Week 6: Reflection #2

Post your responses to Reflection 2 directly as a comment on this post, just as you did with Reflection 1.

Reflection 2

Your first formal reflection for this course helped you to develop a blog topic. In this reflection, you’ll reflect on how blogging has affected your thinking and writing so far, and you’ll identify longer-term goals based on your blogging experience.

You may use the following questions to spur your reflections, but you don’t have to answer every question. You may address each question individually or synthesize your thoughts into a cohesive essay about your experience in this course. In either format, your finished reflection should be about 500 words.

  • What one or two specific aspects of your blog are you most proud of this semester, and why? How can you build on these successes in the future of your blog?
  • What was your favorite, or most successful, post? What made it especially successful?
  • What was your most challenging, or least successful, post? What made it especially challenging, and how might you address similar challenges in future posts?
  • Remember the values statement you wrote on the first day of class. How have you endeavored to reflect specific values identified in that statement in your blog? Which values do you see less reflected in your blog? How might you deepen your commitment to those values in your future blogging?
  • How has your blogging impacted your writing in other settings (academic writing, social media, e-mail…)? How has your blogging impacted your reading in those same settings?
  • What are the most important lessons you’ve learned about visual rhetoric (document design, image use, photography…)?
  • After reading various blogs and creating your own, how has your understanding of evidence changed? In the blogipelago, what is good evidence? What is bad evidence? How will you evaluate the evidence you find linked in blogs?
  • What value do you see your blog contributing to the lives of your readers? In what directions do you envision taking the blog in the future?
  • Summarize your learning from the course in the form of a microblog post…

on Instagram (describe what you’d take a picture of):

on Twitter or Facebook:

on a different platform, and why:

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Published by

swbeal

I am a lecturer for the Sweetland Center for Writing and the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan.

18 thoughts on “Week 6: Reflection #2”

  1. The experience of running a blog, for me, has been both exhilarating and exhausting at the very same time. The one value that I wrote about was the characteristic of “compassion,” and when your blog is about meeting strangers online, compassion is something that either hits you hard and right in the face or it may be like a needle in a haystack: painstakingly impossible to find, and when you do find it, it might poke you a little. However, this blog has definitely taught me compassion, whether or not the people I meet possess that quality themselves. I’ve learned to be extraordinarily patient with people, to try to understand why they are one this site, what they want from me and our conversation, and how I can help them achieve this. Essentially, compassion and understanding are two of the most integral qualities that I need to acquire in order to even attempt to write one of my blog posts.

    I think one of my most successful posts would have to be my posts titled “Stassie,” not only did I meet someone who is exceptionally intriguing and profound, I also did a terrific amount of research. I looked into the things Stassie was telling me about, where she was from, her hobbies, and this greatly shaped the way in which I both perceived her and also shaped the way in which I angled my post on her and her life. My most challenging post was definitely “Jake.” I had writers block for over two weeks paired with the trouble of not meeting anyone who I deemed “interesting.” I believe this be my own fallacy as I was comparing everyone to Stassie, who was an archaeologist from Italy that was digging up ancient Hindu artifacts in order to discover the roots of Indian heritage. Like I said, extremely cool, but I realized that the odds of me finding someone like this were slim to none, so I decided to get off my high horse, and give others a shot, as everyone had a story or something interesting about them, whether they know it or not. So after I grappled with this challenge, I began to find my groove again.

    I would hope that my blog would encourage readers to use their social media outlets as not just a way to find the best memes, because as important as they are, social media is also one of most vital tools that allows us to connect to other people. Perhaps reach out to that girl you follow on Instagram who you think has really cool clothes, or message that really funny twitter account that you follow, because you never know who you will meet and what they have to say. It is incredible, that this day in age, out of the 7 billion people, 6 billion people have access to mobile phones; that is greater than the amount of people who have toilets! Somewhere out there, there is someone just wanting to have a conversation with you. They may be in Australia, Italy, India, or wherever, and they might even teach you something about yourself, themself, or the world.

    I hope to continue with this blog, but I might not update it regularly, as I know this upcoming summer is going to be a whole load of chaos. However, I think that this blog helps me escape from a world of academic writing that carries a lot of restriction, and therefore, allows me to enter a different world where there are much less rules and a vast amount of freedom; and I think I might like to stay in that world just a little while longer.

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  2. Throughout the course of this class, I’ve really been able to learn a lot and improve my writing skills in ways I never assumed that I would. In addition, it has opened up a whole new world of literature of which I had never been exposed to previously; blogs were never really a big interest of mine until now. There’s parts of my blog that I’m proud of and other parts that have been a challenge, but overall, I’m thankful for the opportunity to expand my writing skills and general knowledge of blogging.
    In the first class, when we wrote our value statements, I wrote that honesty and inclusion, as well as professionalism were three things I valued most. Before this course, I had only ever written academically, and being a philosophy and politics student, all my writings were all very professional and structured. My blog really taught me to come out of the shell of professional writing and explore a more colloquial tone. I learned that this style of writing does not need to be unprofessional while still not holding that rigid feeling that a professional writing style holds. Over the past few weeks writing this blog, I’ve developed a newfound appreciation for more laid back writing styles such as this because it really allows the writer to relate to the writing and the readers, and I learned that adding personal anecdotes or stories really fostered the relationship between writer and reader. Honesty and inclusion have been something that I was really able to showcase in my blog and the colloquial tone really helped me to do so. I was able to be truly honest with my readers by sharing my personal experiences and I think the way I went about explaining my relationship with cooking and how I like to do it helped my blog to feel more inclusive, as well.
    The parts that I’m most proud of in my blog are my tone as well as my visual aesthetic. As stated previously, this was a new style of writing for me, so it was fun to explore the new tone that came along with it. Also, I never understood until creating this blog how important the visual appearance of something was and how it really contributed to the feel of my blog. I really tried (and, I believe, succeeded!) to incorporate bright colors and flowery pictures whenever possible to really bring life to my blog. I really enjoyed the layout of my blog as well, especially the homepage, where readers are able to not only read my stories, but visually see all of the creations that came from my kitchen as well as pictures of the processes.
    In conclusion, I really enjoyed the whole process of creating a blog more than I anticipated. It helped to break me out of my creative writing shell and let me explore the world of visually as well as literarily telling a story. In addition, it was a fun experiment to try out because it pushed me to try making things I had never made before but had always wanted to. Of course, there are things that if I could do the whole process over again I would change, but ultimately I preferred to treat it like an online journal, where when I wrote things and published them, they were permanent. I do think my writing improved over the course of the blog and things that I noticed were not as great from one post, I learned to fix and incorporate into the next post. Overall, it was a fun course, I enjoyed writing my blog and I hope that people will enjoy reading it just as much!

