Latest Posts

The Saviour: Anthropomorphism

Animals and humans have always had intricate relationships with one another. Since the beginning of time, animals and humans have worked along side each other, hunted one another and lived side by side with the other, so it is only natural to see animals present in the media within contemporary society.

From the youngest years of our childhood, we are introduced to animals in the media. I for one, was obsessed with animals as a youngster. My favourite movies consisted of The Lion King, Dumbo and The Land Before Time, all of which were films based around animals. These films attempted to portray the natural world as a reflection of our own humanity, developing the concept of anthropomorphism. By giving these animals a human conscience and understanding of the world, we are opening up new doors to the way we feel towards animals and the way in which we understand their nature.

There would not have been a dry eye in the cinema as Scar acted on his plan to murder Mufusa in front of Simba. Even to this day, I am left feeling a range of emotions during this highly intense scene as Simba cries out for his father, who is trampled to death. Such anthropomorphic approaches to animals in children’s films and other forms of media, ultimately give animals a purpose in teaching and instilling youth with life-long morals, lessons and values (Burke, et al, 2004).

The idea of anthropomorphism has developed however to be used in media campaigns and documentaries focussing on animal welfare. Take the WWF activism campaign posters below as an example.

Here, we as an audience, are looking at animals in the context of humanity and human society, demonstrating the success of anthropomorphism as a tool in raising awareness of issues and inspiring change, because it makes animals in the most simplest term, relatable (Moss, 2014).

The concept of anthropomorphism however cannot be solely theorised as the similarities between human and animal emotions are still being researched to this day. It is however “categorically wrong to say that animals don’t have thoughts and emotions, just like it’s wrong to say they are completely the same as us (Safina, 2015). Though through not reviewing and looking into the concept of anthropomorphism, we as a society, do run the risk of eroding our empathy with species that we are helping wipe out at a rate unseen since the time of the dinosaurs.

Anthropomorphism is also becoming incredibly prevalent in animal documentaries. This however raises the question that does it decrease the science and educational facets of the programs, as audiences are subjected to developing emotional connections with humanised animals? Producers of documentaries are probably right to assume that very few people would in fact want to sit in a theatre, watching animals doing animal stuff for two hours. Viewers need to be some kind of emotional investment in order to walk away with an understanding of the facts or education elements being presented in the film.

Bob Landis, the Emmy Award–winning wildlife cinematographer behind In the Valley of the Wolves, firmly believes that anthropomorphism does have impact on the nature documentary industry.

Landis however argues that by projecting emotional narratives that “aren’t reasonable, or so far beyond reality, is something film makers should try prevent … otherwise you get into the Disney approach that I really just abhor”. Ultimately these narratives and characters weaved into the animal documentaries should not lead audiences to far from the true happenings of the animal kingdom.

The humanisation of animals, when used in successful and innovative ways, can truly be a powerful tool in subjecting humans to feel for creatures and in a wider sense, the rights of animals in general. Whilst such anthropomorphism can be employed for entertainment purposes or to teach humans values inherit to their own humanity, it can most definitely lead the way to promoting conversation within the media.

 

Evans, N. 2016, ‘Looking at Animals’, Lecture Week 4, BCM310: Emerging Issues in Media and Communication, UOW, 23/03/16

Burke, C, Copenhaver, J, 2004, ‘Animals as people in Children’s Literature,’ Language Arts, Vol. 81, no. 3, pp205-213

Moss, L. 2014, ‘Can humanising animals help us save them?’ Mother Nature Network, July 16, blog post, viewed March 28th 2016, <http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/can-humanizing-animals-help-us-save-them>

Safina, C. (2015). Beyond Words. 2nd ed. New York City: Henry Holt and Co.

Advertisements

A New Window: The Rich Kid$ Of In$tagram

They say that they eyes are the window to the soul but how many of us are really looking at one another and truly seeing each other? Those who take ‘selfies’ and upload them to various social media channels are supposedly sharing their life but what are they really sharing? The only window which modern society deems more worthy to look through is that of a glowing screen.

