“There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told” – Lena Dunham
The above quote from one of my idols, Lena Dunham, is so deeply motivating in my blogging career, because it gives me purpose and pride that I’m sharing my voice on my small blog, in the big wide world of the blogosphere. Prior to taking BCM240: Media Audience and Place, I had been blogging for approximately 1.5years and have been attempting to steadily grown my readership. Blogging is something I find relaxing, entertaining, challenging and exciting all at the same time and that’s why I’ve been attempting to grow beyond blogging as a Communications student, to, well… a blogger. I feel that whilst this subject required me to be blogging as a student, considering various perspectives and values placed on the complex relationships between media and audience, it also really pushed me to think of life beyond university and how I want to be perceived in the blogosphere. So I really focused on three areas, content, growth and inspiration. Through workshops, class discussions and countless hours trying to get that Twitter widget to work, I feel like I’m at a place with my blog that I’m not only happy with it, but maybe even a little bit proud.
Content. The most enjoyable part of blogging for BCM240 were the connections I made and strengthened, allowing me to produce some of my most valuable content. For my first several posts, I worked closely with my Grandad, as he told me beautiful stories from his childhood and memories when he was my age. As we explored the difference between collaborative and reciprocal ethnographic research, I attempted to engage in a collaborative approach. Whilst collaborative research requires a lot of time and attention, I feel that Grandad and I definitely worked together to explore various issues regarding the media and audience. I personally feel that senior citizens are generally overlooked in media research and deemed as people who are technologically handicapped. However I feel that there’s people out there like my Grandad who’s smashing this stereotype. Not only is this group of people, well connected technologically, but they’re also very aware and have genuine concerns regarding the role that technology and the media have in our lives. (To read a guest post by my Grandad, click here).
Growth. A way that I’ve found brings a lot of traffic to my site is to read and comment on other people’s blogs. Some of the spikes in views I’ve had were on days that I didn’t even post anything, but spent time commenting on blogs (and always including a URL to my blog at the end). I’ve found that by doing this I’m engaging much more with the blogging community and other like-minded bloggers. Also by doing this with other BCM240 blogs and students, it forms a great sense of community in the subject.
One of the toughest things that I had to overcome with my blog was its layout and design. However, A Beautiful Mess definitely offered some inspiration and thoughtful suggestions regarding layout and design. I absolutely loved the theme I previously had, however its primary focus was on my photographs and not my content or plugins I’ve embedded in my blog (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Bloglovin etc). After some umming and ahhing I decided to bite the bullet and endeavour on a near impossible journey to find the perfect theme. Whilst it’s still not perfect, I’m so much happier with the light colours, the side-bars which encourage interaction and the ease of navigation. I hope this will assist in the growth of my blog by being more interactive and engaging to readers.
Social media is a great way to connect with people all across the world with the click of a button. I’ve read countless articles about blog growth, however Heidi Cohen offers great advice on how to utilise social media for your blog. In June I created a Facebook page for my blog that has been steadily growing. I felt that this was a better way to share A Worldly Addiction, rather than constantly making status’ on my own personal profile. Through analysing my statistics, Facebook is my primary contributor to traffic. I also have an Instagram account for A Worldly Addiction (@aworldlyaddiction) that I’ve really enjoyed growing. At the moment, it’s very small and I’m still learning all the tricks to Instagram but it’s incredibly enjoyable and rewarding. I currently just have my personal Twitter account linked with A Worldly Addiction because I have to purposely and actively remember to use Twitter, so whilst I’m getting in the habit of doing so, I’ll just stick with my personal Twitter account (@missaaadelaide). great platform that I also use to share my blog and discovers others is Bloglovin.
The following link also gave me 101 Ideas on how to generate traffic to your blog.
Inspiration. Inspiration is all around us, especially in the Blogosphere. There are a few blogs in particular that I’ve been particularly inspired by and look to for guidance and how to’s. Firstly, my favourite, World of Wanderlust. You only need to look here to find how much I absolutely love her blog. And then there’s Secret Bloggers Business, who’s free ebooks are filled with useful blogging tips and tricks. I feel that once I am inspired, I’m more driven and focused. Kaufman also argues that ‘inspiration is the springboard for creativity and can increase wellbeing’ (Kaufman, 2011).
Eat. Sleep. Blog. Repeat. I know I have a long way to go in my blogging career, however it’s something I’m passionate about and absolutely love doing so I’m prepared to put in the hard yards to make that happen. I feel that BCM240 has contributed the greatest amount of practical advice, guidance and encouragement with my blog and also helped my professional networking ability. I have also explored various aspects of the intricately complex relationship between the media and us as the audience. And this is all so relevant to myself as a blogger. I don’t just jump onto WordPress and write a blog in one hit. I have 10 other tabs open, I’ve always got my phone within reach and sometimes even have the TV on. And this situation would resonate with many people reading this. The Centre for Media Literacy says that ‘studying the media helps us understand ourselves and other,’ and I feel this is the epicentre of BCM240 and the key to a successful blog.
And before I go… Here’s some of my fave BCM240 blogs that I’ve stumbled across this past session.
The Blogger Life, What Happened to the family? by Eloise Neto looks at the role that parents play in influencing their child’s media behaviour, and that to avoid isolation and relationship issues, they must decide on a common ground for technology use.
Madeline Burkitt, by (you guessed it) Madeline Burkitt, is filled with not only media related ideas, but also various others, making it a great place to explore some of the thoughts and perspectives she has. I especially liked her post, The NBN in the home: an opportunity for some, as she highlights that this type of media research is crucial because it is so embedded in our lives, we must understand it!
A Beautiful Mess, 2012, Blog Layout: 10 Simple Tips, A Beautiful Mess, 3 July, http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2012/07/10-blog-layout-tips.html
Cohen, H 2013, 25 Tactics to promote your blog via Facebook and Twitter, Heidi Cohen, 14 April, http://heidicohen.com/25-tactics-to-promote-your-blog-via-facebook-and-twitter/
Ewer, T n.d, 101 Simple Ways to Increase Website Traffic, Graph Paper Press, https://graphpaperpress.com/blog/101-simple-tips-increase-website-traffic/
Kaufman, S 2011, Why Inspiration Matters, Harvard Business Review, 8 November, https://hbr.org/2011/11/why-inspiration-matters
Worsnop, C n.d, 20 Important Reasons to Study the Media, The Centre for Media Literacy, http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/20-important-reasons-study-media