Retrospect and Reflection
My overall approach to blogging has been to take significant, and often taboo topics, and make an engaging and relatable post out of them. I have always aimed to write distinguishably, allowing my own personality to shine through my content, using humour and often sarcasm to engage my readers. Upon starting my blog last year, I tended to use sarcasm in excess, which caused my blog to seem unprofessional and tacky. I have noticed after reading over my blog for this reflection, even my first post for this subject, ‘On The Road Again’, contains too much irrelevant comical content that does not add to the quality of the post. Throughout the session, I have attempted to use humour without abusing it, and after reading through the remainder of my BCM240 posts, I think I have improved.
My main aim was to demonstrate my own personality through my writing. I have always wanted my blogs to be easy to read, funny, relatable and thought provoking. A number of face-to-face comments, along with comments on my blog (see ‘Phones: A Threat to Your Friends’ and ‘On The Road Again’) have enforced that I have succeeded in doing all these things.
In terms of visual design, I aimed to make the appearance of my blog simple and strong. I had originally created my own header graphic last year, which was dark and rigid, and did not compliment the relaxed, reflective nature I intended for my posts. I chose to redesign it a few months ago after evaluating and altering the overall layout of my blog, to better suit the content of my blog.
Old Header Graphic
Redesigned Header Graphic
I value consistency and have always hoped to portray a blog that is not only consistent in writing style and regularity, but also consistent in displaying the same characteristics across both the written elements, and the visual design elements. Choosing the WordPress theme, incorporating my Twitter feed, and ensuring that my blog is easy to navigate and read have also been of importance when trying to ensure each part of my blog reflects a consistent personality.
I have been very deliberate with the colours I have chosen, opting for a light blue tone as the background colour and Twitter link colour, with grey and white used on the other areas of the blog. I wanted the colour theme to be simple, and only use a subtle colour that would suggest a relaxed personality, with the grey reflecting boldness.
Use of Resources
My first two blog posts for this subject lacked any resources at all, and I was yet to realise the importance of linking to secondary sources in those early stages. I initially found it difficult to incorporate secondary sources into blog posts that very deeply engaged with my personal life, and observations. I have since utilised a number of resources in the remainder of my blog posts.
I have tried to engage in a number of sources for each post, and have tried to collect information from a variety of sites. I have also used a diverse range of media, using images in my posts ‘On The Road Again’ and ‘A Procrastinator’s Kryptonite’, video in my posts ‘Phones: A Threat to Your Friends’ and ‘Down With a Case of FOMO?’, and a range of newspaper articles, blogs and journal articles to support my findings in the remainder of my blogs.
While not all of my resources are academic, I believe they are relevant, informative and diverse. I have tried to incorporate academic sources in as many blogs as possible, as can be seen in ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly on Multitasking’ with a link to http://www.mindtools.com and in ‘Phones: A Threat to Your Friends’ with a link to http://spr.sagepub.com.
Engagement with Others
Engaging with others has been the downfall of my blog, and I have realised upon reflection that I rarely commented or utilized Twitter. I regularly Tweeted in regards to my blog posts for another subject, however neglected to do so for this one. I think it would’ve greatly increased engagement with new and existing readers, and could’ve grown my list of followers.
I began to comment on other student’s posts at the beginning of the session, but failed to do so on a regular basis. I regret not doing so, as I have seen the positive impact commenting and creating discussions online can have on connecting with others in other subjects. Commenting also opens up a dialogue with others that can enable both parties to further understand the topic being discussed.
Attracting a Readership
In order to attract a readership I have followed other people’s blogs in hope they might follow mine in return. I also tweeted out a link to my blog at the beginning of session. In hindsight, this was not a sufficient effort to build a strong and dedicated readership, and I should’ve invested more time into gaining followers.
On the 9 September, a friend of mine read my blog weekly, decided to share it via his Facebook page. The results are shown below:
On the 9 September there was a dramatic increase of viewers, as many had been led to my blog through my friend’s Facebook post. This proves the effectiveness of sharing a blog on social media, and I regret not sharing and linking to my blog on Facebook and Twitter more than once.
The main means of attracting a readership was simply through word of mouth. I only did so around week 5, and although this did create a consistent line of readers out of my parents and a number of friends, telling people about my blog and sharing the URL with them earlier on would’ve grown my readership progressively.
In saying this, I have been able to attract a global readership through tagging each of my posts with key words. This enables people who search for that word on a search engine to potentially find my blog. I feel that I have somewhat succeeded in gaining a readership as people in 13 different countries have accessed my blogs, with views from Thailand, Russia, Malaysia and the United States in the past three months.