Before starting my communications degree, I loved writing creatively. I did English Extension 2 in high school and all across my laptop, you’ll find random documents that have 300 words of writing in them, just from when I had a thought and wanted to write down some ideas.
For my first year subjects, all I was doing was just writing exactly about the lecture content. It wasn’t until my first marks for my blog came back and I fully realised that I need to be writing critically. Sure, the first paragraph can focus on the lecture content, but I need references and other stories and just something else to really make my blog fit for posting.
However, one thing I have always struggled with is writing academically, and sourcing new materials to back-up my opinions or research. A lot of the time it is because I don’t leave myself enough time to do quality research and sometimes it is because I feel I don’t need it. I’ve realised, especially since the start of my blogging, that even having one or two academic sources to discuss can make a world of difference – even if, just right now, its the difference between a credit and a distinction.
In addition, I decided (at least try anyway) to make my blogs not so dense and purely academic. Personally, I can’t read something and be able to properly take in if it is just references after references, big words after big words (BIG WORDS. HUUUUGGGEEE. ENORMOUS).
Engagement for me is so vitally important. You can have all the references in the world, have an amazing piece of academic writing and no one wants to read it because, ultimately, it is boring. At the same time, you can’t just dribble on with Simpsons references and photos of chicken schnitzels at different angles because that isn’t productive public writing either (although that is definitely a blog post I would check out…)
822 views for all time stats is pretty good – it shows that my engagement techniques with readers is working, but it also shows that I need to get better at promoting my blog on Twitter and other platforms and ultimately increase the reach of my posts. By tagging more effectively and posting more regularly, I believe that this can be achieved.
Because this is a reflection of my writing, I went looking for other sources that discuss public writing and how important it is to do it correctly – not just for your reader’s benefit, but for yourself too.
Jenson (2011) discusses the importance of self-reflection and outlines key principles for students, which is similar to the guidelines we were given in first year:
Students own their portfolios, the information it contains and have responsibility for managing that information
Students learn to manage that data responsibly by selecting which singular pieces of information
Students are encouraged to create a lifelong record of their learning through the University granting its graduates lifelong access to their portfolios.
Students are urged to consistently reflect ontheir learning, not only while at the university but beyond.
My blogging has involved understanding and implementing all four of these points. Keeping a lifelong record of our learning has been one of the key aims of our blogging, but I always have trouble reflecting back on it – it is one thing that I hope to be on top of by the end of this subject, or at the very most, by the time I graduate.
In addition, Hicken (2015) discusses how blogging can be daunting, regardless if its the first time you’ve blogged or the hundredth. She outlined some of the worst things to do on a blog:
- Don’t make your readers work too hard
- Don’t be boring
- Don’t become dependent on other’s expertise
- Don’t forget visuals
These points have assisted me in being able to blog effectively. It is all about balance after all – making sure that there are enough references but also enough engaging material, like visuals, to keep a reader reading and to make sure they keep coming back. I’ve realised that I need to increase the amount of visual content in my blogs to make them more interesting and readable.
Subjects like BCM241 (Media, Audience, Place) and BCM212 (Research Practices in Media and Communication) have taught me how to research effectively, and how to ethically do so too. It has informed my blogging and even research in other subjects, and has put a conscious thought in my mind to make sure that everything that I post and every project that I’ve attempted (or will attempt) is done with my readers and participants in the fore-front of my mind.
In the future, I really need to dedicate more time and energy to blogging – especially if it is a major part of my degree. I need to tackle it with as much passion as I do my personal blogging space, and push for a more regular pattern of blogging.
Say blogging again.
Hicken, A 2015 ‘Every don’t has a do when writing a blog post’, PR Newswire, viewed 2 October 2017,
Jenson, J.D 2011 ‘Promoting Self-regulation and Critical Reflection Through Writing Students Use of Electronic Portfolio’, International Journal of ePortfolio, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 49-60.