Journal 8

The only source of knowledge is experience. (Albert Einstein)

I just wanted to do a quick check-in on how my blogging is going at the moment.

Traffic

From my previous Journal posts, it’s pretty obvious that one of my goals as of late has been to increase traffic to my blog as well as followers who choose to stay and enjoy/share the content. I’ve been experimenting with a few different ways of driving traffic:

  • sharing on social media
  • posting things that I think others will find helpful/relatable
  • adding more types of media to my posts
  • trying to be funnier with my posts
  • linking out to other parts of the internet

While I am up to 700+ views (total) for this blog, I know that that number is tiny compared to what others are able to achieve daily. I’ve been looking into SEO and some of the information is helpful and some of it seems silly and disrespectful to loyal viewers. I’m wondering if maybe the topic of my blog is not resonating with enough people to actually drive traffic.

My personal blog has been seeing faster traffic for each post, but that blog is way less about traffic and more a way for me to express myself. I post there to see if I am the only person who feels the way I do and I am not as concerned about driving traffic to that blog. Maybe that is how I should be approaching Classy and True as well. I’m going to try and work on this for the last couple weeks of Pub101.

Posting

I’m still having trouble posting on a regular basis. I put a lot into each post and find it somewhat tiring to try and do more than about two per week. I think that one of my problems with this is that I worry so much about how people read my blog that it takes me a few days to get over the response (usually positive) to each post.

This is something that I really want to work on in the coming months; I have a lot to say and want to share it more often.

Issues

I am still working out a few issues with blogging.

One of the problems I am coming across is being unable to determine if a comment is spam or if it is genuine. I’ve done a lot of googling to see if there are concrete answers on how to ensure that real comments aren’t being called spam, but many people suggest that real comments will usually mention a specific part of a post or blog whereas spam tends to be overall comments that don’t necessarily apply to this blog specifically. It’s all kind of complicated and it really depends on the type of traffic a blog receives.

My other (minor) problem is that I’m trying to find a balance with the length of each post. I don’t want my posts to be too short or abrupt, but I also don’t want them to be long and full of unneeded fluff. A friend suggested that mixing other forms of media into posts can be helpful for adding to short posts and for breaking up long posts. As I stated above, I’ve been working on mixing my media a little more.

That’s it for my check-in, for now. Just wanted to keep my progress updated.

Thanks for reading,

Kathryn

An Essay Review

So my assignment this week is to review a classmate’s blog. I was paired with Marshall and had the pleasure of reading and reviewing his first essay for our Publishing 101 class.

His essay, “Changing Times: Understanding the Shift from Print Literacy to Digital Literacy”, discusses society’s shift to digital literacy “[since] the advent of the World Wide Web” (Marshall, 2013). He comments on email, literature, and internet banking in order to explain this shift’s impact on the way in which the digital age has infiltrated daily life.

Marshall’s essay is strong and I could probably discuss his ideas all day long, but I’d like to narrow it down a little. I’ll comment on three things that work and another three things that don’t. Hopefully, this will provide a snapshot of the essay’s strengths as well as things that could be improved upon.

Things that Work:

  1. The first thing I thought while reading Marshall’s essay was that he had chosen an interesting and engaging topic. While my own essay was fairly derivative in its definition of publication, Jen ran with his own and came up with different ideas of online publication. To discuss email, banking, and text messages, he makes the essay both academic and relatable for readers of his blog.
  2. Throughout his essay, Marshall makes some good generalizations. I say ‘good’ because he actually backs them up with statistics and logical inferences. For example, he makes connections like “if the median age for doing this is younger, then that means that more people over this age are doing this.” That example is overly simplified, but I think it gets the point across. There are no erroneous generalizations evident in Marshall’s essay.
  3. While Marshall makes some logical generalizations, he is also careful to break down each of his points. While discussing literature and writing, for example, he makes points about books, book stores, news papers, etc.. He points out that these mediums are going through different types of changes even though society tends to lump them into the same category. I think that this technique of Marshall’s shows respect for each genre as its own unique thing. This comes across well in his writing.

