Writing and maintaining a blog is no way near as easy as you think. That’s one of the principal things that I learned whilst creating my submitted blog. Finding an audience for my blog was possibly the hardest aspect of this task. However, it was also the most important aspect, as our tutors constantly reminded us of the importance of knowing your audience. So, this reflection is going to describe how I began to learn who I was writing for and how I could create a unique voice for the blogosphere to hear (the search for my audience is still ongoing, as I write this).
The first step in identifying my audience, was identifying what I wanted to write about. In all honesty, choosing what I wanted to write about was very, very easy. Since I was 5, I was always interested in film and have constantly, within my media & communications degree, have tried to shape my assignments so that I can talk about film. Therefore, I did a similar thing with the weekly topics for BCM240, as seen in my “Big Brother/Truman Show” post which was linked to ethnographic research. In addition to this, I felt that it was important that I write in a style that would interest me, as a reader. Therefore, I attempted to almost completely avoid the use of statistics, because as a reader, statistics tend to disengage me (possibly because of my hatred of mathematics). Unfortunately for that particular post, it only received one like, which indicates that it may be a post that may have ‘skimmed over’. However, this hadn’t particularly bothered me as I knew that there is no such thing as ‘overnight success’ when it comes to blogging and every reader has to be earned through your writing. Moreover, I engaged in numerous but brief conversations with an established blogger (http://aopinionatedman.com/) in regards to gaining followers and readers. In fact, I tweeted one of his post to the #bcm240 feed so others can access the tips written by this blogger. It was through reblogging many of his posts that I was able to establish a connection with him and therefore could increase my chances of my blog being exposed to a wider audience.
The next stage in identifying who my audience was revolved around what writing style would be used. As my tutor David Blackhall told my class numerous times “you can use any style that you want, but you must be consistent with it once chosen”. In choosing mine, I felt quite strongly about my blog being somewhere in-between academic and casual. It was important to me that my posts are written with depth and clear research whilst still being personal and relatable for the reader. Blogs that use this style of writing are the ones that I, personally, would be attracted to read and in the end, the most important audience is you. What’s the point of writing something or sharing something if you are not satisfied? Reading over all the posts I have written and posted, I am particularly pleased with the way I have managed to maintain my writing style since week 1.
Carefully conducting my researching and finding my evidence was another important step in identifying who my audience was and also in learning about writing in public in general. As I have previously stated, I have tried to avoid using quantitative research in my work, as this would disinterest me as a reader. Instead, I focused more on qualitative research, as it takes a more observant and analytical approach, rather than statistical. Having said that, in my blog post “watching in the dark: the experience of film with strangers”, I utilised both qualitative and quantitative research in order to argue that online streaming services such as Netflix were affecting cinemas and video stores. Despite not wanting to use quantitative data in my blog, I simply felt that it was unavoidable here and that if I hadn’t used it, it would have affected quite significantly the legitimacy of my argument. However, I also used my preferred form of research, qualitative research, in order to introduce core concepts to my readers which I have learnt about through my research.
Now that I have discussed about the way I have tried to identify my blogging audience through the actual content and establishing connection, I am now going to share how my blog has changed its visual aesthetic to better accommodate the writing style of my blog. Before starting the BCM240 subject, the appearance of my blog was always considered as secondary to the content in other media subjects. Therefore, I never spent much time thinking or considering how the appearance of my blog may compliment or contrast with what I was writing. So previously, my blog’s colour scheme was principally red, white and black and was very striking, hence distracting the reader from the words themselves. Also, whilst looking at my blog in class recently, a classmate rightly noted that the font and the colour made the words very hard to read. So, having taken both thoughts into consideration and having been told by lecturers that we would be assessed on the visual function of the blog as well as what was written, I decided to spend a few hours early this semester to play around with different themes and colour palettes on the wordpress site. After having experimented with three different themes, I finally decided to stick with the simplistic but visually pleasing theme called “twenty twelve” which mainly consists of white and grey. I guess the colours are almost symbolic of the characteristics of the content I try to write: simplistic but insightful.
As I first started writing my blog posts in week 1, I only thought of it as a compulsory task for a compulsory subject. Yet, each week I became more interested in gaining actual readers, as well as reading the blogs of my classmates and as I reflect on the past 7 or so weeks, I realize how much I have gained from this task and how I can further my understanding about how to write for a public audience and find your voice in the blogging community.