Essay #2: Reflection on Blogging

Picture credits go to Webnode.

It’s surreal to believe that we’re already entering the month of April.

I still remember the feeling of excitement and nervousness for our first class of our publishing course. Taking publishing was something I always wanted to do, however, throughout my academic career, I always stuck to my comfort zone, choosing courses that was related to my degree, yet, subjects that I had no particular interest in.

When I finally decided to enroll in publishing, at first, I had the irrational fear that I would be disappointed or find myself not enjoying our PUB 101 course. Boy, was I wrong to think that. I loved and enjoyed every aspect of this course. I liked how each week we learned something new, in order for us to develop experience as online publishers, whether it was guest speakers, learning different tactics, be able to design on our own, etc.

Once it was established that we had to create our own site for this course, I knew I wanted my blog to be about things related to Vancouver and anything that I found to be cute. Essentially my blog became a lifestyle one, which I’m please about. When it came to design and layout, I knew the colour scheme would have to at least involve the colour pink. Previously I had an initial design that was nice, but font was barely visible, we had learned that typography and readability, was an important factor to have a successful blog. Having this in mind, I knew I wanted my theme to be girly, cute, yet inviting. Which lead me to the decision of choosing the Enamored Layout by Beautiful Dawn Designs for my blog. The design had embody what I wanted my blog to be about, plus it was simple and made it easy to navigate.

When I began to think about what type of posts to write about, I knew I wanted to incorporate my personality in some way. I did this by writing in a way that I was talking to my readers personally. I also added cute emoticons throughout the post, showing how I felt about things. I did add colour to my writing as I felt it would make my blog pop out more and personal. Furthermore, I made sure I added pictures to have the visualization for my readers.

When it came to the topic of writing my entries, I typically wrote about places in Vancouver, events or reviews of items that I bought previously. I wrote about these topics because I wanted my readers to find the value or take an interest in the places that I had visited or ate at. If they had taken something away from my posts, I felt there was a nice satisfaction to it. Since my posts and writing style were catered to females, I did imagine my audience to be young females either in high school or post-secondary, with most of them living in Vancouver or those who had an interest in Japanese culture.

After the incorporation of Google Analytics to our sites, I learned that some of my viewers were outside from Vancouver and Canada. I won’t lie, I did feel pretty proud, as the majority of my posts were more for those who lived in Vancouver. One thing that surprised me was that I had absolutely no male viewers. When I discovered this, I did contemplate if I should change my writing style or layout to attract more male viewers. However, I decided against it. I felt that if I did, I would be changing myself and my site, just for the sake to obtain more views from readers who weren’t my original targeted audience anyways. 

There is still the urgency of wanting more readers to come onto my site, however, I do have to remind myself my blog is still relatively new. I also need to work on the engagement tactics that I learned in class to attract more people onto my site.

Looking back from the very first week, until now, I learned things that I never would have. I learned the term personal cyberinfrastructure, and how that nowadays when it comes to digital world, there’s more than having a simple template, there’s more skills involved.

More so, in the beginning, I believe I wrote my posts just for the sake of filling my blog with content and for this course. Now, I find myself getting back into blogging for the sake of my own interest and as a hobby. I do remember in the beginning of this course, I felt lost in what I wanted to write about, I was teetering between having a blog solely based on food in Vancouver, or having a lifestyle blog that pertained to my interest. My T.A actually encouraged me to do both, and so I did.

This course alone, has taught me so much. I like the fact that we got to use WordPress instead, as it taught me a brand new platform. I like the fact that I was able to create my own personal site and that all the design and layout decisions were done by me. The class also taught me a significant lesson in making sure not to add too much personal information online. We learned that all things that are published online have a data trail, meaning whatever we write can be traced back to us and those who have a malicious intent can use our personal information against us.

When it comes to my blog, I feel that my personality has been shown through my posts, the layout, the design, etc., since I’m in charge of all my own decisions. Whether these decisions look good or bad to some, I’m proud to say that at least I was one the who chose these decisions alone and no one else. And knowing that, makes me happy 🙂

References

Campbell, W. (2009). A Personal Cyber Infrastructure. Educause. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2009/9/a-personal-cyberinfrastructure

Jamali, R., Jaroodi, R. A., Lazo, J.A., & Phillip, G.,(2016, May 6). Digital breadcrumbs: the data trail we leave behind. Pod Academy. Podcast retrieved from http://podacademy.org/podcasts/digital-breadcrumbs-our-data-trail/

Snell, S. (2016). Blog Design: Does Design Impact Your Success? Vandelay Design. Retrieved from http://www.vandelaydesign.com/impact-of-design/

 

 

Process Post #11/12: Community Guidelines!

When I read the process post for this week, I was a bit confused 😐. The instructions said to develop your own community guidelines for our site. Did they mean to create our own page to do so? Or more of what we would want our guidelines to be?

