Day 1: Embarking on the Journey of Analysing my Online Media Habits

As a typical millennial, the first thing I did this morning was check my social media notifications. I made my way through every platform; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest, checking up on what I’d missed overnight. Majority of what I looked at was posts from friends, vegan videos and photos as well as some posts from celebrities that I follow. This morning I got particularly engrossed in a Tumblr page talking about and critiquing celebrity PR strategies. On the way to university I spent my time on the train messaging friends using both messenger and snapchat, catching up with them and also communicating about where we will meet when we arrive in the city. I also utilised Spotify to listen to music on the train, listening to an album by the band Holy Holy. A large portion of my time online once I got home was spent on Youtube, watching a range of videos from my subscription box. Before bed it is also part of my routine to check my social media one last time. I did the same rounds as in the morning, checking Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr before shutting off my phone and going to bed.

While I didn’t post any content online today I did take a few photos from around the city, using my iPhone with the intention of uploading these to Instagram eventually. I didn’t post these however as I tend to plan out and schedule all of my posts to make my Instagram look more clean and professional.

I also liked and commented on many posts today and therefore distributed these to a wider audience. One thing that I liked on Facebook was a video relating to a campaign aiming to educate and bring awareness to the objectification of women. This topic is one of high importance to me so liking it and sharing my support for the campaign felt necessary. Similarly, I also liked many vegan/animal related posts on both Facebook and Twitter for this same reason. On Tumblr I spent time reblogged many posts which were mainly artsy photography type photos and quotes. Through reblogging these I further distributed them, utilising them to curate my Tumblr blog, giving it the aesthetic that I desire.

As I said most of my time online was spent watching Youtube videos and I did this in an attempt to gain inspiration for my own content. I too create videos on a regular basis so seeing what other people are doing and how they’re creating and curating their thoughts is not just entertaining but also helps inspire and shape my content. The videos I watched were the artsy/creative type videos such as this one by Arden Rose and this one by one of my good friends Alex Miotto. I also showed my appreciation for these videos by giving them a thumbs up and commenting my thoughts on them.

Historical context of tagging

A tag is keyword or term that describes a blog post, in this context, allowing it to be found through browsing or searching. It is usually a word or phrase personally chosen by the blogger who generally has their own system of tagging that they follow.

The idea of tagging has been around since before the twentieth century, pre-dating computers. In this context tagging referred to the categorisation of papers and edge notched cards (an obsolete information storage technology). It was also used in libraries from the 1930s to help sort and categorise books. However, the tagging we know today became apparent through the invention of the World Wide Web. Early websites and databases created tagging as a way to browse and find content that they required. In 2003 a social bookmarking site called ‘Delicious’ started allowing its users to tag their bookmarks in an effort to simplify the process of finding them in the future. A few years later Flickr introduced tagging to its service, allowing the tagging of photos which helped to make the content posted highly searchable. The user-friendly nature of tagging then allowed it to become highly popular, with many sites then introducing it such as Youtube and Technorati. Following these introductions it then became a huge part of online categorising and searching, simplifying the process or sorting and browsing content.

More Information about Tagging

Blogging Checklist Tag

Audio Link:

Embedding audio into blogs works in a very similar way to embedding video however instead of using video platforms such as Youtube or Vimeo, it is much easier to use an audio platform such as Soundcloud. Soundcloud is an online music library where artists can share their work (which is usually lesser known music) with an audience. Many of these artists allow creators to use their work through the use of creative commons licenses. This means that as long as their requirements are met, bloggers and other creators can embed or use their work in projects of their own. Below is a song I found by the artist Jonathan Mann who shares his music under the attribution Creative commons license. I therefore have the ability to embed this into the post as long as I attribute his work by acknowledging him as the original artist.

Song by Jonathan Mann — I Won’t Lock it Down

Creative Commons License

 

Video Entry – Using Videos under Creative Commons License

One of the easiest ways to embed videos into a blog is to upload them externally through a website like Youtube or Vimeo and simply link this to your blog post. This makes the process extremely easy and readers then have the ability to watch the video directly from the blog post. It is important to remember that you have permission to embed every piece of video on your blog, through either taking them yourself, utilising creative commons licenses or through having direct permission from the original creator of the work.

