this semester and I plan on continuing to blog past the end of this course.


References

Gertz, Travis (2015). “Design Machines. How to survive in the digital Apocalypse.”
Henwood, Annaliese (n.d.). “Audience Engagement: The Why, When, Where and How.”
J Max (2015). “The Publication of Self.”
Watters, Audrey. (2015). “The Web We Need to Give to Students.”

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Sharing parts of myself through the blogging journey

This journey is about self-expression, publicizing yourself. It has been a difficult journey for me. I realized the difficulty of self-expression and acquiring a different voice online when you have you can be identified by the reader. If I retained anonymous, the journey could be less stress. I truly admire those who can achieve

I truly appreciate those who can achieve self-promotion and self-expression in the digital, mentioned in van Dijck’s article. Using Facebook and LinkedIn as examples, van Dijck suggests the function of social media for connectivity and narrating a persona, be it professional or playful implies the existence of an online identity, which could be different from the private self and the ‘true’ self. In the blogging process, I experienced difficulty in self-promotion and self-expression. I think the reason is, I let myself out on the internet without being anonymous. 

It is tricky. On one hand, you want people to know your name so that you are recognized for your work. On the other hand, you fear how people see the ‘you’ you portrayed. Originally, I intended to blog about my personal journey in Vancouver, letting the readers know the pieces of my adventures. However, I found that it is difficult to share my personal life online. I am not comfortable enough to share my personal life with my imagined readers, who in some sense, are really strangers (back to week one)! What if they use my photos and use my identity for a scam? (My roomate became a victim of a scam which involves stealing identity recently.)When people misuse the social media, that is when problems emerge. This is why online scam, fake news, fake identity emerge. Where is trust? When people only think about their self-interest? I can hardly engage with a stranger, unlike James Hamblin. While I can see the strangers on the street, the hidden viewers are more alienate to me 

I am not ready to open up myself without anonymity and engage with ‘strangers’. This is why I have been struggling to post posts about my personal life throughout the semester. I, with my picture in my right-hand column, can be recognized and judged based on my posts. I have no room to hide! What if they use my photos and use my identity for a scam? (My housemate became a victim of a scam which involves stealing of identity recently.) Therefore, Suler’s view on the fact that anonymity and invisibility encourage users to express themselves is real. I could feel less stressed if I had hidden my name. My readers can focus on the content, but not on me. They can hence give a fair review of my work while I can distance from the threats of exposing too much.

This is also why I have shifted to write more about film, which seems more objective and informative than personal. I love film and I know people love films. The director of the film takes up a role similar to a blogger– being a storyteller through pictures and sound. This blog is a platform for me to tell my story. It doesn’t have to be me, but only part of the ‘true’ self shines. I can sense the agency of a writer, to narrate in your own style, as long as they are ‘true’ to yourself.

My imagined readers are now those who have seen the same film as me and are looking for casual discussion on the film. I infused my emotion and watching experience in the reviews and in doing so, I let my readers sense my personality, let them know that I am an emotional and real human being. This is a middle ground –to expose myself to a comfortable extent.

This is just a beginning I would like to continue blogging. Yet, I definitely have to tune my writing direction and find a balance between personal and impersonal, private and public. Writing on the film is what I feel like I can continue to develop and I enjoy sharing films I like and gain insights from them. I should consider including more images and videos on my blog. In addition, I have to create more content.

Hamblin, James. 2016 “How to Talk to Strangers” http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/08/civil-inattention/497183/

Suler, John. 2004. “The Online Disinhibition Effect.” Available from: Cyberpsychology & behavior 7.3 (2004): 321-326. http://truecenterpublishing.com/psycyber/disinhibit.html

van Dijck, José. 2013. ‘You have one identity’: performing the self on Facebook and LinkedIn.” Media, Culture, & Society

Looking Back: PUB101

Heavily influenced by online creators of our generation and their work, I’ve always wondered about what it would be like if I had my own audience that enjoyed the content that I created. Of course, I’ve had my doubts and thought about who in the right mind would actually be interested in what I deliver. My doubts and worries grew stronger every time a possibility came up to the extent that I’ve convinced myself that being a well-known online creator is mission impossible. But that got me thinking about if being an online creator is only about getting famous. Does one need a following in order to be considered an online creator or publisher? Is it not possible to create for yourself and only for yourself? Well, I’m actually not surprised that I only think about the fame because I’ve been shaped by watching many influencers on YouTube. Seeing how luxurious their lives are and watching their followers grow makes me want to give it a shot too, just for the monetary value aspect. And it’s not only influencers on YouTube, there are full time bloggers that make a living out of it and at a first glance, it does seem like an easy job. Having said that, I honestly think that it can be toxic at the end of the day. As Shelby Carpenter writes in her article about The Toast shutting down over ad revenue woes, the battle for online revenue is harsh and it affects big and small mediums of the like (Carpenter, 2016). Sometimes when money is involved, it takes the pureness and authenticity away from what you are publishing because you’re putting out content just for the purpose of driving revenue. Looking at how far I’ve made it into the semester and this course in particular, I think I’m finally learning the means to be an online publisher.