The selfie is the window to narcissism.

Sure, selfies can be fun, silly and a great way to capture a particular moment with yourself or those close to you though it can also argued, “selfies seem inherently to contain the most explicit elements of ostentation and self-propagation” (Weiser, 2015). Has the selfie transformed to be so much more than just a peace and pout? Is it really possible that through the impact of social media channels like Instagram, the selfie has become a money-maker and a façade on so many levels?

Enter ‘The Rich Kids of Instagram’.

This documentary focuses on the lives of incredibly wealthy youth and the constant need to share their elite status on Instagram through a series of selfies and other uploads. Gone are the days where the rich were discreet. These young heirs and heiresses love the attention and love the dollar bills. Allain de Botton defines status as “one’s values and importance in the eyes of the world” and for these teens the only world they are focussed on is that of the digital one, fuelled by likes, shares and vanity. These self-confessed ‘rich kids’ believe that their selfies and Instagram platforms are the “journals of their life”, which funnily enough is only refuted by one of their parents explaining that the selfie is one of the key tools in creating a fantasy life upon social media. Below are the Rich Kids of Instagram and their opinions on selfies (I also recommend you check out their profiles. Oh how the other half live and the mass of their followings).

“I see Instagram as my canvas, if I was an artist and with that I am able to paint the picture of my life”. – Sammy

“I feel like cashfleezy [Nathaniel’s Instagram alter ego] is just like a second side of me that would be weird to show in real life but it’s because of social media I am able to do this”. – Nathaniel

“Everything I encounter, everyday, is on my Instagram. It is how I live”. – Damish

For these teenagers, their lives are saturated by the idea of self-marketing where their faces are the brands and their lifestyles are the objectives, ultimately leading to the rise of the micro-celebrity.

Selfies in some cases have also become great tools for making your audiences and followers feel jealous or envious of you. I now ask this question, how many of you have visited a famous landmark or city? Now I am sure that many of you have, but now I ask this, what were some of the things you did during this experience? Personally, I am guilty of whipping out my phone at one of the earliest opportunities and banking a tonne of selfies. Thinking in more depth about this, I understand that yes, I am taking these photos to remember this incredible experience, but I am also taking them to upload onto my social media platforms. Nothing will impress your friends more than a simple ‘guess what, I am in Paris and you’re not’ than a selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower. Maybe, somewhere along the way, I too have been caught up in the paradigm of egotistical selfies.

When we think about whom it is that we follow though on social media channels, can we really be blamed? We follow celebrities who are constantly uploading selfies, sharing windows into their opulent lifestyles and quite possibly, we, their audiences are probably in our own ways, trying to achieve elite status in the digital world desperate to acquire “acceptance from and connection to those high in the social hierarchy” (Marwick, 2013).

One thing for certain is that the selfie is here to stay and through the platforms of social media such as Instagram, it will continue to evolve, developing new forms of social interaction and ways of self identification.

 

De Botton, A. 2004, Status anxiety. New York: Pantheon Books.

Marwick, Alice E. 2013, ‘Leaders and Followers’, Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, And Branding In The Social Media Age, United States of America: Yale University Press

Weiser, EB, 2015, ‘#Me: Narcissism and its facets as predictors of selfie-posting frequency’, Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 86, pp. 477-481. <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281890158_Me_Narcissism_and_its_facets_as_predictors_of_selfie-posting_frequency> Accessed on 27th March 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the Traveller

There is no feeling more euphoric than setting off into the cloudy blue skies, for the journey of a lifetime. A smile will be composed across your face as you begin to imagine the possibilities of adventure and the beautiful cultures and sites that you will see and experience. This moment is something that every person deserves to experience.

Young at heart, wise at mind and a burning passion for all that life has to offer, the traveller is a unique being. Be you travelling alone or friends, travelling truly is the opportunity of a lifetime.

Travelling has the opportunity to shape you, to change the very essence of your being, challenging what you thought you knew and who you thought you were. It’s a liberating and entrancing experience.

