Knock Knock… Who’s There? (Process Post #4)

Hi! Who are you exactly? Yeah, you. And why are you here?

I don’t think I will ever be able to fully comprehend the grandiosity of having an online audience. Quite literally anyone from anywhere with access to the internet could be my audience. Yet constructing the idea in my head of the people, an entire population, a grand scale group that Warner (2002) discusses as “the public,” as my audience seems far too big to wrap my head around.

Obviously, for handfuls of reasons, my website is not reaching the entire public. While it is available to the public, it may only be reaching an incredibly small group of people. To further break it down, among that group that my site is reaching, my website is only impacting select people, resulting in a subgroup (of the already very small group) of people that consume my content in any sort of meaningful way. It is accessible to the public, but recruits engagement more specifically from a public (Warner, 2002).
So, who is that exactly?

When building jellylift, I began thinking about what an incredibly specific and niche concept it was, as weightlifting and plushies are such opposite and unrelated ideas… why on earth would they ever end up in the same cyberspace? In fact, when I texted the link to jellylift to a friend she said:

“!!!!???? WHAT IS THIS !!”
(I proceed to tell her it’s the blog I had literally just talked to her about like 3 days prior)
“OHHHSDBFHSDHFB ITS YOURS!?? I thought you had somehow just magically found this incredibly niche site that was hyper specific to your interests💀💀

It made me think… Oh. Yeah. It is incredibly niche and specific to my interests. So, who on earth am I appealing to? Who is my audience? What is my public? Who’s there, on the other side of this screen? When I think about it, jellylift is ridiculous in the most charming way. I might say that it, as a concept, almost falls into the category of post-ironic content. When I think about my audience, I think of a group of people who are reading my posts and keeping up with jellylift out of irony. Not because I don’t believe I have a real” audience that values my work, but because I don’t believe jellylift is intended for a “real” unironic audience. With that in mind, I will still say that jellylift’s primary demographic is youth – weightlifters and the occasional plushie connoisseur.

The content I produce speaks for itself. While the obvious audience would be those in the gym community and anyone who owns a Jellycat plushie, the style in which I choose to write and share posts attracts a certain group of people on its own. There is no need for me to write on the homepage “Welcome to my blog! Anyone who loves lifting, plushies, or post-irony is more than welcome to stick around!” in order to assemble my public. First of all, I actively avoided using the phrase “welcome to my blog!” anywhere on my site. [Click here if you care to know why] And secondly, throwing up a statement like that would go against the grain of the nature of what I’m posting. Stating the presence of a public that is meant to be an unspoken identity and assembled through self-organization (Warner, 2002), would not only deter that public, but would defeat the purpose of trying to appeal to that public. The people who it’s meant for know it’s meant for them… but stating that it is meant for them, makes it no longer meant for them. It’s paradoxical in a way. A brain twister and has a sort of, as Warner (2002) puts it, “chicken-and-egg circularity” (p. 413). While he puts this concept in a different context in terms of the nature of a public and its existence among its speaker, his discussion of the endless loop of how a public is addressed is both relevant and similar to what I am discussing in this post.

I won’t say that jellylift is a complete joke. There are individual posts and concepts discussed across my blog which hold merit and are of real value – but I also won’t say it is entirely serious and unironic. Take Oh My God, She’s Mine, for example. If you are unable to identify what pieces of this post are ironic and what parts are me simply enjoying something silly, you are probably not part of my “public.”

This idea ties into Habermas’ (1974) discussion of public sphere, a concept heavily discussed in Communications studies. While Habermas’ public sphere is a rather extensive text, reading between the lines reveals the inherent exclusivity of the public sphere. I think, in relation to Warner’s (2002) conversation, “the public sphere” is a public in itself. It calls for a group of people bound together by a discourse, allowing only eligible participants. This is something which can be applied to not only my, but all of our blogs. While it appears accessible to all, only certain members (the target audience, perhaps?) are actually capable of authentically participating.

I will not deny that there are, without a doubt, aspects of jellylift that accurately reflect my passions. Lifting is a huge part of my identity, and growing up with stuffed animals who still sit on my bed is something that brings me real, genuine, wholesome happiness. With jellylift, I cater to a group with similar interests and simultaneously hope to offer them the same happiness that lifting and stuffies offer me, in addition to the ebullient and absurd whimsy brought from combining the two.