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  3. I started this blog to reflect on my life, but also to be a friend to other seniors who may be unsure of their future. One of my values I wrote down was that I strived to be a good friend, to always be there for the people I care about, listen to them and give them advice. I think my entire blog really reflects that value. I basically created it with the idea in mind of helping others know there was someone else out there. I wanted my readers to know they had a friend. Just knowing someone else may be in the same boat as you is pretty reassuring. No one likes feeling alone and I think by using my funny, disappointing and sometimes irrelevant stories to show that people aren’t alone but also there is more to life than graduating from college with a job, can remind both my readers and myself that it’s not always going to be like this.

    One aspect of my blog I am proud of is its theme. I like the simplicity of my blog and it’s easy to navigate. It took a while to find my ideal theme and then customize it but I am glad I put in that effort. Another aspect of my blog I like are my use of pictures, both my own and those I’ve pulled from Flickr. I believe photos and easy navigation are essential to blogs and I think my blog reflects my concern about those aspects.

    Incorporating visuals was one of my favorite parts of blogging. They add a completely new dimension to your blog posts. Without visuals I find blogs to be pretty boring, and I felt a great need to include visuals that would reflect my stories and be easily incorporated. Another thing I learned is I enjoyed using my own photos a lot more than I did searching for the perfect image on Flickr, because usually it didn’t exist. But I also learned sometimes there aren’t images that reflect the topic you may be writing about. I struggled with this in particular with my blog called ‘Don’t Believe Everything They Tell You’.

    As I’ve noted, my most challenging post to write, as well as find visuals for, was ‘Don’t Believe Everything They Tell You’. I struggled with this post because I started out with a specific idea but I couldn’t get the words down on the page to say exactly what I meant. I felt kind of forced to stick with my ‘topic’ when all I really wanted to be doing was writing little insights into my life. This blog post specifically represents a time where I was trying too hard to mold into a specific topic, when I didn’t really plan on having one.

    One the other hand, my favorite post was ‘Why I miss Barcelona everyday’. It made me really reflect on why I actually missed studying abroad. It didn’t exactly have much to do with what the typical study abroad experience is, but how my life changed over the course of my days there and how I’ve learned how to handle these changes. It was very therapeutic to write and I think that’s why I consider it successful.

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  4. The two aspects of my blog that I am most proud of are the clarity of its voice and my use of pictures. I tried to keep the blog playful and relatable by using everyday language and thoughts, and the pictures really bring the blog to life and allow a reader to view my daily activities through another lens, as well as providing click-bait to read my posts. My favorite blog post was writing from my dog’s perspective, because it was fun and entertaining, something I don’t often identify in doing work the week before finals. I loved getting to take all the pictures for it, which is the first time I set out to take pictures instead of using ones I already had. Planning the post throughout the day and writing a summary at the end made me actively reflect on all that I was doing. My most challenging blog post was the one about how to balance college. I think I tried to fit too much in to a simple post, and found difficulty in correctly articulating my feelings. It was too brief, and did not allow for enough description and literary aspects. In the future, I plan to “show” more than “say” in my posts by focusing on shorter lengths of time and allowing an overall picture to formulate on how I balance life, instead of defining a broad and general outline.

    My biggest values are family and friends, and I tried to show this in my blog by stating how much I do to make these things a priority. My post about Easter really articulates these values, as I state it being a whole weekend endeavor and going through the days events that clearly bring me so much joy. Striving for academic and professional success are also important values to me, and I think these values are less articulated. In future posts, I may try to focus on how hard I work to achieve these goals, perhaps by explaining a night where I had to forego spending time with family and friends to see my goals achieved, like by spending all night doing homework or that sometimes, hanging out with my boyfriend really meaning us studying and sitting in silence, but together.

    Blogging has helped my writing by encouraging me to think on the spot and not to spend so much time thinking about what I will say. It has also given me more confidence, as with each post the words come easier and, when I look back, I am content with what I was able to formulate. In this way, it has probably helped me more with social media and e-mail writing, more so than with academic writing, as the latter is an inherently more thought out process. In terms of readers, I think my blog offers a relatable platform for anyone struggling to balance the many different facets of life. In the future, I hope to add more humorous stories about what this juggling act looks like, to bring joy to my readers at my own expense. I also could see the blog turning into how I balance professional life, instead of college, as that is the next phase of my life.

