the trials and tribulations and the joys and jubilations of giving birth to jellylift
To be blunt, setting up this website made me so irrationally angry that I had to (on multiple occasions) step away and take a deep breath so that I wouldn’t punch my screen or break my neck from having been slumped over my laptop for hours. The process of building this blog was long and strenuous, and at this current moment, ongoing.
dreaming up jellylift
When I brainstormed what I wanted my blog to be about, I had two main concepts in mind. Originally, I planned to create a blog about either weightlifting or Jellycats. Weightlifting seemed perfect, as I already have a fitness Instagram account (which is a joke in itself, but that’s another can of worms) and it is something I was already frequently documenting and could easily create content for. That being said, I loved how niche and specific a Jellycat blog would be, yet still couldn’t let go of how easily I could slip a lifting blog into my life and be passionate and excited about it.
Upon discussing it with a few friends, the joke came up multiple times that it would be kind of funny to just… do both. It was just a joke, but then it hit me.
Why not just, do both? As soon as it clicked, I was bursting with inspiration, and more than anything, it was a perfect representation of who I was. A blog about lifting and stuffed animals seemed silly and fun and whimsical, and so me.
In Gardner’s (2009) discussion of Personal Cyberinfrastructure, he addresses the idea of giving students an online platform which acts a personal digital portfolio – their own little corner of the World Wide Web. He suggests that this space can act not only as an extension of the imagination to enhance digital literacy, but as an environment which harbours and festers that imagination. This opportunity for imagination and self-expression in a digital form within an academic context was something I truly wished to take advantage of with my blog.
the gears start turning…
I loved the idea of juxtaposing two completely opposite themes. When creating my Vision Board, I decided I wanted that contrast to be reflected in the visuals of my website. I loved how the soft, delicate colours looked beside the dark, moody ones, which was the main source of inspiration for this site. In terms of representing the self, I have always had a very minimalist taste when it comes to design of any kind, so I instantly knew I wanted my site to be generally absent of flashy colours or pictures, and should they be present, they would be intentional and strategically placed. For colours, I discovered how black text against a white background is fairly standard and uninteresting, and isn’t typically perceived as a ‘contrast.’ When staring at a minimalist white page with black letters, you think of a resume. Or a contract. Or any sort of bland, typical document that you encounter everyday. On the flip side, white text against a dark background punches you in the face… in a good way! The contrast alone is striking and visually pleasing, and so you soften up the tones with a dark brown or muted grey instead of black, throw in some pastel accent colours, and boom. You have Antalya Kabani’s recipe for the Ideal Website.
jellylift is born! (kind of…)
So of course, I hop on WordPress, and I’m instantly lost. Inspiration turns into rage, as I hopelessly edit the standard template with no clue where to find colours, text font, layout, and the whole thing is a mess (myself included.) After days spent looming over my laptop, I finally stumbled upon the ideal template, which gave me control over the few things I needed control over. The mess did not end, though. The chaos only continued as I attempted to figure out how exactly a page was different from a category, why posts were only showing up in one spot and how to move them, and how not to rip my hair out in the process. The most frustrating part was that I knew exactly how I wanted it to look. I just didn’t know how to make it look that way. In addition, my stubborn self refused to ask for help or find a Youtube video with a basic WordPress overview.
My biggest struggle was creating the “the fun part” page. I wished to have a static page with a small description, and for all of my posts to be displayed beneath that description, and then each of those posts to be accessible form their respective categories. I tried assigning “the fun part” as the “Posts page,” which I quickly realized would get rid of any other words or pictures on that page, and quite literally only be a page for posts.
I did not want that.
After some more troubleshooting, and finally swallowing my pride and asking a classmate for help, I decided to just add each individual post as an internal link, rather than uploading the post itself to that page. This worked out for the better, as it helps maintain the minimal look, and I have complete control over the visuals rather than the entire post being loaded on the one page. This moment felt like a huge achievement, as I felt I was finally getting the hang of this foreign software which I was starting to love and appreciate, rather than detest and resent.
the calm after the storm
All this aside, jellylift is still in its building phase, and is very under-developed. There isn’t much content on my site and despite many of my little accomplishments, there are still a few loose strings hanging from jellylift, including the currently absent site icon which only has a prototype design, making jellylift accessible, re-designing the home page, ensuring clarity in every corner of the site, and a handful of other little cleaning tasks that seem to have carved themselves on my to-do list.
Though surely enough, with each passing hour spent on jellylift, my personal cyberinfrastructure (Campbell, 2009) – my little corner of the web, will be sculpted like marble to not only reflect my interests and passions, but to inspire them and help them grow.