Here is an example of embedding videos into text posts utilising a piece of footage I took of the beach whilst in Hawaii…

Creative Commons License

Video by Alyssa Crawley

Interface Drawing Exercise

The interface of a blog refers to its theme and the elements that help differentiate a blog from any other website. Firstly blogs have a header. This is displayed at the top of the blog and remains the same on every page. It is usually customised to state the title of the blog and has menu options to navigate around it. These are likely to have been created to give context to the blog, allowing visitors to easily identify what blog they’re on and what it will be about. They are able to easily move throughout the blog in a simple manner using the menu that generally accompanies the header.

The footer is similar to the header in that it remains the same on every page of the blog however it is instead displayed at the end of each post or page. It includes links to other posts, categories and can also include external links, such as those linking to the blogger’s social media sites. This too was likely created to help visitors navigate their way around the blog, whilst also allowing them to go further into the blog and read more posts by easily and visibly linking alternative posts or pages that they can visit.

The post section is generally displayed beneath the header and this is where everything posted by the blogger goes. This is the most basic element of the interface and must be displayed on all blogs otherwise there would be nothing to read.

Finally, the sidebar is, as you would imagine, located on the side of the interface, generally next to the top of the first post. The sidebar again helps readers to navigate the blog and includes things like archives, recent posts, a search bar and in the case of my blog a ‘follow me’ button. The sidebar was likely to have been created to make it easier for readers to find posts from a particular time or on a particular topic. They would have otherwise had to scroll through the entire blog to find the post they want to read but this process is much simpler due to the sidebar.

Here is a rough sketch of the interface of my blog, showing the placement of all the elements discussed in this post.

interface drawing.jpg

Ethics and Online Media

Ethics in online media and blogging is so important. We must consider that we are working in a public, online space where everyone is able to view our work. This not only means that we have to consider what we say about people, topics or companies but we must also protect ourselves from things such as hate comments and trolls.

Managing spam is very important and through the use of a plugin, such as Akismet, we are able to ensure that visitors to our blog are not distracted or influenced by negative or unnecessary comments. There is also the possibility that people may not agree with our opinions or may simply leave hate comments in an attempt to gain a reaction from us. Therefore it is important to monitor our comments and ensure that nothing left on our page is negative or offensive towards both us and anyone else. Racist, Homophobic and sexist content should not be present on the blog as it can work to ruin our reputation as we enter the professional world.

More info on ethics 

 

 

Copyright and Creative Commons Licensing

Copyright is a form of property that claims the creator of a piece of work. It is immediate and lasts for the creator’s life plus 70 years. You can be copyrighted for Literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works as well as sound recordings, cinematic films, broadcasts and published editions of works. Copyrighted images can be used by anyone as long as the requirements from the creators are met. If you don’t know the requirements set by the original creator then you should not use the work. Alternatively you could instead link the image rather than embedding it.

One way to use a copyrighted piece of work is through Creative Commons licensing. This is used when someone creates a piece of work that they are happy for people to use but don’t want to have to grant individual permission to everyone who wants to use it. Through meeting the requirements of the original creator of the work, such as attribution, non-commercial, no derivatives and share alike people are then able to use this work in the same way as I have done below…

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Photo by Herry Lawford

Creative Commons License:

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

 

Blogs as Online Diaries (What is a Blog and where did they come from?)

I have always thought of blogs as a form of online journaling where people share their experiences, opinions and wisdom with a group of followers. This audience interacts with the blogger’s posts allowing them to start or even continue a conversation between this small community. This observation fits well with the format of early blogs which were typically used as online journals where people would share aspects of their life with their following.

Blogs were first used following the introduction of the World Wide Web, invented by Tim Berners-Lee, in 1990. Back then they were called ‘weblogs’. This term derived from the word ‘log’, formerly referring to ship logs and the word ‘web’, referring to their place in the online world. This phrase was then further shortened to ‘blog’ in 1997 by Peter Merholz whose blog, PeterMe, featured very essayistic posts, similar to those in which we would see today.

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