Essay Posiel

Essay #2: My Experience as an Online Publisher

Food With Anita first began over a year ago back in April 2018, when I first started to post on Instagram. Throughout the year I’ve felt that my focus was always on the visual aspect rather than the written portion and that was something I’ve always wanted to change. I have a passion for exploring and learning about new and different cultures, so my account served as an incentive and platform to encourage me to do so. Social media “became tools for (personal) storytelling and narrative self-presentation” in their shift and development, which is why I created Food With Anita. (van Dijck, 2013, p.200) But, I lacked the skills to write professionally to accommodate the images I was capturing. Initially when I started my Instagram account (Food With Anita), it was partly because I didn’t want the people that did follow me on my personal account to see that side of me. I felt more comfortable sharing this type of content with complete strangers since “when people have the opportunity to separate their actions from their real world and identity, they feel less vulnerable about opening up”. (Suler, 2004) Over time, as my account grew a larger audience, it was inevitable that some people who knew me personally would come across it.

I began to put higher standards on myself and my content which limited how often I would post and filtered my posts in a sense. I was stuck in a rut with not wanting to post until this fall when I enrolled in my first publication course. It has allowed me to develop my online self further by giving me the tools to develop a more professional voice online. The change from posting on Instagram and posting on my blog is that I can write more freely, personal, and in-depth to an audience that would be interested in a longer formatted content. My initial goal when I first started my Food With Anita blog was just to have another platform where the same content on my Instagram can exist. But, that has changed since being in this course by giving me the tools to create an online self that was professional but also personalized. I felt that as a result, I “have come to understand the art of online self-presentation and the importance of SNSs as tools for (professional) self-promotion” where Instagram and my blog were where my professional self have been developed and existed. (van Dijck, 2013, p.200)

Initially, Food With Anita began on Instagram where I could document my experiences that I could later look back on. But, my audience has grown over time and I’ve received tons of positive feedback from them. Whether that may be from strangers online or people that knew me personally, people seemed to be interested in my food suggestions. My audience appreciated reading about my experiences to try out a new place to eat that was out of their comfort zone since they established me as a trusted source.

I found Google Analytics to be a helpful tool for discovering who my audience was. I found out that my audience was roughly half of females and half of males which I was quite surprised about because on my Instagram, my audience is dominantly females. It also showed me that the majority of my audience was in the age range of 18-34 which was expected. Based on my audience demographic on my Instagram, I would say that my average audience is the same for both platforms. The only difference being that my blog audience are only within Canada and since having a wider audience on my Instagram, my audience is worldwide. Having these tools was “like hav­ing an all-see­ing eye gaz­ing direct­ly into the hearts and minds of our audi­ence” which is really helpful as a publisher who wants to increase engagement on their platforms. (Gertz, 2015)

That being said, I would say that my audience are people who are interested in food, also called “foodies”. Whether they publish their own content or are just interested in viewing others’ content, they are people who value the insight I am providing based on my own experiences. When designing my content, I want it to be visually appealing to catch the initial attention of my audience and hopefully it will encourage them to stay and read what I have to say. This is because “the con­tent should speak to the few peo­ple who can iden­ti­fy with this per­son­al­i­ty because this is the only audi­ence that mat­ters” which means that my content should reflect my own personality. (Gertz, 2015) I want to encourage people to try out new experiences themselves by providing expectations to limit the thought of a new experience being a daunting experience. 

As for the future of the blog, I think that I would like to continue when I have more free time and have committed to posting daily on my Instagram. Being enrolled in this course it has been an amazing opportunity that has given me the tools to develop my online self further than I had already established. In my journey with Food With Anita, it initially began as a hobby and something I just did conveniently whenever I had the chance to. This publication course has given me the tools to create quality content that caters best to my audience by teaching me the important aspects of running a blog. I want to continue increasing engagement on both of my platforms, but my priority will be my Instagram. I will continue this blog but after I’ve developed the site more personally to reflect my style and aesthetic that I’ve established on my Instagram.

References

Gertz, T. (2015). Digital Machines: How to survive the digital apocalypse. Retrieved 20 November 2019, from https://louderthanten.com/coax/design-machines

Suler, J. (2004). The Online Disinhibition Effect. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 7(3), 321-326.

van Dijck, J. (2013). ‘You have one identity’: performing the self on Facebook and LinkedIn. Media, Culture & Society, 35(2), 199-215.

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