Essays

My Experience and Growth As An Online Publisher

I joined Pub 101 because I am an avid user of social media and have always wanted to publish myself and create an online identity in some way. More specifically, blogging was always something I wanted to get into, but never something I was able to bring to fruition, due to a lack of time, knowledge, and confidence. However, as mentioned in the introduction of my blog, I came to realize that I need to spend more time on things that bring me joy; essentially creating more of a work-life balance. I expressed that this blog would give me an outlet to indulge in my interests and begin to share something I have always wanted to share, and it did just that. Not only was I able to provide advice and recommendations, top lists, and tips, but I was also able to develop my own character and improve my mental health. That said, Marisasmuse is an online space that I have curated to allow myself to express and share the things that interest and inspire me, in hopes that they may interest or inspire others.

The Overall Process

Being an online publisher isn’t easy. Although I knew exactly what I would blog about, three of my main passions, beautyfashion, and health, I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to do it. You can see through my first process post which describes the initial process, that I struggled a lot at the beginning. I wasn’t previously aware of WordPress or how to create, edit, or design a website, and although Glass (2015) describes sharing as being “as easy as pushing a button” there is a lot that goes into creating a successful and attention capturing website (para 4). However, as I worked my way through the course, gathering ideas from lecture and the course readings, I was able to get a hang of it and eventually build a web presence that reflects and embodies who I am (Hollingsworth, 2018). For example, Chittenden (2010) explains that the “presence of bloggers in their photographs suggests a certain identity stability between blogs and the physical world” (p. 508), thus, I began to incorporate photographs of myself as well as self-created graphics that matched my “online brand”. I started to introduce my personal opinions and experiences, staying true to myself and exercising relatability. 

My Public, Addressing My Audience Through Content and Design & Value

I have come to learn that imagined audiences are important to think about when creating an online atmosphere as they “provide a necessary way of envisioning who should be present” (Chittenden, 2010, p. 513). Therefore, I imagined my audience to be people like me, perhaps females in the age group of 17-25, however, I also recognized that my content could be for anyone to view and enjoy. That said, Google Analytics has informed me that a majority of my viewers are Canadian females. Furthermore, although I have a space for comments on my website, there has not been any significant engagement or comments on Marisasmuse. Despite the fact that comments can be inherently negative, and often create a space for hate, they can also be helpful in providing information. For example, comments can allow my viewers to “ask questions, point out errors, [and] give new leads” (Gardiner, Mansfield, Anderson, Holder, Louter & Ulmanu, 2016, para 1), gaining insight into how I can improve my content.

As I have written in a few process posts, specifically in My Vision, I have used my own aesthetic and visual interests to create the design, look, and vibe of my blog. Furthermore, I have incorporated all that I have learned from our lecture with Pagé (2021). With this information, I was very conscious in making sure my website’s design features gave visitors a clear understanding of what to expect from my blog. As described, in Continuing The Process, I tried to focus on the “harmony” of my blog through my choice of images, typefaces, and color palette. For example, the typefaces I used all give off the personality of “trendy” and “stylish”, (Pagé, 2021), and the colors emulate a classic and calm vibe, associating itself to the themes of relaxation and personal care. That said, I think these elements capture the attention of anyone who would be interested in beauty and fashion. Moreover, in terms of my content, I think I have uniquely integrated the idea of self-care within my posts, not only through my page on the health, but the beauty and fashion pages as well, encouraging and supporting others to feel good and do what they love. I think this incorporation is valuable as I hope to be able to make someone’s day better, whether I inspire someone through my graphic images or encourage someone to take a bath or make a healthy meal. Nonetheless, envisioning my audience has ultimately shaped how I craft the overall design and content of my website. 

Reflecting and Looking Forward

My views on publication and creating an online identity have drastically changed. Prior to the start of this course, I was worried and didn’t have much confidence in how I was going to create a website, make it inviting, and come up with content. Eventually, I came to realize that as long as I have the basics and create a platform that is relatable, I wouldn’t have an issue. Nevertheless, over the course of the semester, I gained a skillset as well as the confidence to try new ideas and platforms. For example, I made a gif which I had never done before, and became very familiar with Canva. Furthermore, at the start of this course, I was really caught up in making everything perfect, however, after reading the article by Bernstein (1998), and gaining further insight, I became aware that sometimes “wilderness is exactly what readers want” (slide 10). In this process, I not only learned a lot about the online space and how people become so successful, but I have also learned a lot about myself and what I am capable of. 

With all that said, in the future, I hope to introduce a few additions to my online publication. For starters, I think it would be a good idea to join Amazon’s Affiliate Marketing Program or the Amazon Influencer Program as I already frequently link items from Amazon. I would also like to take Vasili Souros’ ideas into consideration and create an additional Instagram page for my beauty, fashion, and health content. I think this page would give me the opportunity to post in real-time, for example, sharing my favorite products or my morning routine on Instagram stories or lives. I think this would be advantageous because it would allow my viewers to connect with me more easily, building a greater sense of community. 

In retrospect, this “technologically mediated space [has acted] as a resource for [me] to develop [my] identity” (Chittenden, 2010p. 507). In addition, it has given me something to look forward to, therefore, I hope to continue. Regardless of whether or not my blog has or will be successful, I can say that it has been a success for me at a personal level.

References:

Bernstein, Mark. 1998. Hypertext Gardens: Delightful Vistas.

Tara Chittenden. 2010. “Digital dressing up: modelling female teen identity in the discursive spaces of the fashion blogosphere.”Journal of Youth Studies http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13676260903520902

Becky Gardiner, Mahana Mansfield, Ian Anderson, Josh Holder, Daan Louter and Monica Ulmanu. 2016. “The dark side of Guardian comments.” https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/12/the-dark-side-of-guardian-comments

Erin Glass. 2015. “Why We Need Social Paper.” https://commons.gc.cuny.edu/papers/45249/

Hollingsworth, Sam. April 13, 2018. “12 Reasons Why You Business Absolutely Needs SEO.” https://www.searchenginejournal.com/why-seo-is-important-for-business/248101/#close

Pagé, Mauve. 2021. Lecture video retrieved from https://stream.sfu.ca/Media/Play/3f05ee3224c243648667fa94f072992f1d

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