Week 10: Technical Activity – Final Blog Review

So, I am now officially at the point of my blog where all there is left to do is spend the next week or so refining my posts and checking for technical errors.

I have just done a solid once over with the ‘Blog Writing Checklist’ as a guide and picked up on a few silly errors in my writing (Ames 2015).

While I didn’t find any of the questions difficult from the checklist, I do know that when I have had a lot of exposure to my writing, I can easily miss technical errors. From here on out it really will be just a matter of reading over posts, again and again, to the point where I am happy with them before the submission date.

I will also be spending a significant amount of time between now and the 25th commenting and reviewing others blogs. While I have made a really good attempt at interacting with peers about their blogs throughout the semester, I know how helpful it is to have people review your work!

That’s all from me for now!

References

Ames, K 2015, Week 10 – Blog Checklist, course notes, COMM11007: Media Writing, CQUniversity e-courses, http://moodle.cqu.edu.au

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Week 10: Technical Activity – Final Blog Review

Week 10: Inquiry Activity – The Visual Consumer (ASOS)

For this week’s inquiry activity we were to consider ourselves as visual consumers of a website/brochure/magazine. I chose to review and the ASOS fashion website in relation to this week’s study guide.

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Logo

The study guide, supported by further research, suggests that the most effective logos are those that have a simple message and a simple design. In the case of ASOS, this is most certainly the case.

The logo has been clearly designed with simplicity in mind, using only the two contrasting colours of black and white, in what could be described as a ‘cursive’ or ‘decorative’ font. While the use of text will be discussed later in this blog post, the sheer size and boldness of the lettering in the logo make the use of this font acceptable as a logo typeface (Ames 2015; Clancy & Krieg 2009). Additionally, Janiszewski (2001) suggests that logos are most successful when they appear timeless in design. In this case, the logo is both easily recognisable and effective in its message in advertising ASOS as a place to ‘discover fashion online’.

Colour/White Space/Balance

Smith (2015) is one of the most important features in successful marketing and advertising. Colour on the ASOS website, is used in a number of ways to both aid the visual presentation of the items and available, and also to present a distinct stylistic tone throughout the website. While the use of colour is largely limited to the use of black and white (specifically in the creation of white-space) pops of colour are used throughout the website to draw the views eye to key points of interest and to create visual balance.

On this home page we can see deliberate attempts to draw the reader’s eye to the ‘mint green’ section of the top of the website (which is advertising the current sale) and also pops of blue colour to the bottom right (linking users to both the women’s and men’s clothing sections). Moreover, the predominant use of black and white colour, also allows the image of the models to ‘pop’ highlighting their clothing. Seonsu and Barnes (1989) argues that colour is one of the most critical elements of successful advertising websites, particularly in the fashion industry.

Font

The study guide suggests that fonts are crucial in not only setting the context of written work, but also in the delivery and receiving of messages (Ames 2015). In the case of the ASOS website, all three examples of font types (Serif fonts, Sans Serif fonts and cursive fonts) are used throughout the website.

For instance, the website primarily uses ‘cursive’ fonts to highlight key messages. Almost always displayed in larger type sizes, these examples conform the standards outlined through-out the study guide.

Alternatively, Sans Serif fonts are used throughout the website, primarily in the descriptions of items for purchase. Where this type face can be used for ‘headlines’, it may also be appropriately used as ‘caption’ text – as seen within the image below (Ames 2015). This again, conforms the expectations highlighted throughout the study guide.

Finally, the use of Serif fonts are used throughout the website to display important points of interest, in an easy to read font. The primary example of this may be seen on the homepage, where the site’s key navigational links are written in Times New Roman.

Photos/Graphics

As a clothing website, there are many examples of photos of items on sale. Each of these images are thoughtfully labelled, complimentary the imagery used. The only other real graphics on the website are promotional images of models wearing clothes from the website – which again, reinforces the messages and intent of ASOS.

