Tag Archives: experience

WHY COMMUNICATION STUDIES?

To be honest, I feel like I never had this one, crazy, amazing skill that would shine light towards my academic path. I was never exactly into science or math, but I feel like I grew up to have just enough skills for each subject and if I didn’t I would teach myself. I’d say I am well rounded, which is why I ended up in the school of Communication as the program reflected me so well.

Before my gap year

I was set on taking some Business course but completely changed my mind after the gap year. I wasn’t ready to jump in right after high school. I picked up a part time job as a content writer for a travel agency and I fell in love. During the gap year my best friend and I also started Defects Official, our very own startup t-shirt brand. This opened my eyes to writing and digital marketing. So, I thought Communication studies would be perfect as I was looking for a mix of writing, culture, the new world of media and art.

As of now

I am loving my major and am honestly still figuring out which direction it will take me. I have taken courses that I didn’t fully enjoy, which only made myself learn and explore other options. This provided a clearer image of where I could see myself going with this degree. Some days I think about how easy it would be to have my mind set on one thing, but this makes life a little more exciting. This goes for every course and major, as you may hate or love it, and from that you can take action and do something about it! Also, I am currently applying to internships with an open mind to different opportunities.

My advice

For anyone confused with picking a major, I simply just trusted my gut. I knew deep down business was not what I wanted and I wasn’t ready to start a new chapter right after high school. I was nervous to take a year off and to get into communications, but I listened to myself and I couldn’t be happier. Everyone is different when it comes to this but don’t be scared to challenge yourself, because in the end you’d much rather be doing what you love. However, for someone open to learning new things and experiencing the dynamic world, communications is the way to go. There is so much opportunity and growth with this degree. There’s a touch of politics, sociology, research, media, technology, democracy, art, pop-culture, philosophy, the list goes on and on!

15 Things that I am grateful for

  1. I am grateful that I am breathing.
  2. I am grateful that I have a healthy and functional body that allows me to do whatever I’d like.
  3. I am grateful that I have a roof over my head.
  4. I am grateful for dance and everything that it has helped bring into my life.
  5. I am grateful for my mother and everything that she has done for me.
  6. I am grateful that I have enough money in my bank account to never starve.
  7. I am grateful that I have friends in my life that support and understand me no matter what. They make me feel belonged and loved. (If you know you know)
  8. I am grateful that I am living my dance dream at the moment. Being a part of the 247 fam has brought me nothing but joy.
  9. I am grateful for all the resources that I have access to for my learning in life.
  10. I am grateful for the city I live in, a place full of opportunities. I am exactly where I need to be at this moment.
  11. I am grateful for the sunshinewalking into the sunshine
  12. I am grateful for all the ‘mistakes’ ‘failures’ that I’ve ever encountered, and how they have led me to where and who I am today.
  13. I am grateful for every connection that I’ve made living this life, even the ones that I no longer hold onto. Every single person has contributed to my growth in some sharp or form.
  14. I am grateful that I am overwhelmed at the moment. That means I am being challenged, and I am powerful enough to push through. Because the universe only hands me what I can handle.
  15. I am grateful for this moment, right now.

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Essay 2 – Experiences as an Online Publisher

I have always had an online presence, whether it was through a Facebook or Instagram account, there is no denying that I have been publishing my life online for quite some time. Upon reading about this class, Publications 101, it occurred to me that I have never written a blog or created my own public website. As much online activity and experience that I perceived to have had, it was apparent that understanding how to create, design, and write for a website was lacking. So, my interest was peaked and my creativity was sparked to expand my experience of being an online publisher.

As Erin Glass notes, “Let students, not the Edtech industry, debate and determine the emerging design of the space which will carry their voice…let them reimagine for the full possibility of speech.” (2015). Glass’ comment rings true to my approach and understanding of the class as it provided me with an opportunity to carry my own voice and reimagine the possibilities of public discourse. Instead of being in a strictly academic writing environment, the process of building and designing our personal blogs pushed our creative abilities and offered us a means to stray from common educational pedagogy. Furthermore, as discussed by Audrey Watters, the ability to have our own domain gave us the agency in what we want to publish for our site and online self and how we want to do so. We can demonstrate our learning “beyond the classroom walls.” (Watters 2015) and be able to have a better position in controlling our work, data, and self (Watters 2015).

I wanted to showcase these aspects of online publishing, as described by Glass and Watters, and highlight my creation of publication based on a distinct subject and design that I care about. I wanted to use this opportunity to carry a voice and reimagine the full possibilities of online discourse. This was done through my intentions of creating my blog as a public platform that brings attention to important issues of race, gender, and sexuality – all of which can be hard to publicly address offline. As described by Lori Hubbard from Chron, and Monique Sherrett from Boxcar Media, having a target audience is key in developing effective communication strategies as well as providing content that users can appreciate. The public that I envisioned for my blog were young individuals and groups of people who appreciate the arts. More importantly, I created this blog for the marginalized; I created it for those within the LGBTQ+ community, people of colour, and for those who want to learn, understand, and challenge the rigid social constructs set in place within society.