Every one of us a story, something that has unconditionally changed or inspired us. Travelling the world is no different. You may temporarily leave behind your life back home, though you will fall in love with people who have their own stories and journeys, with cities enriched in years of history and cultures you may have never even heard of. These are the moments that shape you and there is no better time than the present to leave.

Fall in love with in the city of love, visit cities and sites that have shaped civilisation, cry as you remember some of the horrors in our world’s history, though take solace in the fact that you are gaining perceptiveness and feeling and experiencing everything this world has to offer. The good, the bad and the ugly. Feel your humanity grow and take shape. This is you and this is your world.

So be daring and read ahead. The world has an endless array of opportunities so pack those bags and go. Challenge yourself and see the world through a new pair of eyes. Life is short and the world is wide. You’re now a traveller.

Beyond The Frame

A crowd of black suits and luxurious gowns weave in between works of spectacular opulence and grandeur, sipping on expensive glasses of sparkling champagne, muttering tame and polite phrases. The crowd slowly begins to gather in front of a work on a bleak white wall, a work that is yet to be unveiled to the world, surrounded by the copycats of Van Gogh and Monet alike. The anticipation builds and the red velvet sheet drops, unveiling the new artwork. Silence. The elites stare, taking in the work. No applause. No polite admirations. The work is eventually met with gasps, looks of horror and the smashing of those ritzy champagne glasses.

‘The arts’ reflect the diverse lives we all live and just like one’s life, they too transform, grow and evolve, reminding us of our humanity and challenge the very core values of our beliefs. As eras have passed and art movements been shaped, society is now subject to an array of eclectic art forms and works, though not all are as widely accepted and appreciated as ‘art’. If art is about emotions and expression, should it always be respected or is there a boundary as what art should or can represent?

The turn of the 21st century has seen artists take risks and experiment within their works, redefining what art can be. These risks have, in most instances not only pushed the boundaries of the art world, but also in some cases, have completely broken them. Performance artist, Marina Abramović is just one artist who is actively pushing the concepts of art. Active for the past three decades, Abramović believes that “the position of the artist today is more demanding that ever before. Art is more important than before because before there was a religion and now people don’t believe in anything anymore. Art has become some kind of connector between a disturbed society and nature”. Abramović works focus on the nature of confrontation, pain, blood and the limitations of the human body and experience and whilst such themes may be deemed as confrontational to audiences, Abramović still argues that she “could not produce a single work without the presence of the audience, because the audience gives me the energy to be able, through a specific action, to assimilate it and return it, to create a genuine field of energy”. Whilst art instillations and works may be provoking to audiences, it does become apparent that the modern day artist does feed on audience reactions, regardless of the emotion. This in itself has become a unique and intrinsic relationship within the art world, and challenges the notions of traditionalistic forms of art and appreciation.

Heather Riley, a third year Bachelor of Performance student at the University of Wollongong and admirer of Abramović is yet another artist who not only respects art that is deemed as confrontational, but also is actively creating works to push the ideas of preconceived artistic restrictions.

“You don’t learn anything when you’re comfortable. You learn when you’re uncomfortable. You will never learn anything talking to people with the same ideas, and the same goes for appreciating art. Sometimes you need to be scared, to change the way you think”.

Riley believes that the role of art within contemporary society is to ‘enable comments and discussions about the ways in which we are living; to make a comment on the audience’. Riley’s most recent work, a performance instillation, sought to bring light to the ways in which women are objectified and marginalized within society. Riley performed her two hour piece within the confinement of a glass room, parading up and down dressed in a provocative schoolgirl uniform. The space alone was something that mirrored the Red Light District of Amsterdam, the European sex district infamous for it’s abundance of prostitutes and sex shows. Riley continued to parade up and down the space, silhouetted by a red glowing light, interacting with audiences who stood and watched her. Outside the confines of her space were a series of cards from which audience members could choose to hold up to Riley, who would then complete the requested action. “A lot of the cards were misleading. There was one which said ‘take it off’ and a lot of people thought I would take off my clothes, though I would take of my makeup”, Riley explains as she reveals the intent of the piece is to make the audience reflect on societal issues and the unconscious powers and influences that they have over other individuals.