Things that don’t work (or could be improved upon):

  1. This is more of a choice than anything else. I don’t think that Jen is wrong to use the passive voice in much of his essay, but I do think that it may take away some of his authority as an essayist. In an essay where he has studied the topic, found sources, and put time into a thoughtful idea, he shouldn’t lose credibility because of the agency in his writing. That’s just my opinion, though.
  2. I’m not sure if Marshall created his essay in a word processor program, but I think that it would help his writing. Little grammatical errors and spelling mistakes can also take away authority, but are easy to fix in Microsoft Word or Apple Pages.
  3. Marshall’s essay was very strong, but it would have been more helpful for him to explicitly state how all of his discussion points fit together. What do they mean? Why should we care? A lot of these answers are in his essay already, but I always think that one should assume that the essay reader is dumb and knows nothing about the topic or simple logic.

All-in-all, Marshall’s essay was an engaging read. I highly recommend that you read it and give it the traffic/attention it deserves.

Well done, Marshall.

Thanks for reading,

Kathryn

Work Cited:

Jen, Marshall. “Changing Times: Understanding the Shift from Print Literacy to Digital Literacy.” Marshall Jen. N.p., 19 10 2013. Web. 12 Nov. 2013.

Remix Assignment

My class assignment for this week is to do a remix. That is it. No details. Nothing.

This is a challenge. I accept it.

I thought it would be helpful to see what my classmates are doing and I found this great post. You really have to love Saturday Night Live! My classmate did a really great job of finding what she defines as a remix. The video she shares is both a remix of the “happily ever after” of our favourite Disney Princesses and a remix of the “Housewives of…” reality TV trope. Talk about a great idea.

Inspired by my classmate, my initial idea was to share a link to this video. However, it seemed like I was stealing her idea so I thought I’d do something a little less Disney.

These are some of my favourite remixes (read mash-ups) from the internet community:

**Note: I apologize if any of the following pictures ruin your childhood.

1. Harry Potter and Mean Girls:

Dumbledore Voldemort Mean Girls

from favim.com

Malfoy Mean Girls Hoop Earings

from sushiandsamba.tumblr.com

2. Go home internet fandoms, you’re drunk:

Sherlock internet mash up

from zrhbzeds.homeip.net

3. Nicholas Cage’s face in places where it shouldn’t be:

nicholas cage miley cyrus mashup

from joe.ie

from increadiblethings.com

4. Cats:

cat as queen elizabeth

from incrediblethings.com

5. These father-son pictures:

father son switch heads 1

from dailymail.co.uk

royal baby father head switch

from flickrhivemind.net

I literally laughed out loud at the creativity and insanity of some internet users. I guess that some men just want to watch the world burn. But seriously, I don’t think that I can top any of these and, besides, I had way too much fun finding all of them.

Thanks for reading,

Kathryn

Works Cited:

This week, I decided to make it easy so each picture is its own link to its source.

Journal 7

He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts – for support rather than for illumination. (Andrew Lang)

Background on WordPress.com Blog

In case you don’t know, Classy and True is actually a WordPress.com blog (hosted by WordPress) and so it is a little different than sites which only use WordPress technology for themes and content management. This means that I am more limited in what I can do with my blog–more limited than I realized when I chose WordPress.com. For example, there are no plugins available to me and widgets are quite selective. And because I can’t open up my theme and play around with HTML, I cannot use Google Analytics on my blog. This is a huge problem for me.

It’s not that WordPress.com doesn’t have its own analytics, it’s just that Google’s are so detailed and in-depth. I don’t have the same accuracy. I have researched ways in which some users have found been able to install Google Analytics, but the process is somewhat costly and is quite technical for me (I only just learned how to make my font boldface using HTML).

At this point in the semester I am not going to start another blog. I like the way mine looks and most things tend to work for me. However, in the future, the lack of choice in analytics would likely sway my decision when choosing a host for my sites.

My Own Analytics

Okay, enough complaining about something I can’t change at the moment. I’ve spent a little time looking over my WordPress.com analytics:

Blog Stats Visitor Bar Graph

 

So the above chart is a (blurry) example of what I look at each day. This shows the number of visitors that day, all time, and my best ever. It’s pretty helpful to be able to see my months at a glance; it’s even more helpful to look at them by day, but that I don’t get an overall picture.

Clearly, October was a good month for my blog. This is true for a number of reasons:

  • my blog was completely up-and-running
  • I posted more in October than in September
  • I incorporated my social media presence (mostly) into my blog

I also see some things in this chart that give me aspects to work on in my future blog posts:

  • increase comments
  • increase views from each visitor–keep them interested

I’m not sure how I’m going to do these things yet so I’ll have to research this a little more. I think it will just come down to working on how I present my content.