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References

Ames, K 2015, Week 10 – Impact of Design and Structure, COMM11007: Media Writing, CQUniversity e-courses, http://moodle.cqu.edu.au

ASOS n.d., ASOS – Home Page, viewed 16 September 2015, http://www.asos.com/au/?hrd=1

Birkner, C 2015, ‘What’s your type?’ Marketing News, vol. 49, no. 7, pp. 10-11.

Clancy, K, & Krieg, P 2009, ‘Five marketing tips’, Sales & Service Excellence, vol. 9, no. 1, p. 6.

Janiszewski, C 2001, ‘Effects of brand logo complexity, repetition, and spacing on processing fluency and judgment’, Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 18-32.

Seonsu, L, & Barnes, J 1989, ‘Using color preferences in magazine advertising’, Journal of Advertising Research, vol. 29, no. 6, pp. 25-30.

Smith, J 2015, ‘It’s a color-coded world’, Marketing Insights, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 18-19.

Week 10: Inquiry Activity – The Visual Consumer (ASOS)

Week Nine – Practical Activity: Peer Storify Review

As part of the Week 9 requirements for our blog posts, we were to review a peer’s Storify submission. While I had already reviewed Stephanie’s Storify, I saw that Heidi was also looking for feedback on her submission.

I have been following Heidi’s blog all through-out the semester and really admire the style of her writing and the high standard of blog posts she puts out each week. It was my great privilege to review her Storify – below are the comments and feedback I gave on her submission so far.

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Hey Heidi,

Thanks so much for your review. It always helps to get a fresh perspective on your work. I really appreciate you taking the time – you have given me some great points to take away and think about! Now, for your Storify!

Week 9 Activity Questions

Who do you think the audience is?

Mackay residents and locals, interested in supporting the revitalisation of the city’s CBD.

What did you learn about the event?

I learned that the Twilight City – Beyond Your Imagination Street Party is an annual event in its second year. The city is aiming to raise money to support the development of the CBD. The street party is about bringing locals together, to support the town and the wider region.

What else (if anything) could be included that would make the story more interesting or have more impact?

I think you that have done a great job at implementing not only your own, first hand, personal account of the event, but also incorporating addition sources and references to support your points. The tweets/photos/video are all great in reinforcing your ‘newsworthy’ points of interest, while giving great illustration to your Storify.

If the structure is confusing, how could it be improved?

While I really loved your story and the atmosphere you were able to bring through your personal writing, your Storify almost seems like two different stories right now – on the one hand you have this great family event that talks about the revitalisation of the CBD; then at the end you have this ‘reality-check’ quote from business owners saying how the construction is hurting their business.

I am not sure. At the moment the two stories aren’t merging for me and there is a perceivable disconnect there. Have you thought about losing the quote about the businesses at the end? That way your story a consistent tone that is focused on the lightness and family atmosphere of the twilight street party; which I think really comes together with your tweets and your personal tone.

I really couldn’t pick up on any finer technical discrepancies. I think that you’ve done a spot on job in that regard.

What do you like about the story?

I love the tone and the personal scope to the story. While reading it I had a great sense of immersion in your story, which was really brought together with the use of tweets/images/videos.

Now to address those additional questions on your blog:

I’ve probably published it a little early, but like many others I want to finish assessment early and this way I can improve it based on your feedback (please give feedback).

Nothing wrong with publishing it early! Overall, I think your Storify is a great example of ‘personal writing’ meeting ‘social media/news writing’. I thoroughly enjoyed your story.

I might be thinking of swapping the end around with the beginning so that the story of the businesses’ suffering will be before the general festivities of the event.

I think this could be a great move for you. While your story is great, I think the key points and ‘newsworthiness’ of the suffering business is too good to leave to the end. Starting off with those really reality-driven quotes, I think would give your story a lot of emotive power. But I still wonder about the structure and if your story wouldn’t be better off taking a more light tone all round.

I may have too many tweets, pictures etc. embedded – is it overload?