“People would hold up cards and be like do it; though once I did it you would see the looks in their eyes change as they realised, oh, I just made her do that”.

 Riley laughs as she shares that some people turned and walked away and that even one audience member in particular actually complained about the piece. Riley however questions how audiences can complain about her art performance, when the issues which she is trying to shed light on are so prevalent and toxic within our contemporary society.

“It’s a crazy feeling to know that you’re horrifying people”.

 Having conducted research before developing an artwork that could be met with controversy is also an imperative step within the contemporary artists art making process. “I wanted to make sure I had my statistics right because a lot of people, when you start talking about something risky, a lot of people want to shut you down”. With controversy comes responsibility, a responsibility to show audiences that the artwork is trying to convey a deeper meaning, an intent which brings to light to an issue that needs to be addressed.

Traditionalist artists however also argue that art doesn’t have to have purpose or provide audiences with a new perspective and that sometimes it is just best to admire a piece for the raw talent and beauty that it is. Penny Harkyn-Wynn has been a practicing traditionalist folk artist for the past 30 years of her life and admires artists and art for their skills and elegance. Harkyn-Wynn believes art to be the expression of whatever the artist sees and feels that if art were to ever make audiences distressed or confronted then the artwork itself has become “a waste of time”.

Artists of confrontational art are people who don’t know how to properly express themselves or their works”.

 Harkyn-Wynn questions the skill behind some art instillations, such as the performance pieces of Abramović and Riley, explaining that it has taken years for her to refine her skills as a painter.

 The openness to art subjectivity may indeed be heavily influenced by generational bias. The concept of art has, throughout history, evolved to be both admired and feared. Artworks have ignited revolutions and been burnt and destroyed to protect the societies of which the artists are trying to reflect and portray. The arts will continue to grow and the cycle of being confrontational to acceptable will continue to turn just like the swirls of an artist’s paintbrush.

The concept of art is very similar to a mirror; a mirror that society must hold up and look into to view contemporary life. However, just because one individual does not like the reflection, it doesn’t mean that the mirror should be branded as broken or laid back down. Art is about the risk. Art is for the individual. If not, art could quite possibly cease to be purposeful and diminished to purely be that pretty, dusty painting sitting on a bleak white wall, met by the quaint smiles and respectful nods of the audiences who pass by.

If you trust the artists and their works, if you are inquisitive and brave, if you are able to see past the work’s eyes and into its soul, then you may make history and leave with a pair of new eyes; eyes which bring a new light to our new world.

 

 

European Contiki Survival Guide

 

You’ve stepped off the plane at Heathrow Airport, London, just a bewildered face in a flood of people. This is it – congratulations! You have successfully made it to the other side of the world and now it finally hits you. How are you going to survive a month long European Contiki? Well don’t fear – with these few tips you will have the time of your life in your new summer playground, Europe!

Rule number one: Be outgoing! You have just landed in one of the oldest cities in the world. Do not give in to the temptation of resting your pretty little head on that warm and comfy bed. Jet lag is a bitch. Stay strong and awake. Get out in the city and meet people. Say hello and talk! Keep an ear open for that familiar Australian accent. It is an unwritten law that when in Europe, meeting a fellow Australian seems like meeting a long lost friend! Staying awake is key to adapting to your new time zone.

Be prepared to share. You may be sitting at the back of the bus thinking what the hell have I done. I will never become friends with half of these people but give it two days and you will be having ‘deep and meaningfuls’, and sharing secrets that not even your closest friends know back home. These people become your family whilst abroad.

Free pour in Europe can be your best friend and worst enemy. The European bar tenders have yet to discover the use of a shot glass and instead just pour straight spirits into your cup, not taking care to measure or consider how strong they may be making your cocktail. Think of this as your number one ‘frenemy’. Sure, it is all fun and games when you’re having a drink or two with your new friends and yes, you are saving money as the drinks have more alcoholic content – just keep your wits about you. One minute you’re having a quite Sunday afternoon session in Paris, the next you are stumbling through the dark streets at 4:30am carrying what remains in your wallet and dignity, ready to welcome on a three-day hangover.