Warner, M. (2002). Publics and counterpublics. Public Culture, 14(1), 49–90.

My Helpless Screen Addiction: Is Jellylift Pulling Me In Deeper? (Process Post #3)

The WordPress editor has me in a chokehold, and the hours spent glued to my screen send me spiraling.

At the dawn of the Spring semester, I wasn’t expecting to develop such an addiction to my blog. I would say I was excited, curious, passionate, motivated, inspired, but certainly not addicted.

I spend my transit ride to school brainstorming post ideas, and the transit home drafting those posts. I have started browsing other lifting sites and Jellycat blogs in my free-time. My Instagram algorithm has started showing me more Jellycat accounts. When I need a break from other schoolwork, I’ll edit old posts and toy around with website colours. Before I can get started on my other coursework, I check just to make sure it’s still up and running, and get trapped looking through the links a million times. When I’m done doing that on my laptop, I’ll grab my phone and do the exact same thing, but it’s different because the mobile site looks different and I need to see what it looks like on the mobile site. As soon as I’ve put jellylift aside and can finally get to work on something else, I catch the site icon in my over-crowded bar of open tabs and click on it just to see it again, and start editing, and following links, and the cycle endlessly turns itself over. I think about content, I consume content, I create content. It’s like a deathly mantra.

Think Content, Consume Content, Create Content, Think Content, Consume Content, Create Content, Think, Consume, Create, Think, Consume, Create, Content, Content, Content, Content.

jellylift, my modern day devil

As much passion and inspiration I feel towards my blog, and enjoy the outlet for whimsical creativity, I tend to over-think every little detail about the content I’m creating. Is it funny? Do I want it to be funny? Will people think it’s ridiculous? Do I even know enough about weightlifting to make posts about it? Should I be taking this blog more seriously? I should probably post more. Who am I even posting for? It inhabits so much space in my mind, and as I stare at the WordPress dashboard, head spinning, I switch to another screen, and then my phone steals my attention for a moment or two. Or three. Or four, until ten minutes have passed and I realize I have been mindlessly scrolling and the only (temporary) solution is to throw my phone across the room.

if my attention was ever mine, I doubt I ever had it

Thinking about this forced me to reflect on how my WordPress editor habits not only fall in line with my screen-usage habits, but perfectly mirror them. The uncontrollable desire to check Instagram, the helpless nag to refresh Snapchat, the spontaneous need to text my friend about that one thing I thought to text her about an hour ago but forgot to because the Gmail notification distracted me and pulled me to my inbox. Each and every single platform attached to my name has me in a chokehold, and as I blinked, jellylift threw itself into the mix. To quote Mod (2017), “Technology is commanding our attention in infinite, insurmountable loops,” and my blog is another step in the this lethal cycle. In Mod’s “How I Got My Attention Back” (2017), he discusses his experience with going off the grid and escaping the internet for twenty-eight days. This seems like a luxurious privilege, and as Mod (2017) humorously puts it, a “cop-out.” His time in the country got me thinking about a twenty-four hour digital detox I performed in 2021. Not only did I run away from my phone, but I boycotted every form of media; television, radio, music streaming, video games, I even printed out my class readings and assignments on paper to avoid logging into Canvas. I happened to be out of town that week, which made the escape that much more immersive as I was in an unfamiliar space. I journaled throughout the day, and documented my thoughts and experiences. In that time, I mailed my friend a handwritten letter, wrote poetry, and without constant distractions stealing my attention, I fell down an incredibly vivid and striking spiral of existentialism. Attached below are my journal entries throughout the day, attached with time stamps. Feel free to indulge.

digital detox diary

maybe jellylift isn’t the devil…

Those twenty-four hours were the first in forever that really forced me to think about how many years I’m wasting away in front of my screen. Scrolling, searching, seeking. Instagram reels, Wikipedia rabbit holes, Netflix specials. Despite the academic urgency of posting to jellylift, the hard truth is that my blog still calls for my attention, and takes it on the train, takes it at my desk, takes it in my bed. Yet, am I not my own person? Do I not have free will and control over the things I let occupy time and space in my head? Am I not perfectly capable of shutting my laptop closed? Turning the television off? Putting my phone away? And not on my nightstand, plugged into it’s charger. Putting it away. Face down, in a bag, in a drawer, on the other side of the house. Some would argue no.

