Posted in Class Work, Reflections

In conclusion…

I began this project with high hopes. I would create a feminist blog, post 2-3 times a week, gain a bunch of followers and become a famous tumblr blogger in a matter of a couple weeks, bada-bing bada-boom. WRONG. I mean, It wasn’t a complete failure. I DID get notes on my original content and I DID gain followers because of my original content. I even got in a fight once, so I am calling this at least somewhat of a success. I did not, however, become a famous tumblr blogger. Their loss. I ended up with 37 posts, 33 total likes but only 7 followers.

HERES WHAT I LEARNED

After this whole experience I have learned a couple things about blogging. First, while my original thought of a feminist blog seemed like a good idea, it was actually a really hard idea to execute. There are so many blogs about this type of thing, I’m talking SO MANY, which may make it seem like this is a good topic to blog about (and it is for personal reasons) but it is so easy to get swallowed up into the giant mass of endless blogs that are constantly being generated for this topic specifically. It is hard to be different. It is hard to compete with the giants and to come out from their shadows. Additionally, while it was nice to have an outlet for my personal rants and opinions, (no seriously, it was so nice having an environment to do that in) nothing that I wrote about was totally original content. I don’t mean that I stole every post, but all of my opinions have been shared by many others. There are thousands of post arguing and talking about the exact same things that I was talking about. This, again, is nice. Its wonderful to have so many people share my opinions and to have a conversation about things that are so important, but it makes it hard to be noticed. For example, it hard for someone to stumble across my post about Women in the Military, (one of my favorite posts that I had) but its easy for someone to stumble across the NPR’s posts about the same subject. On tumblr I am a nobody, which is fine, but frustrating.

I also learned that while content matters, tags matter more. Tags are the way to notes, followers, people’s hearts… My content could be horribly written and have nothing to do with anything on my blog, but as long as I use the right tags, Ill get the right attention. Now, I did not use totally irrelevant tags, but I did start to use more and more tags as I learned what was happening by using them. I can write a post about Women’s Rights to Abortion and use tags like #feminism #feminist #abortion #women’srights #women… but I can also use tags like #baby #mysogyny #uterus #mybodymychoice #illdowhatiwant #pregnancy #pregnant #girlpower to spread out my post to a wider audience. It doesn’t guarantee notes or followers, but it does open up the post to more people.

The next thing I learned, follow people. Lots of people. I ended up not following very many people but the more people you follow, the more people who see your name pop up as a follower and therefore gets your name out there.

It honestly took me quite a minuet to figure this out but the next thing I learned is that while the number of posts you produce does matter, what matters more is what you post about. I started out posting rants about things that had come to mind or about things that I had experienced that particular day but as I started to understand the tumblr dynamic better I realized that the best way to gain notes and followers was by posting about hot topics or conversations that were happening in the real world (not just my teeny tiny world of Bemidji). I know, it seems like this should be a given, my thought was that I am  blogging about popular topics so I should be fine, and while the topics I blogged about were popular topics, they weren’t hot topics. What I mean when I say hot topics is things that people are CURRENTLY having discussions about. An example, I could totally write about blatant mysogyny in media OR I could write about the blatant mysogyny shown by our President. The message is essentially the exact same, but more people are currently talking about the President so people are more likely to look at posts about him.

The next things I learned kind of go hand in hand. Quantity matters. The more posts, the more your handle is out there, reaching more bloggers and the best way to have a high quantity of posts is by reblogging. I am pretty sure that the reblog button is the greatest invention ever made. It lets the conversation continue to grow and enables everybody to explain their own take on posts. Additionally, bloggers are notified when you reblog any of their content which allows your name or handle to spread further. More often then not, if you reblog a post done by a smaller blog, they will see the notification of your reblog and go to your blog to browse, I know thats what I did. It happened to my a couple different times. I found a smaller blog and reblogged some of their content, they returned the favor by not only following me but by going through my entire blog and liking nearly every post, reblogging my original content as I had theirs.

