Use the right word, not its second cousin

Writing, I think, is something very personal. When authors decide to publish their writing in something so real and tangible as a book, I would imagine it to be an extremely scary thing to do. To allow yourself to be judged and criticised by anyone and everyone would not be the easiest decision to make, and lets face it, not everyone is going to like your writing style, even if you are Nabokov or Charles Dickens. Blogging as a writing tool makes receiving and giving feedback even more instant, whether it be gratification or ridicule, the ability to comment and like as soon as a post is published means there is no hiding from what people think of your writing. This semester we were given more freedom with what and how we wanted to write about a particular weekly topic, but with more freedom of choice often comes more second guessing oneself. This is what I found the most difficult about this semester. The knowledge that anyone on the internet could read my blog and my research made me much more cautious about how pertinent and accurate the information I chose to use was and also being more careful about what I chose to say in general as to not offend anyone. I found myself getting almost anxious when I received notifications that someone had commented on a post of mine and so confidence in my own ability to create material that is captivating or inspiring has been something I have struggled with throughout my blogging experience.

I began asking myself questions like, Is this information actually interesting? and, what makes me want to read a blog post?. Well, in my opinion, a catchy title certainly helps to draw in readers which I have tried to accomplish each week and not having grammatical errors, so as not to annoy your reader is also a good start. Even more than this, I think writing about personal involvement and feelings helps connect you to your audience and using shared knowledge/experiences is something people always enjoy reading about as they feel they can relate. Being able to relate your own material to recent news stories or popular culture also creates a relevance to blogging. Something that helped me a lot was reading other peoples blogs to explore different writing styles and where I fit amongst the group.

A conversation I found myself having with my fellow BCM240 students is that a lot of blogging (writing) has begun to sound very similar, there is an emphasis on creating something witty yet isn’t too obvious in trying to be (Binns 2008). Its hard to be yourself when you write without thinking that you must write in this certain blogging style. Don’t get me wrong I’m all for blogging tips, after all it is not as easy as I thought it was going to be and one of the most important tips I have found is seen in this quote, “Reading and writing are inseparable” (Heavenridge 2015). I think the most attractive thing about someone’s blogging style is how knowledgeable they are and how they make their knowledge coherent in their writing, once again this comes from how much you read, as seen in the quote:

Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.                – William Faulkner

If a tree falls down in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If there is no one to read your blog, is it a blog?…… The most important element of getting my blog out there in this subject has been the use of hash tags and in particular the hash tag BCM240 which has connected all the students in this subject and enabled us to feed off each other’s ideas. Using the statistics page that word press supplies has been extremely informative as to what day/s and time/s are the best to post and when you get the most views and feedback. For my blog Sunday evenings was when I received the most action and obviously the hours just after I would publish a post as it would be in the recent posts in the ‘reader’ so therefore a higher chance of someone clicking on it.

As I am a big follower of fashion blogs such as they all hate us, knight cat and man repeller, these became really useful sources in understanding what attracts readers in terms of visual resources, how to make navigating a blog easier and how to create hype around a blog. Although all these blogs are based around visual media instead of writing, they are examples of successful blogs with large followings and how to make a career out of blogging in modern life. Something that all these blogs have In common, is a unique blogging style of their own, something that I think grows over time with confidence.

Upon reflection, I do feel this semester has made me feel more confident in my writing, the practice of writing every week and getting into the habit of regular blogging does make it easier to know who you want to be in the blogosphere, which I think is explained precisely through, “There are two ways to become a better writer: write a lot and read a lot.” (Heavenridge 2015). The weekly topics have been much broader than previous blogging subjects in media and communication subjects that I have completed. A beneficial segment of these tasks were the interactive activites involved in order to complete the blog, for example attending the cinema and interviewing family members which forced me to think about the topic on a larger scale and listen to other peoples insights. 

