Week 12: Community Guidelines

The following community guidelines for Shaponders are set in place to protect the Pondering community. Comments will be monitored before they are approved by myself. Any inappropriate comments will be deleted and the commenter will be blocked immediately. Non relevant comments will also not be approved in order for discussions to remain on topic and relevant. This website is a safe space for my audience to interact with me, my content and with those of similar interest. I encourage you to converse amongst yourselves in the comments section so that we can build a strong community.

Community Guidelines:

  • Do not post abusive or discriminatory comments.
  • Do not promote anything in the comments sections.
  • Do not argue with others in the comments. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
  • No name calling or attacking in the comments section.
  • No hate will be tolerated in the comments section.

Violating any of these community guidelines will result in the violator being blocked from this website.

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Week 10: “Oh no it’s Monday!”

This week in class, we had to think about how we post content differently on various social media platforms. We were then asked to come up with a #fourwordcauseofdeath. In this post I talk about how expressed my four words on Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. I chose not to post on Facebook and therefore will not be mentioning it below. I have now come up with “Oh no it’s Monday”!

Twitter:

On Twitter I used a gif to express my annoyance with Mondays because the weekend is over, and I have to make sure all my assignments are done for when they’re due and I have to get up early for my classes. The gif I used is from Gilmore Girls – a Netflix show and it’s a scene where Loralai is expressing how she doesn’t like Mondays when conversing with Luke.

Oh no it's Monday tweet

Snapchat:

On Snapchat, I used a filter to create a cute/ sad face to express to close friends that I was trying to portray that I was upset about it being a Monday. Snapchat is a place where I don’t try to appear too serious. I hardly use Snapchat because I’ve moved on to Instagram stories. Sending personal snaps to my friends isn’t something I usually do. They are posted directly to my story, so doing this felt a little odd. I also felt the need to extend the “nooo” because I felt silly adding the phrase I had chosen without it looking a little more dramatic.

Instagram:

On Instagram, I posted a picture of Macarons that I had taken last week for Macaron day and didn’t end up posting. I then added the quote, “Oh hello week” that I found on Pinterest. This expressed that I was ready for the week. On Instagram I felt the need to be more positive as I don’t want to appear as a negative person. That’s not my brand. I then ended it off with #myfourwordcauseofdeath and #ohnoitsmonday

Let me know what your #fourwordcauseofdeath are in the comments section!

-Shazia xx

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Week 9: What Google Analytics Has to Say

My findings in Google Analytics allowed me to see that most, if not all of my website’s audience is North American. This means that even though I’m an international student, I have to cater to my audience who are most likely North American and may not be able to relate to International student related content. The audiences were from Canada, America and Peru. To me this is quite surprising because I am Tanzanian and I know for a fact that I’ve asked some individuals in Tanzania to take a look at my sight and give me feedback. This does not seem to have been recorded by Google Analytics and therefore makes me feel as though I should not trust all the data Google Analytics is providing to me. Does Google Analytics only record data from activity taking place in North America? It does not feel like a credible source.

Also, according to Google Analytics, readers mostly go to the site on days that I post. This means that in order to drive traffic to my site more frequently throughout the week, I need to spread out my posts throughout the week. I can post on Mondays and Wednesdays if I’m only putting two posts out or Monday, Wednesday and Friday when I have a third post to put up. Furthermore, it seems as though when I mention the posting on Instagram, it seems as though more individuals come from there. Therefore I should keep promoting posts on my Instagram account as well as on Facebook because it seems as though despite me not posting on that platform, readers are also being driven from there. This could allow me to get more visitors and views to my site, allowing me to be able to activate my Google AdSense.

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Week 8: Monetization

According to Ad Sense, this blog needs to have posts with more words so that they can get a gist of the type of ads that would be appropriate for it. Apparently multi media posts are not considered when Google ads decide to approve a blog for monetization. This means that I am going to have to produce more wordy posts, which I am okay with doing, even though in my opinion I find them to be quite boring and I probably won’t re read ever. Do I want to monetize this blog? Of course I do. Nobody puts in effort into something without expecting a beneficial outcome. I should also put up posts more frequently if I expect to make more than a cent if even that.