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  5. When looking at my blog, what I am most proud of is definitely the direction that the blog took that I didn’t think it would. To explain: I initially started out with the intention of writing a blog that would discuss the movies I saw and the moments that made me laugh, cry, or think. While that is what I have discussed to an extent, I have found that my posts explored my state of mind about leaving Ann Arbor (and then the frame of mind that I was in when seeing the movie). For example, when I saw Phantom Thread, I was thinking about my own career path. Instead of writing about what I thought of the movie’s plot itself, I wrote about how I hoped to find a career path as fulfilling as the main character’s is.

    My favorite post is one I’m working on now, actually. It is from the exercise we did in class where we described one of our experiences from an alternate point of view. This post is a departure from my usual theme, but I like it because it allowed me to use a voice and form of narration that I rarely get to use in my academic writing, if ever. If there’s any place to get to play around with different styles of creative writing, this is it! It’s inspired me to look up more prompts and try them out in my personal journals. As much as college has made me branch out, I’ve found that sometimes I end up stuck in academic boxes where I’m used to writing everything in one formulaic style.

    One of the reasons I took this class was because I was looking for an outlet to explore my values outside of a strictly academic setting. Something that I’ve been thinking about a lot this year is the fact that I want to start learning more in the world as I depart from the classroom. In this vein, I’ve been trying to read more and attend on-campus events and lectures. This is also why I started going to the movies—I think there’s something significant about learning about the human experience from different perspectives. In my blog, I’ve tried to be a more reflective person by taking the plots of the movies I see and using them to reflect on my position at the cusp on a new life. One of my values that I hoped to convey was an appreciation for women telling stories about women; I hope that my post about the women about A Wrinkle in Time conveyed that. As I saw movies, I learned about the human experience. As I wrote blogs, I learned how to connect my own experiences to the ones I have been lucky enough to observe.

    Finally, I’ve been trying to express gratitude in my life. I’ve been so lucky to go to school here. I’m lucky to be able to see movies multiple times a week. I’m lucky to eat good snacks. I’m lucky to be in a position where I can take a class that teaches me about blogging and gives me academic material supplement it. I’m lucky to be able to learn. Writing my blog, coupled with the whole experience that I’ve gotten by taking this class, has been a reminder of how much I have to be grateful for and how important it is for me to continue to express that gratitude as I go into the next stage of my life.

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  6. I’m semi-proud of the design of my website. It’s minimalistic, and I purposely chose the black background to make any images or videos pop. Ideally, I would make the banner at the top more colorful (maybe colored text?), however, since I used a template on the free version of Canva (Canva is a free graphic-design tool website), my customization options were limited. The reason why I write that I’m “semi-proud” of my blog is that I believe it is missing something. I have not exactly figured out what that is yet, but it definitely needs some sort of pizzazz. My plan for addressing this issue, for now, is to continue exploring Canva to see if there are better template options that might liven up my blog more. I also plan to share my blog with friends and family to get feedback about its visual presentation (and the content of the blog posts if they have the chance to read some of them).

    One of the values that I wrote down on the first day of class is to remain appreciative/grateful to be alive, and after reminding myself of that, to do something to prove that appreciation. Now that I’m looking back at this value, I have an idea for ending/closing my blog posts. The thing about media is that it is very rich — I don’t know about you, but if I watch something really high quality, the wonder and amazement I get from the viewing experience always transfer for a couple of hours into my normal life. In a way, my appreciation for life is heightened during that time period. It is kind of a hard concept to explain if it is not something that you have experienced yourself before. I’m hoping that after watching the media that I put on my blog, people will feel that quality transcendence and be inspired to do something to channel that feeling into something tangible. In order to help them along, maybe I can post some sort of task. For example, in my first blog post, I write, “a bright friend of mine says, once you share a resource, you become the resource.” I could present my readers with the following:

    “This week’s task: Be the resource. Identify someone’s need or want and help them reach their goal (whether your action is big or small).”

    I believe it is valuable for readers to read my blog because it pushes them to be open-minded, as they have to analyze film content with a critical eye from someone else’s (my) perspective. I also think my blog is valuable in that I don’t think there’s anything else like it currently on the interweb. I think it’s great because it is such a niche topic, but at the same time, the type of content I put forth is open to anyone. There are things that people can learn from my blog posts even if they are not particularly interested in film techniques used in sports media. For example, in my post “Let’s Talk ‘Bout That Swoosh”, there is information about creative advertising and marketing ploys.

    In the future, I hope to expand the different sources presented on my blog. In other words, I want to fulfill my promise of being the ultimate aggregator for creative sports media production. I am also considering doing some news coverage. This would include reporting on fresh video content in the sports industry and maybe even some gossip-style blog posts. By gossip-style, I mean something along the lines of “Word is out that (company) is planning an innovative motion picture campaign for _________.” My main purpose in writing those types of posts would be to keep my readers in the loop with all things sports media.

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  7. What one or two specific aspects of your blog are you most proud of this semester, and why? How can you build on these successes in the future of your blog?

    I am most proud on my ability to authentically speak from the heart on my blog. Each of my posts conveys the exact emotions of the moment I describe. I write from the soul. I speak with peace. I encourage, motivate, and lift others to become their best selves. I put no pressure on the topic of my blog posts. I write with ease for this reason. There is no one else I am writing these blog posts for except for myself. That may be contradictory for this class, but it is called the rhetoric of blogging for a reason, right? I can build upon the success of my most recent post because my writing is effective. My posts allow me to be vulnerable and what is more attractive quality in a human than that? I am open and transparent with myself. I treat others as I would like to be treated – and that vibrates out of what I publish.

