Presentation on theme: "Building Community Online, Part 2: Blogging for Fun and Learning Dan Barnett April 24, 2008 For audio call Toll Free 1 - 888-886-3951 and use PIN/code."— Presentation transcript:
Building Community Online, Part 2: Blogging for Fun and Learning Dan Barnett April 24, 2008 For audio call Toll Free and use PIN/code
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Greetings from Dan Barnett Photo by Bill Husa, copyright Chico Enterprise-Record
Agenda B – Blog? L – Laying the groundwork? O – Operating a blog? G – Growing a community? G – Gaining a class? I – Inherent dangers? N – New blogosphere? G – Get answers!
B – Blog? Blogging in Plain English 1 3-minute video from CommonCraft.com The video will begin playing on your local computer when I go to the Web link. To hear the video, just turn up the speaker button on the bottom right of the Confer console. Those on the phone only may not be able to hear. At the end of the 3 minutes, Ill close the window; the video may not have finished on your computer, but Ill send the URL to the chat room. 1 Licensed under Creative Commons nonprofit use by CommonCraft.com
L – Laying the Groundwork? Should I blog? Better question: Who am I? Am I passionate about some topic? Would I like to keep family, friends, colleagues, students informed? Do I like to write? Do I like to write on schedule? Do I want others to respond?
O – Operating a Blog? Setup is easy – Get started at blogger.com or wordpress.com Choices are difficult – Title? Subtitle? Your profile (how much to say about yourself)? Links to favorite blogs (blogroll)? Comments?
The Art of the Post Its short: Reading on the screen isnt as enjoyable as reading on paper, so people tend to shy away from really long pieces. 2,000 words is long for a blog post; 1,000 words is a pretty good goal; short pieces of 300 words or so are perfectly acceptable. Paragraphs are shorter: Because you have to scroll a lot when reading on a screen, paragraphs tend to be shorter so a whole thought can fit in a browser window. Important points are highlighted: Online readers tend to skim through pieces, so web writers often put key points in bold type so their readers can easily pick out the crucial stuff. Bulleted lists are common: Bulleted lists are another way that skimmers are accommodated, making all the main points easily available. It contains links to other sites: Blogging tends to take advantage of the ability to link to other work, either to offer up references (e.g. a link to a definition of a difficult word or concept on Wikipedia) or to continue conversations started elsewhere (e.g. a link to a post on another blog which youre responding to). Its conversational in tone: Blog writing tends to be a little more personal than most writing. What readers tend to respond to is the writers unique voice, their personality as expressed through their writing. That means you can use I and you, you can use slang, you can even swear if it fits your sites purpose. Source: Newbie Guide to Blogging by Dustin Wax, lifehack.org
G – Growing the Community? My shared items from Google Reader:
Keeping It Going Create a posting schedule: When you start your blog, commit to posting once a week, or once every two weeks, and block out some time in your schedule to do that. Start with a low posting rate if you find you have enough time to post more, it will be a pleasant surprise for your readers (as opposed to the disappointment of readers used to seeing you post every day when you start posting every two weeks). Brainstorm a hundred post ideas: Sit down with a notebook and write out a hundred (or 50, or 200, or whatever you can but set the bar high) topics you could write about. Even better, create 100 titles of forthcoming posts. You can even go another step and write quick outlines of how the post might look, When you are stuck for something to write about, pull out your notebook and write one off your list. Write posts in advance: Build up a backlog of three or four (or more) posts. This gives you a cushion in case you find yourself stuck for a topic down the road, and you can also use the post scheduling feature several blogs have (Wordpress.com and Blogger both allow this) to set up posts for the future if you are going to go on vacation or something. Source: Newbie Guide to Blogging by Dustin Wax, lifehack.org
Keeping It Going Tell people your address: Let people know you have a blog. Put the URL on your business cards, add it to your signatures, put it in your profile on social networking sites, include it when you post to forums, and so on. Comment on other peoples blogs: Be an active part of the blogging community. People will see your comments and clock the link to find out more about you. Plus, youll make friends in your area of interest. Link to other blogs: When other bloggers see youve linked to them, theyll check you out and may link back to return the favor. Write a guest post: Lots of high-profile blogs will publish guest posts from other bloggers to help them get some attention. Check your favorite blogs and see if they have information about contributing if you cant find anything, the blogger and ask. Write great content: Ive saved the most important thing for last. Nobody will read your site if you write poorly, or if its boring. Nobody will publish your guest posts, and nobody will link to you. You wont feel motivated to write, because youll feel like nobody is reading you, and because you feel unsatisfied with the quality of the work. You dont have to be Hemingway, but you do have to develop an authentic, engaging voice. Source: Newbie Guide to Blogging by Dustin Wax, lifehack.org
Sneaky Success Secret (for Windows Users) Windows Live Writer (free from Microsoft)
G – Gaining a Class? Internal External
Internal Class Blog Advantages –Easy to set up in some Learning Management Systems or free WordPress software can be installed on campus server for privacy –Good for class-specific reports such as research –Highlights main blog posts Disadvantages –May be difficult in some cases to set up private blog –Not good for threaded discussions –Tends to obscure comments made to main posts
External Class or Student Blog Advantages –Easy to set up in Blogger or WordPress and to restrict who can comment –Good for developing a voice beyond the class –Highlights main blog posts –Example: Disadvantages –May still attract unwelcome comments –Published posts may be taken and used by others –Possible liability or privacy issues
The Twitter Experiment Twitter is a microblog: It allows you to broadcast and receive messages from your computer or cell phone of 140 characters in length, all those who subscribe to your broadcast can see your message, called a tweet, and you receive messages from all those to whom you subscribe. The key point to remember here is this can get sent to your phone, making it highly mobile. Advantages: Extend classroom community; track a word; track a celebrity, use it as a public note pad. Disadvantages? From AcademHack blog: Tech Tools for Academics academia/http://academhack.outsidethetext.com/home/2008/twitter-for- academia/
I – Inherent Dangers? Danger, danger, Will Robinson!
Nothing on the Internet Ever Goes Away Think about it: with innumerable digital archives stored by search engine companies and other sites (such as the Wayback Machine, something posted in a moment of anger or sleeplessness can have a life of its own for years to come. There are privacy and ethical concerns about you or your students revealing too much; connecting with a larger community always carries a price. RSS-ky business!
N – New Blogosphere? New social networking sites not only enable you to follow diverse blog postings (such as friendfeed.com), some have generated controversy by allowing comments to be made from the site. That deprives the blogger of visitors. Shyfter.com changed its policies.
G – Get Answers – Q & A Conclusions? Comments? General questions?
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