References

Binns, A 2008, “The secret of writing funny”, Write to Done, viewed 1st October <http://writetodone.com/how-to-write-funny/&gt;

Heavenridge, P 2015, “Why read reason 7, the more one reads the better writer they become” Literacy Works, June 2nd, viewed 1st October <http://www.literacyworks.org/news/2015/6/2/why-read-reason-7-the-more-one-reads-the-better-writer-they-become&gt;

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YOU Tube….. But only if we say its okay

This week I decided to look into the rules and regulations of YouTube as a media platform and how they regulate their audience and the content that is uploaded. I use YouTube as my main source for music and recently I have noticed that it is very hard to find new music on YouTube that isn’t being hosted by ‘Vevo’, which is a company owned by Sony and Universal. I was trying to listen to Dr Dre’s new album but because Vevo has not yet uploaded any of the songs it is virtually impossible to find on YouTube. In the past it was guaranteed that someone would have uploaded a copy of the original song but now, in order to be allowed on YouTube, they have all been altered in some way. They are either slowed down or sped up a bit for the purpose of copy right laws. This is because in 2013 YouTube renewed a contract with Vevo and invested $50 million into the company. “Vevo holds the rights to music videos for most major music artists and is YouTube’s top channel partner” (Grant, 2013). In my experience I have found YouTube to be a media platform that is well regulated, it is not often that you come across extremely violent, pornographic or inappropriate videos. In YouTube’s community guidelines it states that any content which has nudity or is sexual, harmful, violent, hateful, threatening or content that has copyright infringements will be removed. YouTube also allows users to regulate their own content by being able to create an over 18’s account or putting certain restrictions on accounts for younger or more sensitive users. But what else is disallowed by YouTube?

Recently there has been several cases where YouTube accounts that have thousands of views or subscribers have been breaking regulations and often unknowingly. If a YouTube star is promoting a product whether it be a video game, make up or clothing but does not mention they have a financial stake in the company or are being paid by the company to do so then this is now against YouTube’s regulations. This is a very recent ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority that occurred in the UK after an Oreo ad featuring YouTube stars failed to sufficiently make clear that this was in fact an advertising campaign. The ASA said “The YouTubers’ video ads were very much in the style of their regular content posts and so it would not be immediately clear the Oreo clips were marketing communications”(Sweney, 2014). Now whether companies are just starting to realise they can tap into a new channel to potential customers where the content producers are mostly young kids or whether it is really about honesty to viewers, is hard to tell.

Another interesting regulation that YouTube enforces is not allowing users to upload drone footage for commercial use. However, even if you are just a drone hobbyist uploading videos on YouTube for personal use, you may still be breaking these regulations. This recently happened to a man from Tampa who received a letter from the Federal Aviation Administration saying “Because there are ads on YouTube, Hanes’s flights constituted a commercial use of the technology subject to stricter regulations and enforcement action from the agency.” (Koebler 2015). These would come in the form of fines and sanctions. This can become very confusing for drone users because clearly what is condoned commercial use is subjective to the FAA and in turn YouTube as a media platform.

Although YouTube has clear community guidelines and will delete content that is reported and then reviewed by YouTube and found inappropriate, in the YouTube terms of use they state that:

“You further understand and acknowledge that you may be exposed to content that is inaccurate, offensive, indecent, or objectionable, and you agree to waive, and hereby do waive, any legal or equitable rights or remedies you have or may have against YouTube.”

This is basically their way of saying that if we don’t get to the ‘objectionable’ content before you do, its not our fault and you can’t take legal action against us.

References

Community Guidelines, YouTube, viewed 30th September, <http://www.youtube.com/yt/policyandsafety/communityguidelines.html&gt;

Grant, R 2013, “YouTube renews contract with Vevo and invests $50M to keep it away from rivals”, Venture Beat, July 2, viewed 30th september, <http://venturebeat.com/2013/07/02/google-renews-contract-with-vevo-and-invests-50m-to-keep-it-away-from-rivals/&gt;

Koebler, J 2015, “The FAA says you can’t post drone videos on YouTube”, Vice Motherboard, 12th March, viewed 30th september, <http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-faa-says-you-cant-post-drone-videos-on-youtube&gt;

Sweney, M 2014, “Vloggers must clearly tell fans when they’re getting paid by advertisers, ASA rules”, Guardian, 26th november, viewed 30th Sept 2015, <http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/nov/26/vloggers-must-tell-fans-paid-adverts-asa-rules&gt;