Finally, the very last thing I learned was that a passive voice gains no attention. The louder, the more angry, the more intense the post, the more likely it is to receive a response. I would love to say that I could respectfully and quietly share my opinions and that would inturn gain attention creating a respectful and quiet conversation but that is SO NOT TRUE. The more curse words, the angrier, the less room for forgiveness that I had in my posts, the more response I got. People WANT to fight. People WANT to see passion. People WANT harsh truths and opinions. I did get in one Tumblr fight (I consider this one of my greatest achievements to this day) thanks to a post about The Price of Being a Woman. People were angry that I had the audacity to suggest that women had to pay more than men for similar products (heads up, its true and it’s a problem) *insert eye roll here*.

IF I DID IT AGAIN

If I did this project again there are a couple things I would change. First, I would start with a less passive voice. I would vigorously attack my posts with a passion and a vengeance for my poor AFR blog.  I would also choose a topic for my blog that might have less competition. There are just so many blogs just like my AFR blog that it is hard to really be noticed. Don’t get me wrong, the fact that there are a bajillion Feminist blogs out there pleases me to no end, but I, as a noob, cannot compete. I would choose something that was a little more achievable. Perhaps I could start a fanfiction blog. (Everybody loves fanfiction! >:) ) I would also start following more people faster in the game and use more tags than are necessary. Overall The most important thing that I realized from the blog experiment is the effectiveness of blogging as a means of finding like minded individuals and having a conversation. It’s nice to have an outlet to discuss important topics in a place where everyone is talking about the same types of things. I learned so much from other blogs. I solidified opinions that I wavered on. I learned more about my own personal opinions than I did about the opinions of the masses. This blog was an outlet for things that I would not have otherwise been able to discuss. That is my favorite things about blogs, I think. There is a community of people to support and oppose anything and everything. It is a creative/ political/ personal/ mash up of anything. A blog can be whatever the blogger needs it to be. For myself personally, I was extremely frustrated about recent political “advancements”( totally the opposite of advancements actually but thats not the point) and this blog was a great way for me to gather information and form opinions. A great place to have a voice, albeit a small and rarely hear one, but people did hear me and I felt like, for once, my voice wasn’t completely mute. I also found a community of people who shared my opinions and was able to have conversations with them about things that were important to me. (ya know instead of just being told feminism is the work of the devil and how women*insert stupid phrase about gender stereotypes here*.

I think that I will probably continue to blog. I’ll probably make a few blogs and try to blog about different things until I find the niche that suites me best. I’m glad I got the experiences and know how that I did from this course.  Blogging was always something that I wanted to do but never something that I knew how to do. Now that I have the experiences and background from this class, I can take it a step further and try and add my own personal twists on all types of blogs. I am honestly really excited to continue to blog and how it can help me grow and continue to form opinions about the world.

 

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Posted in Class Work, Reflections

Reflection 2/21/2017

Wikis.

Before this class, Wikis were something that I never thought about. At all. There was no reason to. Wikis, in my head translated to Wikipedia, a source that I have been warned against since middle school. I had no idea of the actual potential these wikis have.

But now I am seeing the light.I learned so much about wikis in such a short period of time. I now see the potential for collaboration and ease of use of Wikis.

I struggled a bit in the beginning. I felt similar to a child trying to learn how to use a fork, I was clumsy and the whole process was unfamiliar. Formatting the wiki in the wiki code type text that is used was especially challenging for me. As a geographer, I got used to the language that other geographers and GIS analysts use to name things. There is a system and a set of rules. Similarly, with my wikis, once I figured out the rules for formatting the text and once I got some practice using it, the language started to make sense and I could begin writing easier.

One of the most influential parts of this entire week was just being exposed to the world of wikis in general. I noticed the longer I worked on the wikis, that the possibilities of this medium are completely endless. There can be a page for anything and for everything. I was amazed at how extensive the information on a wiki can be. There is never an end to knowledge, people learn new things constantly, and similarly, there is never an end to wikis, a page can always be made to accommodate whatever the user’s needs are.

One of my favorite things about working on wikis this week was the way they look. I know that one of the biggest complaints about Wikis is that they are ugly, but I disagree with that. They are clean. Each page follows the same (ish) format. As I was writing this week I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about how useful wikis might be when taking notes in class.