    Feedback has shown me that people really enjoy the voice I have in my writing. One of my peers wrote “Definitely fits with the theme of gratitude for life”. Yes! “Hooray” I said in response. That it exactly how I designed my blog to be. Honest. Faithful. Inspiring. The sole purpose of my blog is to be able to LOVE life, and live it in COLOR. Thus, the name of the blog, “Bella’s life in color”

    What was your favorite, or most successful, post? What made it especially successful?

    My favorite post thus far has been “Bliss” because I literally write about one of my favorite memories on earth. I can’t believe how heartfelt and real this felt to me when it happened. It was no surprise that I immediately wrote it down! I’m most proud of this post because I am able to take readers on a journey with my words. Swimming the depths of the mediterranean sea is soul shaking!

    How have you endeavored to reflect specific values identified in that statement in your blog? Which values do you see less reflected in your blog? How might you deepen your commitment to those values in your future blogging?

    I identify two values from my original statement at the beginning of the year that I have yet to convey. First, the value of health has not quite been established in the way that I envisioned it. I define health as being at an optimal level in terms of your emotional, physical or mental state. I particularly envisioned that I would post more workout / health routine advice, but I haven’t yet. I have felt that blogging about that seems “basic” as the sphere for those topics is very saturated. I constantly want to be advocating a healthy lifestyle but I prefer to publish stories or moments that hold deeper meaning than just the normal daily routine I go through.

    Second, the value of helping others has not yet been reflected on my blog. In order for me to deepen my commitment to this value, I must start first with my actions. I want to help others feel happy by giving them something physical. I’ve asked myself “how can I do this?”. Well, sometimes that answer isn’t always easy. I believe it yet has to come. For example, I wanted to write about a significant time I recently donated or baked for someone else. Either way, I want people to be grateful for what they have, I know my current blog posts to a great job of leading this by example – even if the moment I write about isn’t exactly helping others out by physically giving them something. I understand that I am indirectly helping people either way from the soulful insight I offer to the world.

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  8. This class has proved to be much more difficult than expected, but in a great way. I took a topic that I normally would have steered clear from writing about, and jumped right into it. Writing about horror has been a difficult but exciting journey, because I love getting lost in the details of the stories– that’s what makes them so spooky. However, I know I need to be careful to not let the story drag on until the reader is bored and doesn’t want to read anymore. My favorite post is probably my first post, because that’s my go-to spooky story to tell to friends when the supernatural comes up. The Ouija Board story is freaky as all hell, so it just seemed obvious that it needed to be my inaugural post. What was most challenging was trying to replicate the story to the best of my memory . . . the story has been told hundreds of times in my family, so details can be skewed or lost in translation. I needed to make sure I told my account of the story but acknowledged that other people have their own memories of it. I wanted to make sure the post was an equal memory from all members involved. On the other hand, I think my least favorite post was the Northville Psychiatric Hospital post. The story is one of the less exciting ones I’ve written. This could be because it didn’t happen to me personally, or because I find that my other posts are more thrilling. Additionally, my aunt who told me the story can be “spaced-out” at times, so it’s hard to fully understand what she’s trying to say. I felt like I was trying to fill in the gaps with thing I wasn’t entirely certain she said. That doesn’t exactly make the post truthful, but the bigger picture is still true. Despite all this, I’ve definitely remained true to the point of the blog — to scare people sh*tless. At some point, if I don’t keep contacting people for their supernatural experiences, I’m going to run out of stories to tell and blogs to write. If the blog becomes about anything other than horror, I feel like the commitment I made to the blog would be broken. With that being said, I am now constantly putting myself out there and asking people to tell me their stories. I’ve emailed random nurses my mom works with who have creepy stories from midnight shifts in the hospital and I’ve emailed my grandma’s distant relatives who probably think I’m insane now. But anything for the blog, I suppose. Truly, I see this blog as a source of escape and entertainment for my readers. When telling scary stories in person, people are invested in the story because of the incredible amount of anticipation it brings. Telling them over a computer is harder, but I’m giving the readers a chance to put themselves in the main character’s shoes and experience the true horror of encountering something supernatural and being scared sh*tless.

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  9. I’m proud of the fact that I finally got my blog off the ground after nearly a year of speculation. My friend and I had talked about entering the sports blogging world for a while now, and it just feels good to give it a chance finally. I also feel like I found a unique voice or tone that gets appeal, even from those who aren’t major sports fans, and I think that relatability helps drive interest in the blog and the types of posts I craft. Future success for 814 Sports would be a more fleshed out design, and repetition with posting. Diving into more creative content or fleshing out wholly engaging stories or memories would be a fun experience as a writer as well.
    For me, blogging has helped to develop a lot of my online writing. Ironically enough, during this blogging course I was taking at least two other classes that required some sort of online posting. This class has helped me to bring a certain engaging tone to those posts, and has also taught me lessons about posting regularity, something that I have (and still) find to be a challenge. I also feel like I am able to craft better, more succinct emails to professionals, which is crucial as I am still hunting for a job and want to sound my best in order to land a position. The biggest gain in terms of professional emails is the confidence I feel in sending out my words and being critiqued, or at least being read and judged by others.
    In terms of design elements, I think that cleaner really is better. 814 Sports is still very much under construction, I just haven’t had the time to properly tidy up the site to its full potential. Seeing what some of my other classmates have done inspires me to make meaningful changes within WordPress to bring out the best of their blogs. Photography is definitely intriguing to me, but I would need a lot more improvements to actually make meaningful contributions to my site from my own craft.
    814 Sports is designed to be an engaging sports culture outlet, and I’ve really enjoyed using it to let my thoughts go out into the open. I think it gives my readers the value of a different, counterculture perspective obsessed with stars, large markets, and missing out on the core experience as a fan or one who simply enjoys the game and the atmosphere that sports brings. With my friend joining in after the semester ends, 814 Sports will benefit greatly from the sound of two voices offering their opinions and insight into the sports world around them.
    If I were to summarize my experience in the class in a tweet, it would look something like this (and this would be in 140 character style, none of this lame new 280 character stuff):
    Since when is blogging so much work?! More than just typing down dumb thoughts, aka Twitter. Making a point to #TrustTheProcess more than Embiid and enjoy the ride! #814Sports

