Essays, PUB101 Assignments

Finding Creative Courage Online

At the beginning of this semester I was pretty set in my mind of two things: that coming up with content to blog weekly and building an entire website in a matter of weeks would both be very difficult. I was wrong on both counts. 

Building a website can be intimidating. WordPress itself was especially intimidating to me, but blogging through these past few months has certainly changed that. Gaining experience in the WordPress back-end and website construction has ended up being a very beneficial skill that I’ll take forward with me into the future. In terms of weekly content, I surprised myself with how much I had to say. Sure some weeks it was harder than others to produce content, but overall my creative side was thoroughly and joyfully exercised. 

My Online Voice 

Although blogging is very intimidating, being able to test the waters and find your voice online has been an intriguing journey. As I take my newfound WordPress skills with me, I’ll also take this blog. Up until this point, my personal experience online has not provided with me many creative opportunities, as I have kept my social media accounts to being personal update accounts. Being able to exercise my creativity in a space where I have ultimate control and creative direction has been extremely energizing. 

Future Plans for My Publication 

Let’s Talk What I Watch will continue to be an online space where I can take the time to write 3-5 minute reads about anything I watch, from binging television shows to any genre of movie. Eventually I definitely want to incorporate more consistent themes into my posts, like highlighting certain aspects or criticisms in all of my posts, rating the content, and giving recommendations. This could eventually evolve the blog into a place where new or less popular films/shows can be recommended and the publication would end up being more informative. However, I’m also a big fan of re-watching or discovering older content, so I still want to maintain my natural voice that I’ve found throughout this semester, which is essentially that I enjoy ranting about whatever inspires me after I watch something.

What My Publication Offers 

Streaming content, whether it be documentaries, films or television shows, has taken over as one of the primary activities many people are turning to as the pandemic continues. While it has long been a popular activity, as even before streaming since the very conception of the cinema and home televisions, watching content has been a central activity in the lives of people around the world. Given this popularity and presence in our lives, hearing other film-lovers opinions, getting recommendations, and being able to relate to how other’s interpret content is a very valuable aspect to the online experience. As mentioned by Boyd (2014), engaging in online spaces, like social media, individuals are able to access greater publics and networks that otherwise wouldn’t be available to them. Although my blog is currently isolated and not on social media yet, it is still possible to relate the words of Boyd, as opinions and discussions that people can relate to may one day be seen as a public. While I’m a stubborn person in the way that I don’t often follow content recommendations from others (whether it be books, movies or songs), I think being able to find an online space where you relate to others opinions, views, and feelings about a shared piece of content can be very soothing and a great use of the Internet. Likeable to various communities on TikTok, finding others who you can relate to can be very meaningful. This ability to find a community and relate to others is similar to a conclusion from the Why We Post research project (2016) that reads “social media is not making us more individualistic.” While we can continue to support and strive for individualism and uniqueness, ultimately there is comfort in finding people like yourself online. 

Expanding My Online Presence 

While I will hopefully continue to post on Let’s Talk What I Watch frequently, I have recently discovered other avenues of online life I want to pursue. Throughout these “unprecedented” past nine or so months, I have been in search of a new challenge to undertake and I’ve settled on an Etsy shop. Ever since I bought my iPad and began drawing digitally I’ve found an interest in designing little stickers about various things I enjoy, whether it be Harry Styles or an inside joke from a TV show. 

One of the main issues with this idea was that there are already so many sticker shops on Etsy. However, I did notice several holes in the market. As Thorn stated, “there are a thousand podcasts for 25-year-old white geeks, but very few for 18-year-old hip-hop fans” (2012, para. 15). I’m not about to invent something new to sell, so I figured if I want to design stickers I just have to be as original as I can and find niche markets that are not already saturated.

While I was still teetering on the edge of undertaking this new past-time in the new year, several sentiments from guest speaker Trevor Battye and the following Thorn quote pushed me over the edge. “Plans are great, but making stuff is how you build an audience, get better, and most importantly, get closer to making a living” (2012, para. 18). Just like throughout this semester where we were encouraged to write two posts every week, ultimately just getting something creative out online is a step forward. Just sitting down and actually starting to do something is the best way to move yourself closer to your goals. 

Conclusion 

Ultimately, my personal online presence, such as my personal Instagram and Twitter, seem to come naturally. As if they are second nature. Developing other presences like my Etsy shop and continuing to use this website as a blog are much bolder steps that I look forward to taking. Furthermore, I surprised myself substantially with my adaptability to the backend of WordPress and my ability to create weekly content. I look forward to continuing this blog and seeing where it can lead me.


References

Boyd, D. (2014). “Searching for a public of their own.” It’s Complicated (pp. 213-227). Wattpad. https://www.wattpad.com/203798155-it%27s-complicated-8-searching-for-a-public-of-their 

Thorn, J. (2012). Make Your Thing. Transom. https://transom.org/2012/jesse-thorn-make-your-thing/

University College London. (2016). Why We Post: Social media through the eyes of the world. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/why-we-post/