During my study of BCM240: Media, Audience and Place this semester, blogging is an essential part. Throughout nine weeks engaging in this task, I have gained a certain understanding of how to properly write posts, design blog as well as engage with others to build a media place of my own. Therefore, in this short piece of writing, I will briefly explain my nine-week blogging experience.
First of all, one of my important aims when performing this task is to familiarize myself with research blogging. According to Zivkovic 2011, one feature of research blogging is to discover and explain new research. Therefore, I always try to come up with new findings supported by previous research effort in every single post of mine. Thanks to the guidance I received from lectures, tutorials and weekly materials, I am able to partly understand how research is properly conducted to gather information supporting personal opinions to make them more persuasive to readers. Only by approaching readings and sources can I design a good resource to show readers that although my presented opinions are original, they are concluded based on critically analysing others’ ideas. For example, in my final project proposal, in order to prove that my idea approach of making vines is reasonable, I had reached a range of sources from articles explaining the advantages of the genre, posts analysing my choice of platform to ones that inspire me to choose the particular topic for my content. This is also one part of the feedback I received from Task 1 as my tutor encouraged me to include additional sources because they can ‘add weight to my discussion and compliment my insights nicely’. By doing this, I am able to reinforce my own thinking as well as to review and figure out other details to add in and make it better.
Secondly, I have achieved knowledge of how to engage with readers throughout the blogging process. One suggestion from Connell 2016 is to mention others in my posts in order to create traffic. I find this suggestion really useful in the way that when I link my post to related bloggers, they will be able to know, read and contribute ideas. Moreover, I also have the opportunity to reinforce my existing ideas as well as to approach new way of thinking to enrich my understanding. For instance, when writing about my experience of reading other people’s interviews, I mentioned several peers whose blogs I found interesting and useful. As a result, some of them realized then followed by blog and gave me suggestions. In the feedback I received for Task 1, my tutor suggested me to link my blog to other blogs and websites to improve my media space so I designed one category called ‘Friends and Fellows’ on my blog showing people that I follow and interact regularly with. Moreover, links to other websites that are of my interest are also included. My tutor also suggested me to have additional hashtags, which I found really useful as I used to include hashtags related to UOW and BCM240 network only. By adding in hashtags that are relevant to the topic, I am able to reach potential readers in various fields. According to Connell 2016, publishing content often is a good way to engage with readers. Therefore, I maintain my blogging momentum by publishing at least 2 posts a week in order to be active online. As a result, there are familiar users that follow and comment on my blog quite regularly.
Thirdly, I have improved the quality of my blog by understanding how to address the problem in a constructive way. Stated by Williams, one attribute of constructive communication is to be problem-oriented. Therefore, in every single blog, I always try to focus on the main problems that are raised. Zenger 2014 also suggests to start with theories as the foundation for further discussion. I found this tip useful in the way that an academic theory will set the base for the post as it provides readers with a general idea about the topic. Another advantage of this approach is I am able to have a reliable supporting argument for my opinions. For instance, when writing about one of my cinema experience and relating that experience to the notion of space and place, I began by citing Hagerstrand’s three constraints and analyse my case based on them. Furthermore, this task allowed me to be more aware of the importance of using examples to support my arguments. Including examples or real-life case studies enabled me to justify my ideas as well as to clarify them for readers. For example, in my blog post explaining the Australian Classification Board and its influence on the idea of media space and place, I analysed the example of the movie Star Wars: The force awakens as a related case.
Finally, I have gained understanding of how to use my blog to engage with the ideas of the subject. I have been blogging for three sessions so far but before doing this subject, I still considered blog is just a place for one-way communication. However, at the moment I realized that blog is also a media space where information is conveyed flexibly between writers and readers, which also leads to the trend of user-generated content as I am able to gather new content from people engaging with my blog. This is an important transition that turns user into produser (Bruns 2006). Therefore, in order for my readers to feel like being in a real media space rather than a reading website, I have done a lot to improve my blog. For example, in this session I have designed categories on top of the site for readers to navigate easily, linked my blog to other platforms (Twitter, Facebook) so people can have a ‘media convergence’ experience (Jenkins 2006) and included different types of media (pictures, videos, inforgraphics, memes) for users to really engaged in a media space when interacting with my blog.
To conclude, nine weeks of blogging in BCM240: Media, audience and place this semester have been a great experience for me so far. I have been able to develop my skills in research blogging, understand how to engage with readers effectively, gain knowledge about constructively address problems and above all, use my blog as a tool to practice what I have learned in the subject. This will undoubtedly be a memorable and useful experience in my media journey here in UOW, as well as in my future career.
Bruns, Axel 2006, Towards Produsage: Futures for User-Led Content Production. In Sudweeks, Fay and Hrachovec, Herbert and Ess, Charles, Eds. Proceedings Cultural Attitudes towards Communication and Technology 2006, pages pp. 275-284, Tartu, Estonia.
Connell, Adam 2016, How to boost engagement on your blog (so it doesn’t look like a ghost town), Blogging Wizard, viewed September 30th 2016, <http://www.bloggingwizard.com/reader-engagement/>.
Jenkins, Henry 2006, Welcome to the convergence culture, The official weblog of Henry Jenkins, viewed October 1st 2016, <http://henryjenkins.org/2006/06/welcome_to_convergence_culture.html>.
Williams, Scott, Communicating constructively, Wright State University, viewed September 30th 2016, <http://www.wright.edu/~scott.williams/LeaderLetter/communicating.htm>.
Zenger, T 2014, Start with a theory, not a strategy, Harvard Business Review, viewed September 30th 2016, <https://hbr.org/2014/06/start-with-a-theory-not-a-strategy>.
Zivkovic, Bora 2011, What is: Research Blogging, Scientific American, viewed September 2016, <http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/network-central/what-is-researchblogging-org/>.