I don’t think that you have too many tweets at all. I think that because you are taking on such a personal approach to the way you are telling your story, the tweets are essential. It demonstrates your interaction with the setting around you, and gives you credibility as a central ‘character’ in your story. I think this would be a big point of discussion for you within your written justification (what you have to submit in the final assessment with your Storify link).

Am I too personal with my delivery? Maybe you can tell from my blogging style that this is a natural style of writing for me.

Our stories are obviously polar-opposites in composition – I have taken a more objective and traditional news take on my event, whilst yours is very personal, descriptive, etc. I don’t think that you are too personal within your delivery. I think you do a great job of ensuring consistency of this style across the story’s elements.

I have used three other sources to find out data used in the story such as how much the project costs. How do I reference this without having to write ‘Mackay Regional Council has said the project costs $18.6 million) and so on. I don’t want to do that. It’s all on public websites, and anyone can access that information. It wasn’t told to me directly. I found it out via research. Any suggestions?

“Reports by the Mackay Regional Council estimate..” – does that help? I think because it is research, and not a quote from a person, you may have more flexibility in the way you present that information. But that is something that you should check over with Kate.

I hope my responses were helpful! You’ve done really great work!

Cheers,

Heather

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Reference

Petith, H 2015, Twilight City Street Party – A bittersweet celebration, on Storify, viewed 17 September 2015, https://storify.com/Heidi_Petith/twilight-street-party-a-bittersweet-celebration

Week Nine – Practical Activity: Peer Storify Review

Week 10: Practical Activity – Reviewing My Blog

Blog Review Questions

Is the layout clean and easy to read?

Yes. I deliberately chose a minimalist format for my blog, so that attention is drawn directly to blog posts without distraction. A minimalist approach to presentation ensures that the focus remains on the messages of writing; in this case my posts and their content (Gerd 2015).

Have you used headings in a way that attracts attention to key points?

Yes. Campbell (2006) suggests that as today’s world is becoming more and more visual, students must learn to adequately integrate a visual aspects in their writing. With this in mind, I have used headings thoughtfully throughout my blog to highlight key discussion areas; a fundamental feature of effective writing presentation (McCarter & Whitby 2007). Whether it is in bold, italics or a separate section, I believed I have used headings purposefully to facilitate the reading of my blog posts.

Is white space used appropriately?

Yes, I believe I have used white space appropriately. Where the study materials for this week on Moodle suggest that white space is important in drawing the reader’s attention, I have made sure that in each blog post that I have paid attention to my use of space, and the overall visual impact of writing sections and images (Ames 2015).

Have you completed all the tasks?

Yes, I have completed all the weekly tasks for the blog.

Have completed all blog requirements?

Yes. All of my posts are tagged and categorised based on their content.

Have you responded to all weekly requirements?

Yes I have.

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Blog Assignment Reflection

What were your major challenges and how did you overcome these?

The major challenge I had with assignment is that it is very time intensive. While initially I thought that it would be fairly straight-forward, each week’s series of topics took a considerable amount of time to get right.

In order to overcome this, I took a proactive approach to my blog. I did not want to get close to the due date and freak out because I was behind. So consistently worked a week ahead (sometimes even two weeks ahead) to ensure that I was constantly up to date.

Was it too hard/too easy/about right?

I don’t think that there was anything too hard or too easy about the blog assignment task. I think your approach to the blog may have dictated whether or not this piece of assessment was difficult. I think that because I was so proactive in staying ahead with the weekly tasks, the blog was a fairly straight forward assessment for me.

Has it helped improve your writing?

I think this subject and the blog have improved my writing. I have come to appreciate the value of having shorter sentences and more concise writing style. Technically, I think I have become a sounder writer which will benefit me beyond just my university studies.

References

Ames, K 2015, Week 10 – Impact of Design and Structure, COMM11007: Media Writing, CQUniversity e-courses, http://moodle.cqu.edu.au

Campbell, N 2006, ‘Communicating visually: Incorporating document design in writing tasks’, Business Communication Quarterly, vol. 69, no. 4, pp. 399-403.