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  10. The one thing I am proud of my blog that I started this semester is how open I am in my posts. I have always struggled with writing about myself, especially when it is geared to people that I don’t know/haven’t met. Yet, I found it really calming to put my thoughts into words, especially regarding the topic of my blog. Even though I don’t know my audience, I want my audience to relate to me and to learn from me. I think as I become more comfortable writing towards this audience, my blog will have more flow to it. I also am proud of the variety of posts. Some are more sentimental and some are more practical and I think that helps with the voice of the blog. I don’t want it to be just one or the other and I hope to build on that in the future.

    With that being said, the most challenging thing was thinking of topics to write about. Sometimes it came really easy to me, but others, not so much. Sometimes, I would get an idea, but when I would go to write a post, I didn’t have enough thoughts to make it a full post on its own. This was discouraging and thus I would not post for a while. I think that for future posts, when I have an idea, I should just write it down somewhere and then when I am ready to write, I should revisit that list and decide which one will produce the best post.

    Creating and writing this blog has helped me not only writing in other classes, but reading in classes and just with collecting my thoughts in general. Having to think of posts has made me reflect on a lot of what’s been going on in my life. It has made me more attentive to how I am feeling in certain situations and how to better express my feelings in words. It has also made me a better reader because I think about things more. I try to see where the author is coming from, whether it is a blog, a reading for class, or on social media.

    At the beginning of the class, we were asked to list what we value. The first thing that I put on my list was to be true to yourself. I believe that if one must be true to themselves before anything. I think that you are not true to yourself, you can’t build good relationships and reach your goals. I think it was evident from the start that this blog was meant to be a reflection of sorts, so that meant being truthful in my writing.

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  11. My blog has been a HUGE work in progress over the past couple of weeks and it has been hard to for me to figure out the whole publishing aspect of my blog. I am still very much in the process of figuring that out, but one part of my blog that I am very proud of this overall tone of the my blog. I tried to keep it very lighthearted and this was something that many people commented on throughout the editing process, so I am glad that it is visible to other people. My favorite post so far has been the “10 things you shouldn’t do before entering a lululemon store.” Not only was this my favorite post to write but it was also the easiest post to write so far because it was so crazy. I mean some of the recommendations were things that you would never even think to do, so as a reader it was just a good laugh. I think that this was my most successful post because it was the one that made all my roommates laugh the most and it was also my peer reviewers favorite post during the fourth week of class. I am interested to see how other people react to it, but I think this will be the post to beat in the future! But, all my blog posts weren’t that easy to write. The hardest post for me to write was my first post. Since I am very new to the blogging world, I was very unsure of how to write my blog posts since they aren’t formal essays and aren’t informed comments. It was also hard to figure out an appropriate length and where to break up the paragraphs with pictures. I just had a really hard time writing it as well, which some of my peer reviewers could tell by reading my forced humor. Looking back on it, I wish that I had tried to make it less essay format and I think that would have made it more successful and seem less forced.

    Moving forward, I would like to continue to keep my posts light-hearted and upbeat but I would also like to diversify them so that they all don’t sound the same. But, I also want to make sure that posts are genuine and authentic which are two of my core values as a person and a blogger. I think that so far these values are very present in my writing, but one thing that I need to work on is my credibility as a writer. I think that a lot of people enjoy reading my blog, but they don’t think that my opinions about athleisure are accurate. So I think that I need to build up some credibility by doing posts that are a little bit more serious and less humorous. But, I still need to play around with this idea and come up with a way to accomplish both. I can only hope that my readers and my future readers will enjoy my thoughts and I hope to also launch a microblog instagram sometime soon. I think that I would start with a post of me posing in athletic gear in a forest making a funny face or doing a funny pose. I would also make a humorous caption but also tag all the brands that I am wearing so that people can get my look. I think I would also try to gather more photos like that in different locations and then possibly post an image at a sample sale for one of my favorite brands! These are just ideas, but I think that they could all look really cool!

    So far, I think that I have learned a lot about myself as a person and as a writer through this process. I have seen myself struggling to write a simple blog post, but this has taught me the importance of perseverance and how good blog posts take time. Before this experience, I didn’t think blogging was that difficult but I was so wrong. So, this has also taught me to look closer into things and also taught me how important it is to take extra time on other writing projects. I have taken this idea and tried to incorporate it in my other class especially when it comes to taking extra time to proofread and make things extra special. I have also learned the importance of how visually appealing something is and how that can dictate if people actually read your page from your comments on my blog. One thing that I need to continue to work on is the evidence that I use because I do think that I have a clear understanding of the difference between good and bad evidence, but I have yet to actually use it in my blog. This will be one of my goals moving forward with blog, especially with the sources I used and the pictures I use. So, I think that I am going to try to take all the lessons I have learned here and incorporate them both into my blog but also my life.