Have a night off! Your body is adapting to a new climate, new foods and new drinking habits! There is absolutely nothing wrong in having an early night because when it comes time for you to fight the dreaded Contiki cough, my friend, you will need all the strength you can muster.

CONTIKI COUGH IS REAL. The virus will work its way slowly around the bus and one by one, you’re Contiki mates will fall. Don’t think you can avoid it. One day you will be sunning in the French Riviera and there will be a little tickle in your throat. You will sip on your strawberry daiquiri and ignore it. That night however, the beast will raise its ugly head and you will be dragged into the fiery pits of hell. What will follow that week will be a series of unsuccessful attempts at communication to foreign pharmacists for drugs and cries of mercy for the end to be near. Forget your new friends, the only friendships you need in your life right now comes in the form of Panadol and throat soothers.

Then finally a miracle occurs. You have survived the Contiki Cough and most likely passed it on to the person you’ve been hooking up with. Oops. But hey, you’re healthy and ready to get back out there and live it up in Europe!

Hostels in Europe are great, but try not to spend too much time in your room! You’re now in Venice for God sakes, go and have a drink or two with your friends! Go down to the local bars and talk to the locals. Try your best Italian accent and convince them that you’re on a visit from Rome. Warning: the more drinks you have, the less appealing and realistic your accent will become. You didn’t just have a drink or two, did you, as you realise looking at the lack of Euros in your wallet. Don’t worry. Today is a bus day and you get to sleep for a solid six hours.

Learn to love bus days. These are the days where you can find out the most recent gossip, learn about your new friends and become familiar with some local lingo, ready to slip into your everyday conversations as you enter a new country.

With all this being said, just remember to have fun and appreciate your time overseas! The world has so many beautiful things to offer you, from seeing the sunset over the Eiffel Tower to a small Italian lady offering you a free piece of home made pizza. Relish your time on the tour and I can promise you that if you follow these points you will have the time of your life and will most definitely look back in years to come with the fondest memories and the largest smiles Life is short and the world is wide. #noregrets

 

Journalists On Twitter

The three journalists that I have chosen to follow on Twitter are Melissa Doyle, Sarah Ferguson and Mariam Veiszadeh.

Doyle uses Twitter in a light hearted way, both retweeting her own professional work with Sunday Night, but also engaging with her followers. She also provides links to her official Facebook page. Doyle also tweets about her personal life and interacts with her actual colleagues and friends on an everyday basis.

Contrastingly Veioszadeh actively uses Twitter to engage in activism campaigns, both tweeting and retweeting her own works and the work of others. Her tweets are also often about her work and social interests, leaving her not much room to actively engage with her followers on a personal level.

Sarah Ferguson however has a bleaker Twitter than the other two, not describing much in her bio besides the fact that she is a presenter for the ABC. Ferguson retweets newsworthy stories and content, often commenting on them and actively uses hashtags.

All in all, these are three different journalists who have successfully been able to use Twitter in contrasting and effective ways.

Humans of Technology

Each individual has a story, a tale of how they see or embrace the world. Our world has now become incredibly dependent on the advancements of technologies, so they have inevitably become apart of our stories. It has entered nearly every aspect of our work life, education and social lives. They have essentially redesigned the ways in which our society runs, as well as the very relationships we have with other individuals and our own digital devices. It was these thoughts that inspired the creation of @tech_humans.

For the digital project, Monique and I thought it would be best to create an Instagram to photograph people in their everyday lives. As we would ask their permission to take their photo and explain to them the aims of our project, we would begin to conduct a small and simplistic interview, asking them a bunch of questions. From here, we would then take the most interesting quote that they said and use it to accompany the image of the person, both of which would then be posted to Instagram. We thought the platform of Instagram is perfect for this assignment as it is essentially a digital story telling platform. This qualitative research proved to be extremely successful, as we began to collect a bunch of interesting short stories about how these certain individuals interact with the social boundaries and spaces of their technologies. Through reading the quotes and contrasting them to other photos in the series, one is able to gain a thorough understanding of the intricate relationship our world has developed with technology. These individuals used throughout the project also all vary in age, sex and opinions, creating a story telling board with an array of perspectives.

