I’ve been using my blog for more than a year now. My writing style has changed a lot, and the way I organise my information and resources has become more sophisticated. It’s been an interesting semester, with lots of interesting topics to write about. I’ve learnt a lot, and discovered some really important issues I didn’t even know existed.
One of my favourite blogs to write was ‘An outdated way of thinking’, which I wrote about differing opinions on music piracy. This is a subject I was already very interested in, so the opportunity to investigate further was very welcome.
I tried to make the blog holistic, offering both sides of the topic, but also pointing out the flaws. I also tried to offer a solution to the problem, by outlining some of the benefits of services like Spotify in combatting music piracy.
I soon discovered that the topic for the following week was very similar to what I’d already written about, so I decided to take a closer look at some of the existing research in ‘Baby Steps for the Music Industry’. I made a point of linking the two blogs, so readers could easily navigate between the two. I had to restrict the amount of research I included in the second blog, because I wanted to avoid making it too long for readers to bother with.
Some of the other highlights of blogging for BCM240 include ‘Texting during class: another moral panic?’. This particular week of blogging made me particularly realise just how many mainstream opinions are based on unreliable or questionable research. It was quite shocking to realise that most research was based on the existing opinion that multi-tasking did, in fact, impact on classroom achievement. I also noticed the connection between the discourses on the topic, and other moral panics. All in all, it was a blogging week that impacted the way I researched and wrote about the rest of the semester.
Another highlight for me was ‘Left Behind’, which explored the complications of rural internet connections. This is a subject very close to my heart, as I am from a rural area and related very strongly to Elizabeth, my interviewee. The complete disconnect, quite literally, between those in rural and city areas is a huge disadvantage for the country. It was enlightening to be able to interview my subject and write about her experiences. Combining it with other research to create a holistic piece was an interesting experience for me.
One of my main focuses when writing all my blogs was making them reader-friendly. To do this, I use a combination of writing and visual techniques. In terms of my writing, I try and make my sentences short and without too many complicated words. My writing is conversational, rather than in an essay structure. All this is done to make my blogs as inviting as possible. I try to make my headings catchy and straightforward, so readers can instantly evaluate and hopefully continue reading.
In terms of visual elements, I redesigned my blog to reflect its overall tone. This involved choosing a theme with a left-hand sidebar, a gravatar icon and a banner. Though the background is black, the actual text of my blog is on a white background, making it easier to read. The banner is designed to add colour and liveliness to the blog, but not distract the reader’s attention from the text.
The side-bar contains a Twitter feed and categories for my blog. I also have a short and sharp ‘About’ page, which describes a few of my interests and goals, and my purpose in writing. If I was to make improvements, I would retitle my categories from codes to names, which I have so far kept for assessment purposes. I would also see if I could connect more widely to other materials and blogs, and curate resources within my blog. My readership is not very wide, and I would like to actively work to improve this.
In my actual blog, I try to keep paragraphs short, with no more than a few sentences in each. I occasionally employ lists as well, to maximise white space and readability. I like to include pictures and YouTube clips in all of my blogs. They break up the writing, and the clips in particular usually help explain my points in ways that would not be possible or interesting with words.
I also make portions of my text bold type or italicised, to highlight important points in my writing. In this way, my blog is more ‘skimmable’, with readers able to decide how much and what to read.
I also include multiple links in all of my posts, to help readers to material that well help explain points I don’t have space to go in to and provide extra information for them to explore on their own. The links are all in-text rather than in a list at the end, so that readers have context for where the links will led them.
These visual and writing techniques all combine to create an overall professional, but engaging blog design, that provide extra resources to readers.
My blogging experience has been challenging. Blogging is a unique form of writing, with its own language and style. I had to adjust my usual essay style to a more conversational style, making a conscious effort to include visual elements to attract readers. I also struggled keeping to the shorter word limit each week. It really made me think about how I best wanted to represent my information and opinion.
I really enjoyed the content I was writing about, however. It gave me the opportunity to write about issues I already cared about, like internet piracy and internet access, and the opportunity to learn about issues I didn’t know anything about, like audience measurement and behaviour in public.
All in all, blogging about media, audience and place has seen me writing some of my best blog posts so far. The topics have been really inspiring, and helped me to set myself up for the final assessment. Though it’s been challenging at times, I’ve ultimately created nine blog posts that I’m very proud of. I look forward to improving my blogging skills even more in the future.