Over all, I can honestly say that I have learned the most this week so far. blogs were new to me when we started using them, but they were easy compared to wikis. Wikis will definitely be a tool that I start using more often. I am thrilled to have been exposed to this new (for me) concept.

 

 

 

Posted in Class Work, Reflections

Reflection 2/6/2017

This week’s work on self portraits was interesting to say the least. I am not a selfie person. I don’t generally take them, I don’t generally post them. Aside from taking a picture to use on a profile, my experience in photographing myself is limited. That being said I was rather apprehensive about this whole thing.

I posted, first a selfie I had taken last summer. The picture is of me and a goat named Oreo. The picture was originally taken, not to show me, but to show the goat. (She is the cute one after all) I took this picture to send to Oreo’s owners, as they were away on vacation, and I wanted them to know that their animals were being taken care of. The owners of the goat are also two little girls, both in elementary school, so it seemed like an appropriate way to set their minds at ease at the time. I chose this picture as my first self portrait because I thought it was a funny/ cute picture and because I LOVE goats. It represented me in more than one way.

I then set to work on the readings for the week. The first thing that really struck me as I read was the topic of Pseudonyms in Why Social Media is Leading to a New Era of Identity. The name at the top of my blog is a pseudonym in a way. Yes, that is what people call me, but it is not my real name. My name is Brianna, but people call me Bri, I identify with that name and it is what I use to represent myself.

In Rettberg’s article Representation or Presentation I also made a wild connection. Reading the article, Rettberg refers to the picture Kendall Jenner posted (the one with the heart hair and the white dress) and compares it to a bunch of different things trying to determine if the picture is representation or presentation. In doing this analysis, Rettberg makes a connection between the picture of Jenner and of the character Ophelia, from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, a connection that I, too, made upon the photo’s posting. When I read that Rettberg had come to a similar conclusion to my own, I was thrilled. Maybe, just maybe, I understood the assignment better than I had thought.

Finally, I was ready to post my last self portrait. I chose to keep it a photo, I am not good with poetry or anything else that might be a good representation of me. The scenario of the self portrait went like this…

I was sitting on my couch Sunday morning, drinking coffee and doing homework with my roommates. They were a wreck from the night before, as was I and I realized how authentic the moment felt to my life. This was a situation that had played out countless times before and would play out countless times after. I was in my natural habitat so to speak. As I sat on the couch, wishing that my coffee would refill its self, I realized that this is what I really look like. I sit in the same spot every day, I drink the same coffee, I do the homework for the same classes. Nothing could have been more authentic to me in that moment. So, I took a picture. Or rather, I set a camera up on a chair and after great difficulty and many failed attempts at using the timer on my phone, took a picture.

This week, I spent more time thinking about myself than I normally do, which was both uncomfortable and refreshing. It was enlightening to sit down and honestly think about what is a good representation of me as a person. Difficult and uncomfortable, but enlightening.

Posted in Reflections

Reflections and crappy Wifi.

As a small piece of advice, I suggest that one does not wait until the day a reflection is due to post the reflections if you aware that you have shoddy wifi and problems often occur. *eye roll*

This past week I spent a lot of time trying to define blogs and trying to link. Linking I have figured out. For example, I can now link to this blog confidently (it’s Cute Overload and I love it). Defining a blog, however, has been a thorn in my side. I can’t do it, but I am ok with that. Just researching blogs and the different types has been very insightful and useful to me. Prior to starting this class, the only times I ever thought about blogs was when I saw a funny tumblr post or when I saw a coffee drinking, glasses and beanie wearing hipster in a coffee shop and just assumed that they were blogging. Blogs were never a part of my life before but I am seeing so much potential in them. Not being able to define what a blog actually is has, ironically, made me understand them even more. The second I stopped trying to define a blog and I started just looking at different blogs and noticing all of the differences among them, I started to see why people use them and the potential that blogs have.

I am excited to continue learning about blogs and I might try and set up another blog or a personal blog, just because I can and know how to now!