Whatever the instructions meant, I’ll be adding my own form of guidelines to my post. Should I continue to blog or not in the future, I would probably set my guidelines in stone and have more. But for now, my guidelines are as follows:

  • Freedom of speech is allowed, but any form of hate speech is not welcomed
  • Criticism is fine, as long it is not a personal attack
  • Civil disagreement is allowed as people should have their own opinion on things and not everyone is willing to agree
  • Bullying and any type of harassment are not welcomed
  • Treat everyone fairly and equally
  • Spam will not be tolerated
  • Original pictures from the site can be used but credit must be given

I do believe guidelines are essential to establish rules and help prevent anything that can take on a form of negativity that may have a negative impact on an individual.

However, realistically, if a well-known and popular site, has their own specific guidelines, it may be quite difficult for all comments to get monitored. For example, Youtube, has a huge audience following. Many comments can easily go through that disregards the guidelines in any of the videos published.

Ideally, it would be nice for people to follow the community guidelines, however, that is up to the individual themselves, and how the administrator would deal with the situation should the guidelines not be followed.

Process Post #10: Transmedia Integration

So unfortunately, when our tutorial had a group assignment I was away as I had an appointment that conflicted with the time. That was the week when the class had learned a new word.

Transmedia Integration.

Σ(‘◉◉’)

I absolutely had no clue what that meant, which lead me look up the term transmedia on Google, so I could catch up to my peers. From what I got (thanks Google!), transmedia is the method of telling a story through multiple media platforms involving the use of current technology trends.

An good example of a company and brand that uses transmedia integration would be Archie Comics. This company has used many platforms to get their brand and their stories across. Originally starting as comic books, it has now expanded to graphic books, manga, online websites and recently, through television and Netflix, due to the new show, Riverdale.

The show is based on the characters of the Archie Universe, and has introduced them to a whole new generation. The show integrates the characters we all know and love from Archie and some of the original plots (love triangle, relationships, etc.), however, for most the show, it has its own original plot lines and stories.

As Transmedia guru, Henry Jenkins has stated, “….transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating  unified and coordinated entertainment experience…” which correctly reflects on the Archie Comic brand as well.

References

Jenkins, H. (2015). Great Examples of Multiplatform Storytelling. Echostories. Retrieved from http://www.echostories.com/great-examples-multiplatform-storytelling/

 

Process Post #8: Analyzing Google Analytics

This post has been severely delayed and surprisingly, it’s not because of my procrastination habits 😮. I actually waited to do this post later than usual, as I wanted to see if my statistics for my blog would change or increase, depending how I either promoted and engaged or didn’t, with my audience.  

I believe Google Analytics is a great concept for bloggers ✮⃛( ◞´•௰•`)✮⃛  since it has many functions and utilities. For example, it shows the demographic of your audience and their behavior when they enter your site. More so, Google Analytics also shows the specific location of your viewers. With all these functions, this can help bloggers to know what their audience likes about their site.

While there are many great tools on Google analytics alone, I will admit, that I did and still find using it quite confusing ^^’. Initially, I did find analytics overwhelming as there was so many options to explore on. However, once I started playing around with it more, I became more familiar with it. Though, there are still some options that are not available to me, for example, I still don’t have access to some of the demographic data.

The daily stats of my blog throughout the month of March.

To be frank, I wasn’t too surprised when I saw a huge fluctuation of views for my blog. There’s a sudden spike of views on certain days because I had promoted my site through my Instagram accounts. I did this by linking my blog URL on my Instagram profile and I had also posted a picture on my IG account that was related to the blog post with comments encouraging people to go visit ( ◞・౪・)

Acquisition Overview for the month of March.

I was also not shocked that my site was found directly as I did give my link to some of my friends and family members and our sites have been given on a list for this course. Not surprisingly, Instagram was the main social media in which people had found my site. I did find it nice that people found my blog through Facebook though, as I had linked it on my profile and I didn’t even promote it on my wall! However, the one weird thing I found for the organic search, was that there was no specific link in which people had come across my site, in fact, it said it could not be provided 😐

There were a couple of things that did surprise me about the statistics of my blog. First of, I was completely taken aback when I found out that one of my most viewed pages was my post about Vancouver’s Catfe. If anything, I would have assumed that my most view posts would be about food as I have a huger following on my food account on Instagram than my main account in which I had promoted the Catfe post.

Demographics overview.

Another thing that surprised me was the fact that all my views came from females and I had no male viewers. I would assume that my food posts would attract at least some male viewers, but then again, my writing style and overall design does cater to girls more. So unfortunately, because I don’t have data for the ages of my viewers I can’t really comment on it. However, hypothetically, if people that were above their 20s and 30s had viewed my blog I would be surprised because my blog is mostly written for students and young adults.