Gerd, B 2015, ‘Improve Your Writing Skills With Practice’, Public Relations Tactics, vol. 22, no. 2, p. 18.

McCarter, S & Whitby, N 2007, Writing skills, Macmillan, London, England.

Week 10: Practical Activity – Reviewing My Blog

Week Nine – Practical Activity: Peer Storify Review

So I just spent time reviewing Steph’s Storify submission (Click here to view her Storify!). She covered the “Livin Hot on the Hill Challenge” in Townsville. I emailed her my thoughts on her submission and I hope that they were to helpful to her as she works through Assessment Three. This is a copy of the email I sent.

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Hey Stephanie,

Thanks so much for your reply on the forums. I am just emailing you to hopefully give you some solid feedback on your Storify. I couldn’t find your blog to comment on – so I hope its okay that I’ve emailed you.

It’s great to see that you have been so organised and gotten your event covered early. I’ve got a bunch of notes – and really they are just food for thought, before you officially submit it!

The first thing that I noticed is that your first two sentences have a lot of really great information, but perhaps could be integrated better. Where it is recommended that sentences are short and simple, you could break down this information more to give your story more “flow”. For example, your lead sentence might read something like: “On Saturday August 8, HotFM Townsville teamed up with ‘Livin’, the suicide prevention charity, to launch Livin’ Hot on the Hill.”

From there you could integrate the “descriptive” elements of the event into a few more sentences. As an example you could have something like, “It was the first time the event has been held in community, with over 600 people participating in the 24 hour hill challenge. The event aims to raise both money and awareness for youth suicide and mental issues.”

There is also two blank lines between the first and second sentence – a quick little formatting thing that you might want to fix!

In the third sentence, 60 should be spelt “Sixty” – a convention of the media/news writing genre, when a number is at the beginning of the sentence.

The fourth sentence has the words “each team” repeated – maybe you could re-work the sentence so this isn’t the case and it sounds less repetitive. Was there any other rules to the event?

Fifth sentence is written really well, with some great information.

I think your quote section by Fiona is really great – but I wonder if it might be improved by breaking this down a little more, so that there is one indirect quote and two direct quotes.

I really enjoyed your story – and I did check out your tweets from the event on your Twitter. Many of them were really great, and I think that if you wanted, they would make great additions to your story.

These are just some quick notes on your Storify – hopefully they were helpful. I think you picked a great event that is most definitely newsworthy! Great work Stephanie.

Cheers,

Heather.

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Task Reflection

I always find it difficult to review other peoples work. I know its essential part of writing and presenting work publicly, but I always feel like I am being controlling or maybe mean. I hope that Steph takes my criticism in a positive way, and I hope she achieves the result she wants from that Assessment.

Reference

Christensen, S 2015, 24 Hour Livin’ Hot on the Hill Challenge, on Storify, viewed 17 September 2015, https://storify.com/slc_90/24-hour-livin-hot-on-the-hill-challenge
Week Nine – Practical Activity: Peer Storify Review

Week Nine – Inquiry Activity: Content & Writing Curation

Where consumers time is limited, it is more important than ever that writers of media content are able to extract and present the information that matters to their audience (Collis 2014).

Content curation is especially valuable in delivering meaningful messages to audiences (Coco & Torres 2013). Curation isn’t about creating new content, but rather bringing together and compiling the most relevant information for the audience in question. Meaningful curation is an essential skill of media writing, especially given the sheer amount of information and data available via the internet. Curation ensures that messages are representative of brands and tailored to the needs of the audience (Cisnero 2014).

Trip Advisor – Reviews and advice on hotels, resorts, flights, holiday rentals, travel packages, and more.

The information presented on this site is clear, direct and data driven (Trip Advisor 2015). The presentation of this information is deliberately curated this way to deliver to the audience succinct and purposeful reviews of hotels across the world.