My work for the week

What is a blog? What do Bloggers do? pt 1

What is a Blog? What do Bloggers do? pt2

What makes a blog a blog?

 

Posted in Class Work, Rants/ Opinions

What makes a blog a blog?

What makes a blog a blog? I have been staring at my computer screen for the last 7 minuets writing and rewriting this post over and over and I still can’t come up with a satisfactory explanation.

A blog is anything. All of the research that I have conducted on blogs for the class work from the past week have led me to one solid conclusion. A blog is a blog because a blog can be anything. There is no limit to what a blog can do/be and I think that that is what makes a blog a blog a blog a blog.

Blogging, as I know it, is only the tip of the iceberg of what blogging is or can be.

Posted in Class Work

What is a Blog? What do Bloggers do? pt2

As I furthered my search on what a blog is and what bloggers do I cam across a post titled What Does a Blogger Do? Top 38 Things. Now when I found the post, I figured it would enevitably end up being about how bloggers make money and about “How you too can make money by blogging from your own home!” but the list of 38 thing actually ended up being a wonderfully appropriate example of my previous thought that cramming what bloggers do into a single definition is nearly impossible.

I continued my search and eventually I ended up typing “why is blogging popular”. I shifted my angle to look more at why people blog in the first place. I actually ended up finding a post by Dragan Palla titled Why is Blogging so Popular? 4 Reasons to Start Your Own Blog . The four reasons listed are all wonderful answer to the question “whats the point” when it comes to blogging and the article really lays out all of the benefits that can be the products of blogging.The other thing that I like about this post is that it describes how anyone can start and maintain a blog.

So much of blogging is still so unknown to me and there is so much that I am taking in every day. In an attempt to understand blogs, I ended up confusing myself even further, and I’m ok with that.

 

Posted in Class Work

What is a blog? What do Bloggers do? pt1

After reading Rebecca Blood’s Weblogs: A History and Jill Walker Rettberg’s What is a Blog, I have gained an adequate understanding of the history of blogs and what a blog is and does! From my understanding a blogs history goes somewhat like this, Bloggs were originally used to share content, opinions, ideas, thoughts,etc. There were very few blogs until the idea of blogging became more popular, attracting more people and prompting the creating on Pitas, a free tool to help people create their own weblogs. Then started a trend of blogging that I find relatively similar to today. Link based, sharing of thoughts, opinions and essays. As blogging became more popular, however, according to Blood’s review “during 1999 something else happened” In 1999 blog format shifted to something less about sharing personal thoughts and opinions and more about sharing ones day to day life. This new format of blogging was very much like a journal or a diary, following the daily lives of their authors. Today, we see a mixture of both of the styles.

Trying to brief ‘what is a blog’ I find really difficult. A blog is anything. A blog is a way to share….anything, really, online. Rettburg constantly talks about this idea of “what a blog can be” She stresses this rather than stressing what a blog is and I find that to be a wildly appropriate. As I become more familiar with blogging I find that my preconceived notions about blogging were very narrow compared to what the actual world of blogging encompasses. There are so many categories and variations of blogs that I find it impossible to come up with a definition that accurately reflects all of those differences

There is still a lot that I am learning and as I go through this journey I have absolute confidante that I will come to the end of this class and still not have an adequate enough answer to the question “What is a blog”

Posted in My Life

I’ll never be an olympian

Today I watched the National Figure Skating Championships while attempting to skate myself. I normally watch this every year and when the time comes around, I watch Olympic figure skating religiously. One thing is for sure though, for as often as I watch figure skating I am horrible at it. I am that person who knows all the lingo and will criticize a poorly landed quad while my arm is elbow deep in a bag of Doritos, watching comfortably from underneath my blanket on my couch. Any way, tonight the bruises on my knees and thighs lead me to believe that I will never be as good as Karen Chen, I will never have Maia Shibutani’s grace and ease on the ice, and I’ll never be an olympian.

It’s slightly embarrassing, being worse than the five or six year old child on the rink.

I’ll just learn to laugh at myself instead.

img_0890

Notice: The boys were playing hockey. I was convincing myself that I could skate a straight line without falling over.