What I Proposed and What I Did
Project Proposal: http://erhetoric.org/WeblogsAndWikis/wikka.php?wakka=ProjectProposalELG
My project was titled Europe Through An American’s Eyes. My blog was called Cheers Love because there was a lovely food service employee who said “Cheers Love” to me every morning when I went down for my morning tea. My goal was to create a personal travel topic blog in which I compared and explored European fashion, people, interactions, and sights to my past experiences in America. I wanted this blog to be multi-faceted so I could capture the food, gossip (interactions), and sights as a first time international traveler. I used my own photography generously throughout my posts to give it a personal touch. I proposed to buy a better quality camera to take some pictures with which did happen. Some of my photos were still taken with my crappy phone but I tried to include as many high resolution photos as possible. Here are a few examples of some of my photography in the blog.
I think that I did satisfy what I was trying to accomplish with my blog. I was able to visit four different countries in all and wrote about my experiences in each one. Every Monday I did a weekly reflection in which a wrote a little about what I did each week included links to all of the posts I wrote. I started out in England studying at Oxford for five weeks and then traveled to The Netherlands and Germany for two weeks. I actually was so close to the border I often biked into Germany! The last stretch was spent in Ireland where I posted the least since wifi was scarce and travel was high.
- Weekly Reflection 3/22/2016
- Weekly Reflection 3/28/16
- Weekly Reflection 4/3/16
- Weekly Reflection 4/11/16
- Weekly Reflection 4/18/16
I obviously spent the most time in England but I did write two posts on the other countries I visited as well.
Things That Went Well
- I think it went very well to have a multi-faceted blog. My topics/categories stayed organized and all of my posts fit into one of the categories. It was challenging to stick to a category instead of just writing in more of a journalistic manner where I would ramble about my day. If I had good food AND saw cool sites that day I would have to do two separate posts instead of putting both in one. That was difficult but I adhered to the categories regardless. Here’s an example of two things that happened the same day but I had to write two separate posts on them.
A Walk in Hyde Park and The National Gallery– A Sights Post
Pret a Manger Love – A Food Post
- My goal was to post 3-4 times a week with a weekly reflection on Mondays. I stuck with it. It was difficult and rewarding at the same time. My reflections linked to all the posts I had done that week and I was really ecstatic to see my views going up on those posts I linked to. It was rewarding to see others comment on my posts because I felt like my posts actually mattered and were relevant to others in the blogging community.
- I think I did learn a lot about European culture and the people who live in England, Holland, Germany, and Ireland. It was really neat to see how mannerisms, accents, and cultural norms differ country to country in Europe. I was able to meet up with a native English man named Toby and have coffee with him which I certainly wrote about.
- Staying in Holland for two weeks with my friend’s family gave me a really unique experience getting a crash course in Dutch culture. I learned they drink A LOT and are some of the most wonderful, generous people I’ve met. I wrote about a fun night out with Dutch people my own age in the post
Things Which Could Be Improved Upon
- I really did enjoy taking my own photos for my blog but I cannot stop comparing them to the GORGEOUS stock photos I am more used to using. I think as I get better at photography I’ll be more proud of my blog posts. So this is more of a personal issue than an issue with the project.
- If I could go back I would strive to write more the last two weeks. I think I had the most interesting time in Holland and Ireland and I didn’t post as much. When you’re constantly on the go LIVING life it’s hard to write about it.
- Post links to my blog on FB every week to increase views and followers.
These were really fun to do. I don’t know many of the people in the class personally but taking a look at their projects gave me a cool insight into who they are. I think the blogging community is really interesting because even getting a comment or follow is really encouraging and satisfying. Having other classmates comment on my blog was a good confidence boost. I really enjoyed reading other blogs – especially Chris’s, Eric’s, Hannah’s, and Alexa’s. The projects were all very diverse and that made me really get a bigger picture of what can be done with wikis and blogs. So eye opening!
How Reading the Provided Sources Helped
Over the course of the semester there were a few readings that especially helped. Reading The Missing Manual was a good starting point for not only the Weblogs and Wikis course but also for the process of creating a final blogging project. The assignment SettingUpYourWPWeblog helped me out a lot. I had blogged in the past but I felt much more comfortable after being forced to learn how to set up a blogroll and other technical aspects of blogging. Rettburg’s Blogging was certainly the most helpful article I read. I thought it was really interesting and inspired me to try to post 3-4 times a week on my blog.
Highlights of My Trip/ Interesting Matters
I was very surprised how difficult it actually was to come up with posts for my Fashion category. I thought it was going to be really easy and it certainly wasn’t. I have so much respect for fashion bloggers because blogging about that subject is a lot harder than it would seem. In all I ended up writing four fashion posts.
I tried to keep the categories (Food, Fashion, Sights, and Gossip) relatively equal in the post amounts. Sites ended up having the most posts with a total of seventeen!
My favorite post I did was Fashion c. 1500-1600. I maintained my favorite tone- informative, professional, and still having a personal touch. The informative tone was borrowed from the notes I took from a lecture by one of my amazing Oxfrod professors, Dr. Chapman. I really enjoyed learning about past fashion because fashion nis a very cyclical concept.
I started out a little worrisome. Taking four online classes while taking classes abroad as well made me a little nervous. I wanted to excel and do the best that I possibly could. I also wanted to document everything so I could remember what I did while abroad. I think the project made me realize I value writing more than photography although photography was my lifesaver. Taking pictures of my travels helped me remember what happened on what day. If I wasn’t able to post right away I could go back and look at the pictures I took and write about them. I think Facebook goes hand in hand with my blog. I was very religious about posting my pictures to Facebook. I would always caption them which in a way is similar to blogging! My blog is very personally written although I enjoy reading other people’s blogs that are written more in third person. If I could go back and change one thing I would put the links to my posts on FB because I would have probably increased my views and followers. I also would try to use my other social media platforms in connection with my blog as well.