I aimed for a clear and simple web presence where the content was the main focus. A blog seemed most suited to the nature of the content I would include in my central node. Focusing on sharing interesting articles and things I come across on the Internet as well as my own, amateur, photography, a blog would allow for the best presentation of this content allowing for feedback and comments from readers. Twitter and its broadcasting nature could promote blog posts whilst also allowing for quick ‘tweets’ or posts as well as creating networking possibilities with other mothers or bloggers with relevant material. Material such as links and photography are easily organized and shared on platforms such as Del.ico.us and Flikr, making the choice for contributing nodes quite obvious. The various Web 2.0 tools and their sharing, communication and collaboration capabilities work cooperatively to create a substantial web presence.
To allow readers to focus on the content of the blog, a minimal, simple WordPress template was used. Because Delicious and Flickr have limited options to change layout, a white background across all platforms is a uniting feature, and truly allows for focus on the content. The white background also aimed to offer readers breathing space so as not to overwhelm readers, visually. The same profile thumbnail was used across all platforms as well to further create unity. The fabric used in the header and profile thumbnails is a scan of a cushion cover my mother sewed a long time ago and passed on to me as a house warming gift, when I got married and moved out of home. The fabric adds warmth and an organic feel to the blog which would appear quite cold and bare without it, with the background story being consistent with the web presence central theme of mothering. Blood (2000) discusses blogs, or weblogs, and their flexibility to post on any topic. This suited my web presence as the theme of mothering is quite broad, and blogposts would be on a variety of related topics. Blood also highlights how blogs pre-surf the Internet and share these links along with commentary, which states the intended direction of my blog and web presence. Blogrolls and RSS feeds turned out to be valuable tools, to discover other similar bloggers as well as to discover new content with ease.
Contributing nodes were selected based on practicality and their potential to assist in organising, showcasing and promoting content. Because blogs ultimately exist within a network of other blogs, or a distributed community (Rettberg, 2008), networking and social networking are inevitable aspects of blogs. Being able to connect to and share content from other blogs (Rettberg, 2008) is an important aspect of my web presence. To further assist social networking, Twitter and its ability to fit into the three defining characteristics of a social network (Boyd & Ellison, 2007) was selected as a sensible option for a contributing node. Twitter not only allows me to broadcast posts on my central and contributing nodes but also allows me to ‘retweet’ posts from other users that I find interesting. Twitter pre-surfs the Internet for me, similar to blogs, directing me to content I may not have discovered without access to the Twitter community. Delicious both allowed for the organisation and discovery of relevant and interesting material to share and feature on my blog. Flickr, similarly, offers effective tools for sharing self-created photography in an environment that manages copyright as effectively as possible. An interesting issue with organising content is the different uses of “mother”, “mum” and “mom” which all refer to the same subject. The issue of bias and user vocabularies in folksonomies (Mathes, 2004) came up when a hashtag (#) such as mother is used in tweets, on Twitter, that are communicating within a different, not-so-wholesome context. I placed watermarks on the images used in WordPress to try to further protect my photos. I was torn whether to include images of my children as the issue of privacy (Boyd & Ellison, 2007) is a constant concern. Time and convenience are also concerns, so being able to update and view all nodes from my iPhone is a helpful option.
The idea of presenting yourself on the Internet (Qian, 2007) was always in the back of my mind. I consciously decided not to include any photos of myself as I wanted this blog to be from my perspective. Photos and content posted on all nodes are what I see, what I’ve read and what I feel, however I also wanted my blog to be somewhat universally relatable. With readers being able to like, reblog or comment on posts in WordPress, these forms of feedback allow for interaction and distributed conversation (Rettberg, 2008) to take place between myself and global readers. I feel that all mothers think, feel and experience quite communally. We are all tired, we all have moments of doubt and all our kids grow up faster than we realise. I tried to balance putting myself both at the centre of my nodes, whilst not centering my nodes on myself, offering reader a place to relate and feel part of a community. The anonymity and hyperpersonal communication of blogging (Qian, 2007) allows me to reveal issues I may not even reveal in an offline scenario.
Visual simplicity and clarity, with focus on content were my goals within my web presence, whilst also being able to organize, showcase and promote content within contributing nodes. Being able to network and connect within a community and with readers was another important factor when selecting nodes. Unity within the nodes was created by use of a common thumbnail and background. Issues such as folksonomies, copyright and privacy were all factors to consider when presenting myself within my nodes. Overall, my web presence is both my perspective and experience of motherhood, within a collective journey of being a mother.
Blood, R. (2000). Weblogs: a history and perspective. Retrieved from http://www.rebeccablood.net/essays/weblog_history.html
Boyd, D. M., & Ellison, N.B. (2007) Social network sites: Definition, history and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediation Communication, 13(1), 210-230. doi: 10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00393.x
Mathes, A. (2004). Folksonomies – Cooperative Classification and Communication Through Shared Metadata. Retrieved from http://www.adammathes.com/academic/computer-mediated-communication/folksonomies.html
Qian, H., & Scott, C. R. (2007). Anonymity and self-disclosure on weblogs. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4). Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00380.x/full
Rettberg, J. (2008). Blogs, Community and Networks in Blogging. (pp. 57-83). Retrieved from http://edocs.library.curtin.edu.au/eres_display.cgi?url=dc60263770.pdf©right=1