One key element that we also had to remember whilst developing the Instagram page is that each person photographed and interviewed needed to understand what we were doing and that it was to be published on Instagram and our blogs. Interestingly enough, this often sparked an extended avenue of discussion, as the individuals were curious as to why my assignment for communications and media involved so heavily a social media platform. This was the case with my grandmother, who was so intrigued that education itself was establishing a relationship with technology.
The project also greatly benefitted my interviewing techniques, as with each interview, I found my questions become more refined and it eventually becoming easy to find the best quotes to use to accompany the image. Some of the individuals interviewed gave less content to work with so that proved to be a challenge, though the more comfortable I made them feel; I found that they would share more information and stories. I also think that through these interviews I was able to learn a lot about the individuals relationship and stories, and in return they were positioned to think about how dependent they are on technology. This definitely gave the project both purpose and meaning.

With Instagram being a social media platform, we hoped to also gain followers and have people interact with the project. This was mostly achieved through the implementation of hash tags on each photo, which brought traffic to our page. This also extended the spatial nature of our project as we originally had the short snippet of a individuals story, mostly from people around the Illawarra, but all of a sudden we had people from around the world commenting, liking and following the page. This was a great achievement for the project.

To also give our project an element of quantative data, we began to decide to ask 20 random individuals around campus what they were doing on their phones at that exact moment.

  • 50% were on social media platforms.
  • 40% were messaging.
  • 5% were internet banking.
  • 5% were calling somebody.

This also supports the idea that we are becoming increasingly dependent on technologies and digital devices to interact socially with others. This is what we also found to be quite common amongst our interview subjects.

The idea for this project was also influenced by the paper ‘Are We Becoming More Socially Awkward? An Analysis of the Relationship Between Technological Communication Use and Social Skills in College Students’. The paper explored the ways in which Generation Y has been “confronted with the challenges of growing up in a culture full of novel approaches to communication, thus developing new methods of interactions” (Brown, 2013).

One thing that I would change about the project however would be the amount of posts we were able to achieve. I would have loved to have more stories to share, though this is a possibility in the near future. It would have also been great to get in contact with other university overseas and see how technology has influenced and impacted their own ways of social relationships and the ways in which they are being taught their courses.

All in all, I am quite proud of the digital project we established. I feel as though we have established a platform which not only allows people to witness these stories, but also actively engage with them. The wonders of technology will only continue to develop and I look forward to actively engaging with them throughout the rest of my degree and later career.

Check out Humans of Technology here!

https://instagram.com/tech_humans/

References:

Brown, C. (2013). Are We Becoming More Socially Awkward? An Analysis of the Relationship Between Technological Communication Use and Social Skills in College Students.. [online] Digitalcommons.conncoll.edu.

Available at: <http://digitalcommons.conncoll.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1030&context=psychhp&gt; [Accessed 2 Nov. 2015].

What’s Hidden: A World of Technology and Opportunity

In a world saturated by technology, society has never been so connected. Advancements and new technologic platforms have given individuals an array of opportunities to express themselves and grow, allowing them to live both in the real world and the hidden online and virtual realms of the digital one.

Elizabeth Ellis, 19, is just one of the three billion Internet users who surf the Internet each day and can’t imagine life without it. Through establishing herself on the social media site Tumblr, Elizabeth has been able to connect with other users from all around the world, partaking in events and activism campaigns which would have been impossible to join had she not had access to the Internet. Elizabeth believes “the internet is kind of this hidden realm. We all know it is there, but I don’t think we truly understand the extent of its abilities and potentials.”

Elizabeth explains how the Internet has opened up the opportunity for individuals to join a new type of community; a community which may be considered hidden from that of contemporary societies. “I have so many friends from all over the world. I may not have met them in person, but we are still able to interact and develop relationships through the means of the Internet and technology”, Elizabeth explains.