Another tool that I am finding beneficial is the ability to look at where some of my visitors are coming from:

Blog Stats Referrers List

This is a picture of my Referrers Summary for the last quarter (90 days). I think that this is a great place to start finding ways to increase my traffic. Obviously, posiel.com and its various pages are referring me a lot because of its RSS feed and the fact that this blog was designed as an assignment for that website’s Publishing course. To me, this shows how helpful it is to be included in RSS feeds.

Facebook and Twitter are bringing in some traffic, but I’d like to see more from these places. With Twitter, I may need to work on increasing the number of followers who would be interested in the subject matter of my blog. Also, my personal blog, Life is What You Do, is bringing in some traffic for which I am thankful. Being included in more than one blog seems to be another way in which I can increase visits and traffic. I will work on commenting on other blogs and try to make a few friends with similar interests in the blogging community. I know that they’re out there; I just have to connect with them.

Finally, I wanted to include the statistics for my posts:

Blog Stats Top Posts Numbers

I like this chart because it gives me a fairly good idea of the most popular types of content on my site. The only problem is that the majority of my views are attributed to my “Home page/Archives” which is where my new posts show up (as well as in their own categories). This is a little frustrating because I can’t view exactly which posts are the most views. However, the views of each post are somewhat helpful. I know, for example that my essay had a higher viewership so I can assume that it was something that people are interested in. Also, by the number of views of my “A Little About This Website” page, I can tell that it is important to have engaging copy on this type of page because a lot of people look at it. This makes sense.

Closing Thoughts

So with all of this information in mind, I am going to continue to work on my blog. It might be difficult to work with all of my goals at once, but this is a learning process for me so I’ll try to be patient.

Even though I don’t have the ability to work with Google Analytics at this time, I still have some information about how my blog is being viewed and about which things I should work to improve. Ideally, focusing on some of these things will increase my traffic as well as visitors who choose to subscribe to my posts. Really, I just want my writing to be read and (hopefully) enjoyed by as many people as possible.

Thanks for reading,

Kathryn

 

A Story Through Media

This week, my assignment is to tell a story through various types of media. However, I decided that I would tell a story in a different way. I’m an English major so it is kind of my goal in life to confuse people about stories and how they are told. I thought it would be fun to see another type of story-telling.

Often, a story may take the form of a feeling evoked from a piece of music or a picture or even a smell. I wish that I could make your computer smell like freshly-baked bread and vanilla, but I can’t do that. Instead, I am going to give you a picture (a famous one). I will also give you two pieces of music. I’d like you to look at the picture while listening to one song and then do the same while listening to the other song. If you’re like me, there will be a story or even music video playing in your head complete with a plot, setting, and maybe famous actors to play each part.

See if the story evoked by the picture changes with the different types of music. I know that I’m making you do the work, but I think that feeling is story, too.

VJ-Day-Kiss-famous-kisses-2799413-600-897

Song 1

Song 2

What did you think? Did your story change? Was there a story at all or were you just staring at the picture for five or ten minutes?

Feel free to let me know in the comments.

Thanks,

Kassieboo (Kathryn)

Works Cited:

Clearly, these songs and this picture are not mine. I’m just linking to them for the sake of art!

Journal 6

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. (Walt Disney)

Trying Some New Things

Over the last two weeks or so, I’ve been trying some new types of things with my blog and I think that they are a success. I think that by doing them continuously that there will be an increase to my blog’s traffic as well as more readers who choose to follow.

Linking to Social Media

While I’ve had my Twitter account attached to my blog for a few weeks now, it hasn’t really made a difference in blog traffic. I think this is because I don’t use my Twitter as religiously as some people and my followers are mostly friends from high school and the like–they are not necessarily the people who will be most interested in manners and etiquette.

This past week, I tried putting a link to this blog in my Facebook status and saw a small increase in followers and visits. This is great! And I think it will be even greater when I link to larger and more interesting post. Part of this experiment was working up the courage to share my personal (non-academic) writing with my friends and family. Even though I’m an English major and do A LOT of writing, it is still hard to allow people whose opinions matter to me to read my writing. I do think that it will benefit both me and my blog to do this more often, though. For personal blogs, social media seems to be a very good way to advertise.

