Over the course of this semester my public writing skills have been challenged with theories that I was unaware even existed, including ethnography and extensive audience engagement. Throughout the weeks of studying BCM241, I have learnt new ways to criticise my writing, and to create a sense of engagement with my viewers like I’ve never done before. I believe that my skills have vastly strengthened and I hope this reflects in my writing.
An ethnographic understanding is developed through sources of data, to determine an overall examination of people, cultures and their surroundings. (B. Hoey, 2013). Whilst developing my skills as a writer, I’ve come to realise that my approach is much more auto-ethnographic than I had realised. I have developed the ability to comprehend people in the sense of audience as well as observing and examining their behaviour in different situations. During the semester, one topic we’ve learnt about is audience and specifically audience within the cinema. Whilst learning about this topic along with ethnography, it was interesting to notice the way I observed and examined my surroundings without even realising! It was like an automatic response – (an ‘auto-ethnographic’ method). I’m learning more and more about audiences as the weeks go on. And even about my own audience… (That does mean you guys!).
In regards to audience engagement, I do try to keep my content interesting. Although it may just seem like a boring university assignment, I do try to engage my readers on level much deeper rather than a standard scholarly article. I’ve found that writing about topics that my readers can relate to, on some kind of level, allows for a connection and sense of engagement.
Successful academic writing involves both clear exposition and appropriate audience relationships, in terms of connection and engagement (Brown and Levinson 1987). Throughout my personal writing development I have learned to connect, engage and refer to my audience’s experiences. Whether that is on an emotional level or involving humour into my writing, I intend to bond with my audience and strive to create a sense of belonging for them.
Throughout my WordPress career, I have found that using a visual-pleasing blog layout allows viewers to powerfully engage with the message. By this I mean that if something is easy to read, people will keep reading! It is stated that visual communication ensures that a clear, unified message is delivered, (A Boatman, 2017). In fact, since re-doing my site earlier this year, I discovered that my audience percentage had increased by 39%! My experience with public writing has taught me that blog design is a vital factor for a successfully engaged audience. And it’s true. If a blog layout is over-populated, with too many gidgets etc, or on the other hand simple or plain and boring, then people are not going to stay! “The key to a well structured blog is to keep an updated, fresh simple look,” (Vandalay 2017). Although I may not be an expert with WordPress just yet, I’ve become comfortable with a simple layout that I can maintain.
BCM241 has allowed me to step outside my comfort zone and write to the public unknown- in which I did find terrifying at first. I have learnt about media, audience and place within my personal surroundings and within the public sphere as a whole. I’ve enjoyed the subject, and have also enjoyed the challenges made, including the criticisms of my own writing. I hope to further criticise my public writing and I look foreword to future BCM subjects.
A Boatman. 2017. TechSmith. Accessed 27 September 2017 <https://blogs.techsmith.com/tips-how-tos/why-visual-communication-matters/>
B Hoey. 2017. Brian Hoey. Accessed 27 September 2017 <http://www.brianhoey.com/General%20Site/general_defn-ethnography.html>
S Snell. 2016. Vandalay Design. Accessed 24 September 2017 <http://www.vandelaydesign.com/impact-of-design/>