Should I Acknowledge Social Media Compliments?

Narcissistic sure is a weird way to pronounce amazing. (Unknown)

Let’s keep this short, shall we? We’re going to talk social media for a quick minute. Now, for the most part, we know how to acknowledge compliments in real life, right? There are a number of ways to do this, but here are the most common two. Imagine this conversation between Gwen and Ralph:

Situation 1:

Gwen: Hey Ralph! Nice haircut; it really brings out your eyes.
Ralph: Thanks Gwen. I thought I would try something a little different.
Gwen: Cool. Do you–ahh–want to go out sometime?
Ralph: Oh…I appreciate you asking, but I don’t like you in that way…
Gwen: Oh. Kay, bye.

See how Ralph politely acknowledged Gwen’s compliment about his hair? That is one way we receive compliments in everyday conversations.

Situation 2:

Gwen: Hey Ralph! Your shirt is awesome! I, too, love World of Warcraft.
Ralph: Well, it’s an old shirt and I–uh–it was clean so…
Gwen: Well, I like it. 
Ralph: Um, thanks.

 While painfully awkward, this is a common way for people to answer compliments. It’s very self-deprecating and deflecting, but it is something that we do come across when offering up compliments.

Social media compliments are, on the other hand, a different beast. 

The easiest way to get my point across is to use a very common example: profile pictures. I think we can all relate to this. You put up a new profile picture on, say, Facebook and you get a bunch of likes (which you do not have to acknowledge) and a number of nice comments. Here is where the question of whether or not to thank your friends comes up.

My answer is that it depends on the number of comments you receive. Are you Beyonce? Did you get hundreds of compliments? No? Then thank your friends for taking the time to type out a few kind words. If you get a whole bunch of compliments you don’t even have to thank each person, but every three or four people say “thanks everybody” or “you’re all so great, thanks”. Something, anything to tell your friends that you saw their compliments and you appreciate them. That is, after all, why we typically share flattering pictures of ourselves. Let’s not lie about it.

Too often I see profile pictures where there are tons of sweet and thoughtful comments posted and the person whose picture it is does not even acknowledge that they have seen them (which we totally know they have).

Of course this differs depending on if you’re on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook, but I think that saying “thank you” is always the classy thing to do. Put yourself in the shoes of your admirers. Wouldn’t you like your kind words to at least be acknowledged? Otherwise, why say anything?

Stay classy, friends,

Kassieboo

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

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

 

The Journey to the World of Digital Publication: Not Every Stop is the Destination

Essay 1:

The Journey to the World of Digital Publication: Not Every Stop is the Destination

            Publishing is an ever-changing form of sharing information and ideas with wide audiences. There are numerous new ways for authors and creators to publish their content and get it to the public, but this sense of the word “publish” may not be the same as that of the word used in connection to hard-copy books, novels, magazines, and newspapers. The shift that is occurring which takes the population from print literacy to digital is opening up the way in which writers publish their content, but this publishing is not necessarily the same as publication.

Publication

            It is difficult to discuss the idea of publication without an understanding of what it currently means and refers to. The definition moves and changes with the creation and innovation of new mediums and ways of sharing information. However, the most apt description might also be the most abstract:

Publication is not the sale of books, per se; it’s not the pursuit of beauty or the creation of a record or an archive. It’s not simply a tool for transmitting information; publication is a political strategy, the creation of a public. (Stadler, 2010)

In the above quotation, Matthew Stadler describes publication as “the creation of a public” rather than the assumed creation or sale of a book. This comment is a direct result of the shift from print literacy to digital literacy which is still taking place. Publication, to many, no longer conforms to the tight box in which it has stayed for the past half of a millennium.  A new definition, such as the above, is needed to encapsulate all of the new facets of publishing and publication. Stadler also states that “digital distribution and affordable print-on-demand technologies are now a fact of publishing” (2010). There is no room for anachronism in publication; those wishing to give and share information must accept that digital is quickly becoming the prevailing media. Novel releases which once focused on cover art and book tours have grown to include e-books, author blogs, YouTube videos, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts. Perhaps growth is not the correct word for the changes which are taking place in publishing because digital distribution is past being added to hard-copies; it has begun replacing them. The public being created with each block of content—be it story, textbook, memoir, etc.—is much larger and more global than the publics of the past and marketing forms must keep up. The idea of the physical book is dimming as even the language it once lent to internet is being revoked: “The next step is clear: to drop the pretense of creating ‘pages’ of content at all and start making semantically structured chunks of (mostly) text that can be assembled, taken apart, and reassembled as needed” (Kissane, 2012). As the above quotation states, the pretense of mimicking books is growing irrelevant for the creators and managers of internet content. Publication is no longer restricted to all things book.