Personally I think blogs are dying out in the same way as magazines are dying out. I’m taking a course – PUB 375, which is about magazines. Designing it, the costs of publishing it etc. The most important thing I’ve learnt from this course so far is that I do not want to work for a magazine. I once wanted to become an editor for some magazine, any magazine after I wrote a post for the SFU OLC/ Engage blog. People do not want to read if they don’t have to. I too hate reading after taking all the communication courses I’ve taken so far. Approximately 30 pages for 2-3 reading per week per course are no joke and no fun. I would much rather watch a 60-minute video per week for each course. This is why I believe that blogs are dying out, just like magazines.

-Shazia xx

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Week 6: Changes in design

I received some really great feedback from Theona about my website. She mentioned that she would like to see some variety in the mediums I use in my posts. I did make a post using gifs a few weeks ago – 5 Things Only International Students Can Relate To. I found that it was a lot of fun picking the gifs and I plan to make more posts with only gifs.

As for my social media only appearing on the ‘about’ page, I have now changed it to appear on the side bar of every post. It will however not be on the homepage as I have yet to figure out whether I want it to appear there or not. I was also thinking of adding my Pinterest page to my blog as this could allow readers to see the various things I’m interested in and get to know me better that way.

I am currently working on changing my main page picture as Theona mentioned that it does not fit well with what my blog it about. I originally selected it because I thought it gave off a cozy feel and described me as a person, however I would agree that I could pick a better picture that is clearer and stands out.

Theona also mentioned that I should have pictures on all the posts or have none at all on the homepage. I decided to remove the pictures from appearing on my homepage and I think it looks more put together and professional. I want to keep the homepage as simple as possible.

 

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Essay 1 – Is Social Media the Enemy?

Is Social Media the Enemy?

The argument of whether social media provides credible information or news to its users has been a debated question for many. Social media platforms such as Facebook have provided individuals the outlet to share news and stories with their friends instantly whilst Twitter allows individuals to report live from one’s own perspective. Social media has also had negative impacts on users as articles that are shared often appear to be credible, but in reality are fake news and have no credible sources to prove that their information is real. Unfortunately not everyone who reads the news from these platforms go to the extent of source checking to verify whether what they are reading is true or not.

Social media has had a huge impact on young individuals as it allows them to take part in conversations regarding social issues. It has allowed them to become aware of global issues that mainstream media choose not to reveal to the world, such as people of colour being harassed by people in power positions in America. Posting in “real time” has allowed millennials to spread news quickly and effectively while also being able to be a part of the process of informing others of what is going on around the world. According to the article – New Study Finds Social Media Shapes Millennial Political Involvement And Engagement, millennials are interested in getting involved in spreading awareness of various social issues across the world. They feel the need to be a part of the process of being able to spread important news instantly (Fromm, 2016). Social media platforms allow them to feel more involved in politics and this encourages them to take a stand in the conversations taking place. Millennials believe that it is important to work together with others online and have collaborative conversations about social issues in order to overcome them (Fromm, 2016).

Unfortunately seeing news stories that are upsetting or worrying to some individuals on social media appear to have negative impacts on their well-being. According to an article by the Pew Research Centre, news articles often portray individuals such as political leaders or candidates in a negative manner. This causes readers to either change their perspectives about the individuals or angers them because the articles portray them in a way they believe to be false (Anderson, 2016).

Seeing unsettling news frequently appears to be taking a toll on social media users and therefore many are limiting the time they spend on these platforms. According to the article – ‘Post-election stress disorder’ strikes on both sides by CNN, the number of individuals seeking therapy to talk about political issues in the United Stated has increased significantly, especially within minority groups. Since Donald Trump became president of the United States, all media outlets have been reporting concerning news about the policies Trump has put into place and his future plans for the country. The Muslim ban was extremely scary for many individuals, as they could not get back to their country or their lives. The President’s open discrimination towards minority groups has created anxiety, as their safety is uncertain in a country they consider to be their own (Gold, 2017). Seeing headlines about Donald Trump on social media is extremely stressful for many as it is uncertain as to what new threatening policies he will implement on his citizens next.

