Tag Archives: Posiel 101

The Value of My Personal Cyberinfrastructure

On the first day of PUB 101, a creative journey that is extremely confusing, exciting, and valuable begins. I was prompted to begin a project that offers a completely unique learning experience, following the suggestions Gardner (2009) and Watters (2015) make to create a personal cyberinfrastructure. Although I began this journey feeling lost, I eventually discovered the value of creating and maintaining a personal cyberinfrastructure, as it helps me craft a crucial digital identity, exercise my creativity, and develop technical and design skills which will help me move forward in the field of Communication.

What is a personal cyberinfrastructure?

In the digital age, it becomes increasingly important to use the Internet to your advantage. As Watkins (n.d.) explains, “you have the power to create your own professional brand and leverage multiple channels to position yourself online. This is the key to developing a professional online identity which is your brand with respect to professional pursuits that is visible through social media” (pg. 3). The current knowledge economy relies on digital technology; utilizing these participatory platforms is almost always advantageous (Costa & Torres, 2011, pg. 47). In the dawn of the digital age, Gardner (2009) asks: “How might colleges and universities shape curricula to support and inspire the imaginations that students need?” Rather than simply learning to navigate other existing web servers, Gardner (2009) proposes an educational assignment that requires students to shape the Internet themselves. This assignment is called “a personal cyberinfrastructure,” and it is realized when a student purchases a domain to customize and receives assistance building their digital presence. “For students who have relied on these aids, the freedom to explore and create is the last thing on their minds, so deeply has it been discouraged. Many students simply want to know what their professors want and how to give that to them. But if what the professor truly wants is for students to discover and craft their own desires and dreams, a personal cyberinfrastructure provides the opportunity” (Gardner, 2009).  Watters (2015) agrees: “giving students their own digital domain is a radical act. It gives them the ability to work on the Web and with the Web.” Gardner (2009) claims that a personal cyberinfrastructure offers students “the most flexible and extensible environment for creativity and expression that human beings have ever built.” With proper guidance, developing a domain of one’s own allows students to showcase their identity and creativity, acquire “crucial technical skills,” “engage in work that provides richly teachable moments ranging from multimodal writing, to information science, knowledge management, bibliographic, instruction, and social networking,” build a network, and “study design and function of their own digital environments”  (Gardner, 2009). Ultimately, students should become “effective architects, narrators, curators, and inhabitants of their own digital lives,” and those that are digitally fluent in this way will be more qualified and competent in pursuits beyond their post-secondary career (Gardner, 2009). 

How I Have Developed a Domain of My Own

Throughout the entire course, my PUB 101 peers and I have developed exactly what Gardner (2009) and Watters (2015) recommend. To begin this journey, I visited Reclaim Hosting to purchase my own web space. Initially, developing a domain of my own seemed daunting. Although it would be personal, my domain is not meant to be merely for me. “Networked publics serve as publics that both rely on networked technologies and network people into meaningful imagined communities in new ways. Publics are a mechanism through which we construct our social world” (Boyd, 2014).  In order for my digital presence to become meaningful, it was crucial to consider how I could target a specific audience. I have grown accustomed to writing theoretical research papers, but as Glass (2015) mentions, these projects rarely see the light of day. Most of my writing is a “waste product,” as it will be read and graded by one professor, then eternally ignored. It intimidated me that my personal cyberinfrastructure would be accessible to anyone. I pondered what I could possibly create that I would be proud to promote to a specific audience. Eventually, it registered that this project was a chance for me to craft my online identity, so I wanted it to reflect my own interests and target an audience similar to myself. Reflecting on my own interests by creating a vision board allowed me to recall my passion for film photography that I had been neglecting to explore. I chose to create a community to share amateur photography and called it www.carlycamera.com.  I wanted to show an honest look into a creative process, documenting my own art, sharing personal stories, discussing products I would use and mistakes I would make. The ultimate goal would be to inspire others to create and eventually create a community of photographers. Once I understood the focus of my blog and that I would be primarily targeting amateur photographers, I allowed my content and design choices to be influenced by this throughout the term.

The Carly Camera Content And Design

Expression and Creative Process are the two post categories found on Carly Camera. In my Expression posts, I share my own amateur photography. In my Creative Process posts, I provide more information about the products I used and technical mistakes I made in the process. Although I am not a film photography expert, the desire to create became the blog’s driving force, and I wanted to showcase an authentic aspect of my personality through each type of post. The value I provide to my audience of amateur photographers is creative inspiration through art-sharing and technical insight through product tutorials.