Thanks to PUB101, I was able to start something that I’ve always wanted to but scared to do it. The anxiety of having people read the work I put out is just overwhelming and being the shy person that I am doesn’t help at all. I never found an outlet where I could comfortably express myself so I grabbed onto this opportunity to start something new! My blog, Be Right Back, is a lifestyle and travel blog. Obviously for the course requirement, we all had to create our own blog. That was the starting point for me. To be honest, I think people who wants to start something and haven’t gotten the guts to, just need to have that kick starter in order to take off in their journey. Like in Thorn’s post (2012) about making it into the media world, he stresses the first point for “Absolutely, Positively 1000% No-Fail Guaranteed Success” (Thorn, 2012), is to start now. Nothing can be accomplished unless you start making stuff now. And his last point: do a good job. We have to keep learning and keep trying. Even if we fail, those failures will eventually turn into successes. Our brains are capable of understanding our own weaknesses and we can use this to make better decisions.

I want to say that the audience that I have been imagining for my blog is exclusive from myself and more to entertain and influence a demographic that I attract with my travel related posts. But looking back to what I’ve created so far, I believe that I’m publishing for myself and I am my own audience. My blog has become a diary for me to document my life adventures and even if I’m not attracting any readers, I feel like I’m still passionate about my travels and it’s enough for me to continue posting. But to be honest, it’s hard to not be consumed by the competitive nature of the online space because if everyone is doing the same thing, how do you make yourself stand out? There are thousands of travel blogs out there and it is still growing day by day. We have the tendency to compare ourselves against other people but we shouldn’t base our lives on their values. Instead, the only opponent that is worth going against is yourself. In Herbert Lui’s article (2016) about competing with yourself, he states that “you can chase your future self” (Lui, 2016). I agree with this notion because you are not building your game plan for other people, you are allowed to personalize it to fit your own ability and make goals based on that.

My blog is pink themed. As much as I want to cater to everyone’s interest, I still want to maintain what I love and have a piece of my identity into the theme. I can definitely imagine myself looking back to the blog in the future and reminisce about the time that I got to do such a fun project for a university course and I’ll also thank myself for documenting my adventures so the memories will still be fresh in my mind. If I do gain an audience then it’s not just about me anymore. If that is the case, then I want to portray myself as a close sister of my readers or the sister that they never had. I want my blog to be valued as an informative yet entertaining domain and I wish to build a strong relationship with my readers where they can rely on me and on my content to have a better experience in their life adventures. The best way to interact is to integrate social media platforms as a tool to communicate. This semester, we’ve talked a lot of social media and as mentioned before in one of my process posts, I think actively using the Twitter app as a way to promote and share my blog can really help my blog flourish.

Throughout this semester, I have been keeping track of my findings in Google Analytics. As expected, most of the users are from Canada with a few occasional ones from the United States of America, Russia, and India. Through this, I’ve learned that success does not happen overnight. You can’t make a blog and wish for it to attract readers and gain a following the next morning. Of course, the only readers are my classmates and professor of PUB101. It’s hard for people to discover something that is not advertised or shared.

Looking back, I’ve definitely looked past on the complexity of publication during the beginning of the term. I wasn’t aware of the technical elements that were required to run a blog and I definitely wasn’t aware of its impact. From the theme of the blog to the content that I created, every single detail has its own impact and while it’s easy to overlook them, the reaction from the audience says a lot on its own and it reflects the current trends and shows what people are drawn to when it comes to content. I definitely want to continue on with my blog for my own purposes, as a diary that I can look back on. My online presence as of now is quite underwhelming, and while I don’t wish to work on elaborating it anytime soon, I do wish that I can make it a challenge for myself and work on my online presence in the future.

References

Carpenter, Shelby. 2016. “The Toast Is Toast: Literary Humor Site Shuts Down Over Ad Revenue Woes.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/shelbycarpenter/2016/05/13/the-toast-is-toast-and-its-devastating/#44854347c877

Lui, Herbert. 2016. “You Should Only Compete with One Person: Yourself.” Herbert Lui: Thoughts on Life, Psychology and Culture, HerberyLuinet, herbertlui.net/you-should-only-compete-with-one-person-yourself/

Thorn, Jesse. 2012. “Make Your Thing.” http://transom.org/2012/jesse-thorn-make-your-thing/

Parodying the ‘Authenticity’ of Online Self through the “Gillian Lies a Lot Project”

At the beginning of this course, Pub 101, I had set out to establish a space to be creative in the form of a blog and through writing. I saw this opportunity to step away from my personal life and create the “Gillian Lies a Lot Project” to have fun, to be imaginative, and to play around with the idea of hiding behind a screen. The concept of anonymity has been a strong influence in my what I produce online through this blog.