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  12. Earlier mid-semester, I was able to do something that I was not able to do in the entire time since my Dad died: Enter a group grief counselling session. I have been in personal individual therapy but I have not been in any sort of group grief setting. I found this setting through CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services)- where the population was young like me. Sadly, it wasn’t the best fit for me. I should point out that his had nothing to do with the participants, who were the highlights of my time there. One common thread I noticed with all the participants was how they said that they couldn’t find an appropriate podcast to help them with their grief; or an appropriate form of social media; or some go-to in this world where videos and posts go viral and links are liked a million times over. In this virtual universe of over consumption people could barely name crumbs for their online go-to’s for grief.
    It just makes me sad that in the sea of skin highlighting tutorials; make your cupcakes-look-like Rubic’s cube tutorials; and best lifestyle vlogger tutorials there were barely any people discussing death, dying, or loss. But is death not as much a part of life as is makeup and food? If so, why does so little exist about lifestyle support on this portion of lifespan development? ( I should point out that I am very partial to food, and a lover of make-up) In our first weekly assignment, we were asked to follow five blogs. It was akin to pulling teeth in finding blogs related to the subject I was interested in. Half of the blogs in this subject matter kind of “sucked” anyway- which is why for every weekly post I commented on, I spoke about other commentators’ blogs and read about their blogs.
    Not realizing what is out there makes me want to make my blog an honest and thorough experience that encompasses the different the aspects of death/loss which have crossed my life path. At the same point in the process, I have been a little hesitant in posting all in my mind about this life experience. This is because in the first reading, one of the authors discusses how people’s original postings on blogs can be so different than what their blogs are currently known for posting. The internet is the ultimate form of documentation and a public record. Given that I had so many things on my mind relating to grief/my Dad’s death- I didn’t want to appear that I was all over the place with my blog at one point in life. I was worried that this would make me appear scatterbrained, weird, and all over the place. It’s like giving your professor all of your rough drafts along with your final paper- who would do that? Why would you do that- and then let the world see? But, a conversation with Scott helped me understand that this is a medium of exploration and going in all directions if that is where you are at. I needed to hear to this get idea’s or jumble of idea’s on to a written medium. Though, I am still a little shy about being messy I feel less hesitant than before.
    My dream would be that when a significant amount of people go through a death and they google grief blog, that my blog comes up. In this dream the plans are varied, diverse, and messy like a Jackson Pollack painting. My plans are to discuss and share pictures of each year how I celebrate my Dad’s birthday; post pictures of the reminders of my Dad which exist in life- everything about how I run into pictures of his favorite actors on subway walls. The blog will also share signs I receive from the deceased/after-life which indicate to me that my Dad is still around. I feel shy sharing this. But, this is an honest part of the death process and something those grieving perceive. Others grieving could read this, connect, and share-especially if they feel that what they perceive may seem invalidated by others. My blog would show how I deal with different forms relating to the estate; how I deal with Michigan’s estate laws. Nobody discusses the bureaucracy surrounding death- especially for immediate kin- and its drowning effects. Some of these processes/laws are not rooted in justice. Perhaps, I will have a few Change.org petitions surrounding these issues which will be linked with my blog.
    Nobody tells you that when you lose a parent- you still converse with them. I found a friend’s mother, telling me that at grocery stores she still remembers her mother (so my friend’s grandmother) and talks with her while walking in the aisles. I found this be true among those who are religious and non-religious. Is this part of the death/loss process in human lifespan development? In Developmental Psychology they discuss the whole birth process as the perinatal process and how that is something that affects not those born- but the ones around the born (i.e. Mom, Dad). In that same token when someone dies, are the experiences surrounding the death (e.g. like talking with the deceased) part of the peri-mortal process (I coined this word)? It would be great if I could talk with a few lifespan developmentalists, interview with them, and put it on my blog. I would love to share my stories about talking with my Dad and having followers read this and find connection. This way people would have a place to connect with others about the universal aspects of my death. That is the ultimate dream- that my blog would be a place where people going through death can connect with.
    But, I also understand that my experience may not universally connect with others. I may also discuss how this experience happening at an earlier formative age changed my goals, dreams, and aspirations in life. I used to be more career oriented- now I think about that significantly less. But, had this experience happened to me later in life would I have had a different response? I wanted my blog to be more of something that anybody dealing with grief could go to-regardless of age. But, certain things inevitably will be relating to that of a younger person and how a death has shaped them.
    These are just some of the ideas/visions I have regarding my blog. This space will be a space of personal expression and the topic of grief. Somethings are figured out and somethings are not. But, this is what I see as the future of my blog in this point in time.

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  13. I am most proud of the fact that my blog has gotten me back into creative writing. Previous to this I hadn’t really written creatively since high school, and I missed that.
    My favorite post was “Presence over Paperclips”. I think that it flowed pretty well and it was entertaining and interesting. I was able to give information about a variety of subjects (study habits, my favorite website, and a game that wasted my time) and show off how ridiculous the whole situation was by telling how much of my time was wasted by the game and playing off the silly subject matter of the game. I think that I was able to make it relatable and balance out the silliness by talking about what I learned from the experience and what my goals were for the near future.
    The post that I found most challenging was the one that I wrote about my cat. There were just so many things that I wanted to talk about and I didn’t get to them all. I also feel that I didn’t plan this post very well given the breadth of topics that I wanted to touch on. In the future, I think that I should spend more time planning the flow of topics before I write my blog posts.
    I would like to spend more time on my blog focusing on positivity. So far, my posts have mostly been talking about the things that cause me stress and how I feel I have contributed to them. I would like to spend more time talking about little things in my day that make me happy. I would also like to write more poetry for my blog, to exercise my creative writing skills.
    I aspire for my blog to be not only something that my family reads to see what I’m up to but also something that other people can read and relate to, laugh about, and be inspired by. Originally, I planned on creating a new creative work and a blogpost every week. But I quickly realized that that wasn’t very realistic for me to accomplish while focusing on schoolwork. Maybe in the future, I will get back to this aspiration in some form, whether that be semi-weekly or monthly or sporadic posts of and about my creative works. By reading and writing on a blog, I have become more aware of the format of writing that generally avoids long paragraphs. When someone is reading something on the internet, especially something as informal as a blogpost, their attention span is not very great and breaking up thoughts into small segments visually on the page helps guide the reader’s attention and allows one to skim the page while still getting the general idea of the post.

