For this peer review, I have chosen to follow the development trajectory of Rebecca Neilson’s digital artefact, ‘Bec’s Bookshelf‘. The reasoning behind choosing to follow this artefact was due to an immediate interest in the content she was creating. I’ve actually been following her blog since last year, when she did her artefact for a previous subject, and thoroughly enjoyed the content she was producing. When the opportunity was brought forward, to personally follow another project, it become very apparent that this was not going to be a difficult decision to make.
Concept & Utility
The concept of this digital artefact is what initially caught my attention. The idea of creating book reviews can be potentially seen as a very simple concept. As someone who’s digital artefact also centres essentially around creating a review (in my case, a recap) of an episode, I quickly understood that it’s a process that can be very time consuming, especially when considering the different aspects needed. For Rebecca, the task would be more difficult than mine, as reviewing an entire book requires far more work than recapping a single episode of any particular reality show. That said, I feel the effort she has put into this artefact has resulted in reviews that are very interesting, easy to navigate, and most importantly, very practical. Rebecca, besides a few tweaks, has recently used the same layout throughout her reviews, which allows for the audience to become familiar with the posts she is creating. The reviews themselves are full of honesty, with touches of humour added within. This makes them all the more enjoyable to read, even if one was not planning to begin reading the book being reviewed.
The format she has created for reviews just works perfectly, strengthening the concept as a whole. I also find the fact that she continues to experiment with different genres throughout the artefact another great aspect of the work she is creating, as it will not only cater to her already built audience, but create a greater appeal to different types of individuals, and thus, allowing for more eyes to be on her work. The utility of this digital artefact was to simply help people find something that they would be interested in. The way in which she has set out her blogs, and the just the overall concept, is perfect in creating a place for this utility to be met.
Methodology & Trajectory
Keeping the process as simple as possible was a significant point Rebecca addressed throughout the semester. Not only that though, during the pitch, when discussing the methodology of her artefact, Rebecca mentioned that she was willing to use trial and error, to effectively see what sticks. Continuously creating content is key to any successful digital artefact, and the ability to be flexible is often time necessary. Both points can be reflected throughout ‘Bec’s Bookshelf’. Rebecca has a process that has worked for her, and to the point, I don’t see any reason as to why she would change it. However, that’s not to say she has not undertaken any sort of iterations, and that is especially true when considering how long she has been posting for. Just recently, after discussions with another classmate, she has begun to add a one sentence blurb at the top of the reviews. This has allowed someone to get an immediate reaction to the book, with the hope that they will be drawn in. This digital artefact has been running for many years, and at this point, she has found a formula that works. However, little tweaks that work, such as that, will continue to strengthen her project.
She has also mentioned often that she continues to trial with different types of content, which is absolutely necessary for the growth of any collection of work. Even if it was not successful, which she admits some just aren’t, it’s still important to try new ways of producing content. Throughout the Beta pitch, it was mentioned that the book reviews are her most popular content on her blog. Even if that is the case, I would suggest to continue trialling with different types of posts, as I was very intrigued with the ‘Book vs TV Show’ post she was in the process of creating. Branching out and trying to create new content is never a bad idea, and will continue the upwards trajectory that her artefact has taken since beginning it in 2016. Finding a true identity, and finding ways to draw more people towards her blog is the next step for her, to continue the success she has already enjoyed.
Project Beta Demonstration Feedback
The project Beta demonstration successfully presented the progress Rebecca had made since both her pitch, and the seminar curation. This included an update on what she currently creating, in regards to her digital artefact, what has or hasn’t worked, and the future plans. Trying to reach a greater audience seemed to be an issue that she was currently dealing with, and this was apparent through the demonstration. It was actually quite surprising that the use of the subreddits wasn’t successful, as I had only had positive experiences when it came to posting my own content there, which I found resolved my own audience issues. However, she made the point that not all subreddits are the same, and that the ones associated with her content just had different rules, that made the process more difficult.
That said, even when she gave the class an insight into the plans to use NetGalley, and explained how she was still publishing reviews on Amazon, Good Reads and her blog, I just got the sense that she may have lost some motivation over the last few weeks, and this is reflected in the lack of content being released. Understandable, especially with the strain of other assessments, and the fact that she does need to read an entire book before publishing any sort of review, but it did become very noticeable. However, a positive aspect of the demonstration was Rebecca mentioning that was currently reading 2 different books, and a Netflix show, and thus, it means more content will be released over the coming weeks, as she continues to create an identity as an online book reviewer.