Self-Publication

            It is challenging to determine where the various platforms for content-creation—creative writing, personal journaling, reporting news, etc.—fit into the idea of publication. Stadler suggests that “[publication] should be cheap, non-exclusive, and easy to do” (2010). Blogging fits this description nicely. Websites like Tumblr, BlogSpot, WordPress, etc. exist for those who would like to have a free space for writing; sites such as these exemplify “cheap, non-exclusive, and easy to do”. Anyone with an email address, the information to share, and time to do it can be a blogger.

            E-books, too, are somewhat simple to publish, judging by the number of self-published novels available through Amazon.ca and Chapters.ca. “The rise of desk-top publishing software and the internet in the late twentieth century, and widespread ebook [sic] publishing in the twenty-first, has enabled an explosion of self-publishing” (Murray & Squires, 2012). This platform allows authors and writers to bypass the publishing houses and ensure their books make it to the public. Some retailers, such as Amazon, have stepped into the publishing business in order to catch these self-publishing authors and, first, help them publish and, second, give them a place to sell their stories and content (Murray & Squires, 2012).

            These two platforms for expression, blogs and e-books, are the focus, here, as both are less and less like the platforms of the past. E-books may keep up the pretense of being a book, but with ability to connect to comments and notes made by other readers, search specific words or phrases, and jump chapters, the gap between e-books and their paper predecessor is growing.

Discussion

            The question, then, is how are blogging and e-book self-publishing publication?  If “[authors] no longer require a publisher to produce books”, then are they still publishing (Murray & Squires, 2012)? Some would say no, these platforms do not constitute publishing (or they do not, at the very least, constitute authorship): “The world has been used to bludgeon you into dumb shit. To put great stories on the shelf to build slideshows. To give up on quality and focus on quantity” (Madrigal, 2013). The worry that the content is suffering at the hands of the presentation is a considerable concern to those who have observed a number of industries give up quality for quantity. The following comment from the digital editor of The Atlantic magazine sums up the apprehension of the people creating the content: “while the best stuff tends to do far, far better than average, it is not always the best stuff that hits virally” (Madrigal, 2013). Popularity does not always follow good writing; it may, unfortunately, follow a song called “Friday” by a less-than-talented young woman.

The real problem may be in the assumption that quality must be a part of publication. There are publishing houses with teams of educated people working together to make already-good books great; the idea is that there is something elite or special about authors who are published. However, with the complete lack of exclusivity inherent to blogs and self-published e-books (and the internet, as a whole), the standard to which hard-copy books were held for so long may not be so important to the new forms of publication “[and] while the value of ‘content’ bottoms out, it’s clear where capital sees the real value in digital media — in the ownership of the platform” (Lamb, 2013). It would appear that with many sites, this last statement is definitely true: writing is exposure, but hosting is money.

It is one thing, though, to determine that blogging is publication, but the readers, the ones for whom all of this is done, may feel differently about the actual experience of reading a book versus reading a published work:

…we do lose…the legacy that comes with the artifact. That is, the inheritance of items that bear the evidence of the human hand and the inspiration that comes from such encounters. My comments on a blog post will not fade, but they do not carry the emotion of my father’s scribbles and wobbly underlines in the copies from his college library. (Nadel, 2011)

In the above excerpt, Ryan Nadel states that there is a variance between comments on a blog and comments in a book. So, for him, blogging may not be publishing in the same way that books are. This sentiment illustrates where he is in his shift from print literacy to digital literacy and it is likely the same place as many people who were born before digital literacy was really a thing. It is too early to determine how people like Nadel view e-books in comparison to their offline counterparts, but it is clear that human connection is a criterion of publication for many readers.

