Hey, hi, hello!
We’ve made it to the halfway mark of this exercise!
For today’s entry (Friday, 24/3/2017) I’ll be focusing on another platform that I use the most a bit more in depth again. This time it will be Twitter.
Now, I think Twitter is an interesting website – as a microblogging platform, because it definitely isn’t as popular with people that I know like Instagram and Facebook are. While there are countless celebrities on there, a lot of people I know, just don’t get it, and I understand why. I regularly make posts (tweets) everyday, which are all limited to 140 characters. It’s by far the social media site that I author and post the most content to. The limitation of characters also definitely shape the way the site works and how people interact with it as well as each other. There is often a need for abbreviations and shortened slang in order to fit to the character count, and these makes it feel very casual, and far more socially acceptable to post many things one after another – often because you can’t fit it all in one. For example, posting 5 photos on Instagram or making 5 statuses on Facebook in a row are probably going to be seen as more abnormal than making 5 tweets.
Because of the casual nature, as well as less people you often personally know to follow (and following you – note, this isn’t always the case, but it is for most people I know) – there’s a small knit community that interact together, frequently replying to posts that feel a lot closer and less forced than say commenting or receiving a comment on an Instagram photo. For example, I have 1% of the number of followers on Twitter as I do on Instagram – and that’s a conscious decision. I use Twitter on a far more personal and private level, often posting things that I may not want to share with 12 thousand people, but may still want to post online or receive feedback for without directly messaging a single person. It’s also interesting to note that a lot of memes originate from Twitter, and perhaps this casual and often humorous nature could be behind it.
In the past 24 hours I’ve posted 5 original tweets including one photo, and 3 replies to other people. These were all taken, written and posted from my phone on the Twitter app. The photo was not edited at all – unlike my entry about Instagram, where you can see all of my photos are generally edited to fit a theme or aesthetic. This isn’t really present on Twitter. The reasons behind these posts for communication purposes – it’s an easy way to post something for most of my close friends to see. It’s also enjoyable, and a way of documenting thoughts and things that are happening that are written in a way that is usually humorous. Sharing opinions on Twitter, especially about social or political topics is something I did, is easier and more comfortable, because there are less people to start arguments or controversy.
Ways that I consumed media on Twitter – I checked it about 20 times over the hours I was awake. I also liked 12 posts, 4 of which were photos.
Tagging is another basic tool of blogging, on WordPress as well as on other blogging, microblogging and social media platforms.
On WordPress, tagging is used to collate, categorise and describe posts using hashtags on posts, that are placed at the end of a post as a link, which can be clicked on to see all posts with that same hashtag. Considering a lot of blogs have a lot of posts, often spanning years, this is an easy way to find all the posts relating to the topic you’re searching for or interested in viewing on that one blog. For example, for a cooking blog, a hashtag with #entree could be used to check all entree recipe posts. On this blog, a tag cloud is visible at the bottom of the homepage, where you can view all available tags that have ever been used and can be viewed.
As previously mentioned, tagging is also used in other platforms, like Twitter and Instagram. Similar to WordPress, on Instagram, you can also include hashtags in your post, simply by typing a word following the # symbol in the caption, which automatically creates a link that can be clicked on and searched for. Unlike WordPress, this tag links to all posts throughout Instagram that also have that tag, not just your blog/feed. You can also search for tags throughout all of Instagram and all those with that tag will come up, generally more recent first. This can allow more people to view your posts and give you more accessibility and visibility.
Always trying to be as honest and open is important when blogging, because it is something that still separates it from mainstream media, at least for now. With the rise of social media platforms such as Instagram, where paid posts are getting more and more common from bloggers and personalities because of just how wide and accessible it is becoming, it’s good to have a background of ethics to keep you grounded and secure. Lawrie Zion wrote a great piece on the ethics of blogging.
- Be honest about what is opinion
- Don’t plagiarise/use others’ work without permission or correct licensing
- Always give credit where you can!
- Correct any mistakes as soon as you can
- Encourage a conversation/discourse
- Transparency is key
- Remember: once it’s on the internet in the public domain, it’s there forever
- Take responsibility
- Consider what you post and all possible consequences
- Create an online community
As a blogger, copyright is an important aspect of online media. We must be aware of not being able to use other people’s work without written permission, unless it comes under Creative Commons licences (and then we must follow these licences, which may include not being able to change the work, not being able to profit from it, and many more), which also includes embedding material.
RMIT has a resource for copyright on blogging which shows these regulations in a quick easy to follow guide.
Below is an easy guide for how to use Creative Commons
I’ve been following Minimalist Baker (@minimalistbaker on Instagram) for about two years. I used to date a guy that was vegetarian (and eventually vegan) which led me to search for some new cooking and food ideas to try out that weren’t the meat based diet I was used to at the time, and that’s when I discovered it.
I’ve recently become vegan myself and have only just started to get into cooking regularly, and while it’s not technically a vegan blog, all of the posts are plant based, simple recipes that require 10 ingredients or less, 1 bowl or 1 pot or 30 minutes or less to prepare. So I really love that most of the recipes are super easy to replicate, adapt or learn from, especially when experimenting with a different or new diet. The blog itself is also aesthetically pleasing, including great food photography, laid out well, with different categories for recipes including hashtags, through a WordPress blog.
It works well because Dana uses friendly, casual language that is not only easy to follow but also enjoyable to read – she’s established her voice well and consistently over the years she has run it. As the food photographer she also creates engaging and even beautiful images that highlight each recipe, while John handles the technical side of blogging including design, branding and product development (all this info can be found here!).
Dana and John use a range of social media, including personal twitter, Instagram, the blog Instagram (as mentioned previously) to reach a wide audience from these areas. In the past they worked with brands they liked which could also have reached a wider audience, however, they have since stopped that.
For my first blog post I’ll be looking into what is a blog and how they developed, by looking at readings: Jill Walker Rettberg’s Blogging and Adrian Miles’s “Blogs in Media Education: A Beginning.”
As mentioned by Rettberg, the term “blog” originated from the phrase web log, with log coming from traditional nautical navigation, in the way that the chronological entries were written in a logbook, similarly, a blog is generally defined as a web site that has dated entries appearing in reverse chronological order – with the most recent appearing first. It’s also important to note that blogs can be very broad in subject matter – you can find one on almost any topic you can think of. Rettberg also notes that the blog itself can be seen as a medium, containing more specific genres, such as diary style blogging or political blogs. However, it’s also clear that the specific definition of blogs, and even the idea of whether it is a medium or a genre itself, can be somewhat contentious. The term “blog” itself was first used in 1997, and initial blogs from the 90’s were quite different to those of today. Initially, they contained a lot of links in a list format, users had to manually code their blogs through HTML from scratch, before templates and blogging websites began and became popular, like blogger, for example.
From Miles’s article, he draws a similar definition regarding blogs – a web based publication consisting of entries (posts) published in reverse chronological order. Miles writes about the use of blogging in teaching and learning, emphasising the importance of teaching the use of blogs, as something to learn as a post-print medium, as a contribution to contemporary media. Strategies such as ‘seeding’; instructing tasks for students to blog about to get used to the medium, before it’s used actively and for extracurricular means and developing an online identity.
Rettberg, Jill Walker. Blogging. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2008. Print. (p. 4, 17-30)
Miles, Adrian. “Blogs in Media Education: A Beginning.” Screen Education 41 66–69. Print.