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

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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.

Talking on Your Phone

Most passengers on Japanese trains are either reading, sleeping or using their mobile phones for sending messages, browsing the web or playing games. Talking on mobile phones inside trains, however, is forbidden… (“Taking the Train”, japan-guide.com)

Okay, I feel like I’m having a cranky day, but I’m going to try very hard not to let that take over this post.

Do you know what makes me cranky, though?

Other than lack of sleep, getting soaked in the rain, having a bad hair day, and forgetting to eat breakfast…?

Listening to somebody’s entire phone conversation while riding on the train. 

If you’ve ever been to British Columbia and used one of the Lower Mainland’s Translink services (bus, Skytrain, sea bus, WCE, train bus, etc.), then I’m quite sure that you have seen the signs around stations and on the transportation itself that remind riders of common etiquette. These are all pretty innocuous things, like being careful not to wear too much perfume or cologne (so many people are allergic); giving up your seat for seniors, disabled people, and pregnant women; not littering, etc.. One of these little pieces of etiquette is to refrain from using your cellphone (at least loudly) while in transport. This suggestion is not because Translink is Big Brother and wants to tell riders what to do. No, this suggestion is stated because NOBODY WANTS TO LISTEN TO YOUR PHONE CONVERSATION!

cellphone on train etiquette

from studentbeans.com

Sorry. Did I sound a little chippy?

But seriously. Do you have to talk on your phone for the entire thirty minute bus ride? Is that really necessary?

Today’s culprit of this bad behavior was a woman who I often see on the train as she tends to get onto the same car as me in the afternoons. I’ve noticed her before because of her phone use.

A few weeks ago, in fact, I was quickly calling my mom (before I left the downtown station) to let her know what time my train would be arriving to the station in my suburb when this same woman sits down across from me and proceeds to have a loud phone conversation. While I was just trying to make sure that my mom knew what time to pick me up, this woman was in it for the long haul. And did she have to sit directly across from me to start her conversation when she saw that I was still finishing mine quietly?

I digress.

Today, this talkative woman was already on the phone when she sat across the aisle from me (not facing me, but to my left). She was speaking loudly into her phone, switching between English and a language which I think might have been Arabic or Persian (my linguistic studies were mostly around Latin- and Germanic-based languages so I’m not totally sure). I don’t really care what language she was speaking,though ; it could have been English, Mandarin, French, Yiddish, Gaelic, or Pig Latin and it still would have been annoying because it was unnecessarily loud!

And I brought up the languages she was speaking for two reasons:

1. When one older woman gave this woman a look which seemed to say, “Your behavior is inappropriate”, the phone woman glared and said something to the person on the phone which sounded kind of hostile. It may have had nothing to do with the other woman, but because it was said in a different language and with a harsh tone and while looking angrily at the other woman, we have no way of knowing.

2. I’m guessing that the woman might have been discussing something personal or private because I know, for a fact, that she speaks fluent English as I had heard her speak it before. So maybe she chose to speak in a less common language in order to keep others from listening in. Is a full train the right place to be discussing something so private that you have to switch languages? I don’t think so.

I’m not saying that you have to sit silently while riding transit, but there should be a certain level of respect for your fellow riders. This is not the Skytrain home from a drunken Friday evening downtown; this is an early (somewhat expensive) train for commuters. Having woken up at 6 am (not even as early as others on the train, I’m sure), I, for one, had no interest in listening to this woman’s conversation. It would not have been a big deal if she was speaking at a reasonable volume, but she was using her outside voice inside.

Am I the only one who is bothered by this? I know that it was an extreme situation, but it represents this idea that what you have to say is so important that you don’t have to follow the rules. Pretty selfish, if you ask me.

Do you have any horror stories from transit? Have you heard things from other people’s phone conversations that you wish you didn’t? Drop a comment and let me know about it!

Thanks for reading!

Stay classy,

Kassieboo

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.

Words

I think that this applies to living a life that is classy and true, too. Be aware of the words you use and what they really mean.

And yes. This is shameless self-promotion. Try not to hate me!

Thanks for reading!

Kassieboo

Life is What You Do

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. (Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride)

Speaking means using words. We use words for communication, expression, and so on. Sometimes though, I don’t think that people make the best choices. I’m not talking about stylistically; I’m talking about inappropriate uses of meaningful words.

Let me explain:

Imagine that you’re scrolling down your newsfeed on Facebook and you see the word “holocaust” or “rape” or “cowardice” in a status. You stop because the word is an extreme one which you would expect to find in extreme cases. But no. The word is being used as a buzzword to talk about gas prices, hockey players, or the choice to consume eggs and dairy or the difficulty of a midterm or even the fact that the liquor store was out of…

View original post 634 more words

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

 

ANSWER YOUR EMAIL!

I’ve  given up email. Well, almost. At the weekend I set up one of those auto-reply  messages, informing my correspondents that I would no longer be checking my  emails, and that instead they might like to call or write, as we used to in the  olden days. (Tom Hodgkinson)

I hope that this title speaks for itself, but just in case it doesn’t: this post is about the most important etiquette involved in emails–ANSWERING THEM!

We’re busy; we have so many accounts and alerts; we’re always plugged in. I understand this. I’m busy, too. I have memorized a plethora of passwords for social media accounts as well as three different email addresses.

email rant pic

This is no excuse for not answering emails from friends, family, and colleagues. You don’t have to answer them right away (although, within 24 hours is polite), but you should at least acknowledge them. Even just quick reply stating you received the email and will take the time to reply when it is convenient. I also know a few people who list the times of day they are likely to reply to emails in their signatures. Any kind of acknowledgement is acceptable.

This seems more like a rant than a real post, but I do think that this is really important for keeping your email relationships healthy. I always wonder if people receive my emails and, after a day, I usually send a follow-up. I’m not trying to be annoying, but I do need a response. At the very least I need to know that my email was received by the right person. I don’t want to bug the people I’m emailing, I don’t, but when I email a teacher or colleague, there is usually an important reason. Otherwise, I would wait and talk to them the next time I see him or her.

My mom always says (I sound like Forest Gump, right?) that you wouldn’t leave your snail mail unopened so why would you leave you email unopened (or unanswered)? The comparison is pretty eye-opening. Email is communication. Communication is not a one-way street. Don’t disrespect your emailers (not a word, I know) by leaving them to communicate by themselves; that’s just rude.

Sorry to be disjointed, but this is a real pet peeve of mine.

As always, I encourage you to comment with your pet peeves–I’ll even blog about it!

Stay classy (and answer your emails),

Kassieboo

Works Cited:

Picture from inchoo.net. (I came across it in a Google search)