I joined Publication 101 to learn more about how to market myself online. As a business student who hopes to concentrate in marketing, I thought this class would be a great way for me to learn. This class had no boundaries or strict guidelines, I was given the freedom to do whatever I want. However, it was really tough for me to pick a topic since the professor didn’t give any direction. I felt like I was thrown into the deep end. I know, I sound super dramatic but as someone who fresh outta high school, I was still adjusting to the new responsibilities that came as a university student. After brainstorming, I decided to create Simple Art. I wanted to turn my website into a passion that I left behind in grade 8. I wanted to challenge myself creatively since most of my classes were quantitative courses. To be honest, I did not choose this topic in hopes to create an audience but rather do what I liked and hoped for the best (clearly a novice publisher, some may say I’m not even close to being one). However, these past 12 weeks have taught me a lot; not only did this class teach me techniques to publish my online self, but I was able to deeply explore how I wanted to do it.
Trial and Error with Design
I really could not pick a theme for my website, this was honestly the most frustrating part because for one, I did not know how to code (I was not ready to dedicate time in learning that) which limited my ability to have full control over the design layout. Secondly, I messed up real bad mixing Elementor and WordPress for my posts. This caused quite a bit of problem, but I still managed to salvage the theme I was trying to go for. My website went through 2 different phases and by the fifth week, I was able to solidify a simple-looking template to match my simplistic art style. I think the most informative lesson was about fonts and the use of space on our website. I learned how certain fonts can be harsh on the eyes and can give off a certain vibe, whether it be old school, modern, or ethereal. My key takeaway was definitely the fact that “there can never be too much negative space” (Norman, 2020).
As for my artwork, I went through so many different styles, whether it be line art, abstract, anime, cartoon, or cutesy. I was too embarrassed to upload some of it because my god did some pieces look horrific. I say that I have not drawn since grade 8 which is why my art looks questionable but I’d be lying to myself…
My Online Disinhibition
Finding my “voice” was a problem I always had. I remember that my high school English teacher would always end all her comments on my essays with “I want to hear your voice, Jackie”. When I heard that, I was honestly like, what the f* does she even mean that? Asking to use my voice was the most confusing instruction I ever received in my life, which is why I am not the biggest fan of writing, hence why I prefer drawing overwriting (as you can tell). However, this blog has been a way for me to discover my “voice” as cheesy as that sounds. The online disinhibition gave me the anonymity I didn’t have in high school. I realized that the reason I had a hard time using my voice in my writing was because of my fear of being judged. No one in my class has met me properly, nor did I have to confront them face to face. I sort of had this dissociative anonymity where I felt more comfortable uploading my art (Suller, 2004). Online disinhibition allows people to do things they typically wouldn’t in the real world. For me, I took a chance at really blurbing about whatever I wanted and uploading any scribbles I wanted because the stakes were low. I treated this blog as a visual diary where I would take any current inspiration I had and rolled o20ff of it.
My current audience are the people in my publication class, which is to be expected. My Google Analytics wasn’t able to give me much information, probably because I didn’t have a strong online presence. To be honest, I wanted to target a niche group for my blog but my style was everywhere which can come off as messy and unattractive. Typically, people follow art accounts and blogs for the style they have but I was still trying to establish mine.
One thing I learned was that a great way to build an audience is to build relatability. “To seek to see oneself in a work of art is nothing new, nor is it new to enjoy the sensation” (Mead, 2014). People follow certain people because they’ve made an impact on them in some way. This made me reflect on what I wanted to do for my website and the impact I want to make. At first, I wanted to reinvigorate my love for art and share my process with other people in hopes to encourage other people to pursue something they lost touch with over the years. I think that the idea was pretty solid but my execution wasn’t the greatest. I slowly became less motivated to create art since I didn’t have much inspiration to draw from being stuck at home. I noticed that discovering different art styles became more of a task once again. Perhaps art isn’t a consistent hobby I should try to maintain. I was really focused on trying to find a way to be original but in actuality, honing my interest is one of the first steps to determine my style (Nishiyama, 2017).
I think I’m going to take a break from Simple Art. I actually want to turn my website into something else, I have 3 months left with my domain and I’m thinking of turning it into a lifestyle blog! I was really impressed with the lifestyle blogs in my publication class and I want to try it out. I think that’ll give me more room to just do whatever I want but also typically lifestyle bloggers gain a huge audience (Killoren, 2013). They can easily influence people because many people have an ideal way of living. Lifestyle bloggers inspire people to change their habits. I can definitely see that effect on me because I love Jenn I’m (Lifestyle Youtuber). Anyway, this website won’t go to waste! Stay tuned for a huge website revamp!
Suler, J. (2004). The Online Disinhibition Effect.
Mead, R. (2014, August 1). The Scourge of “Relatability”. The New Yorker.
Killoren, P. (2016, November 17). Why Do WE Follow Influencers? Admass.
Nishiyama, C. (2017, 2017, January 24) How to Develop Your Unique Artistic Style.