The difference in presenting the information this way means that audiences, and readers of the website, are getting only essential information about the hotel.

Condé Nast Traveller – A lifestyle website, specifically focused on travel and destination.

The information presented on this website is descriptive and indulgent (Condé Nast Traveller 2015). In direct contrast to the Trip Advisor website, information curated on this site deliberately offers readers an immersive sense of what staying in these hotels would actually be like.

More than just pure factually driven reviews, this website brings the hotels to life through atmospheric descriptions. The appeal to readers is then a comprehensive review that goes beyond the basic details, presenting a deeper, enriched vision of what these hotels have to offer.

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Task Reflection

Information is more accessible than it has ever been before, and curation is the key in presenting meaningful, newsworthy messages (Cisnero 2014). It is fascinating to see these two websites be such polar-opposites in presentation, yet essentially provide the same thing. I shouldn’t be so surprised – as a consumer, I regularly seek out information based on my needs and what I know certain websites/media sites will give me. From a critical perspective I can’t help but appreciate the research and the writing skills it takes to bring so many elements together, specifically for a readership.

References

Cisnero, N 2014, ‘Beginners guide to content curation’, Hootsuite, viewed 4 September 2015, http://blog.hootsuite.com/beginners-guide-to-content-curation/

Coco, P & Torres, MG 2013, ‘Curation in writing: Using a “Building” and “Breaking” pedagogy to teach culture in the digital age’, Web Writing, viewed 4 September 2015, http://webwriting2013.trincoll.edu/crossing-boundaries/coco-torres-2013/

Collis, M 2014, ‘6 powerful tips to effective content curation’, The Huffington Post, viewed 4 September 2015, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matthew-collis/6-powerful-tips-to-effect_b_5901856.html?ir=Australia

Condé Nast Traveller 2015, ‘Gold standard hotels 2015 – Best hotels in the world’, Condé Nast Traveller, viewed 4 September 2015, http://www.cntraveller.com/awards/the-gold-list/gold-standard-hotels-2015/viewall

Trip Advisor 2015, ‘Top 25 Hotels – World’, Trip Advisor Australia, viewed 4 September 2015, http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/TravelersChoice-Hotels-g1

Week Nine – Inquiry Activity: Content & Writing Curation

Week Nine – Technical Activity: Passive and Active Voice

I didn’t find this quiz difficult at all. All of the responses I wrote in relation to the questions were more or less identical to the ‘correct’ answers outlined.

I think this quiz definitely highlighted a point of difference between writing styles that I find very interesting. Academic writing for the most part is concerned with the use of passive writing, and avoiding ‘absolute’ statements (UNC 2015). Academic writing is concerned with carefully constructing sentences which appropriately reference the ideas and findings of others, all the while creating a well-supported argument of your own.

In direct contrast, media writing is all about using active writing, clearly defined points and simple easy to understand sentences (Hamilton University 2015). Focused on key information and ‘newsworthiness’ media writing cuts to what matters – rather than the academic writing tendency to wade back and forth between findings and other scholarly suggestions.

While I didn’t struggle through this quiz by any means, it really highlighted to me how to I do have that tendency towards a passive style of writing. It’s a good mental note for me to take – especially in the coming weeks as I review my blog for submission. My goal from here on out is to review each of my posts to make sure I am using that active writing style the media genre favours.

Reference

Business Writing Centre 1997, ‘Passive and active voice’, viewed 4 September 2015, http://www.businesswriting.com/tests/activepassive.htm

Hamilton University 2015, ‘The seven deadly sins of writing’, viewed 4 September 2015, https://www.hamilton.edu/writing/seven-sins-of-writing/the-first-deadly-sin-passive-voice

University of North Carolina (UNC) 2015, ‘Passive voice’, viewed 4 September 2015, http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/passive-voice/

Week Nine – Technical Activity: Passive and Active Voice