Week 12: Process Post / Essay #2
Featured Image Credit: Nick Morrison on Unsplash
Throughout the course I have learned a lot about publication, and how to present myself online. In this essay I will be reflecting on course content, what I have learned, and my thoughts and experiences with online publication. The essay will be split into three parts; in the first part I will discuss my thoughts around online publication, then I will discuss what my goals are for my online self, and my overall experience with being an online publisher and how I will continue to expand my website. Secondly, I will discuss who my website is for, who my public is, and I will address the editorial and design decisions I made regarding my audience. Lastly, I will look at what I have learned from my audience, the course, google analytics, and WordPress.
Experience & Goals
When I started this course, I had a basic understanding on what online publication is, and how to run a website. However, throughout the course I have learned the importance of audiences and how to cater content to them through your design and editorial choices. Throughout the course I have learned that every detail matters in regard to design and editorial choices as this helps attract audiences, and how it is necessary to become familiar with a software program like WordPress.
The overall experience of being an online publisher has been stressful and exciting. Although my content has primarily only been seen by my classmates and instructors, it was still stressful to produce content that would be available for public consumption. I say this because, there is more pressure to ensure that the information is correct, appropriate, and falls with the values of your website. It is difficult to please everyone online and even if you do everything right, people can still be cruel online. This relates back to John Suler’s reading, The Online Disinhibition Effect, which discusses concepts like “dissociative anonymity (Suler, 2004, p.322)” and “invisibility (Suler, 2004, p.322).” It discusses how since people can’t always be seen online, they have more courage to say and do what they want, because they are unknown to the online world and don’t have to deal with the consequences of what they say (Suler, 2004, p.322). This relates back to what I am saying, because that pressure and stress I refer to is triggered by this anxiety that users online may say negative things towards my content, and I do not even know who they are.
However, it was also very exciting to build an online presence where I can discuss my passion which is music. In many process posts I discussed that I would want my website to be a portfolio for jobs in the music industry; as the website would show my knowledge and interest in music, and possibly throughout time if I were able to gain an audience, that would indicate that I have interesting content. I enjoyed the experience of combining my passion of music and writing with an academic class. In Campbell’s reading titled, A Personal Cyberinfrastructure it was discussed how higher education often fails to utilize these online tools like creating websites and allowing students to explore their imaginations while doing academic work (Campbell, 2009, para.5). However, in this course I enjoyed combining technology and my imagination with academic work.
I will continue to expand my website as I have many goals and plans. Firstly I would like to change the theme and overall design; my process posts from week 6 to 11, discuss the changes I want to make. I will use social media to help expand my website, starting off with an Instagram account that will deal with shorter posts to engage interest, and prompt users to go read the full posts on the website. I have already started Blue Bedroom Playlists, which is playlists I have created through Spotify, and I would like to continue to expand this with the website and other social media platforms.
My Public & Editorial and Design Decisions
I have imagined a public that is users who are between the ages of 15-30 (Music Gateway Team, 2016, para.1), who would be visiting and engaging with my website. Since my website focuses on many topics like album reviews, new artists and deals with all genres, it was difficult to narrow down an audience. However, through my knowledge and understanding of who uses social media platforms and views music blogs, I had assumed that this age group would most likely be my public or audience.
This audience informed my editorial decisions because I find that younger audiences want fast and engaging information through things like Instagram stories and GIFS. So, for my website I started to incorporate videos and Spotify playlists into the blog posts, to make them shorter and more interesting. My audience informed my design decisions because I find that younger audiences enjoy a familiar design, so I am trying to do that with a blue color scheme which I have continued to progress throughout the semester.
What I Have Learned
Throughout the essay I had discussed different things I have learned throughout the course. However, I had also gained knowledge on, linking out, google analytics, and WordPress which I will now discuss. I learned that linking out in posts is very important, as it helps you connect with other platforms and helps to bring viewers to your website. Through google analytics I learned that I can monitor how many people come to my website, and what pages are viewed and more; this helps me understand what I need to improve on my website or what is working. Lastly from WordPress I learned that it is crucial to understand the software and to explore outside of it as well, as coding is essential in building a website.
Throughout the course I have learned a lot and have advanced my skills in online publication and building a website. This essay explored course content, my experiences, what I have learned and more. As time progresses, I will continue to expand my website and use information that I learned from this course to help further my website.
Gardner Campbell, W. (2009). “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure.” EDUCAUSE Review 44 (5). http://er.educause.edu/articles/2009/9/a-personal-cyberinfrastructure
Music Gateway Team. (2016). How is Music Marketed to Different Age Groups? Retrieved from Music Gateway: https://www.musicgateway.com/blog/how-to/how-is-music-marketed-to-different-age-groups
Suler, J. (2004). “The Online Disinhibition Effect.” Available from: Cyberpsychology & behavior 7.3 (2004): 321-326. http://truecenterpublishing.com/psycyber/disinhibit.html