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  14. The thing that I am most proud of this semester is getting back into the creative process. Over the past 4 years of college, I feel like I put all my creative hobbys – photographer, creative writing, on the backburner as academics took a priority. As a result, my creativity suffered. Although I still don’t feel like I’m where I used to be as far as creativity goes, especially when it comes to writing poetry/prose, I think that if I keep practicing and going at it, I can get back to a level that I can happy with. I hope to build on these successes in the future by not only writing more blog posts but also reading more books, poetry, and creative pieces that I normally don’t due to academic pieces.

    My most successful post was my first post because it received the most “likes”/comments by readers. Although it wasn’t the best as far as my artwork, I think what made it especially successful was that I painted an authentic and vulnerable story of my parent’s journey here and some of the struggles that they had to go through, which I think readers may have found relatable or touching.

    The most challenging part about my blog has been figuring out anecdotes to write or draw about. This can be reflected in my 3rd post, about 11 experiences people from non-english speaking families may have. Although I have many experiences as highlighted in that post, not all of them are funny and/or poignant and I struggled with trying to figure out which experience to write about and if so, how to make it poignant and interesting. I think in the future as I write more and figure out my voice, it will become easier for me to share these anecdotes in a more relatable way.

    When I first joined this class, I really wanted to start a blog about productivity, mindfulness, and healthy lifestyles, but I realized in the 2nd week that those type of blogs are so oversaturated in the blogosphere and that blogs about Asian-American families are not as common. I hope that the blog can offer some visibility to immigrant families like mine and contribute some representation so that Asian-Americans can find someone to relate to. I’m not sure if I will keep with the current structure of telling anecdotes from my life, just because it’s so hard to do it in a poignant way, but I will try to keep the drawings and hopefully improve upon them, and overall just writing more generally about my thoughts on certain things rather than simply anecdotes.

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  15. When I thought about blogging initially I just knew I wanted to write things that didn’t need to be perfect. I often state how much I hate academic writing because I feel like it stifles creativity. SO when I got to this class I knew my blog topic would be funny and unapologetically raw in the feelings. Not to say that I was going to start cursing in every line or just talk out the side of my neck by any means. It was more of a way to state that maybe today I don’t have thoughts on the political climate, I just wanna talk about something stupid I did. Or perhaps I do wanna talk about the political climate but without the pressure to also be tasked with solving the issue at hand.

    This is how I ultimately shaped my blog topic. Its about the overlap of the personal and the political without sounding preachy or like an a thesis of (insert an oppressed identity group). My first post is about perhaps the most millennial idea: marrying a friend so they can get cheaper housing. My third post is about a conversation between my mom and I but it also touches on how the current President and Vice President are outwardly aggressive to members of the LGBTQ community. My most recent post about my hair journey based on a conversation I had with someone who was worried about wearing their hair natural.

    I think that is what separate my blog from a lot of social activist print media. I talk about the broad topics that should and need to be expressed but I also prioritize my specific experiences. I never try to generalize my experience as the only experience of all an identity group. Instead I simply state what my experience is and allow others to share theirs in the comments section.

    But one problem I do worry about it is my blog seems like it doesn’t have a clear focus. I strive to talk about so many things tat I worry my readers will feel like they are watching the Twilight Zone. A blog that has no sense of congruence or obvious path. However, at the same I feel like that’s okay. I don’t think in an determinate direction. My thoughts are always scattered and I have always had a hard time telling a story (via essay or poem) from beginning to end.

    Well look at that, I just solved a problem for myself potentially. Huh that worked.

    My plan is to continue my blog over the summer and buy a domain depending on how well I am able to keep up with it. If I do, I will link my blog on other bloggers websites and see where the internet takes me. If not, I’ll probably just write a few blogs a year and use it as an online diary. From my non classmate friends who have read it they seem to like it so who knows. Either way, I am very proud of the work I have produced,. Each blog gets a little bit better so that is all I can hope for.

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    1. When enrolled in the “Rhetoric of Blogging,” I was unsure about what kind, of course, I was getting myself into. However, I believed that this could be an opportunity where I would be “required” to hash out some topics that I had been ruminating over for the past four years as a university student. In all honesty, I wish I could have spent more time on my blog in terms of writing and uploading posts; nonetheless, I am also quite proud of what my blog has become. Aesthetically speaking, my blog (at least my attempt) conveys a very relaxed American West field. Playing around with the graphic design platform, Canva, I created different logos which incorporated imagery from the American West and warm filters. My design includes images of canyons, the desert, and succulents – ultimately, these are simply landscapes and objects that appeal to me personally.