Designing my personal cyberinfrastructure allowed me to develop technical and design skills in order to maintain my brand identity. At the beginning of the term, I learned to navigate WordPress on my own by watching YouTube tutorials, customize themes, and use graphic design software such as Canva to create clean graphics and logos. I customized my theme according to design principles taught in class. For example, a light orange became consistent on my website after Mauve Page explained what colour could communicate. Orange is bright, fun, and even has a childlike element, which I thought perfectly represented amateur photography.

The Future of My Personal Cyberinfrastructure

I have thoroughly enjoyed growing through this unique learning experience, and understand the value of creating a personal cyberinfrastructure. This project has prompted me to showcase a digital identity, maintain a brand consistency, learn design principles, constantly create content, and strategically promote my blog across multiple social media platforms. This has made me more comfortable expressing myself to creatively to a public, and allowed me to practice creating spreadable media. Gardner (2009) recommends students seize the possibilities of a personal cyberinfrastructure “throughout their college career – and beyond.” While creating my personal cyberinfrastructure, I have also been searching for a Co-op position. In my resume, cover letters, and interviews, I have discussed every skill I have developed through creating a personal cyberinfrastructure.  Since this project has proven to be incredibly valuable, I intend to continue blogging. If I were to continue to develop Carly Camera, I would continue to focus on making my infrastructure a community to share amateur photography. Despite my efforts to promote my website on Instagram, Google Analytics revealed that I do not have a very large audience. In order to create the uplifting, inspiring community I envision, increasing my exposure would be crucial. Since I frequently discuss different cameras and photo accessories in my Creative Process posts, I do see an opportunity to monetize through affiliate programs, especially if I gain a larger following. Although I do believe that there is a potentially successful future for Carly Camera, I may completely change my focus after this course ends. As Glass (2015) mentions, a personal domain serves to showcase one’s learning to others “beyond the classroom,” and I want my personal cyberinfrastructure to be more relevant to potential employers. Using my blog to reflecting on my Co-op work experience that I intend to gain this summer may be an excellent way to make my content more relevant professionally. I am interested in becoming a Community Ambassador for YVR Airport. In this role, I would be promoting the airport at exciting festivals in Metro Vancouver throughout the summer. If I were to secure this position I would be interested in transforming this into a blog into a space where I could document experiences at each festival. I would appeal to a target audience of Vancouver locals and tourists while creating more professionally relevant content. I consider this the ultimate way to utilize Gardner (2009)‘s personal cyberinfrastructure project.

Works Cited

Boyd, D. (2014). Searching for a public of their own. It’s Complicated (pg. 213-227). Retrieved from https://www.wattpad.com/203798155-it%27s-complicated-8-searching-for-a-public-of-their

Campbell, G. (2009). A personal cyberinfrastructure. EDUCAUSE Review,  44:5. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2009/9/a-personal-cyberinfrastructure

Costa, C., & Torres, R. (2011). To be or not to be, the importance of Digital Identity in the networked society. Educação, Formação & Tecnologias, (pg. 47-53). Retrieved from https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/9844014.pdf

Glass, G. (2015). Why we need social paper. Retrieved from https://commons.gc.cuny.edu/papers/45249/

Watkins, N. (n.d.). Developing your professional online identity: Defining who you are and how you show up in the world! Retrieved from https://continuingstudies.sauder.ubc.ca/sites/continuingstudies.sauder.ubc.ca/files/cs/documents/program/tmap/Developing-Your-Professional-Online-Identity.pdf

Watters, A. (2015). The web we need to give to students. Medium. Retrieved from https://brightthemag.com/the-web-we-need-to-give-students-311d97713713

 

Personal Process Post #13: Carly Camera Community

Hello friends,

I will consider my blog truly successful when it becomes a community where people may inspire each other by sharing storires and art. In order to do this successfully, establishing ground rules is crucial. Without them, you risk creating a toxic community. So, this week I have created Carly Camera’s Community Guidelines.

When creating my Community Guidelines, I referenced the community guidelines of Book Riot. When creating my own guidelines, I knew it was important to focus on the fact that this would be a place for users to showcase their art. For this reason, my guidelines focus on ensuring that my audience uplifts artists and does not steal their art work. As discussed in The Guardian, I know any comment forum can quickly become toxic, so it was important to stress the importance of remaining respectful.