Including a Larger Variety of Media

Over the past week, I have tried playing around with the types of posts that I include in my blog. Previously, I focused mostly on writing funny, smart posts with lots of information. After reading a few critiques of my classmates’ blogs, however, I have found that many bloggers and readers prefer a mix of media where possible so as to break up large chunks of content. Personally, I don’t mind reading a large block of text as long as the writing is high-quality, but, at this point, I also need to value the ability to drive a lot of traffic to my blog. If pictures and videos help, then I will try to include these popular media.

I included a comic from The Oatmeal as well as a video called “The Science of Happiness” to which I was referred by a friend. My hits didn’t rise much from these posts, but I think that I should still work with these ideas. I plan to focus on learning how to incorporate more media smoothly and with a point rather than for the sake of including videos and pictures.

Adding More Tags to Each Post

This is really a “no-brainer”. The more tags a post has, the higher chance of it being found by people using search engines. I’ve been trying to use tags that refer to specific sections of my post as well as general ideas and themes.

I tried tagging more on posts in my new personal blog, Life is What You Doand saw higher traffic per post. I then tried this with Classy and True and saw the same thing so it is clearly a useful method of bringing in more and more traffic. The next step is to work on ways to keep those readers interested and coming back.

Linking Back and Forth to Another Blog

I also tried linking this blog to my personal one and vice versa. I did this with the idea that if a reader liked one, the he or she would hopefully like the other, too. Also, I usually do posts for both blogs in one sitting so it is very easy to include links back and forth. This is probably why my posts on each blog tend to relate to one another–I’m writing with a specific idea in mind.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to try to work on the above things and see how well they work with my blog. I don’t want to become inconsistent in my style so I don’t think that I’ll be doing too many new things for a while.

I’ll keep updating my journal on the progress of my blog.

Thanks,

Kassieboo (Kathryn)

Legalities:

“The Science of Happiness” does not belong to me. It belongs to Soul Pancake. I claim no ownership over any part of its material.

The Oatmeal does not belong to me, either. I just think that it is awesome!

Journal 5: A Review

As a part of my Publishing 101 class, I need to perform a review of a classmate’s blog. Luckily and unluckily for me, I was paired with my friend and peer, Danielle. Her blog, The Heart of Story, is so interesting in its content and is visually engaging in its simplicity. I say that I’m unlucky to have been paired with Danielle because her blog is so well done and enjoyable to read that I have trouble finding anything to criticize!

The Heart of Story is a cohesive mix of various media such as videos, blog posts, stories from the blogger’s life, and her tracking her addiction to sounds. I can’t even begin to describe each aspect of this blog because it is so unique to Danielle’s vision. This is why I think that it is such a great blog and why I believe it will be successful. I really haven’t seen any sites with such a unique focus as The Heart of Story. Danielle’s reflections on Publishing 101 materials and lectures (found under Journal) are especially engaging to readers both in the class and out. She writes in short, yet cohesive, pieces of musings and questions raised by her own thinking. What could be simple journal entries become beautifully crafted, poetic instances of creative reflection. I can’t commend Danielle enough for willingness to share her intellectually-stimulating and bright thoughts. Her deeply personal tone draws readers in as it is different from the voices found in many blogs.

The look of Danielle’s blog is simplistic in a creative way. Her curly fonts offset by a black-and-white colour scheme keep the blog artistic without being overtly masculine or feminine. It is visually refined and aesthetically pleasing for both sexes. I think that her blog may benefit from a small pop of colour maybe in her links or avatar; this would just give the eye something to seek out. This is a matter of taste, though.

Because I enjoy Danielle’s blog so much, I would love to see it have a high readership. I’m not sure if this is happening as of late. It might be a good idea to link out a little more, integrate some form of social media, or add a widget that could help increase traffic. There are lots of ways that Danielle could do this, but the addition is ultimately up to her. I completely trust in her vision for an artistic and creative blog and I know that she will ensure the integrity of her blog regardless of how she chooses to integrate social media. My point is that I’d love to see The Heart of Story become an internet sensation!

My final point about Danielle’s blog is about how much I enjoy the videos she attaches to her blog. She chooses soulful, beautiful music and integrates it into her blog seamlessly. It makes sense that Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” would be an entry in Danielle’s blog because there is a certain silence, an understatement, to The Heart of Story that is reminiscent of the harmonies and motif of the anthem.

I look forward to the future of The Heart of Story and how Danielle’s unique vision grows and moves forward.

Well done, Danielle!

Kassieboo