December 8th 2020
My Experience Blogging
Writing a blog is very different from presenting oneself on any other platform. This is because oftentimes, one creates an online self on social media websites, a walled garden. This is opposed to a blog that starts out as an individual endeavor and can remain quiet for so long as the author does not work towards creating a public. There are also social parameters under which one fashion oneself. On Instagram, it is through idealistic photos and lyrical captions. Twitter asks for witty remarks and satirical criticism. However, when creating a blog there are, initially, no bounds that can hold the author back other than self-inflicted ones.
A free landscape through which one is able to create a truly authentic self is not something that many have experienced before. By participating in Pub 101 I have gotten the opportunity to do so. The experience has been unforgiving but entertaining. Although I created dontruinmymood.com through the same avenue as the rest of the class in regards to buying my domain, creating a mood board, and writing my weekly posts I think that my experience differed in terms of its contents. As opposed to basing dontruinmymood.com off of one subject such as food, travel, or fashion it has a mood. Each post has the potential to be about anything that is relevant or insights even a glimpse of passion. However, this stylistic choice makes finding an audience difficult. Some of the rants, the name of my weekly blog posts, are meant to be humorous which means that the audience could be anyone looking for a laugh. Yet, some have a morose tone about controversial topics that not everyone can relate to. Politics, gender, and the reality of being a minority may entice someone similar or an ally looking to learn empathy, but not everyone. Therefore, a target audience was not something of concern when writing the posts. Versatility creates an opportunity for a new audience every week. By looking at Google Analytics, it is obvious that this potential audience has yet to find their way, and that currently, they are only a possibility.
Social media allows for all people to share their opinions and feelings about any topic they want, just as dontruinmymood.com allows for me. Therefore it does not seem that it provides any value that is unique. However, if it is only considered in selfish terms, the blog contributes a lot to me. Through online school, the pandemic, and general life stress, it has been an outlet. It is a safe space to express even the most mundane thoughts that others simply may not want to listen to. In some way, there is hope that someone else finds understanding from some of the posts.
It is almost certain that most young people who have not taken a course that is similar to pub101 put much consideration into how a website looks. Throughout the term, my perception and awareness of distinct design choices have become much greater than ever before. A reading from early on in the course by Erin Kissane, really made me pay attention to how websites are organized and how I want to do that for myself. Kissane talks about how common media, such as books, newspapers, and anything on paper, has taken on a new form. The way he describes the transition of spaces one primarily thinks of as physical into an online space helped me understand how I wanted to transfer my life and feeling into my blog.
Another concept that really sparked my interest and that I have tried to incorporate into my blog is the idea of active affordances. At first I did not know what this was, and when I read about it I did not really see the importance. However, as the class progressed I realized how vital having that feeling of just knowing what to do when you get on a site is (Kaptelinin). I can see how having a website that subtly suggests actions to the visitor can greatly improve the user experience. This would also be a good way to attract advertisers, since the cleaner the space the more willing users and consequent ads I would get. However, it seems odd to advertise on something that I would not otherwise charge people to hear, therefore I will not be pursuing any monetization activities.
However, the most pivotal moment in the class for dontruinmymood.com was the lecture given in week 5 that gave a list of features that one can look for to improve one’s blog. They listed “Balance, Rhythm, Proportion, Contrast, and Unity” (Norman) and I think comparing my blog to the suggested standard, I was able to convey my message a lot better. Not only through the use of aesthetically pleasing symmetry, but also by enhancing the flow on a greater scale.
As a whole, dontruinmymood.com has been an extremely informative learning experience that I would love to continue. In future, I can see myself returning to myself created online space, in order to vent somewhere that is not as daunting as social media.
Kissance, Erin. “Contents May Have Shifted” Contents. http://contentsmagazine.com/articles/contents-may-have-shifted/
Kaptelinin, Victor. “Affordances” The Encyclopedia of Human Computer Interaction. Vol. 44 no. 2.
Norman, Suzanne. “Web Design and Type On Screen” Publishing 101, 12th October 2020 Simone Fraser University, Lecture.