The Creation of An Online Identity – Assessment Task #1

The key word here is creation. In the online environment nothing just exists. It has to be created. Either by you, or someone else. These things form your online identity, either with your consent or against your will.

I wanted to create an online identity that was unmistakeably me, yet separate from my name or me as a tangible person. Weird that may sound, the idea was to take the multiple aspects of my life that inform my view on things and the various media content I consume and spread it across a multitude of platforms, all under the umbrella name yearingcat. That way everything seemed to sit together better. I was happy to mix my thoughts with University work which I previously hadn’t been while using the RAWS RMIT server and as Social media researcher Danah Boyd notes in her article ‘pariticipating in the always on lifestyle’ that ‘when people assume you share everything, they don’t ask about what you don’t share’

So why yearingcat?

Yearingcat is a destination for those who want discussion and answers around the good things in life. Film, TV, travel, clothing. Taking light influence from Tumblr sites like Bosshunting and John and Mario, yearingcat combines visual gratification courteousy of tumblr with semi academic ponderings on TV, film and life in general. To quote Boyd again ‘what I want is to bring people and information into context. It’s about enhancing the experience”

I think to an extent aligning this stuff under my own name would have missed the point. I’ve never seen my name as a brand, a promotable entity. Yet yearingcat has a ring to it. And a story. It can take on a life of its own, fed by my choices.

So I set about creating this brand. I changed my twitter handle from @blakewoneill to @yearingcat, and I began a new wordpress blog under the moniker yearingcat. By taking away a link to rmit through the RAWS server, it felt like I could own my blog a bit more, and make it my own.

So too I started taking my Tumblr a little more seriously. I used to just reblog images that struck me as distinctive for that moment, for that landscape, of that time. While this is still very much at the heart of the yearingcat tumblr, I also now consider how these images reflect upon the blog and other mediums I use, such as twitter.

Through both the yearingcat wordpress and tumblr, you can see the importance I place on the visual. The blog is simple. Bold text, bold colours. I want my words to stand out, and take on their own importance due to the weight behind them, rather than the way they are dressed up.

As a partner to the blog, the yearingcat tumblr is slightly different but still reiterates the importance placed on simplicity. Each image is significant in the way it reflects who I see yearingcat as being. At the same time, each image has a relationship to one another, forming a collage and conversation that speaks multitudes about yearingcat and the person creating it.

Having both changed my twitter handle and added tumblr and wordpress to twitter, it struck me that I wasn’t sure how best to use twitter. My name still predominates the page when you follow the @yearingcat handle, and I think this is in part as a result of my usage prior to this decision to implement yearingcat.
I didn’t want to change my user name to avoid questions. Who is yearingcat? Well, I’ve already answered that to a new audience. My chosen audience. I don’t feel I should need to explain it to my audience of friends.

I am of course touching on the community that should or does surround yearingcat. At the moment it’s purely RMIT based. Interaction exists between pupils and tutors alike. Yet I want to find like-minded people that exists beyond my geographical location. People who also take pleasure from images of New York, or beautifully crafted watches and clothing, or who also have questions of identity and an interest in television and film and the industry that surrounds them. The question is how to attract these people.

How do you attract an audience? Well you get involved in one. As I mentioned before, sites like Bosshunting and John and Mario have had an influence on how I have framed yearingcat as a vessel for my own expression and brand identity. By using wordpress as my hub, tumblr as a visual add on and twitter as a broadcast platform, I should be able to appeal to an audience through interaction on similar sites, and attempt to tap in to their audience and make some of them my own.

So too, I should look into moving yearingcat cross platform. While I foresee wordpress, tumblr and twitter as being integral to the foundations of yearingcat, sites such as pinterest and even linkedin could be useful if I wish to take yearingcat the next step and truly formulate it as a marketable brand.

I can see myself branching out into music through the use of soundcloud, and vimeo is something that I would like to integrate into the yearingcat umbrella also.

Yet it will always be a work in progress. As long as I maintain the yearingcat basics I will be able to test the waters across a variety of social networking and professional sites to see whether these work for the community I end up finding myself within. Whatever that may be.

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