Conclusions and Questions Moving Forward

            The next five to ten years will be interesting for those observing the shift from print to digital literacy. The physical book may become what Nadel calls it, an artifact. In the meantime, the thing on which to focus will be how blogs and e-books fair in the industry of publication. The estimation that e-books will flourish and blogs will become even more commonplace—like an extension of a Facebook status—could be very true or completely wrong. Publication is on the cusp of change; in some ways, it is already rambling forward, trying to find balance, but, in other ways, it is hanging on by its teeth, fighting the inevitable shift.

 

 

 

 

Reference List

Kissane, E. (2012, July 25). “Contents may have shifted”. Contents, (4).

Lamb, B. (2013, March 07). “The bucket has a whole in it, let’s plug it”. Abject Learning.

Madrigal, A. (2013, March 06). “A day in the life of a digital editor, 2013.” The Atlantic.

Murray, P. R., & Squires, C. (2012). “The Digital Communications Circuit.” University of Stirling Research/Infographics

Nadel, R. (2011, January 20). “The book as artifact”. The Mark

Stadler, M. (2010). “What is Publication?” Talk from the Richard Hugo House’s writer’s conference, Seattle, WA. May 21, 2010.

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

Journal 4

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. (Charles Dickens)

Incorporating Parts of Myself

I linked my Twitter account to Classy and True today. It turned out to be a lot more difficult than I would have guessed. I couldn’t make the Twitter Timeline widget work how I wanted it to–it wasn’t displaying a live feed–so I did what any mildly-resourceful person in his or her 20’s-50’s would do in this day and age: I googled it. Luckily, there is a huge community of WordPress.com users who are only too willing to share their knowledge and skills with one another. I quickly found a forum which dealt with exactly my problem. Lots of users were having the same difficulty and lots of users were trying to assist in fixing the problem. Halfway down the page, somebody mentioned that she had fixed her own blog’s problem and, although she thought that her mistake was silly, she shared the way in which she dealt with the problem. As it turns out, we were both making the same mistake and her answer completely fixed my Twitter feed.

Emotional/Philosophical Tangent

This is one of the reasons that I don’t completely hate the internet: yes, there are perverts and weirdos and trolls who roam unsightly URLs  and Facebook discussions looking for their next unsuspecting, Angry Birds-playing victim, but there are also millions of people who are willing and happy to share their vast knowledge for no other reason than because they have that knowledge. While the internet has contributed to many people becoming socially awkward and distracted, it has also become an outlet for lots of people to help others using skills that didn’t even exist 20 years ago. I find this to be kind of beautiful in its own way. This resource with which we have a love-hate relationship has opened up innumerable possibilities for providing others with aid.

Reasoning for Incorporation

I attached my Twitter to Classy and True because it is really the only social media I have which is even remotely appropriate for the blog. I don’t mean that I spend my Facebook time cussing and putting up inappropriate pictures of myself because I don’t. However, I’ve had my Facebook account since I was in grade 9, almost 8 years ago. I don’t really think that my 14-year-old self applies to my vision for my blog. In the future I may choose to create a Facebook page which is only for Classy and True, but with me being in my fourth year of university, I just don’t have the time for that at the moment.

My Twitter account is pretty docile, for the most part. I have always had teachers and parents and family as followers so I’ve never said or tweeted anything that wasn’t appropriate for my mother or English 12 teacher. I feel that it would not be difficult for me to tailor my tweets to fit my vision for this blog. This really doesn’t involve much change as many of my tweets tend to focus on human observation and things like language and manners (okay, they’re sometimes rants).

I’ll spend a little time exploring social media options and see if there are any other parts of myself which I would like to attach to Classy and True, but I do want to keep this blog relatively simple. Maybe I’m old fashioned enough to believe that (hopefully) good writing should speak for itself and gain followers of content rather than purely presentation.

Anyways, have a good week! I’ll be back soon with more journal entries and blog posts.

Kassieboo