The geography data.

I did like the fact that there were views from different countries. Although the ones with 100% bounce rates are more likely to be bots, I did find it nice that people from the USA were visiting and reading! When I looked at the cities of where my audience was coming from, the majority were from British Columbia such as Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, New West, Port Coquitlam, etc. Though there were some outside of Canada, like San Jose.

By using Google Analytics, it can help me think of ways to improve my blog (๑˃̵ᴗ˂̵)و. The major thing I want to work on is improving the engagement with my audience. I noticed that not that many people stay on my site too long , perhaps, they only take a peak at it. Hopefully, by using engagement tactics that we learned in class, I will be able to improve my blog overall.

 

Process Post #7: Monetization

Picture credit goes to Brenda Barron.

During lecture and tutorial, we learned an interesting topic regarding the concept of monetization for our blogs. We learned the importance of how money could be be earned through advertisements. The idea of monetization is significant for online businesses and people who blog for a living, as placing advertisements on their sites creates a path for them to earn money. 

Would I monetize my site?

At the moment, no. Right now, my blog is still relatively new, so I’m not getting that many views which would mean I wouldn’t be earning much through ad revenues. With this in mind, I don’t think placing advertisements would be the greatest idea as in my personal opinion, it looks a bit tacky when there’s advertisements on a site that’s new and has little content :/ Furthermore, like many of my classmates have written, by monetizing your site, it starts to feel like a job and a chore, as there’s the incentive of pushing out more posts to earn money through ads. This feeling may lead to the quality of the blog to decrease in quality. 

I, personally, had used Google AdSense on my blogspot site, Daiisoo, when I started getting more views and followers. It was exciting to see that people were actually clicking on the advertisements I had placed on my blog, as it showed that people were interested. Though, later on, this led me to stop blogging for a while, as I initially started blogging as a hobby, not as a job to earn money. This resulted in my posts getting shorter and the content felt forced as I was writing for the company so I couldn’t really write with my personality in mind.

Earnings from Adsense on my blogspot site

However, I won’t completely dismiss the idea of monetization entirely. If I do start, I would be open to affiliates, sponsorship posts, and Google’s Adsense, but they must be something that is related to my blog and at least, follows the theme of it. But, I believe that I should build an audience and a huge following before going through with the concept.  

 

Process Post #6: Let’s Remix Something!

For this week’s process post (…okay, more like, this post was for a few weeks ago….¯\_༼ ༽_/¯), we were simply informed to remix something. And that was it. For the most part, I was thinking “wait what?”  when I heard this was our topic for the process post. There wasn’t much instructions to go on, and I don’t know about you, but I’m the type of person who needs detailed instructions to do something.

Perhaps, this is the sole reason why I’ve been delaying this process post 😐 I’ve been trying to think of something to incorporate the element of re-mixing, yet, stay true to my blog. After carefully reading my fellow peers ideas of remixing to get inspired (…in no way was I stalking.¯\_ʘᗜʘ_/¯), the majority of my classmates, had incorporated re-mix of photos, music, poems, etc. which I thought was creative, given how they designed the remix on their own.

That being said, I wanted to do something different and out of my comfort zone. I like to think to remix something, is to integrate something your comfortable with but at the same time, something, your not. 

Last week, I visited North Vancouver, and explored Lonsdale Quay Market. I decided for my remix, I wanted to vlog about the adventure, but at the same time, take pictures! Vlogging is something that is out of my comfort zone because it’s basically me talking to a camera in public. It was a bit weird at first, but I was slowly getting used to it. However, because I was too excited about visiting the market since it’s been a year the last time I was there, I kind of forgot to vlog about the entire trip. I did record getting on the sea bus ⛵, which is always fun.

Of course, there is the other half of the remix which are pictures that I took for my adventure. I hope you enjoyed my remix post 😎

Song – Older Brother by Pepper Rabbit

The passageway of the market.
Our lunch for the day.
Gelato from the market.
Had to get that Instagram worthy background.

Process Post #5: Design Element

Late, late, late and late

That should be my middle name ╮(▰´△`)╭ I’ve been severely delaying my process posts for quite some time, and I really don’t have any excuses for it. 

In this week’s process post (or should I say a the process post from a few weeks ago?), we were to read the peer review from our fellow classmate and to see what we could have changed from our layout and designs, regarding their opinion of our site.

My first peer review partner was Sam of the site Photo and Phrases. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Sam’s review on my blog as it was insightful and helped me knew what I could change and improve on.

One change I made when I read Sam’s review was the subtitle of my blog. Previously, my subtitle had said “Just Another Vancouver Lifestyle Blogger” and after reading Sam’s review, she indicated that it sounded sarcastic and uncaring, which didn’t match the theme of my blog. So, after carefully thinking about it, I changed my subtitle to “Showing the cute side of Vancouver.” 

