Facebook Faux Pas

If you can’t stop thinking about someone’s update, that’s called ‘status cling’. (Jessica Park)

I would like to start by apologizing for going months without updating this blog at all! The class for which I was writing this blog ended so it moved down my list of priorities. That was quite unclassy of me. I will endeavor to do better.

Okay, moving on. From now on, I’m going to work on posting more. How? Well, I’ll be doing much shorter posts. Hopefully, these will be good quality and will happen more often. I ask that you are patient with me while I get into the swing of things.

Enough discussion! Let’s talk about a few Facebook Faux pas. I’ve compiled a list of the 5 least-classy/rude things I have seen my “friends” do on the popular social media site.

5. Not acknowledging compliments on pictures.
Here’s the thing, we’re all busy. We go on the computer to check email, do work, update social media, etc.. These tasks are in addition to the rest of our lives. So when someone takes the time to compliment someone’s picture, be it profile or otherwise, it means that that person took time from his or her busy life to say a nice thing. Is it really so hard to say “thanks”? I don’t think so. Even if that thank you applies to more than one compliment on a picture, it still acknowledges that the kind comments were read and appreciated.

4. Cryptic status updates.
These mysterious messages are both self-indulgent and attention-seeking. Statuses like “I am so done with this” are just annoying. Either the writer has an issue and doesn’t want to share it (in which case he or she shouldn’t make it a status) or has a minor issue and wants to be asked about it and fawned over. When writing these silly statuses, the intention is to force readers to be curious and ask about it. It’s like me wanting to pretend I want privacy, but giving you hundreds of ways to know about me and my life.

3. Knowingly posting offensive/controversial statuses or comments.
We get it. You have controversial opinions. You’re so urban and politically interesting. You enjoy heated political debates and morality discussions that use buzzwords that no layperson could hope to be able to grapple with. I, too, enjoy healthy debates that open up my mind and the minds of others to new perspectives and ideas. I have to ask, though, is Facebook the place for these discussions? I don’t think so. Facebook is supposed to be a way to network and connect with friends, new and old. I don’t know that it is the best forum for debates and discussions that are best suited to round tables or respectfully-moderated areas of discourse. When overly-controversial posts appear on Facebook, it just looks like the poster is trying to insite arguments and anger.

2. Posting pictures or videos that should be accompanied with a warning.
We all have friends who do this. They post pictures of gruesomely-abused animals, huge spiders, post-op knee surgery pics, etc.. Now I’m not saying that these things don’t belong on Facebook. I’m not saying that at all. I’m just saying that I would appreciate posters having the courtesy to include a warning about the content or just posting a link to the content (with a warning). If I’m eating and see swollen and bloody stitched skin after my friend’s knee surgery, I might throw up on my keyboard. If I just lost my dog of fifteen years and am scrolling through my newsfeed, I might be extremely upset to see a viral video of a dog being thrown off a building (true story). This just comes down to respecting your Facebook friends and being aware of what is being shared and posted.

1. Posting passive-aggressive statuses.
These are so obvious. “I never thought that my friend could finish my Toblerone bar without even asking. Friendship terminated. You know who you are.” These are the most annoying posts on Facebook. Instead of dealing with their issues in the non-digital world, there are those Facebook users who chose to write statuses about their anger which they clearly want their offender to read. Come on! This isn’t Gossip Girl! Let’s deal with our problems directly instead of these immature posts. Don’t make your Facebook friends watch as you and your now-enemy post thinly-veiled statuses/insults about one another all over the newsfeed!

In general, these 5 faux pas come down to common courtesy and respecting your social media contacts and their time.

Thanks for reading and, as usual, feel free to comment below with your Facebook faux pas or pet peeves!

Stay classy,
Kassieboo

Essay 2

Essay 2:

Online Publishing: Becoming a Blogger

            Ali Luke states that there are 7 types of bloggers: the “Niche Expert”, the “Business Owner”, the “Professional Blogger”, the “Journal Writer”, the “Platform Builder”, the “Product Promotor”, and the “Freelancer” (2013). Among these categories, every potential publisher, be him or her a blogger or a social media participant or a commenter, can find a place in cyberspace to share information and opinions and interact with other users. A blogger, specifically, either starts out rooted in one of these categories or eventually gets there through the quality and type of content he or she is producing, the creation of an audience, and tracking and analytics.