Be sure to visit Carly Camera’s Community Guidelines and make sure you are following my rules and recommendations!

Sincerely,
Carly

Personal Process Post #10: Prioritizing My Instagram Presence

Hello friends,

For this week’s process post, we have been prompted to explore ways we could further expand our website’s narrative across new channels. However, after today’s lecture from Darren Barefoot, I have decided to limit my transmedia storytelling. He pointed out that there is no need to spread your message too thin on social media, as it is more important to focus on developing rich content to share on the ideal platform for your business. I have shared my Pinterest and VSCO channels, but I share these channels so my audience is able to know me better personally. Darren Barefoot also does this: although he has not created social media platforms for his small organization, potential clients are able to get to know him through his personal Twitter. I have decided to focus on expanding the Carly Camera narrative to Instagram

Instagram x Carly Camera

Instagram is a highly interactive photo-sharing application. As a photography blogger, I have plenty of content to share that is perfectly suited to Instagram. Instagram also allows you to expose your photos to the audiences of a particular hashtag or location. I have gained likes, comments and followers on Instagram by using hashtags. Further, by promoting the link to my blog I have placed my bio through post captions, I have directed people to visit my website. I have also added my Instagram page to my sidebar. This adds another visual element to my blog. More importantly, if my audience follows me on Instagram, I am able to remind them that I have created a new post.

I am showcasing my photos, gaining visibility through hashtags and promoting a link to my blog through this Instagram post.

Since developing my Instagram account, Google Analytics has showed me that I am now receiving traffic via social networks. It is only a little bit, but it should increase as I continue to post and promote on Instagram.

Feedback Note

I presented my blog to the class today. It made me feel as though I need to clarify the intention of this blog, as I am not able to communicate it very clearly. It is a personal photography blog that offers product reviews and tutorials for amateur photographers. These amateur photographers would be particularly interested in film photography, and would most likely be women from Vancouver. I write each post as if it is a letter because I want to connect with my audience, and I expect I will make the best connections with those who are similar to me. I intend to continue working on developing a concise explanation of my blog, sharing more photography and possibly narrowing my target audience.

Sincerely,
Carly

A Peer Review of Remy June

Hello friends,

I am peer reviewing once again. This time, I am assessing Remy June‘s lifestyle blog and considering how well her content and design will resonate with her target audience. I hope my perspective is able to inspire further growth and improvement.

Target Audience

Remy describes herself in her about page. She is an eighteen year old Publishing student from Vancouver, interested in music, travelling and “all things lifestyle.” Through her content and design choices, I can see that she is appealing to those who are similar to her.

Content

When navigating Remy’s website, you can find post categories that reflect her interests: music, travel and lifestyle. Remy accommodates to online reading tendencies by creating short posts, typically in a listicle format. My favourite post of hers was “A Day In Seattle.” It told a story, offered recommendations, and included beautiful images from her day. I assume her audience would mainly be from Vancouver, and Seattle is a very accessible travel destination for people from Vancouver. This post is perfect for her audience.

Images from "A Day In Seattle."

I consider this entire website to be a lifestyle blog, but one of Remy’s categories is “lifestyle,” and I do not think this title is specific enough. Remy’s about page mainly describes herself. This is certainly important, since this is a lifestyle, but I think she could be more specific about what content one could expect from her blog. Remy should also assess which of her posts receive the most engagement, and accommodate her audience by creating similar content.

Design

Remy and I are both using Edge by Theme Freesia. Needless to say, I like her choice in theme, but it is especially neat to see how we have both customized the same theme. Remy’s aesthetic is very crisp and clean. Mauve Page discussed the importance of using of consistent colours, fonts and photography styles in design. Remy consistently uses classic fonts, and it seems she always uses stock photos as her feature photos. Through this, she has crafted an aesthetic by doing so. However, I think she could consider colour more. Her header photo looks beautifully simplistic. By adjusting the colour of her links to match the plant in her header photo, there would be more consistency on Remy’s page, and her links would stand out more. The category feature image links really elevate the look of her site. They match her crisp, clean aesthetic.  However, some might consider the closely situated navigation bar and category feature images redundant.

Remy's category feature photo links.