According to Gold (2017), individuals reported that they find it difficult to maintain social relationships with those whose opinions differ to their own ones. Social media users often share news stories or comment on news articles they agree with or disagree with, which allows their friends and family to see what their point of view is about certain issues. Those who see Donald Trump as being a fit President also report on having negative experiences when supporting him on social media (Gold, 2017). They experience harassment because their opinions threaten and offend individuals whose opinions differ to theirs. Conflicting opinions about serious cases such as banning individuals from entering their own country are leading individuals to end relations because they feel discriminated by people they know and thought cared about them.

Despite the negative impacts of using social media as a news source, users believe that social media is allowing them to communicate with political leaders more effectively. According to an article by The Washington Times on How social media gives public opinion wings, the reporter mentions that individuals from across the world can reach political leaders through Twitter regarding specific issues. Political leaders are also able to post about certain topics and review the responses from users instantly, without having to hire individuals to run polls which can be time consuming and expensive (Weissmann, 2016).

In conclusion, social media proves to have both negative and positive impacts on users regarding news consumption. Seeing negative stories about what is going on around the world constantly on social media is unsettling for many. Fake news circulating on users profiles also makes individuals question what the truth really is and where to find it. Despite all the negativity, there have been some positive outcomes from information that is spread through social media. Individuals are able to share stories more easily and efficiently. Awareness is being created about topics that may not have been discussed otherwise and individuals are coming together from all over the world to seek the truth behind stories that may have otherwise been buried by news outlets.

 

References

Anderson, M. (2016, November 7). Social media causes some users to rethink their views on an issue. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/07/social-media-causes-some-users-to-rethink-their-views-on-an-issue/

Fromm, J. (2016, June 22). News Study Finds Social Media Shapes Millennial Political Involvement And Engagement. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jefffromm/2016/06/22/new-study-finds-social-media-shapes-millennial-political-involvement-and-engagement/#6724df1e2618

Gold, J. (2017, February 20). ‘Post-election stress disorder’ strikes on both sides. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2017/02/20/health/post-election-stress-partner/index.html

Weissmann, S. (2016, September 12). How social media gives public opinion wings. Retrieved from https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/sep/12/how-social-media-gives-public-opinion-wings/

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Week 5: My Imagined Audience

So far, I imagine my audience to consist of individuals within the age rage of 18- 25. As a 20 something year old, I have tried to create content that relates to individuals of my age group. I have also created a separate Instagram account to go with this blog as I believe Instagram is the most popular social media platform currently and is used by a diverse range of audiences. So far I believe my posts are appealing to Vancouver foodies, especially those who enjoy going to various coffee shops. I imagine my future audience to also consist of students, especially East African (International) students as they may be able to relate to my thoughts and be interested in topics that I chose to post about.

I have chosen to give my blog a clean, Instagram like feel to it. The posts on the home page are designed to be in small boxes in the same way as one’s Instagram feed. I don’t want by blog to look boring and therefore I have tried to incorporate fun pictures into every post. I also want to try to put together a video post at some point as I feel as though individuals my age prefer consuming content through videos or podcasts.

Shazia xx


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Peer Review #2

For my second peer review, I was partnered with Theona Kennett. At first glance, her blog appears to be modern and clean. The banner at the top of her website is eye catching and looks very professional. Scrolling down I noticed that all her posts are in a list form, which is good because it’s easy to navigate. The content however appears to be very wordy and could do with a few pictures. A lot of her posts are extremely long, essay type posts, which can become a little tedious for the reader. I think that having various mediums could allow this blog to stand out to a wider range of audiences. As for the about section, It’s short, simple and yet gives an insight to who she is. Again adding a picture of herself could make this post more personal and allow the reader to feel as though they are really getting to know her.

