Essay 2 – Semester in Review

As the semester comes to a close (as well as my degree) it’s time to do some reflecting on the work I’ve completed in PUB 101. While reflecting on my blog and the semester for this essay, I couldn’t help but feel proud of my classmates and myself for the work we’ve completed. My classmates and I not only created this semester-long project for school, but we were given the opportunity to showcase the potential and talent we have as university students to the Internet world. I am incredibly proud of the unique content my classmates have created. I look forward to keeping up with their blogs and seeing where they go with them!

I wanted to create a blog on the topic of kindness because I saw (and still see) a dire need for positivity in our current world. Reace Mok, one of my classmates who wrote a peer review on my blog said, “her topic is extremely timely, as in the age of cyberbullying and Trumped-up racism, stereotyping and hate, a little kindness is a fresh and needed concept” (Mok, 2019, para. 8). Reace’s comment was exactly my thinking at the beginning of the semester when brainstorming blog topics, and thus began The Kindness Lifestyle. The target audience for my blog is everyone, as I don’t believe kindness is limited to a certain type of person; it’s universal. However, due to kindness being associated as a female trait, I believe my blog attracts mainly females. Based on comments and feedback I’ve received, this rings true as they are almost all from females. I believe I’m addressing my target audience, which is everyone, through my content as it remains focused on the universal topic of kindness. However, I could improve on making the design universal, specifically more gender neutral, as currently my blog design could be considered more on the feminine side. It’s interesting though because my classmate, Tobi Cheung, who wrote a peer review for my blog said that, “[my] blog style matched the topic [I] [am] writing about, the colours were soft which [is] very welcoming and [has] a calmness to it” (Cheung, 2019, para. 2). Tobi said that my blog design matched my topic and since most people would consider my blog to look quite feminine, does this mean that kindness is in fact associated with femininity based on Tobi’s comment?

Designing my blog was one of the most exciting, yet difficult parts of the creation process. Just as I was content and proud of what I had created, with the help of a WordPress tutorial on YouTube, I read Travis Gertz (2015) article, Design Machines: How to survive the digital apocalypse. In his article, he discusses the pressing issue with the design of websites today; they all look the same.

Image from: Louder Than Ten

After reading Gertz’s (2015) article and seeing the collage of images shown above, I realized that my website falls into this “digital design homogeneity,” as he describes it. I was discouraged seeing that my design was nothing new or original as I worked hard on it, as well as received many compliments. However, I did keep the design for the duration of the semester. As the semester closes and I have more time to become familiar with WordPress design, I will try and redesign The Kindness Lifestyle to be more unique and more of a monopoly, as one of our guest speakers, Trevor Battye, described what our websites should be.

Trevor Battye also showed us a video by Peter Thiel where he discusses the importance of being a monopoly in the business world (Independent Institute, 2015). Although he focuses on businesses, his ideas can also apply to our websites. Thiel believes that as a creator, your work should be so unique and one of a kind that it does not have any competition (Independent Institute, 2015). In this sense, I believe the content of my blog is on it’s way to being a monopoly, but definitely not with design yet. Sofia Sullivan mentioned in her peer review on my blog that, “nowadays you don’t typically see blogs [on] this subject [of kindness]” (Sullivan, 2019, para. 4). As I continue to build my blog, aiming to be a monopoly will be a priority when making decisions about content, but especially with design as that is what makes websites stand out to viewers.

Reflecting on my thoughts of publication at the beginning of the semester compared to now, I will say they have changed quite a bit. I still believe that what people post on the Internet should have purpose and be productive (at least most of the time), however over the semester I have gained more respect for certain platforms like Instagram. Although I still see the majority of people using Instagram in a pointless manner, I also see the potential it has for purposeful content after what we’ve learned in this course. The most significant thing I learned in this course is that although almost everyone in the world can be a publisher with the technology we have, it’s much more difficult than it appears to be for that exact reason. Creating an innovative idea that is a monopoly is difficult to do with so many people trying to do it every day. However, I hope with my blog I provided value in the sense of inspiring my readers to think differently when it comes to kindness as well as provide them with a glimmer of positivity.

References:

Cheung, T. (2019, February 27). Peer Review #2: The Kindness Lifestyle [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://tobisroutine.com/posiel/peer-review-2-the-kindness-lifestyle/#comment-19

Gertz, T. (2015, July). Design Machines: How to survive the digital apocalypse. Louder Than Ten. Retrieved from https://louderthanten.com/coax/design-machines

Independent Institute. (2015, March 6). Peter A. Thiel | Always Aim for a Monopoly [Video file]. Retrieved from http://libanswers.snhu.edu/faq/8628

Mok, R. (2019, March 18). Peer Review – 3 [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://rerouted.ca/academics/peer-reviews/peer-review-3/

Sullivan, S. (2019, January 30). Peer Review [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thebeautyblondie.com/posiel/peer-review-2/

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