BCM241: Anther Bachelor of Communications and Media Studies subject with a blog requirement. By now you you think that it would be a straight forward, 100 word post about the weekly lecture..right? Not quite! This subject actually moves the traditional essay structure to a modern platform (WordPress) and changes the game when it comes to what the tasks ask you to elaborate on. No longer are the word counts restricted to 100 but they are around 500 words which gives you a greater chance of creating a blog piece and really explore the idea of public writing.
The concept of public writing before coming to university seemed like second nature because I’m so used to using social media platforms to keep up to date with what is going on. However, when it comes to how I view it now, having undergone this subject, It’s a new approach which focuses on the audience, how you engage with your audience, how do you make the posts relevant, entertaining and to the point. Having said that, the content of the blogs are shifting from a more personal style of writing to a more sophisticated, heavily researched (both primary and secondary) and with more purpose which can be used as a reference on a job application or can be taken serious by someone who stumbles across your research online.
To me, there are three elements of the blog that I have deemed important and worth mentioning to better understand my approach to Audience, Media and Place. These three areas include: Research and Planning, The Content, and The Blog as a whole.
Research and Planning:
This is the area which I underestimated from the get go. The part you can’t just physically make up and sound convincing. The part that you actually need to provide quality stimuli for your subjects to produce quality answers. I tried to use as much qualitative information as possible, which seemed to be the winner in the end because I could get the most meaningful research that I could possibly get, with time being the only real tradeoff. I used the resources provided by Moodle to help with a template of questions to start with and I just adapted each question to the certain scenario.
So at the start of the subject, I really had to pull my head in to get the best results for what I wanted to share with the public. For starters, planning a one-on-one interview on paper seems easy but when you’re thrown into the scenario a lack of preparation will cost you the end product. When I was interviewing Sue and Steve for my first two blog posts, I found that the follow up/off the cuff questions seemed to be the most engaging questions and squeezed the most amount of information out of them as possible. When it comes to research in the field or larger numbers there were a few interesting guidelines that I had to follow in order the achieve the most accurate, partial and thought provoking responses that adhered to somewhat of a moral and ethical code of conduct. Ethics is always an important factor when dealing with large groups in particular because at the end of the day they too are people and want to be treat just the way I want to be treated. I made sure I had the person’s permission before I posted anything whether is was audio, video or just their answers to my questions. I also wanted people to know that all my research is for academic purposes and they can choose to remain anonymous if they wished, and as a result I had to change a few names here and there to make sure I was on top of that.
After I collated all of my research I planned each blog out before I started to write them, so there is a loose structure before I write it out. As the word count is more than 100 words it was important for me to have a clear structure in order to avoid any dead ends and waffle that occurs too often. This also includes finding all media used in posts, analysing and synthesising data, and choosing the right heading.
I chose to write the blog with a stream of consciousness tone because that is how I perceive a blog to be. Tone is an important aspect because your blog is a representation of yourself which needs to be believable otherwise the viewer will just think you’re spitting out facts that they can find in an academic journal. Having said that there needs to be a balance between the stream of consciousness and facts that blend in together coherently to make sure the message is still there. The title is another important element because it is the first thing a potential viewer is going to read. The catchier or more niche titles seem to work the best, so I usually spend ten or so minutes making sure it’s the right title for the blog.
The Blog as a Whole:
The blog element was the hardest and still is the hardest part of the task. Making sure that the right blogs from the same subjects are clearly labelled and easy to find goes a long way when you present your finally product. This semester I am doing two subjects with blog posts from the same blog so it is important that the read can distinguish between the two subject matters to find relevant articles.
The experience overall was challenging. However it provided me with a sturdy platform to showcase my own research and my own passions that I could write about. This encouragement helps me in more ways than just to pass this subject, as it assists me with day to day researching activities that I can carry on throughout my career.