As an art student and as someone who plays with the idea of parody in her artistic practice, the concept of personal blogging and vlogging (i.e. daily vloggers on YouTube) was the inspiration for taking this blog to a parodic level. Not simply as a mere parody of vlogging or blogging, but parodying the thought that people assume all content online is a true representation of a person’s life as well as the whole scope of branding an image of a famous person onto a product just for marketability and money.

Take the Zoella controversy a few years back about the rumours that her novel “Girl Online” was ghostwritten. Not focusing on the truth of the issue, but of the issue itself, this controversy raises the issue of making money and marketing to young consumers “by churning out ghostwritten stories and slapping a famous face on them,” (Lindsay, 2014). As Lindsay points out in her article UNPOPULAR OPINION: These YouTube Authors are Ruining the Publishing Industry“when emphasis is placed on marketing and celebrity, publishing companies are supporting the name, not the writing, and consumers are buying the novelty, not the words — and this isn’t something we should be celebrating,” (Lindsay, 2014). I think this was my main issue with monetization as well. I could argue that my content could be rationalized for monetization as it is an extension of my actual practice and work and I continue to play around with parody in my art works. I could also argue that monetizing my content would be an extension of my parody or critique of selling an image. However, monetizing the content on my blog simply doesn’t appeal to me mostly because I don’t think my blog is worth anything at this point. If I were to monetize my work, I would like to do it on my own terms when I feel like my work is crafted enough that it is worth selling to the public.

As this blog was the production of parody, my audience was geared toward the people who consume blogging and vlogging and see it as an authentic representation of life. But after publishing more posts and more content, I imagined my audience to be smart enough to recognize that these ‘lies’ I’m teaching is a reflection of life in the media or life in general. At this point, I recognize that my audience is neither here nor there, rather I’m producing this content for myself and not for anyone in particular. I’ve learned something from Jesse Thorn’s 12 Point Program for Absolutely, Positively 1000% No-Fail Guaranteed Success: 5. Be Authentic; rather than making content for an audience and tailoring my content for marketability, I’m following my passion and creating my authentic content that speaks true to the medium and the issues I play around with in my work. “Rather than defining yourself by the medium you create, define yourself by what you offer to your audience,” (Thorn, 2012). I don’t define myself as a blogger or even an artist but by the work I produce. I’m not a videographer or a vlogger, I make videos about parodies of issues I encounter in my life.

I think this is the main reason I don’t have many visuals on my blog. I know the point of this course is to publish yourself to the online world and to establish marketability towards an audience. However, in the midst of trying to be different, I got carried away with wanting my blog to reflect what the concept was about rather than marketing it to an audience. Which is why my blog is very plain. There are absolutely no visuals aside from the colours of my header title and the hover links and a few images in posts like this image that I created in this earlier post. I think this also extends to my decision to not monetize, as ads are a very visual aspect of a site, it almost takes away from the plainness of the concept, as Debbie Chachra says in Why Am I Not a Maker, “creators, rightly, take pride in creation,” (Chachra, 2015), I think this pride is expressed through not monetizing and keeping my content pure from ads and unmotivated by ad revenue.

Looking forward, I think the “Gillian Lies a Lot Project” has an expiration date. But that doesn’t mean my blogging will have one. I very much enjoy blogging and have done it sparingly in the past before this course, so if I were to continue blogging, I think I would take it more seriously than this blog. Not to say that this blog wasn’t a serious commitment, but I would create a more sincere content that speaks more to myself rather than my practice. I think the “Gillian Lies a Lot Project” has restricted me in posting some content that I thought was cool but didn’t fit in with the concept and so therefore, a more looser blog will allow me to experiment with my online presence more than just trying to keep in character.

 

I hope to continue making this type of content along side my personal content that I will inevitably create.

 

Sources:

Chachra, Debbie. 2015. “Why I Am Not a Maker.” The Atlantic. 23 Jan. 2015, https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/01/why-i-am-not-a-maker/384767/

Lindsay, Kathryn. 2014. “UNPOPULAR OPINION: These YouTube Authors are Ruining the Publishing Industry.” xojane. 26 Dec. 2014, https://www.xojane.com/issues/zoella-girl-online-youtube-authors

Thorn, Jesse. 2012. “Make Your Thing: 12 Point Program for Absolutely, Positively 1000% No-Fail Guaranteed Success.” Transom. 11 Apr. 2012, https://transom.org/2012/jesse-thorn-make-your-thing/