Youtuber and self-confessed gamer, Samuel Hodges, 22, also agrees that the Internet has opened up many doors for him and his passion for video games. “It’s a really cool thing to be able to connect with people online who share the same interests in gaming that I have. Many of the people I know aren’t gamers, so I love the fact that I am still able to connect with like minded people, regardless of where they are in the world”. Samuel continually seeks refuge from the fast paced nature of the real world by carrying around his Nintendo DS, believing it to be a great escape and a way to delve into another kind of world.

The rise of technologies, most significantly the Internet, continues to redefine traditional society and its inhabitants. In years to come, who knows where these virtual realities will lead us and what kind of doors will be opened for both the real life realities and the hidden online ones alike.

We Are All In This Together: A Reflection

I have now been a blogger for a year and a half, though I can truly say that it wasn’t until this semester that I truly began to understand what it means to hold the title of ‘blogger’. I feel like our tutors have taken us under their wings to refine our skills and now we are being set free into the blogging world. Thank you master. I will try to make you proud.

In all honesty though, I never truly realised the intricacies in the art of blogging. My blog layouts have always been simplistic. I love the colour white (I know, how boring) but to me, the colour white has always been so elegant and classic, elements which I hope will be evident in my future career. I also loved the professional layout of the premium blog that I purchased (I was a WordPress snob and succumb to the pressure to buy a theme, but I have no regrets). I was able to incorporate so many more widgets and customize my site more freely. This was very important to me as I have never liked being stuck within boundaries! I feel that in doing so, I have also made my blog more valuable to readers and as a platform for myself to create a writing portfolio.

One very important addition to my blog was the About page. I had previously not bothered about adding one however I now understand the importance of it. Audiences are able to visit the page and make a judgement of my blog and who I am as its author. The About page also gives my blog personality, a key element to the art of blogging.

Another thing I have loved and found to be very important when blogging is to have personality. Be funny and sassy! Have a laugh! That is the beauty of a blog. We are able to present information and develop thoughts and ideas in fun and interesting ways. I mean, after all this is YOUR blog! Go nuts and have a voice.

Tagging will also be your best friend when attracting audiences to your blog. I have seen my followers grow as I began tagging my posts. This was especially evident in the travel section of my post. I suddenly had travelling blogs follow me and like my posts which was great as I was able to read their content as well, demonstrating the interesting relationship between blogging audiences and bloggers. A tag cloud will also be able to give visitors to your blog a good overview of the themes and topics which are commonly explored on your platform. Through tagging, I have even had one of my posts on female journalists working in the media reblogged by a feminist blog. This was great moment for me as a writer and more importantly as an online blogger!

Through engaging with other students blogs, I was also able to become inspired about what to blog about or read new and interesting ideas I had not previously thought of. This is incredibly important as I believe collaboration is a fundamental element within blogging.

To ensure the successes of your blogs remember who you are writing for. Like George Orwell explains in his essay ‘Politics and the English Language‘ never use a long word where a short one will do. Making your blogs simple and easy to read increases your audience. Never use the passive where you can use the active. Write with purpose. What do you want your readers to take away from reading your blogs. Hyperlinking in your blogs is also a great way of referencing material and for providing your readers with other material that they may wish to engage with.

Conduct research to give your words credibility. This is important in developing a professional and honest relationship with your readers. I also always find it best to use contemporary examples in my posts, to give readers more context about your blogs content or arguments.

One thing which I feel that I must definitely improve on is my presence on Twitter. Personally, I have never enjoyed using Twitter though throughout Media, Audience and Place, I have seen the benefits that it can have in attracting followers and evoking discussions. On my future blogging endeavours I will consciously try to become more active and I mean why not – after months and months of trying, I successfully finally linked my Twitter to my WordPress.

Well I guess this is it. We are all off into the world of blogging and like the ending of any ‘white teen high school movie’ I wish you all the best of luck on this journey! Don’t stop believing and get the party started!

im-officially-blogging-7de98