“Reflection is a generic term for those intellectual and affective activities in which individuals engage to explore their experiences in order to lead to new understandings and appreciations. It may take place in isolation or in association with others. It can be done well or badly, successfully or unsuccessfully” (University of Sydney, 2015).
From this definition of reflection, we can come to the understanding that this process of reflecting on ones own experiences and work can be beneficial in many ways including, identifying possible inadequacies or areas for improvement, understanding your own strengths, applying what you have learned from one situation to other situations and lastly transforming an experience into learning about individual values and beliefs. In applying this process of reflection to my experience of blogging throughout this semester, I hope that I can satisfy all of these above benefits, successfully growing and learning from this experience as a whole.
An important aspect of creating an online presence is building an audience to reach out to. A central point I gathered from Aaron Baldassare’s (2012) article is that “it is crucial to focus on the quality rather than the size of your blog audience. In exploring this tip I felt that this is tied in closely with using the BCM240 hash tag, directly linking my work to my peers who follow this tag, creating an aggregation of information. Instead of targeting a large online audience using multiple hash tags, I opted for ‘quality’, only using the one tag. In exploration of more ways I might have been able to increase my follow base, I could have posted links to my work on other media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook, further expanding my viewers and increasing the feedback and engagement I get from outside audiences. Another tip I gathered from this article is to “get involved in the relevant community” (Baldassare, A 2012). I felt like this was a strong aspect of mine over the course of the semester, reading and interacting with other blogs and peers. Interacting with this BCM240 community helped improve the quality of my writing through informing me of the various topics they were covering in their blogs. In combination with this, the ability to comment on my peer’s works, as well as receive feedback from them viewing my blog benefited my learning experience as a whole.
Another crucial aspect of blogging is the developing of a writing style and voice. Janine Warner (2015) discusses in her Dummies article the significance of maturing a writing style and voice through “trying to write the way you speak,” remembering that blogging is in actual fact a “conversation”. I think this was the aspect, which I struggled with the most, attempting to create and reflect my personality in my own writing. Being introduced to blogging at the beginning of last year, I was unsure on how to structure a blog as well as the tone to use in my writing. As I have developed my online presence over the course of my University degree I have found that my writing has been shaped from formal and ridged to a more relaxed, informal tone and style. In developing this voice, Warner (2015) suggests to always “consider your audience”. In considering my BCM240 audience I have been aiming to write academically in order to engage this target audience, however, using a loosened style of writing that reflects my personality. As I widen my audience through the posting of my WordPress links on multiple platforms, I will have to ensure that I am using “plenty of references or glossaries” to help these new readers follow along (Warner, J 2015). As I continue blogging and building my online presence, I aim to develop this writing style further, eventually gaining a solid blogging voice.
When it comes to blog design and layout, Marie Asselin (2014) adds “Everybody loves discovering great content, but who likes stumbling around a clumsy design that makes it hard to access the content?” Upon beginning BCM240, I was blissfully unaware of the importance of blog design, offering all my readers a plain blog page with clustered content and no tabs helping the viewer navigate the page. Throughout the course of this subject I have slowly altered my page to give the readers a more pleasant experience than previous. Asselin (2014) highlights in her article the “significance to a well-edited navigation menu, acting as a gateway to everything”. This was one of the major changes I incorporated in my blog page, adding a menu for my viewers to navigate between my hash tags. In thinking of more editing that could be done to my design and layout, I would like to add more to my side menus, linking my twitter and email address, allowing for viewers to either contact me for queries or to follow my twitter activity.
An aspect that I felt I was strong in was exploring outside of the set readings in search of additional resources to aid my blogs in the topics I covered. These additional sources found added a bit more depth to my writing, either backing up my writing or adding further readings for viewers to explore in order to gain a better understanding of the topic. The broad nature of each topic question was good allowing for me to back myself in choosing which aspect of the topic I decided to tackle. This was good for my personal growth as a blogger as I could delve deeper into aspects of topics that I found more interesting, further personalising my online presence.
Through reflection of my online presence, I have been able to turn my blogging experience into a learning occurrence in which I have gained a greater understanding of my strengths, values and beliefs, identifying inadequacies and areas for improvement, and overall learning from the experience in order to inform future blogging situations. This practice of self-evaluation has been of great value to my growth as a student as well as a blogger.
University of Sydney 2015, ‘Reflection’, The University of Sydney, Article,
Baldassare, A 2012, ‘How to Build a Blog Audience: The 12 Laws of a Great Start’, Falconer, November 16, Article,
Warner, J 2015, ‘Writing A Good Blog’, Dummies, Article,
Asselin, M 2014, ‘Tips For Creating An Effective Blog Layout’, Food Bloggers Of Canada, June 4, Article,