Experience recording and reflection: As an online publisher
With the end of this spring semester, my college life has come to an end. However, I’m delighted to be able to promote what I’ve always wanted to do but haven’t started to do through PUB 101 in the last semester: create content about fashion. The experience was exhilarating, painful and gratifying. Therefore, I would like to record and reflect on my experience through this essay.
Publication and Audiences
When I created my publication, I knew that my theme would be fashion. Therefore, in the first week of this semester, I listed the three fashion themes I was most interested in and struggled with for a long time. Finally, I chose a theme that I think I have gained the foundation of the audience: colour matching in clothing. I often hear my friends complain that they don’t know how to match colours. I sometimes give them advice, but it doesn’t always work because I haven’t studied colour schemes in depth. But I know that Pantone has had a strong influence in recent years. The colour of the year and popular colours published each year profoundly impact various industries, especially the fashion industry. Therefore, I think if we match clothes by studying the colours released by Pantone, we may be able to go ahead with the trend. The Rainbow-way was born with the mission of bringing colour into every reader’s wardrobe. Since the net itself is engineered with no centralized control, everyone is equal on the Internet and can share their ideas and resources (Suler, 2004). Therefore, I want to build my blog into a place where everyone can share and learn from each other and become a community of people with common topics of interest.
In the early days of creation, I understood my audience specifically because they were all around me. So I created a persona: Ann. (See figure below)
As my image of the target people became more precise, the role of sharing and learning became more and more realistic in my mind. As Suler said, when I type, I feel like I’m not typing but imagining sitting next to my readers and sharing the new colour combinations I’ve learned (2004). Of course, imagination is not enough to understand my real users; I learned to use Google Analytics to get a complete picture of my audience. Through the report, I found that the gender and age of the audience were similar to what I guessed. At the same time, through Google Analytics, I noticed many lurkers on my website. This reminds me of the data mentioned in a Microsoft article. Almost every blog has 90% lurking, 9% editing or planning, and 1% creating (2011). Therefore, I end each of my posts with a message encouraging people to share.
Design and Content
I am a person who can’t use WordPress at all, so I spent every day on various tutorial videos at the beginning of the semester. To be honest, it was a painful experience when you were in a hectic last semester and had to deal with a new technology you didn’t know at all. If all I had to do was post articles would be great! That’s what I often complained about at that time. I gradually learned the basic knowledge with continuous learning, and I began to design and aesthetics of my website. For example, I put a big picture of different celebrities wearing different colours in the header image because I hope everyone can feel rich colours when entering my website. And at first, I didn’t design “About Me” too much, but when I read the google analytics report, I noticed that “About Me” was the most viewed part. Therefore, I constantly adjust and modify this part (see the comparison below). I combine photos of different clothing colours to convey the visual effect of my website theme to readers. This increased the personality of my blog and left a deep impression on the readers.
Of course, my design modification is inseparable from the feedback of teachers and my classmates. In their suggestions, I gradually build the Rainbow Way as it is now. For example, one of the suggestions I received was to style the website’s tagline and title to present a consistent design. As a result, I adjusted the font colour and layout (see the comparison below).
My posts are based on Pantone’s Color of the year and Spring/summer 2022 colour report, including colour introduction, matching tips and product recommendations. I hope readers can take some clothing inspiration from my content and create their own style. So I think I’m providing my audience with valuable information about a particular topic, challenge, or issue. My value comes from curating information to save time for my audience. My posts quickly show the popular matching skills of the season they want to know through the image display. And my value also comes from identifying problems that readers might encounter and offering solutions. For example, my post is an ideal solution for readers who know popular colours but don’t know how to match them.
Reflection and future
At the beginning of this semester, I thought that all I had to do was create great content, and I was very resistant to the design field that I was not familiar with. But now, I think Rainbow-Way has become my creative platform, and I’m really enjoying building the site. This gave me an insight into the original purpose of PUB101 and why Gardner Campbell called for the development of a “personal Network infrastructure” (Watters, 2019). Shaping and learning in digital media stimulated my innovation ability and made me have a stronger sense of participation than just writing essays. And as I face the gradual completion of the site, as Watters said, having my own domain means I have more say in what I present to the world (2019). In addition, this website can be used as a sample of my writing and design skills when I apply for a graduate or job. My mindset has also changed, and I find that instead of writing weekly posts just for content sharing, as Basu puts it, this blog helps me focus on developing content that I’m interested in and want to create over time (2020).
The course is passed, but my learning and sharing of fashion will continue. I want to give my readers different sensory and formal experiences and let them reach my content from many elements. This plan is constantly being implemented. At present, I have created the colour palette section to allow readers to learn the colour matching from the film, rather than limited to clothes. The next step in this plan is to create content through multimedia forms, such as TikTok, the most popular short video form, or YouTube, the mainstream video platform. I hope to show my audience more about colour, fashion and collocation in the form of video.
Basu, T. (2020, September 3). Digital Gardens let you cultivate your own little bit of the internet. MIT Technology Review. Retrieved April 1, 2022, from https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/09/03/1007716/digital-gardens-let-you-cultivate-your-own-little-bit-of-the-internet/
Suler, J. (2004). The Online Disinhibition Effect. Psychology of cyberspace – the online disinhibition effect. Retrieved April 1, 2022, from https://truecenterpublishing.com/psycyber/disinhibit.html
Watters, A. (2019, June 25). The web we need to give students. Medium. Retrieved April 1, 2022, from https://brightthemag.com/the-web-we-need-to-give-students-311d97713713#.4d7j8rs6x
Yammer team. (2015, May 28). Your community’s hidden treasure is lurking right over there. Microsoft 365 Blog. Retrieved April 1, 2022, from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2011/07/20/your-community-hidden-treasure-lurking/