Navigation

Kaptelinin emphasizes the importance of affordances that allow a user to seamlessly navigate through an interface, and I think Remy could consider using more hyperlinks in her posts. For example, Remy creates playlists in her music posts, and these playlists are just written in text. I would recommend sharing a Spotify playlist, uploading audio files, or at least linking to somewhere the songs are available online.

Social Media Integration

Remy’s social links are showcased in the top right corner of her website. She uses Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. I enjoy how she showcases her life, personality and sense of style through these channels. I feel like I know her better after looking over them, and her audience would surely feel the same. Her socials are a little difficult to find at first. If she added social widgets to her sidebar, her channels would stand out more. I would especially love to see Remy’s Instagram feed showcased in her sidebar, as her page is so stunning! She has a pretty impressive amount of followers already, so Instagram seems like the perfect place to promote her website.

@remybrayshaw on Instagram.

Overall,

Overall, I believe Remy’s blog could appeal to an audience that is similar to her. Her content and design choices seem to reflect her authentic self. However, I think she could try to assess what could make her unique from other lifestyle blogs, and consider if it is possible for her to target a slightly more specific audience. Be sure to Remy June visit

Sincerely,
Carly

Personal Process Post #9: The Demise of Facebook

Friends,

Do you think Facebook’s massive empire could ever really come crashing down?

We may not be scrolling down Facebook’s newsfeed forever.  People may grow tired of cat videos, overused memes, political musings and everything else that seems to currently prosper on Facebook. Facebook may evolve to appeal to potential new interests of consumers, but I say it is quite possible that Facebook becomes the next MySpace, a platform which I am sure we will all agree is long deceased. “In the end, Facebook is just an application. And people get tired of applications after a while” (Marks, 2013). The next big thing always seems to emerge.

Is Facebook really just an application? Yes, when you visit www.facebook.com, login to your account and scroll through the newsfeed, you are using an application, but Facebook has become so much more than that. The popularity and profitability of Facebook has made the company an entity that dominates the Internet. Facebook is really everywhere online. “When you really look at what the company is trying to do, it becomes evident that its goal is not expanded convenience within a Facebook ecosystem but outright colonization of the entire online and mobile experience” (Osterndorf, 2015).

Facebook seems to grow more and more powerful, but what Facebook does to maintain control seems to be either enraging or terrifying.

Doing Anything to Increase Users

Facebook went to incredible measures for new users when they launched Internet.org. Facebook claims their project goal is to decrease the digital divide by offering an Internet service to those who could not afford or access the Internet. “Internet.org is not a nonprofit company or even an organization. Internet.org is a business development group within Facebook aimed at increasing Facebook’s users and revenue” (Elgan, 2016). “When users choose [Internet.org], the carrier unplugs them from the Internet and plugs them directly into Facebook’s servers, a walled garden that provides the equivalent of stripped down sites, but is not the Internet” (Elgan, 2016). Through this service, Facebook is beginning to expose  people to an Internet exclusively controlled by their company. Internet.org provides no access to Google or institution websites.

“Facebook has long been accused of creating a walled garden social network, and also of duplicating the Internet on Facebook itself. Internet.org is the ultimate expression of that strategy. Facebook found a way for people to use Facebook without using the Internet, while simultaneously getting credit for providing a massive good for humanity”(Elgan, 2016).

Dominating Through Acquisition

Facebook is constantly acquiring new applications. Griffith (2017) explains that Facebook threatens small startups by saying “something to the effect of: ‘join us or we will copy you.'” When Facebook’s three billion dollar offer was rejected by Snapchat, Facebook certainly retaliated by adding Snapchat’s “stories” feature to their apps. Griffith (2017) fears that Facebook’s control prevents the innovation of others from flourishing.

Always Tracking

The evidence is in all those targeted advertisements you’re seeing: Facebook is tracking you. Facebook profits from the personal data their users freely provide them, and many are discomforted by performing this free digital labour.

It is a little frightening to recognize the power of Facebook, isn’t it? It probably will begin to frighten people more and more should their power continue to increase and people become aware of it. According to (Osterndorf, 2015), a world where Facebook dominates is not one we want to live in. “If Facebook does become the entire Internet, it’ll be bad news for our digital lives, and by extension, our “real” lives, too. The simplest solution: Kill Facebook before it becomes an unstoppable agent of chaos, its own Mr. Smith.” The only thing that may overpower Facebook, is the power of an angry crowd. I believe the only way Facebook may truly lose it’s power over the web is if there was a social or political movement to overthrow them. There is already a lot of anger and discomfort surrounding Facebook’s control and practices, but will it ever be enough for people to riot against it? Considering how precious the Internet is to so many, and how Facebook has seized such control over the digital landscape, I am not sure I truly forsee the demise of Facebook. However, I believe it is important to keep in  mind that overthrowing empires has been proved possible, and we may have more power as a collective than we may think.

