Posted on: November 26, 2019 Posted by: Nixon Vu Comments: 0

Essay #2 | The Journey of Navigating Vancouver

With Nix Navigates Vancouver, my goal was to create a community of people within Vancouver to share interesting finds around the city. Initially, I knew I wanted to highlight local businesses and entrepreneurs, but I didn’t know which route my blog would go in. While creating a roadmap for my website, I saw that most of my recommendations fits into three broad categories that summarized by overall interests; experiences, food, and shopping. With the theme of spending differently, and buying locally, I wanted to share unique local businesses that others might not know about. Before I move on, I want to quickly highlight some posts that features very cool local businesses. “2 Places to Shop That isn’t an Ordinary Supermarket” is a blog where I talk about two small independent grocery stores that are sustainable and promotes waste-free shopping. In the post “Unique Private Dinners with Independent Chefs,” I recommend two amazing chefs here in Vancouver that will actually come to your house and cook for you.

I aim for my website to appear more personal compared to other Vancouver related news outlets, so every post is written in my voice based on my own interests. The goal is that my audience can recognize I was the sole writer of my website, rather than a team of marketers in the city. This would hopefully translate into the content being more authentic and valuable for readers. Being authentic and connecting with people I like are two points that works to achieve success (Thorn, 2012). Since this blog, first and foremost, is a blog made for a class, the audience I’ve been envisioning from the start has been my classmates. Through the weeks, I began to view my website as an actual publication rather than a semester-long assignment and perceived my audience to be something bigger than just our publication class.

I picture my audience to be other young individuals in Vancouver who were also curious about what our city has to offer. Specifically, I wrote for counter publics of people who are interested in sustainability, promotes health and fitness, enjoys exploring, likes travelling, and loves to eat. I value I hope to provide are insightful and relevant recommendations that people are interested in. My mission is that people go out and tries my recommendations, and genuinely enjoys it. On the other hand, I also hope to bring value to local businesses by promoting and increasing awareness of their offerings on my platform. Though my personal experiences with these businesses, I hope I can bring insight into my website’s community.

To address my audience, I incorporate a lot of visual and design elements into my blog posts. I try to lay out my blogs in an engaging way that retains reader’s interest. For every business that I recommend, I try to include pictures and links to their social media. At the start of the semester, my blog posts were very minimal because I just used the standard format that WordPress provided for posts. After a couple weeks, I became more comfortable experimenting with WordPress plug-in’s and made my blogs more creative.

I found Google Analytics to be a great tool in viewing who my readers are, when they visit my website, and which types of posts gets the most visit. Since I want to make meaningful recommendations that my readers actually care about, the fact I consider to be most useful in Google Analytics would be seeing what pages my viewers visit. From this information, I can see that my posts “3 Vacations You Do Not Have to Fly to” and “2 Places to Shop That isn’t an Ordinary Supermarket” are the most popular. I can shift future posts towards topics that are similar to what is currently popular on my page.

I previously mentioned that with this website, I wanted to create a place where a community of like-minded people can come, engage with one another, share ideas, and communicate. For this reason, I provide and comments section in every post’s, and on my home page. I want this blog to be bigger than just myself, where others can share their recommendations or provide their own experiences to places that I recommend. Either at the beginning or the end of every blog post, I ensure to encourage readers to join the conversation in the comment sections. Allowing comments also motivates me to share real recommendations, because it would hurt my entire blog if I recommend something that everyone else has a negative experience with. With comments, there may be the occasional unexpected negative interactions that occur. Although it is an extra step to monitor my very quiet comment section for anything offensive, misleading, or hateful, I find keeping a comment section if more beneficial than hurtful. Writings and posts are actually enriched by the responses so I never did I consider disabling my comment section just to avoid the very small group of trolls and haters (Gardiner et al., 2016).

At the beginning of the term, I thought publications done in blog form on a website was only made by professional teams of educated writers. For ordinary amateur writers like me, I thought the only place I could create on online presence and share my ideas was through social media platforms. I now understand that, making a website is accessible to everyone. In a time where everything is becoming digital, I found it useful to learn tools and software such as WordPress, and Google Analytics.

Through this publication course, I learned a lot about how to establish an online presence. My experience writing the blog has been enjoyable, as I was able to write on topics I am genuinely interested in. However, regarding the future of this blog, I think this week will be the last week that Nix Navigates Vancouver will be updated. Through the semester, I learned that maintaining a blog, with weekly insightful posts, is very time consuming. I will still use everything I learned in this class and translate it into all of my future endeavours. I am active on my social media accounts, and this is where I will use the skills I developed on speaking to an audience. Social media is a stage for self-expression, communication, and self-promotion and is essentially where we create and display an online identity of our actual self (Dijck, 2013). This class will help me establish a presence on my social media platforms. Further, I am a student in marketing and entrepreneurship so I definitely see myself using the online skills that I developed while creating this website. That being said, thank you to the few of you who have been coming back to my website every week to see what I have to recommend and share. Thank you for being a part of this community. Let’s continue to explore the city and support small local businesses!

References

Gardiner, B., Mansfield, M., Anderson I., Holder, J., Louter, D., & Ulmanu, M. The dark side of Guardian comments. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/12/the-dark-side-of-guardian-comments

Thorn, J. (2012, November 4). Make Your Thing. Transom. Retrieved from https://transom.org/2012/jesse-thorn-make-your-thing/

Van Dijck, J. (2013, March 14). ‘You have one identity’: performing the self on Facebook and LinkedIn. Media, Culture & Society, 35(2). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/0163443712468605

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