Starting Out

Creating Readable Content

            “Blogging is publishing, it is content” (Bullas, 2010). Like with any sort of publishable writing, the first thing a blogger must do is decide on the type of content to publish. There are hundreds of genres of writing from mainstream popular veins like health and fitness to more cult-like and lesser known subjects like conspiracy theories and living off the grid. With a purpose for blogging (like one of the seven mentioned above), the first step for any blogger or online publisher is to elect where he or she fits into that spectrum. Factors which influence this decision include the writer’s knowledge of the content and ability to communicate that knowledge, and the planned audience.

            Really, it would seem to most people that a blogger/publisher’s knowledge of the category in which he or she is writing would be the most important aspect of blogging. The writer can be free to share knowledge and understanding of a given topic regardless of his or her non-cyber self’s position in life:

Everyone – regardless of status, wealth, race, gender, etc. – starts off on a level playing field [on the internet]. Although one’s status in the outside world ultimately may have some impact on one’s powers in cyberspace, what mostly determines your influence on others is your skill in communicating (including writing skills), your persistence, the quality of your ideas, and your technical know-how. (Suler, 2002)

In the above quotation, John Suler states that everyone online is equal regardless of his or her non-cyber background. It is the aptitude for communicating one’s knowledge for which one is judged. While different bloggers may have diverse opinions on their subject areas, it is their writing that ultimately keeps or rejects their readers. Scrolling down the “Home” page of Classy and True, for example, a visitor can probably decide within minutes whether or not he or she agrees with the author’s prescriptive views of etiquette and sees any quality in the writing. The traffic for this site, then, may rise through many views, but if the writing is uninteresting or pedantic, then the audience (like the 27 followers of Classy and True) does not grow.

Finding an Audience

The audience, though, is the goal in much of internet publishing. While many sites encourage comments and discussions to improve the audience’s experience, there are many which fall into publishing outrageous or offensive material to drive traffic. This is another decision a blogger/publisher needs to make: is the goal to inspire readers to stay and become an audience, or to draw in new readers daily without caring if they stay? There are sites which choose the latter and do so through well-used Search Engine Optimization techniques (S.E.O.s), but which do not worry about the quality or consistency of posts and writing. These sites use the right tags, “[o]ptimize images–use keywords in the title and the alt tag of the images [they’re] including”, and focus on producing material which ties in with current events and trends (Cognito Media, 2013). While these techniques certainly drive traffic to the site and give it a higher ranking in its community, they do not create any kind of a stable, loyal audience. A blogger must make the decision: high traffic or an acknowledged reader base. There are many sites that have both, but this may not be initially attainable for the new blogger.

            All of these introductory decisions for bloggers come down to understanding the aim of the blog. Blogs, for some, are internet diaries where they can share the ups and downs of their lives and ask for support or help. For others, blogs are all about self-promotion: the fashion designer can display his creations; the musician can expose her new E.P.; and the fantasy writer can practice her trade through Harry Potter fan fiction. Knowing for which one is writing allows one to choose how to present one’s self and what steps to take to invite readers to stay and join the audience. Understanding audience and what the blogger wants to tell the audience helps the blogger to frame posts, schedules for posting, selection of content, and so on.

Analytics and Tracking

            With this discussion of audience, a question arises in the minds of potential bloggers: How does one know who is one’s audience? Prior to starting a blog or website, this is a seemingly very complex question. Those who are less tech-savvy struggle to comprehend how a blogger can target and gain the audience he or she wants. Two things a class like Publishing 101 may teach students about blogging are the helpfulness of an analytics application and the importance of personal tracking.

Analytics

Wordpress Post Stats

A selection from “Top Posts for 90 days ending 2013-11-24 (Summarized)” by WordPress

            Analytics, be them Google Analytics or WordPress Statistics, offer site administrators (in this case, bloggers) the opportunity to track and understand where their traffic is coming from and how that traffic interacts with the blog. Classy and True, for example, is a WordPress.com blog and so uses the WordPress Statistics as analytics to learn more about visitors. The ability to see which posts are most popular tells the blogger to what her audience is more receptive.