      The goal of my blog was to post underrepresented experiences in the Asian/Pacific Islander American community. My impetus stemmed from my annoyance at the publication of what appeared to be “repetitive” narratives on other A/PIA storytelling platforms. Due to time and energy constraints, I was only able to create blog posts that captured experiences from my own life, stories about technology, restaurants, sexuality, and more. The narrative style of my pieces tends to be very memoir-esque and take a somewhat serious tone; this is something I want to address in the future as my blog evolves. I do not want the content of my blog to always be serious nor do I only want to create posts that are extremely labor-intensive as they are now. Although I enjoy the deep self-reflection of the pieces I have written so far, I also want to be able to include content that is more stream of conscious or developed in the spur of the moment.

      Blogging has helped me develop my own voice in personal statements I have written applications. My blog has been a space where I have been able to play around with the division between professional and personal voice. I have found that I write my personal statements more “bluntly,” so to speak, now, and I really try to emphasize a down-to-earth demeanor of voice. Additionally, the type of stories that I am sharing in “The New Americans” are great examples of my own personal growth as well as base motivations in my life.

      As Rebecca Blood writes in the “Weblog Ethics,” I attempt to present myself through my website with posts that written intentionally and unedited. Self-imposed permanency of the materials that I post holds me accountable as a blogger to write as truthfully and clearly as possible, and it makes me more invested in what otherwise would be considered a free-form platform. For future readers of my blog, I hope that they find the stories that I share to be relatable and perhaps even inspiring. I want to encourage my targeted audience, other millennial Asian Americans, to be more mindful when they share their stories. We must recognize the varying levels of privilege held by certain members of our identity and be mindful of the space that our voices, our stories, take up.

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  16. This course is absolutely above my expectations. Except for the fundamental techniques of building a blog, Scott has enlightened us to contemplate values as a writer, even as an independent individual in this world. It motivated me to start off my blog about my passions in advertising, after a long-time planning and procrastinating from last year. Being occupied with all the other trifles from family and school, I had always been lack of incentives to take the first step. However, because of that, I already had a solid idea in mind about what I want to do with my blog, and I did not struggle with finalizing the topic at all as some classmates did. Meanwhile, this may be the aspect that I am proud of because I will continue this journey as a unique collection. It is highly likely that I am going to pursue a marketing/advertising career path, so as I get to know more about this industry, I’d like to use this as a platform to record my evolving perceptions and developing understanding.

    When it comes to the most challenging part, I think I may have different opinions from other people in our class as a non-native English speaker who came to the US for college. As I mentioned in our very first class, one of my motivations to blog is exploring another writing style of English other than academic writing which I have been working on for almost all the time in college. I enjoy writing in order to express myself as well as keep track of my life all the time, but using a language instead of my mother tongue is something I’ve never tried before. It was hard at first to maintain the flow of my articles while worrying about grammar and word choice and paying close attention to the tone. Hence, I would say my first blog is the hardest one. After examining many good or bad blog examples along this class schedule, I gradually developed my own style and rhetoric of blogging. The process of investigating others’ blogs with step-by-step focuses – from visual design to social engagement – really benefit my creative works. It challenges me to read other blogs as a blogger rather than simply a reader, moreover, to improve my own blog by putting my feet on a reader’s shoes.

    For now, I still want to treat this blog as my personal collection of ads, incorporating my daily life and my friends, more like a diary in that sense, but only has a central topic. Once I establish sufficient substantial content and an aesthetic layout, I would love to public my website so that I can connect with people who may have the same interests. As we discussed in class, one of the most important characteristics of a blog is its regularity. Even for a weekly or biweekly blog, it requires a lot of dedication and creativity to maintain it. I will try my best to keep up updating, or maybe switch to other platforms that I am more familiar with rather than WordPress. I’d love to end my reflection with a quote from Michael Arrington, “I believe the term “blog” means more than an online journal. I believe a blog is a conversation. People go to blogs to read AND write, not just consume.” But my blogging journey has just started.

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  17. Through this class, I was able to learn a lot more about blogging than I would have been able to do on my own. The experience of having something that was completely mine, constructed of my own thoughts and writing was a scary thing for me. I have never been completely confident in my writing skills, especially academic writing. But in this course, my peers and professor were able to boost that self esteem through constructive feedback about my blog. The blogpost I am most proud of would definitely be the first one. It was an introductory post about my site and a little background story of how I came to the topic and what I wanted to write about. I had a hard time thinking about what my blog would be about and how it would stand out compared to others since there are so many blogs out there. I decided to write on something I have done before and extended on my love for writing Yelp reviews. But this blog allowed me to branch out and encompass my own personality and personal characteristics in it. When people read my blog posts, I want them to be able to learn something, but, at the same time, get to know my a little more each post. I wanted this blog to give off the vibe of a friend trying to tell someone where they can get all the good eats in the area.

    One part of the blog I felt particularly hard for me was the design of the website. Since I am pretty new to the platform, it look some time to learn how to customize the looks of the website. Right now, the theme of my blog is pretty simple and easy to navigate since there is not much content on it now. In the future, I want to add more images of food and maybe some other things to make the blog more visually appealing to look at. I like that we can add pictures from Flickr and other photo websites, but I would like to be able to add photos of my own to make it more personalized. I think images make the blog a lot more visually appealing

    Since my blog is more of an informational blog, I wonder if it gets boring. I have also thought about using this as a long term blog, I would be worried about running out of things to write about. I would want to convert it into more of a life hack blog instead of just talking about food. That way the blogs can be more episodic and I can incorporate more of myself into the blogs.

    Through writing these blog posts, I feel that I am becoming more confident in my writing skills. Although it is not the same as academic writing, I think this confidence can transfer to my academic writing. I can see my academic writing skills coming into my blog posts because I keep trying to add transition words and phrases to make the story flow better. I like that blogging has become an outlet for me to write about something I am passionate about and be able to educate and inform others at the same time.

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