Although this is my second year as a student in the Bachelor of Communications and Media Studies, and have undertaken blogging for subjects before, I found this task, and its accompanying expectations quite different. When blogging for BCM240, we were asked to remain fully aware that we were writing in the public space. Our words had the potential to be read by people from all over the world. Although I had blogged for previous BCMS subjects, my mindset for blogging had previously been very narrow. Although I was conscious that I was posting my blogs online, I do not believe I was fully aware of what that meant. From the beginning of this writing task, we have been reminded that what we write online, will be entering into the public space. I believe that this newly-realised understanding changed the way I undertook this blogging task, from those I have previously completed in other BCMS subjects.
I have kept the same blog for the past two years, and as such, it remains an archive of all my BCMS work. I have taken the past two years to work on the design and layout of the blog, changing and editing it as I go. At the start of each new semester I see it again with a fresh pair of eyes, and change it to suit the subject. Since first starting my blog, my skills have developed exponentially. I have read countless other blogs to observe different writing styles, blog designs and layouts so as to make my own more appealing and user-friendly. I have categorized my blog posts, which can be seen in the sidebar, so that all of my blogs are divided into relevant subjects. I like this feature because all of the blogs for one subject can be more readily accessed, and read through sequentially. A list of my recent blogs, with links to each one, is also in my sidebar to make navigation around my site easier for readers. My sidebar also contains a live feed of my Twitter activity, so as to link my relevant online profile, as a public writer and researcher for BCM240: Media, Audience, Place.
Although I was carefully writing and editing content, and promoting my blog, I found it honestly difficult to draw more readers in, and make them leave comments. I tried a number of strategies to increase reader engagement. Since blogging for BCM240, I have started using tags on my blog posts. I have enjoyed adding this feature to my blog posts so that it can be found and read by a larger audience, and not just targeted at those in the BCM240 subject. I began doing this to try and boost my readership. Also, to try and achieve this, I posted direct links on my Twitter account to try and draw in readers. I also tried rhetorical questions to spark conversations in the comments below. Even though I had a wider perception of my audience for this task, I found the concept of reader engagement quite difficult. Although I was dedicating so much time and energy to my blog, and employing different strategies, it is honestly difficult to draw readers in, and make them leave comments. I believe that because reader engagement was a stressed component of this task, it became something I was very conscious of. I found myself regularly checking my statistics and looking to see if any comments had been left on my posts. I can honestly say that sometimes I found it disappointing not to receive more attention for my work. This was an interesting revelation to me, and something that I believe, that writers and researchers have to face.
When blogging for BCM240, I found myself writing for a wider audience than I previously intended. I was now writing for a global audience. When previously I had believed my readership to be limited to other BCMS students, I was conscious that what I was writing could possibly be read by people from all around the world. When I began writing with this perspective, I found my writing to become more interesting, and hopefully more engaging to the reader. I took my time on each post, often spending days, or even weeks, working over ideas and words, before being happy with what I had submitted. I included various sources, media and links to provide my readers with a comprehensive understanding of what I was discussing. Because of the time, effort, and word count I included in each individual post, I only managed to publish five blog posts. I would have loved to post at least two if time had permitted. Each topic had so many angles and possible discussions that I would have so many ideas for each topic, and sometimes spend weeks brainstorming and editing. I had more prominent and relevant ideas for some, than others, and decided that I preferred to write fewer blog posts, and dedicate more time and words to those few.
Overall, I have really enjoyed this blogging task. I have found that each time I undertake a new BCMS subject and continue to add to my blog, I learn and grow as a researcher and a writer. This time around, I was more aware of myself as a researcher and a writer in the public space, and the responsibilities that entailed. I was more aware of my writing style, and my editing, and how important these features are when you have the potential for such a large audience. I was made more aware of the impact that personal opinions and theories can have when they are projected in the public space, especially when researching and writing my blog post on Catching and Keeping Attention, in which I discuss the Syrian refugee crisis. I have also learnt that even though, I am just a university student, blogging for an assessment, I am also a researcher and a writer for Media, Audience, and Place, in the public space.
So thank you for joining me on my journey this semester, and I hope you watch this space for more to come.