As noted by Michael Warner (2002) and Nancy Fraser (1990), the concept of the “public sphere” and what we consider to be public is often skewed – representing the “bourgeois society” and European “public concerns” and “common interests” (Fraser 1990 p. 58). This is where the concept of “counterpublics” arises in that I have created an online space that aligns with the notion where “members of subordinated social groups invent and circulate counter-discourses” (Fraser 1990 p. 67). I argue that this is a key feature for my blog and something that is possible due to the rise of public engagement through the Internet. This concept has become of value for me and hopefully for others, as it does not entail a focus on monetary value and simply falls down to challenging hegemony and the problematic and systemic social norms. Here, There hopes to bring people together and to highlight marginalized voices.

Apart from the overall concept of the blog, how I addressed my audience through the editorial design, and content, also aligns with my initial intentions for the creation of the site. What I kept in mind for the name, Here, There, was a mixture of simplicity and minimalism intertwined with a contemporary feel. However, l still wanted to be able to evoke emotions and meaning. I wanted to encompass the idea that voices will be heard from here and there and that there is no boundary as to who gets to be a part of this blog or who gets to be a part of society. Moving onto the design of the blog, again I wanted to create a space that was simplistic and contemporary with artistic elements to capture an audience of young, artistically driven individuals. I wanted to use soft colours and shapes that were inspired by contemporary designs, brands, and websites, such as Bouquet from Montreal, Poketo from the United States, and the website Them. I also wanted to capture the attention of a younger demographic recognizing that moving into the future, these are the people who will be leading society. The design of the hands for the header image supported my intentions of a contemporary and artistic theme. In addition, providing a visual element that connects to my message of coming together and connecting. With the implementation of music playlists, I also enhanced the ways in which I wanted to speak to an artistic audience. Pairing this with my blog objective, the playlists also speak to marginalized groups and for those who have a desire to challenge their understanding of certain norms set in place within society. Lastly, the content itself is directly related to what I aimed for in terms of my online self and publication and for whom this space would be for. By focusing my content on issues directly relating to race, gender, and sexuality, I hope that I can both connect individuals from afar whilst highlighting the importance of diversity.

Moving onto the data of our publication, the info gathered from Google Analytics was quite interesting. The presentation from Monique Sherrett from Boxcar Media was an eye-opening lesson on how to analyze our analytics and what to look out for. Keeping in mind the four aspects of analytics: awareness, engagement, conversion, and retention, it was possible to see how my audience and the public were interacting with my blog. However, since I did not share my blog widely, the awareness and engagement for my site were marginal. The views of my site did come in waves with periods of no activity at all and some moments with a spike in activity. This was most likely due to certain moments during the course when it was asked of us to look through our sites. The majority of users to my site were returning visitors, with the average duration and retention on my blog just a few minutes, around one to three minutes. In some ways, I wish I continued to update my blog more frequently in order to feel comfortable promoting it through other platforms, which in return would allow me to see more activity and data from users.

Throughout my time in Publications 101, my experience of creating online content has expanded. Although I always maintained a certain identity online by carefully managing my aesthetics and posts of my public profiles, such as Instagram, doing so on a blog proved to be quite different. I have not had experience with WordPress prior to this class, so, understanding the technical aspects were both challenging and rewarding, but also highly educational. Integrating my own voice and personality and publishing this through my site changed my perspective in that it is not an easy feat – it takes time, effort, and a clear understanding of the self and your goals to have it work well.

Beyond this course, I imagine my goals as an online publisher will continue to be the same. As an individual who has created an online self for a few years, the blog has helped to enrich my practice and experience of developing content online. This blog has sparked inspiration to continue to create an online presence and self that can challenge the norms of society, but it has also reminded me to be proactive in listening to diverse narratives online and offline. Currently, I am undecided if I will continue the blog as my schedule has been fairly tight. Continuing Here, There may be of a challenge, but because of its significant and meaningful topic (not just to myself, but hopefully for others as well), I believe that it will have importance towards the overall public discourse. Possibly, when I do have more time, pursuing the blog can be beneficial not just as a space to share knowledge and thoughts, but also as a rewarding opportunity to engage and have a public voice has been made possible through the Internet.

References

Fraser, N. (1990). Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy. Social Text, (25/26), 56-80. doi:10.2307/466240

Hubbard, L. (2018). Why is Identifying the Target Market so Important to a Company? Chron. Retrieved from https://smallbusiness.chron.com/identifying-target-market-important-company-76792.html

Glass, E. (2015). Why We Need Social Paper. CUNY Academic Commons. Retrieved from https://commons.gc.cuny.edu/papers/45249/

Sherrett, M. (2018). Publications 101: Marketing, Media, and Analytics. Simon Fraser University, Harbour Centre. Lecture.

Warner, M. (2002). Publics and Counterpublics (abbreviated version). Quarterly Journal of Speech, 88 (4), 413-425. http://knowledgepublic.pbworks.com/f/warnerPubCounterP.pdf

Watters, A. (2015). The Web We Need to Give to Students. Medium. Retrieved from https://medium.com/bright/the-web-we-need-to-give-students-311d97713713#.4d7j8rs6x

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/