This semester was an interesting one. I finally decided to take a publication course, which at first was quite intimidating; however, as time passed it quickly transitioned into one of my favourite courses I have ever taken. Prior to this course, I had very little knowledge about publishing, let alone how beneficial it is to content creators. This short essay aims to highlight my experience as an online publisher, alongside the challenges I faced as a first time content creator.
I was tasked to create a personal website, a blog of some sort, whose main focus was shedding light upon what I am passionate about and willing to share with others. In the beginning of my thinking process, I was met with a dilemma of whether I should create a food blog or do something more unique. I knew a food blog would be a common theme amongst my peers, so I decided to create something different, such as a car blog. I chose this topic because I have a deep-rooted passion for cars and have always been surrounded by “petrol-heads” during my upbringing. My blog helps people who may not know too much about cars about the car world, and does a great job at showcasing different models of cars, alongside their prices, their specifications and even their respective owners. Not to mention, I know that millions around the world also share my passion, which is another reason why I made a blog dedicated to cars.
For my blog, titled “Vancity Exotics”, I experimented with many different themes. Some were too complicated, others were too basic, and some were just too difficult to work with. Eventually, I settled on a theme called “Gema Lite”, a very unique theme, which is created by Pixelgrade. It allows for a lot of customization and personal touches, making it the perfect theme for me. Off the bat, I opted for featured images for every post, as I believe it adds a more personal touch and allows the reader to get a sense of what the post may be about before they open it (Shufran, 2019). When you first go onto my blog, you will instantly see the usage of different images and gifs. My reasoning behind the usage of various colours was to reflect the wide spectrum of colours we see on cars; some are loud, some are basic. I am a fun person who loves memes and cartoons, which is why you will also see me use mass media as a way to tie together my posts, as the featured images are correlated to the topics.
I feel like Gema Lite is the perfect theme for me, as it is modern, minimalistic and does its job at keeping the content at the forefront, while leaving the long paragraphs in the background. Another factor which caught my attention about this theme was the font, as it is very simple, yet very powerful, which according to Pixelgrade, was their focus when creating this brilliant theme. Gema Lite makes it easy for my audience to navigate around my site with menus at the top and bottom of the pages. Allowing me the freedom to create separate tabs for the home page, about me page, a gallery page to showcase all the cars and not to forget, a page which takes you to all the different assignments and process posts over the course.
I had envisioned my blog to be a source for showcasing the most special cars in Vancouver, which also happens to be North America’s supercar capital (Todd, 2018). I never had a specific target audience when I decided to pursue this topic, as I believed and still believe that anyone and everyone can resonate with cars. From older audiences who love classics, to the kids that have supercar posters in their rooms, to everyday people who enjoy their cars, Vancity Exotics caters to them all.
People from all around the world travel to Vancouver and countries like Monaco and Dubai just to see cars, which is why auto shows and car rallies have become so popular over recent years. According to Cudny, “today, car is not only a useful object for transporting goods and services but also an element of human culture” (Cudny, 2017), as car tourism has become a niche market for manufacturers. We associate certain car manufacturers, such as Rolls-Royce and Ferrari to different levels of success and societal positions; whereas, cars made by Honda or Toyota are not seen as anything more than as a means of transportation. Movies, music and other forms of popular culture have created a false reality in which people are to be judged based off what they drive, what they wear and how much money they make, which can lead to negative impacts, such as insecurity and hate towards others. Social media portrays millionaire lifestyles that are appealing to the masses, which can be motivating and inspiring, but more so detrimental, as, “social media is in effect turning us into one of the most antisocial generations, yet” (Phoon, 2017). Speaking about social media, I was late to implementing social media into my blog; however, I still got quite a bit of engagement on my instagram, mostly through DMs. Not to forget, according to google analytics, my blog was the most active after I made changes to my theme, and I got more engagement on my blog after I put the link in my instagram bio.
Even after all I read about the negative impacts of social media, I still believe that car culture is one of the few things that brings people together. It is a tight knit community where everyone wants the next person to pursue their dreams and to achieve their dream car through hard work, respect and discipline. Not many industries have as much support and positive energy as the car community, which is why we see the car community coming together to raise money for charities, helping in moments of crises, and bringing awareness to things that outweigh us all. Moreover, we see supercar owners immersing themselves with the people to bring joy and put smiles on peoples faces. All it truly takes to make someone’s day is to rev up your engine or let them sit inside your car, which is such a small, yet uplifting thing to do for someone.
Regardless of the negative impacts certain social media content may have, I have become more confident in wanting to post more car content for my audience. I was not expecting so much engagement and positive support in such a short time, which is why I am so intrigued to see what happens if I continue to keep an online presence on Vancity Exotics. I no longer care if people know who is running the blog or social media because I know there will always be more support than hate, which is also why I allow comments and DMs to be sent to me.
In retrospect, I really enjoyed the entire process of creating something I am passionate about, because if it was not for this class, I would have never thought of creating this on my own time. Besides the long, stressful nights of learning how to use WordPress and creating an appealing blog, it was quite fun and I will definitely continue to work on Vancity Exotics. I most likely will not be posting daily on instagram or be making process posts on my blog, but I will, without a doubt, continue to grow Vancity Exotics into one of the prominent pages for car lovers.
Cudny, W. (2018, July 06). Car Tourism (Economic Geography). Cham: Springer International Publishing. Available at: https://link-springer-com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-62084-8_1#Sec1
Phoon, Andie (2017). Social Media and Its Stark Influence on Society. WRIT: GSW Journal of First-Year Writing: Vol. 1 , Article 8. Available at: http://scholarworks.bgsu.edu/writ/vol1/iss1/8
Rooney Jr, J. F. (1988). Mega-sports events as tourist attractions: a geographical analysis. In Tourism research: expanding boundaries. Travel and Tourism Research Association Nineteenth Annual Conference, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, June 19-23, 1988. (pp. 93-99). Bureau of Economic and Business Research, University of Utah. Available at: https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/19891865097
Shufran, L. (2019, June 13). Using Featured Images on Your Blog Posts. Zoho Academy. Available at: https://scholarworks.bgsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1004&context=writ
Todd, D. (2018, Nov 22). Living in a supercar capital is bad for your health. The Vancouver Sun. Available at: https://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/douglas-todd-living-in-a-supercar-capital-is-bad-for-your-health