That twenty-four hour detox made me think about how many distractions are constantly being thrown at us, begging us to buy, luring us to look, calling us to consume. When searching for an excuse for our inattention, it’s easy to point the blame at technology, for “technology is such an easy scapegoat” (Mod, 2017). So, sure.

Maybe technology’s hands are bloodied from murdering our attention.

But maybe they’re sparkling clean, and our hands are the dirty ones.

Mod, C. (2017, January 13). How I Got My Attention Back. Wired. Retrieved January 30, 2023, from

The Digital Hellscape Known As WordPress (Process Post #2)

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.

the inspiration

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.

Gardner, C. (2009, September 4). A Personal Cyberinfrastructure. EDUCAUSE Review. Retrieved from

Strangers & Expectations (Process Post #1)

Who would have thought conversations with a little boy and a young man would force me to question how we perceive others...

I think that everyone’s definition of a stranger is inherently different. Our personal experiences and values play an instrumental role in shaping our views on the world and on others. For example, one of my closest friends has a very specific definition of ‘friend.’ To her, a ‘friend’ is someone who you can confidently spend time with one-on-one, confide in, and feel no internal obligation to earn their validation and/or approval. To me, a friend could fit that definition, but just as easily be the girl I see at the gym once a week, who knows my name, I know hers, and we knowingly have one thing in common: we go to the same gym. I don’t actively think about chasing or earning her approval, I would not confide in her for anything in particular, nor would I ever expect us to ever spend time together outside the gym… yet… I would still consider her a friend. And I think that the same subjectivity is applicable to strangers.

While consciously thinking about interacting with strangers, I realized how frequently I engage in conversation with strangers on a regular basis. I work as a barista and often find myself initiating small talk with customers, and watching those customers turn from strangers into regulars. From regulars into comforting, familiar faces. In addition, I have always been the type of person who is comfortable approaching strangers, and often hand out compliments to strangers throughout the week.

Despite these frequent occurrences in my life, the interaction I had with a stranger this week was most unexpected – a quick chat with a young boy I met in the toy section of London Drugs. As I walked the aisle shopping for toys with my little cousins, I noticed a boy, who must have been only 5 or 6, carrying one of the same toys as my cousin. A small, colourful bowling set. He was staring at her, starstruck that they seemed to have picked out the same thing. I looked at him and said “Well, it sure looks like you have good taste.” Addressing the fact that they both took interest in the same item felt really natural, and after I spoke, I watched his eyes light up. Upon his excitement, I asked him what his favourite part about the toy was, and listened as he went on about how he gets to play it with his Grandma when she comes to his house, and now he wants to get her one that he can play at her house. While talking to strangers can be unnerving, there was something incredibly heartwarming and comforting about talking to this little boy. I was impressed by how social and friendly the boy was, and how genuinely interested I was in hearing the story about his grandma. 

Ironically, later that week, I went bowling with some friends. I noticed someone in the lane beside us wearing a t-shirt from the same brand as the shirt I was wearing. It is a fitness apparel brand, worn predominantly by people who lift. I went over to him, and complimented his t-shirt, hinting at how I was wearing a similar one. He muttered “thanks,” and didn’t pick up on it right away. When I gestured to my own shirt, there was almost no reaction at all. I asked him if he got his from the new drop on the website, and he once again mumbled “yeah,” presenting absolutely no interest in engaging in conversation with me. His body language was closed off, and directed away from me. I knew then that I ought to back off.

I found it very intriguing to compare these two interactions. You might’ve envisioned a young man to be more open to conversation, and perhaps a child to be more shy, and yet the circumstances with these two were rather the opposite. When going into the conversation with the little boy, I expected him to stare blankly at me, and maybe even walk away. With the young man, I expected him to share my excitement in our similar attire, and possibly even start a conversation about lifting or the brand we were both wearing. Yet, in each of these cases, the outcome was beyond the scope of what I had prior scripted in my head. I suppose it just goes to show that with strangers, there truly are zero expectations.