            The above chart leads the blogger to the realization that shorter, more humorous, posts, like “Remix Assignment” are more popular and that varied media help to drive more readers to visit.  The most difficult part about WordPress Statistics, however, is that it does not show which posts were being read on the “Home page/ Archives” page of the blog. This skews the numbers because visits to the home page are in the upper 300s while the views of specific posts are still in double-digit numbers.

            The blogger of Classy and True can also see which sites are the best for referring readers to the blog:

[T]he social sites that arrived in the 2000s did not create the social web, but they did structure it. This is really, really significant. In large part, they made sharing on the Internet an act of publishing (!), with all the attendant changes that come with that switch. Publishing social interactions makes them more visible, searchable, and adds a lot of metadata to your simple link or photo post. (Madrigal, 2012)

As Alex Madrigal states in the above quotation, sharing itself has become a form of publishing, just as permanent as the original blog post. For this reason, sharing fresh posts through Facebook and Twitter extend the synapses of the original post, much like the human brain forms new and lasting connections through learning and maturing. The links become part of the permanence of the publication and connect it to dozens of other places on the vast internet. Analytics tell the blogger about each referrer website (usually social media) and helps the blogger build a network of connections and pingbacks to draw a larger potential audience. If Facebook is the top referrer, then the blogger knows that Facebook is the best way to share new and important posts.

            While North America is not considered the number one sharer of posts, it is clear that many countries are full of users who share most of what they come across online:

Sharing KPCB

“Internet Trends” Slide 27 from D11 Conference (Meeker, M. & Wu, L., 2013)

            If an average of twenty-four percent of users across the world regularly share content they come across online, then it is clear why statistics about referrers are important to any blogger’s knowledge of his or her blog. If one reader enjoys a particular post and shares it with like-minded friends and networks, that is a simple way to help an audience expand.

Tracking

            The actions of the blog’s readers are not the only thing that can be tracked and analysed, however. Various websites and applications, such as MercuryApp, offer users the opportunity to track one or more aspects of their daily lives in order to learn about and change possibly negative behaviors. A simple example would be the quality of one’s day and how it is affected by the actions of others:

Emotional Tracking Pub 101

MercuryApp Tracking Graph from 10/25/13-11/21/2013

           The above graph is an example of how the writer of Classy and True tracked the quality of her day, negative comments she heard or overheard, and unusually rude actions which took place. This graph fits into Classy and True‘s theme of etiquette and treating others well so it is an effective way for the blogger to track her own behavior and connect it to her blog. Essentially, this type of tracking gives the blogger substantial evidence to make his or her claims. It can also help the blogger to modify behaviors which make him or her less knowledgeable or genuine about the blog’s subject.

In Closing

        There is so much involved in creating and running a useful and successful blog. A good idea is not enough. Blogging is a multi-facetted process beginning with interesting content and an intended audience. The blogging process does not end with a beautifully-themed website full of witty observations and opinions. Bloggers, like publishers, must analyze audience/reader participation in the blog and adapt as needed to new demands and changes in audience interest. The blogger, especially one writing about personal or common experiences and ideas, must also track and analyze his or her own behavior in order to gain an understanding of who he or she is.  A blogger may be lucky to find a secure position in the fast-changing environment of cyberspace, but the most important tool any online publisher can have is the ability to change and adapt already-strong content for the needs of the audience/readers as analyzed by analytics and tracking.

Reference List

Bullas, J. (2010, October 25). “Is Blogging the Future of Publishing?”.

Cognito Media. (2013, September 05). “10 SEO Tips for 2013”. Forbes (online).

Luke, A. (2013). “The 7 Types of Blogger: Which One Are You?”. 

Madrigal, A. (2012, October 12). Dark social: We have the whole history of the web wrong. The Atlantic.

Meeker, M., & Wu, L. (2013, May). “Internet trends”. Slide Deck from D11 Conference

Suler, J. (2002). The psychology of cyberspace. (2002 ed.). Doylestown, Pen.: True Center Publishing.  (Older version of article published in 1996).

Wasstrom, K. A. (2013, November 24). “Top Posts for 90 days ending 2013-11-24 (Summarized)” [Web Graphic]. WordPress.

Wasstrom, K. A. (2013, November 24). “Tracking Graph from 10/25/13-11/21/2013” [Web Graphic]. MercuryApp.

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.

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…

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