How Far We’ve Come, and From Here On Out

I am, for the most part, a lurker on social media – sort of. You see, I have an Instagram account, which was originally meant to be my personal account, but it turned into my bunny’s account with a smidge of me. His content is way better than mine could ever be. I mean, just look at him.

His name is Chuck. Seriously check out his page – you won’t regret it.

For this semester, I created No Instructions – a site where I make silly videos of myself trying different things without instructions. I thought this was a fitting theme for this semester since I would also be learning to blog and video edit, without really knowing how to do either of these things. Of course, we have been receiving instructions and help for creating our pages, but I have pretty much been learning to use the video editing software (iMovie and VSDC) without any help or direction.

I enjoyed creating and developing No Instructions this past semester. We were encouraged to think about our online identities, our audiences, how we present ourselves and our sites, web design, monetization, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and much more. While I, eventually, decided that I don’t really care about monetization or maximizing viewership through keywords and SEO, I feel that I put a lot of thought and serious consideration into the site.

This moment from my Turtlebot video really sums it up quite well.

Throughout this semester, I really struggled with figuring out who my page was for. I had initially planned for it to be just for me – my ideas, my adventure. I quickly found that it was hard to maintain that, since at least half of my posts were meant for my class and instructors. Of course, the most obvious thing, too, was that I felt I needed to address someone and that someone would watch my content. This made me think that I should consider these people as I make more posts. Even then, the content I make could attract a variety of people, so that also made it difficult to imagine who these people might be. Anyway, since it was originally for me, I was quite casual in my writing and videos, but this is technically still also considered “school-work,” so figuring out what was appropriate for my posts was somewhat challenging.

After awhile, I concluded that I only wanted this page to be for me anyway. There would just have to be a divide in the tone of my posts – some things (like an academic paper) just couldn’t be made casual to match my own content. Then, whoever watches my videos, watches my videos and it would be nice if they like them for what they are. At the same time, it’s definitely a lot less stressful when I’m not worried about blogging super consistently and checking Google Analytics to see who’s watching and so on.

Because this page was an experiment for me to explore and build something for myself, I also stuck to my guns and decided not to worry about viewership, SEO or monetization. I list these together because they go hand-in-hand; if you’re looking to make money, of course you would also be looking to maximize traffic on your website because that is how you would generate a revenue – SEO is the “‘new age’ marketing technique” according to this article. But I don’t really think that I should monetize my site just because I can (sorry Trevor) – and I probably could through fully transparent affiliate ads – nor do I have any desire to. I also don’t feel the any desire for a following; this is something I realized even in posting Chuck’s photos and videos on Instagram because I could never be bothered to hashtag everything even knowing it would give his page more exposure.

#bunny

To that end, my selfishness in making my page is likely the reason I don’t have much traffic – Google Analytics tells me so. In this sense, perhaps my page has succeeded because my imagined is nobody in particular and my real audience is also nobody in particular. It sounds sad when I put it that way, but I am 100% okay with how things are. It might be fun if I could gain a following, but it’s definitely not something I am going to stress about.

With all this being said, I do have comment boxes open and an e-mail option available for feedback and suggestions. It would be interesting to hear what people think and tackle some challenges that people may come up with! My page certainly has the potential to gain many different types of viewers because the content is random, potentially attracting all sorts of people; so if I do happen to gain some returning viewers, I’m sure I would be happy to cater to them. For now, I will just keep having fun doing whatever I feel like doing!

I did also think about my (potential) audience when changing my theme to create a better user experience. I think we can all appreciate simplicity, clarity, and harmony on a webpage and so I did my best to make it so. I picked a theme to highlight my main content (No Instructions videos) and also decided to make use of the menu to allow for better organization and accessibility. Easy navigation was the main goal of my web design – and I think I managed to do that well enough.

Aside from the usability of my site, I opted to go for a design that was a different from the “flat,” title-centric designs that Travis Gertz argues are too plentiful in modern sites. I think it would make sense for a beginner blogger like me to copy “what works” but, here, I haven’t and it practically yells, “I don’t know what I’m doing!” 🤭 And Travis would be called my page “mediocre,” and we can’t have that, can we?

“Just one of the popular yet mediocre ones plaguing modern screen-based design.” -Travis Gertz

I guess that I have implied that I will continue blogging after this semester ends in saying that “I will just keep having fun doing whatever I feel like doing.” Whether that’s actually true or not… I’m not sure. I think I will – it has been fun. I haven’t been wanting to record lately, so maybe I’ll continue when I feel like being in front of the camera again. I’ll definitely be taking a break over the holidays, at least! Maybe.

I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m okay with it.

References

Bleymaier, T. (2013) On advertising. Retrieved December 1, 2020, from On Advertising (tumblr.com)

Gertz, T. (2015) Design machines: How to survive the digital apocalypse. Louder Than Ten. Retrieved December 1, 2020, from How to Survive the Digital Apocalypse | Louder Than Ten

Hollingsworth, S. (2018) 12 reasons why your business absolutely needs SEO. Retrieved December 1, 2020, from 12 Reasons Why Your Business Absolutely Needs SEO (searchenginejournal.com)

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