DMIP Blog Evaluation
As a part of my University Degree, I was asked to keep a Blog for one of my modules, documenting not only work done for that specific module, but all the other modules done over the course of the year. I began the Blog in October last year and have maintained it throughout this year of my course, updating fairly regularly.
As with many things, beginning the Blog was possibly the most difficult thing for me, especially as I planned on keeping it up to date as a portfolio of work. Having no idea what I was going to be asked to create, I was greatly worried about the name of the Blog, something that some people may find unimportant, however I personally believe to be vitally important. After some deliberation, I settled on Opinionated Alex, simply because the style of writing in general on a Blog is ones own, and my style can be quite opinionated. The only issue I felt with this title is if I ever did a post that I had no opinion about, I would be betraying my handle. This however does not seem to have become an issue, as I have never kept a Blog before I now have somewhere to write about either my work, or vent about other interests or issues.
Choosing a name for my Blog was possibly the only issue more demanding than my first ten or so posts, as I often have difficulty beginning projects, especially written work, and struggled with the first few posts simply because the Blog was so empty. I always feel that something newly begun looks either empty and forgotten, amateur or simply boring, and considering a Blog is essentially viewable by anyone, I was worried about any viewers who happened to be passing by thinking poorly of the Blog. This worry quickly turned into a desire for positive feedback, and so I was compelled to create section after section for my Blog, and fill it with posts. Looking back at the beginnings of my Blog now, I both wonder why I was so worried, and feel the worry more and more.
Although I still feel a small amount of worry about the quality and style of my Blog, I am more reassured now by the amount of traffic I do receive. For about 2 months after creating the blog I got a handful of hits each day, numbering between 5 and 15, until one day, my page views began to climb rapidly. When I reached approximately 100 page views a day I was astounded to release that one post in particular was receiving all these views. My post on Velociraptor Safety Training had made me more page views than the rest of my Blog combined. I think this is mostly because Velociraptors are an Internet love, like Pirates or Ninjas, people find them interesting or funny, and so the page views climbed to a point I had not expected, eventually evening out where they are now, at approximately 180 – 250 page views a day. This amount of traffic astounded me, and when I heard about Velociraptor Awareness day I knew that I had to create something for the occasion, and so I created the first Velociraptor Diary post, which peaked my page views to 280 on the day, and instilled me with a need to continue creating posts in the series, after the Blog deadline has gone past.
Initially I was worried that the popularity of the Veloiraptor posts would outshine the rest of my Blog, however over the course of the last month I have begun to get more and more page views on other posts, mainly the ones about Maya, which collectively reach about 50 views a day. Confidant that this will continue as I add more posts, I intend to continue the Blog indefinitely, not only as a portfolio for my work, but because I now crave more and more page views to the point where I frequently log into WordPress to check the amount of page views received that day. This is only a small part of the blogging experience for me, as the main reason I continue to publish posts is for the enjoyment I receive from the blogging experience. Receiving high amounts of page views was satisfying, however I eventually began receiving comments on my posts from people I had never met or spoken to, talking about my Blog, or the subjects within a post, asking questions or offering advice on something I may have struggled with. This interaction with an audience who have read aspects of my Blog and then thought enough of it to contact me is amazing for ones confidence, and I now genuinely desire to chat and mostly, impress them. In the beginning of this project, I would never have predicted myself becoming so addicted to the idea of blogging.
On the academic side of the Blog, I believe that keeping an online and viewable record of the work you have undertaken, the lectures you have attended, and most importantly, your individual understanding of each lecture or subject is not only beneficial to yourself as a record of work, but also as another learning experience. Keeping the Blog allows other people to comment on your posts, asking either questions or possibly giving useful or interesting information on the same or related subjects. The Blog is also a learning point for other people, as well as somewhere to keep a visual reference to work you have already completed. I must admit I hadn’t realised quite how much work would be involved in keeping and updating the Blog, however at the same time it has saved me work in other areas, for example I didn’t have to revise for my last Film Studies Exam, as uploading everything I had learnt in lectures to my Blog was the only form of revision I needed, and while this approach may not work in every circumstance, it is still interesting to see that it worked at all.
One thing that I found very interesting, as well as useful, was updating the Blog with things not necessarily related to my University degree. I used the Blog to document my struggles with certain areas, as well as the outcome of eventually overcoming these problems. For example I created a 3D section which has a few pieces of work which are entirely self taught, one of which I struggled with more than I expected, but was able to show off as a finished piece of work after completion, as well as draw a small amount of creative criticism, both positive and negative. This was especially useful in the sense that advice was once again offered to me from an unknown source, advice which helped me improve my work.
I personally used to struggle with writing, and I think that is the same for a lot of people who choose to go into the creative industry. Academia was never my strong suit, and the style of writing tends to make me nervous about using the correct terminology, however using the Blog I was not only able to adopt a more casual style of writing, but able to use images, movies, web links and other similar mediums to get my point across, allowing me the freedom, as well as the option of using my creativity to write, instead of forcing academia out of someone who is not by nature, able to.
I have found my experience with the Blog to be not only beneficial, but also enjoyable. As I have previously said, I intend to continue with the Blog as a portfolio, but also as a personal space, one where I am able to talk on subjects that interest me. I have also enjoyed being proven wrong about the blogging world, as before beginning my Blog I had never really considered creating and maintaining one, viewing it as only a distraction or waste of time, understanding why certain directors or high flying creative talent may keep one, but refusing the believe that people who keep one for personal use get much if any use out of it. Discovering a community of people who will comment on the Blogs of people like myself, students, or people who have just begun a career in the creative industry surprised me, and I was even more surprised to find that the creative feedback received on the work uploaded can be encouraging as well as useful. I especially liked the linking of Blogs with other members of the DMIP group, as being able to see what they are doing with their Blogs not only helps with subjects that are more difficult for certain people to understand, but spurred me personally on into friendly competition, pushing me to create a Blog to be proud of, which in the end, I achieved.