A Little Journey Through Online Publication
In Fall 2019 semester I have created a blog using WordPress platform about travelling. My blog was focused more on the emotional experience rather than the technicalities of travelling, for instance I have not included where to eat, the hours of operation, fees or transit options. In order to make the blog stand out compared to others and make it as unique as possible I decided to take this approach. The imagined audience for my blog, at first was people from around the world. However, using Google Analytics I have realized that visitors of the blog are from Canada and especially Vancouver. This realization helped me take a different approach with my content. As a travel blogger just like other bloggers I was treating my audience as a close friend and address them with sincere pronouns such as “you”(Banyai & Glover, 2012). My aim was to create a friendly atmosphere for the blog so that I can start conversations on the comments section and reach out to my audience. Also, in order to create a small community with my audience I added small jokes and shared other interests of mine which I thought would be helpful to find a common ground with them. I believe my blog encourages people to be more honest with their emotions and it provides a platform for people who are willing to share their experiences.
In terms of design of the blog I decided to use a simple theme in order to draw the attention to the content and the pictures. However, as I was improving my content I was changing my design too because as Gertz (2015) statesin his article that creating the content first or last and then applying design elements may not have good results in terms of the unity between content and appearance. Also I tired my best to choose themes that are most customizable because blog themes that are generated by computers are getting popular however they lack the uniqueness and unexpectedness that humans desire (Gertz, 2015). Customizable themes allows bloggers to add their own style and create designs that expresses their content better which helps the blog to stand out more.
Before this course I have had couple of attempts to create a blog or some sort of online presence. I was not aware of how to advertise my blogs then, so I was using my own personal social media accounts for promotion. This led the people in my social sphere in real life to become the audiences of my blogs. The issue with this was since my audience were people I knew in real life I was creating content that I thought they would approve, also the chance of seeing them in real life and receiving face-to-face comments about my blog stressed me and pressured me. As a writer my content was not as interesting and rich as it would have been with a different kind of audience portfolio due to this fact. Learning about Disinhibition Effect which refers to the changing behaviours of people in the internet compared to their real life behaviours due to the environment the internet creates, has changed my perspective of online publication (“John Suler’s The Psychology of Cyberspace, The Online Disinhibition Effect,” June 1). According to the Disinhibition Effect the anonymity offered by internet helps individuals to express themselves freely and have more control over the online identity they have created (Bronstein, 2013). Following this when I was creating content for my current blog I was able to discover topics that I normally would not do or I was being more creative since I was not limiting myself with certain borders.
Another important thing I have learnt through out my experience this semester was the importance of social media platforms. Just like most of students I used to use social media just as a tool to communicate and share content with my friends rather than using it for promoting a blog or actually creating content (Hirst & Treadwell, 2011). After experiencing creating content I realized that social media can be really powerful if it is used right and different platforms can offer different opportunities which is why I have plugged in more than one social media platform to my blog.
So far I haven’t received any comments but I received feedback from my peers and Teaching Assistant which I consider as comments. I thought these feedbacks were really helpful in order to improve my blog both in the sense of design and content. On the other hand it made me feel pressured and responsible to share content on time and frequently because these feedbacks let me know that there are people waiting to read what I post and in my opinion not satisfying their expectations meant letting them down. Moreover, according to my previous attempts of blogging, receiving comments can either make you feel motivated to do more for the blog or discourage you.
Overall, considering my past experiences with online publication and what I have learnt from this course I probably will continue to blog. However, I might consider changing the concept because for a travel blog you need to have a lot of time and money which is a little difficult for me to achieve considering that I am a university student. I would not want to have a blog that I can hardly create content. I believe choosing a concept that it more suitable to my current life style might be a better option. However, I am sure of one thing about my blog’s future which is that it will be as emotional and as personal as it is right now because I think blogging as an opportunity to express and learn more about my self while relieving stress.
Banyai, M., & Glover, T. (2012). Evaluating Research Methods on Travel Blogs. Journal of Travel Research, 51(3), 267-277.
Bronstein, J. (2013). Personal blogs as online presences on the internet. Aslib Proceedings, 65(2), 161-181.
Gertz, T. (2015, July). Design Machines, How to survive the digital apocalypse. Retrieved from http://www.easybib.com/reference/guide/apa/website
Hirst, M., & Treadwell, G. (2011). BLOGS BOTHER ME: Social media, journalism students and the curriculum. Journalism Practice, 5(4), 446-461.
John Suler’s The Psychology of Cyberspace, The Online Disinhibition Effect. (June 1). Retrieved from http://truecenterpublishing.com/psycyber/disinhibit.html