Sincerely,
Carly

Peer Review 1: Simply HelenJ


I click through to Helen’s blog and I am greeted with a simple theme that is true to the title of her blog, “Simply Helen J.” The title of her blog stands out as it is a subtle bright pink opposed to her tagline that is grey. Helen has chosen a great theme because it is simple and easy to read. The theme is also very accessible, because navigation is clear, and each post provides you with easy sharing icons to different social media platforms.

However, I think it would look better if she would rename the ‘other’ option on her menu for PUB 101. The menu is divided into concise categories that give me a sense of her blog without scrolling down or clicking through to her ‘about me’page. Overall, I think Helen has chosen the perfect theme for her blog as it reflects what her title states and only needs to make minor changes to the menu.

There is a small box on the right side of the blog for Helen’s ‘About Me.’ My immediate thought is that I wish I didn’t have to click ‘Read more’ to continue reading. I’m impressed with how Helen wrote her mini-about me because it captures her blog in two sentences. When I click ‘Read more,’ I wish the about me box was better connected to her ‘About Me’ page. I think maybe Helen could start by connecting to the two then introduce herself? Also, I believe her about me should be longer since when a reader clicks ‘Read more’ they anticipate more details and currently her write up feels incomplete. Helen is on the right track with her ‘About Me’ page, but just needs to slightly add to it.

The content on Helen’s blog is amazing! The post “DIY Air Plant Terrarium,” has the perfect balance of text and images that DIY post needs. Although, I think it would be more beneficial to make the images smaller to create a better visual balance between the texts and images. I also like how not all of the posts in a row are DIYs, because the post “What’s in my Purse,” is a light-hearted easy-to-read post. Helen tags her posts appropriately, which will make it easier for her readers to search for posts when she further develops her blog.

Helen has created an online persona that is relaxed and welcoming, which I think will appeal to individuals that share similar interests as her. I think she currently only needs to tweak her ‘About Me’ page to be more detailed and her menu, otherwise her theme and content are good.

I’m not a crafty person… but I might try making an air plant terrarium since she makes it look so easy! Don’t forget to check out her blog to get inspired!

Process Post #1

How difficult can setting up WordPress be?

Apparently, it’s a lot more difficult than I assumed it to be.

I could not contain my excitement, so I created a WordPress account and bought a domain as soon as I could. I made the mistake of creating a separate WordPress account rather than installing it through Reclaim Hosting, which I would later come to realize. By creating a separate WordPress account, I struggled with transferring my domain over to my blog. I did not want to make any posts until I could figure this out. Thankfully, Ariel addressed this during the first tutorial and it felt good to know I wasn’t the only one with the same problem.

Once I had setup my blog through Reclaim Hosting, the struggle to choose my blog theme began. I downloaded and searched through multiple themes to find something suitable for my blog. I think my blog will sort of be like a journal? Not really sure, but I definitely wanted a more text-friendly theme. I’m not lying when I say I searched about high and low for a WordPress theme.

The theme that I chose (for now at least) is called Teletype by DinevThemes. I think the minimalistic layout of this theme appealed to me the most when compared to others (also, I really like courier new for text heavy blogs). I customized the theme with my preferred colours (pink of course lol). I used Canva to make a plain header to match the footer of my blog. In my opinion, the customization of the theme for aesthetic purposes was the easiest part. I wanted my theme to mimic my vision board  that represented me as a person, and I think I found the perfect one.

The most difficult aspect of setting up my WordPress blog was creating the menu. I referred to Codex, but it still took me several tries since what I did on the dashboard wouldn’t show up on my blog. I eventually had to go in and customize my theme for the menu to appear. However, I did not struggle with creating a separate category for my Posiel 101 posts (weirdly surprising).

I wrote two blogs posts in midst of this chaos, but I decided to wait before posting them as I wanted to have my blog layout figured out. Also, I still don’t know how to disable comments on my ‘about’ page…. (sigh)