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Essay #1: Fake News

Nowadays, the use of social media is integrated as an daily activity for the majority of people in society. The popularity of such platforms, are in no doubt, increasing as social media has and reaches a wide range of audiences. While there are many different types of social media applications that have different functions, for example, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, etc. these platforms do share the common feature as a form of communication and as a way for people to connect and re-connect with one another.

However, thanks to such social media platforms, it’s been evident that more and more people are obtaining and accessing news from it. In a general consensus, research conducted by the Pew Research Center had found out that approximately 62% of adults obtain news from social media. Furthermore, the research had broken down the statistics in greater detail by the different platforms. They discovered that two-thirds of Facebook users (66%) find out news on it, while about six out of ten (59%) Twitter users get news on the platform and whereas, seven out of ten Reddit users obtain news on Reddit itself (Gottfried & Shearer, 2016). The significance of this is that some stories may not be credible, and may turn out to be fake and false news. In which case, some people may not check if it has credible sources or is valid, before sharing it with the public.

The term “false news” has been recently been used too widely, thanks to the influence of the recent US presidential election. According to Elle Hunt from the Guardian, false news is defined as news that is made up entirely and that is manipulated and altered to the point that it appears like realistic and credible journalism. False news uses tactics to attract traffic and reach a bigger range of audiences. They use such tactics as clickbaits, eye-catching headlines and pop-ups (Hunt, 2016).

People who create false news may possiblly do it for the “…thrill of deception, or call their work satirical or in it for the money….” (Herman, 2016). The concept of false news is that the stories that are written, are mainly focused on fabrications and lies and are published with no valid and credible sources. Journalist, John Herman of the New York Times, stated that this can lead to these stories to be quickly posted on numerous sites, which can lead to the false news being shared by many.

False news can not only lead people to believe in something that is untrue, but in severe cases it can also bring harm to people. For example, the infamous Reddit Boston Bombing case. The days after the incident, many users on Reddit started sleuthing to find out who were the culprits behind the bombing. This led to millions of users to incorrectly accused Brown University student, Sunil Tripathi, as the perpetrator of the bombings. Unfortunately, due to these accusations, Tripathi found himself facing massive negative backlash, which eventually led to his suicide (Stanglin, 2013).

Once it was brought to light that Tripathi was indeed, innocent, many news outlets and Reddit in general, had issued an apology to Tripathi’s family. The general manager of Reddit, Erik Martin, ensured during that time, Reddit and other social media platforms, would be more cautious and make sure that any false accusations and news would not lead to such a crisis. 

Due to the recent US election, false news have become more prominent. Months ago, Facebook had featured a false story about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, on it’s trending topics. The story had falsely claimed that the channel had fired Kelly, for being “…a closet liberal who wants Hilary to win.” (Gunaranta, 2016). This had led to many journalists taking screenshots of such false news, and reporting it to Facebook, in which the platform had ensure they would take better measures in removing such links.

In early 2017, Google and Facebook, have been taking steps to remove false news. Facebook had altered it’s Trending topics feature, to provide more reliable news articles. Despite the efforts of fighting false news, the fight against it, is still a work in progress.

References

Gottfried, J., & Shearer, E. (2016). News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2016. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.journalism.org/2016/05/26/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2016/

Gunaranta, S. (2016). Facebook apologizes for promoting false story on Megyn Kelly in #Trending. CBS News. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/facebooks-trending-fail-news-section-reportedly-highlights-fake-news-on-megyn-kelly/

Herman, J. (2016). Fixation of Fake News Overshadows Waning Trust in Real Reporting. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/19/business/media/exposing-fake-news-eroding-trust-in-real-reporting.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0

Hunt, E. (2016). What is fake news? How to spot it and what you can do to stop it. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/dec/18/what-is-fake-news-pizzagate

Stanglin, D. (2013). Student wrongly tied to Boston Bombings found  dead. USA Today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2013/04/25/boston-bombing-social-media-student-brown-university-reddit/2112309/

Wakabayashi, D. (2017). In Race Against Fake News, Google and Facebook Stroll to the Starting Line. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/technology/google-facebook-fake-news.html

 

Process Post #4: Who is my Audience?

Now that it’s been a few weeks into our PUB 101 class, we have been told to think about our audience and readers for our own blogs. We been given questions to think about such as: Who reads our blogs? How can we engage with our readers? Why is it that my blog attracts a certain demographic?

Downtown Vancouver.

Since my blog is based in Vancouver, generally I would believe that my audience would be from Vancouver. Perhaps they are wondering what kind of food place they want to explore or if the restaurant is worth trying. More so, maybe they want to know where and what kind of sales that are happening, etc.

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