Navigating through this website I was a little confused as to what some of the categories meant. I think that Theona could have clearer words for them. I wasn’t sure what the “blog” category was for as her website is her blog. I think that she could have ‘photography’ as a category on it’s own instead of being under the ‘other’ category as this could become a significant part of her blog. Also, ‘Photography’ and ‘Intrigue’ have no posts, therefore I can only assume that photography will feature her work, however I’m not sure as to what she has in store for “Intrigue.” She could perhaps remove the unused categories for the time being and add them once she has content for them.

I noticed that her side bar featured her Instagram and you can clearly see some of her feed. I thought this was looked great as it added some colour to the page and allowed her audience to have easy access to view her chosen social media platform as well as follow her directly from her website. By seeing Theona’s Instagram account, followers can get a better insight of the person who’s work they are reading or seeing. The article ‘searching for a public of their own‘ gives an insightful idea about building one’s “public” or audience for their blog or any other platform. Allowing the reader to see Theona’s social media account can also allow audiences to further make the decision as to whether they wish to follow her blog or not. If she chooses to link her blog to her Instagram account, she can also drive the type of readers she wants to her blog from there using popular hashtags.

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Week 4: Reflecting on a website

In this post I will be reflecting on the choices I have made on my website and comparing them to another website that I visit often. I will compare their similarities and differences.

Netflix layout:

A website I visit frequently is Netflix.com.The website appears to be gender neutral, with a range of TV shows and movies suggested to the user. The suggested shows seem to be catered to the individual signed in according to what genre of things they watch. The shows I have currently been watching appear in the first row right under the trailer of a suggested tv show. I find these trailers to be distracting and quite annoying, however they can be useful sometimes when I have nothing left to watch. The shows all appear in boxes in picture form so the user does not need to put in a lot of effort when trying to figure out what to watch.

Netflix

Sha ponders layout:

I wanted a similar format for my blog, a simple way of navigating posts and that is why I changed my theme to the current one. Now all the blog posts appear in small squares under the blog’s banner. Seeing the content in small boxes is convenient and less time consuming. Pictures can conveniently summarize posts and provide a summary of what type of content to expect on a website. It can also provide an overall feel that the writer is trying to create. If you see lots off food pictures, you can tell that it is a food blog.

Sha ponders screenshot

-Shazia xx.

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Week 3: Mapping out Sha Ponders

This weeks process post exercise is to map out my website. Since changing the theme of my website to what it is currently, My website name sits in the top left corner. The categories food, travel, lifestyle and pub101 are located on the top right hand corner of the page. My pub101 posts are all conveniently placed  in the drop down menu, making it easy to find. all the posts are also right under the website’s banner which makes the site visually pleasing to look at and gives it an Instagram like feel to it.

mapping site picture

I chose to install Instagram and created an account – shaponders because I want to keep my pub101 assignments off of my personal Instagram account. I also think that having an Instagram account for my blog will allow me to market my blog more easily as Instagram is the most used social media platform at the moment. Individuals prefer looking at pictures rather than reading posts as it’s quicker and more convenient. I plan on uploading to this Instagram account frequently and making it aesthetically pleasing to look at, but also using the same colour schemes as those used on my website.

I believe that Instagram is the one social media platform that has taken control of my attention. I’m scrolling through my feed every spare second that I get throughout my day. Sometimes I’m on it for hours, just mindlessly scrolling, looking at pictures of cute dogs (mostly golden retrievers and samoyeds), angry cats, pandas and so on. Like Craig Modd, I too want my attention back, however I don’t think I have it in me to follow the “reasonable” rules that he has set for himself. These include turning off the internet before going and then turning it back on until after lunchtime. As an international student, I need my internet at all times to keep in touch with my parents. The internet for many of us isn’t a luxury, but a necessity. For me it’s not about being able to check my Facebook feed every couple of minutes. It’s about being able to Facetime my mum when I’m feeling anxious or just homesick.

Personally I don’t believe that I can have my life back by setting strict rules about giving up the Internet, however I can follow more “reasonable” rules or boundaries such as putting my phone away when in class or not checking my social media when getting homework/ assignments done.

Let me know in the comments section below what your thoughts are on social media. Does it consume your life too, and how do you deal with it?

-Shazia xx.

 

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