Essay 2: Looking Back On A Blog for Life Livers

Week 12 Final Assignment For PUB 101

Throughout the  fall semester of 2020, I had the experience to create my own publishing domain on wordpress for PUB 101. If you haven’t guessed it already, the website you are currently reading this reflection on is the very website that I am talking about. My publication was formed with the idea in mind of creating the type of blog that I would personally want to read. With that as a guideline, I based my blog around a multitude of different avenues passions and interests, but mainly followed the theme of a creative adventure blog with an emphasis on living a holistic, well rounded, and happy life. Through this process I learned a lot about what it takes to create a public space, how hard it is to be creative and original in the digital world, how to engage with an online public by responding and adapting to feedback, and about myself as a digital media user. 

Part One: What Do I Even Blog About??

The first steps of my creative process began with our first course assignments where I created a vision board to outline the general “idea” of my website. During this process I pulled inspiration from different Instagram pages and YouTube videos. Both of these content sources came from pages that exuded “vibes” of living in the moment, pushing yourself in outdoorsy sports, adventuring, surrounding yourself with good friends, and having an optimistic and laid back life view. This all may sound slightly broad and general to you. I thought so too. Which is what brought me to the idea of “A Blog for Life Livers”, Where I could be as broad as I wanted by combining all of the things that moved into the general theme of a “life well lived” (hence my website’s tagline).

The first step in the creative process: Week 1 Vision Board

The second thing that I came to realize was that in order to create my own “original” content that I was cultivating my own garden of different ideas, styles, and passions that I have absorbed throughout my life and inspire me. I was able to explore this idea further in my week five process post “Digital Dressing up: Reflection” where I explain that “I decided to create my online identity for my blog in a way that invited all who simply live life to take whatever it is they need from a wide variety of content. Whether it was stories, videos, poems, or random photography from experiences and adventures, that there would be something for everyone”. During the process of creating my online self, the “voice” that came from the cultivation of my personal digital garden was a projection of the things that moved me and were the source of inspiration of what I chose to display on my website (Basu, 2020). I found that I related my creative process to our week four reading from Tanya Basu “Digital gardens let you cultivate your own little bit of the internet”  in a sense that the projection of my online self became a “digital garden” that “explores a wide variety of topics that are adjusted and changed to show growth and learning” (Basu, 2020). By being able to pull from multiple different channels of inspiration such as Instagrammers and youtube channels, I was able to create a space that was my own rendition of the pieces of media that move me. For instance, I drew great inspiration for my blog through a five minute YouTube video released this October 2020 of a young skier who has a passion for skiing and an unbelievable zest for life (embedded below). Content such as this fuelled my desire to create my own digital garden that moved others similar to how this short clip moved me. 

The clip that kindled the stoke and started it all:
Trenton Gravity Research. “Kai 3.0: Thirteen-Year-Old Skier Kai Jones Takes Flight at Jackson Hole”. October, 20, 2020. https://youtu.be/Q52poh9Hq6I

Part Two: The Blog in Action

Once I sorted through the first twists, turns, and speedbumps of learning to use wordpress and turning my ideas into digital content, I was able to put my blog into action. I imagined my public to be a demographic of teens/ young adults/ adults ranging from 14-30. I also imagined my public to be similar to that of the heavily engaged public of Instagram. This is due to the fact that pages with similar adventure/wellness/holistic living ~aesthetics~ normally attract that age demographic. I worked to address my public through multiple channels of media in attempts to “enhance (fan) engagement and expand our understanding of the original” as introduced by Henry Jenkins from his article “The Revenge of the Origami Unicorn: Seven Principles of Transmedia Storytelling (Well, Two Actually. Five More on Friday)”. Jenkins’ idea of the “original” pertains to the general essence of adventure and holistic well being that I aimed to create on my blog by using different levels of Transmedia integration (Jenkins, 2009). I found this as a super fun and creative way of engaging my audience through different styles of editorial design and content. An example of this would be the addition of my “media gallery” on my site where I showcase different photos and videos that I have taken/ made that appear on the posts within my website. In addition to this, I was able to dive deeper into creating a digital space to “unwind” the mind by sharing pieces of my own creative writing through short stories and poetry. I found this to be one of my most favourite ways of putting my blog in action and found great creative energy in displaying a “life well lived” through written words. This sentiment seemed to be shared amongst my public of readers and page viewers as my peer reviews, comments section, and google analytics data all showed that my “short stories and poetry” posts were my most popular and well received. I found this to be an interesting development as in the beginning, I thought that the most “attractive” part of my blog would be the videos and photos that I posted and only intended to throw in a poem and a short story as a fun little side thing to keep my content diverse and fresh. I used this feedback and adapted my blog post style for the rest of the term, focusing more on creating more short stories and poetry such as “Magic: Sometimes Lost But Always Found”, “Rain Thoughts” and “The Sun’s Solace”. In addition to this, I received feedback from my peer reviews that spotlighted blog posts such as my “Forest Foraging” post where I talked about mushroom hunting and recipes for coastal BC Mushrooms. I was able to take this feedback and use it to inspire further blog posts similar to this one. Posts such as “Sounds for the Soul”, “Good Food, Good Life”, and “Self Care: Yoga & Mindfulness Tools” all followed the same idea of lifestyle/ wellness blog posts that gave readers tools and inspiration for a healthier and happier life (or“tools for a life well lived”). Through this process I learned that the blog posts that I was the most passionate about and allowed my personality and interests to roam freely were the most fun and easy to write, and it seemed as if my public could sense that too. 

Part Three: Main Takeaways

One of the largest takeaways from my publishing journey was from the reading “How I Got My Attention Back” by Craig Mod. This was a reading that was given to us early in the semester and ended up being a piece of content that I took to heart and explored further outside of the classroom. This was displayed in my two part process post series “How I Got My Attention Back” and “How I Got My Attention Back: The Debrief”. During the span of these two posts, I took a month long social media hiatus (inspired by Craig Mod’s article). This allowed me to learn about myself and my own dependence on social media and also allowed me to practice some of the “tools for a life well lived” that I preach on this blog. I was able to remove myself from the jaws of the online world and afterwards, was able to come back to my blog with a set of fresh eyes that had a whole new set of values towards social media use. This allowed me to reflect on the image that I created for myself online and solidify what I feel is the importance of creating a blog such as this one that puts emphasis on mindfulness, well being, and enjoying every moment that life has to offer you. Now that this class is over, I want to continue to use this blog. However, in what way, I am not quite sure. From this experience, I re-kindled my passion for writing short stories and poetry and am now considering transforming this lifestyle blog into more of an interactive “vault” or “collection” that showcases my artistic passions such as photography, cinematography, writing, and poetry. 

My social media hiatus that helped me discover me to the elixir of life and the meaning of social media

Works cited: 

Basu, Tanya. September, 5 2020. “Digital gardens let you cultivate your own little bit of the internet” MIT Technology Review.

Henry Jenkins. “The Revenge of the Origami Unicorn: Seven Principles of Transmedia Storytelling (Well, Two Actually. Five More on Friday).” Henry Jenkins, Henry Jenkins, 12 Dec. 2009, henryjenkins.org/2009/12/the_revenge_of_the_origami_uni.html.

Mod, Craig. “How I Got My Attention Back.” Wired, Conde Nast, 22 Dec. 2018, www.wired.com/2017/01/how-i-got-my-attention-back/.

Trenton Gravity Research. “Kai 3.0: Thirteen-Year-Old Skier Kai Jones Takes Flight at Jackson Hole”. October, 20, 2020. https://youtu.be/Q52poh9Hq6I

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