Essay #2

My experience as an online publisher was great. I have really enjoyed being able to create, and publish my thoughts and to share that with my online audiences. In the short time of this semester, I was able to develop not only an interest in doing this, but a love for it.

I really liked the opportunity and the freedom that this website gave me. I was able to design, and create posts to make it what I wanted. This website has also helped me in creating and expanding my online presence. I have tried to connect my social media’s and this website in hopes to create a more interconnected network of what and who Lauren Mason is.

I also liked how in this class, all of our assignments were also posted. In the article by Erin Glass, she speaks about “Social Paper” and why it is important. I agree that it is so important. The online world has become such a big part of our everyday lives as citizens. She says that student writing “never has a chance to shine, or rather, to attract an authentic public.” I could not agree with this more. We as students spend hours and hours working on papers and assignments that only our Professor or TA will read. I think that having a space for that work to be shared and circulated is so important. Glass also talks about the disconnect from intellectual activity and life, and I do not like that. I think that that disconnect is not the best thing for our society, and that intellectual activity should be intertwined with everyday life. We should be able to share what silly things our friends did yesterday along with the thought-provoking paper we just wrote for our class. She ends with saying that “a public must not die every semester” and I could not agree more. Thankfully, in this class, my work does see the light of day; it reaches more than just my Professor and TA, it has the potential to reach the whole world. This is so exciting for me! This website has limitless potential, and it all depends on me as a content creator to capitalize on that potential. A daunting but challenging task that excites me. My website can be an online public sphere that allows for intellectual activity, thought provoking and cultural discussion.

My website is all about wrestling. Wrestling tournaments, gear, mindset, and so much more. I wanted it to be a space for everyone. My public is, as this article puts it, a relation among strangers, may of my readers don’t know each other directly, but I hoped that the people who read my posts can be interested in it. No matter if they are just learning or know a lot about wrestling, I want it to be a place where people can connect and discuss. My posts are all centered around some aspect of wrestling and in each one, I offer some insights on that topic. I try to keep each post fairly neutral, and encourage people to comment their thoughts and options on the subject. I think my website offers a unique look into the wrestling world, and helps to spark interest to discuss it further.

The wrestling world is relatively small compared to other sports such as football, and the people who are in it are very close. Within that world, there are many different opinions and views, and I think that that is one of the things that makes it so great. Wrestling very versatile and it is a sport that anyone can do, and so the wrestling world is something that everyone can be a part of. The diversity that exists there is what helps to make it so great. I have tried to offer a diverse range of posts with room for those diverse opinions to exist. I think that this website is a great space for that discussion, and I hope as I continue to write posts that this space can expand and help both wrestlers, wrestling fans new and old to participate in discussion.

I have also learned a lot about my website and my audience through Google Analytics. Using Google Analytics has also been such an interesting experience. I have found it very useful in seeing who comes and how they come to my website. It was cool to see the opposite side of what I have been doing online, the behind-the-scenes of my own online use. I have been learning a lot lately about data and social media/online use, so being able to see this in action. Through Analytics, I can see which posts are the most popular, and which days are the most active. The affordances of Google Analytics allow me to see my audience. There are so many possibilities that my website allows for, and I have tried to take advantage of them; things like audience commentary, and linking it to the rest of the online network, and so much more. This article talks about how design offers certain affordances, and I have tried to do that. I have tried to design my website in a straightforward way to make it easy to understand and engage with, along with being easy to navigate through. The article says that great designs are “those that allow us directly, and correctly, to see what we can do with a thing.” This is what I want direct and clear ways to talk about what we as a wrestling community can do with a certain topic.

Through the website, I have enabled comments on my posts. I have received a few comments from viewers on posts, and also those viewers have also commented on other viewers comments. This interaction between users was cool to see. My audience not only interacting with my posts, but with others who are viewing my posts as well. This has influenced me to create more thought provoking posts in order to get my audience to interact with the post and each other as well. I have tried to create a space for interaction and discussion of wrestling things, and it seems, to a certain extent that it is happening! It did take some time, and effort thought.

At first, I was just kind of writing whatever I felt, and now I am thinking more about what my viewers would like to see. I have noticed the shift in myself, and it is really cool to see. I have turned my mentality from “this is what I am thinking right now” to “how can I create something that will be interesting to my audience”? I also think that visualizing my audience has made it easier to connect when comments come. I have also noticed that writing comes easier the more I do it. As I have written over the semester, I have over 30 posts on my website, and I will say, 1-5 or even 1-10 were much harder to write than the last few. I got into a flow and sort of just went. I wrote in a slightly informal style, because I wanted it to be both easily understood and like it was more like speaking with a friend than reading an article.

Going on from here, I think I will continue to write!

I have really enjoyed this process, and the freedom it holds. I really liked the freedom especially. I like that I can write about whatever wrestling topic that comes to mind. I have written about quite a few things, but there is still so much more to write about. I really like to ask questions, and dig deeper into and find unique approaches to certain topics, and I want to continue to do so. I also like the opportunity creating content on my website gives me. Since I want to be a sports broadcaster, it allows me to get some experience in creating and publishing content about a sport for others to view. l will continue to do so, and hopefully one day make a career out of it, however that may present itself.