While I have been blogging for media subjects for almost two years now, I must admit, I still struggled with my blogging experience for BCM240. This is mainly because the subject encouraged us to build upon our online public profile through our blogs. However, I am quite a private person. While I have Facebook, I do not have an Instagram account or any other social media account, and I only use Twitter and WordPress for my Media studies. Similarly, I’m more of a passive user on Facebook as I barely ever post or publish anything online. Thus naturally, I struggled with creating an online site which was to represent me. Despite already having experience in blogging, I still feel quite shy about writing in public. Nevertheless, this experience has continued to encourage me to step outside my comfort zone and have more confidence in my writing. It has also helped me to develop my own voice in the online public space.
I employed quite a few mechanisms to communicate my personality through the layout of my WordPress account. For example, my header contains a picture of a beautiful, colourful bird. I absolutely love birds — in fact, I have two budgies of my own. I also thought the overall colour scheme was appropriate for my blog, because while i’m a shy and introverted person, once I get to know someone properly, I open up more and share my ‘bubbliness’ with them. Finally, I have tried to maintain a nice, clean layout for my blog which is easy to navigate around. For example, my header drops down to provide a list of different subjects I have blogged for. Thus with the colour scheme and neat layout, I think my WordPress site is aesthetically attractive to other readers. Within the site and my blogs, I also include funny pictures and videos as a means to make it more enjoyable and engaging for my readers. Although, while i’m not a funny or creative person myself, I need to try and abide by Dave Kerpen’s tip of writing catchy headlines that are simple, powerful, useful and bold, as a means to attract readers.
I have also utilisied a number of other techniques to attract and engage readers and build upon an audience base. For example, I share my published blogs on Twitter so my followers can access them. Following Nate Kontny’s tip, I’ve also provided my Twitter feed on my WordPress account which allows readers to connect with me and follow my posts. Another great technique I’ve employed is the use of ‘tagging’. I shamelessly tag anything and everything in my posts to increase traffic to my blogs.
I also use my WordPress account to allow my readers to contribute to my blogs. For example, within all my blogs, I encourage my readers to share their thoughts and opinions on the topic I blog about. I also respond and engage with any readers who comment on my posts. In a couple of my blogs (i.e. Experiencing Concerts through a Screen: Concert Venues as Quasi-Media Spaces; Television Consumption: From 1973 to 2015), I’ve also used a Poll to allow readers to ‘vote’ and share their view on the relevant topic. I think this is a great method to engage my readers and give them a platform to share their opinions. It’s also good for me as a blogger as it exposes me to alternative viewpoints. Furthermore, echoing Dave Larson’s blogging tip, encouraging readers to share their views is a great way to receive ideas from them. It is a useful technique in trying to gather ideas of what topics people would most like to read about. However, I think this would be more appropriate to situations where you have complete reign over your blog topics. In the past 9 weeks, my blogs were largely restricted to the BCM240 weekly topics.
However, in the past few weeks I have started blogging on issues relating to law and ethics. As I am a law student, I am quite passionate about certain, contentious areas of law i.e. international surrogacy, copyright law, animal rights etc. As this subject has encouraged me to expand my horizons and attract audiences outside the ‘media bubble’, I have decided to use my blog as a platform to share my views on legal and ethical issues and hopefully connect with others who are passionate about the same area.
While I tried to engage with my readers, I also tried to connect to other bloggers and those generally within the blogging community. Through WordPress and the Moodle Twitter feed, I have been exposed to a multi-faceted views and perspectives of my fellow BCM students on media-related issues. For example, throughout the semester, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the blogs of other fellow peers. In particular, Jessemax’s blog on Australia’s download culture recently stood out for me. I thought it was well written and structured out nicely, allowing the reader to engage with it more easily.
I have also commented on a number of posts I have thoroughly enjoyed. In situations where another blogger’s post has been relevant to my topic, I also refer to them and link their blogs in my posts. Thus I try to encourage my readers to explore those bloggers as well. I also do this by providing a widget on my blog with the top 6 bloggers I follow.
However, while I believe I have employed sufficient mechanisms to create a functional and aesthetically pleasing blog design as a means to engage my readers, I think I still need to refine and improve upon my writing style. While I tried to adopt the tips of experienced, professional bloggers, I struggled to adhere to them at times. For example, I’m quite a verbose person — I have a lot to say about issues; especially when I delve deep into my research. As a result, I struggle to abide by Derek Siver’s tip of keeping blogs short and concise. I also need to learn to limit the number of ideas I discuss in my blogs.
Nevertheless, I have tried to remain true to myself by using my own voice to share my opinions and ideas. After all, I appreciate the the way in which WordPress gives me an empowering platform to contribute and share my voice in the public sphere. I also try to write for myself and the areas which interest me. For example, I thoroughly enjoyed writing the blog posts: Television Consumption: From 1973 to 2015; Experiencing Concerts through a Screen: Concert Venues as Quasi-Media Spaces and Regulating Online Media Spaces Through Copyright Law.
Finally, I found Betsy Mikel’s practical blogging tips quite useful. For example, when it came to doing a final edit before the submission of my blogs, I did my best to remove extra punctuation, use shorter sentences, stick to one voice (where appropriate), use simple words and use more contractions. As a writer who avoids contractions, I thought the final tip was quite interesting because apparently it makes the writing style sound more personable.
In closing, through the tips by other experienced blogs, I’ve learnt quite a bit about blogging in the public sphere. Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement. I will continue to strive and improve my writing style. Hopefully with time, I will also gain more confidence with writing in public.