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.
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/