MITIA Assignment: Restart

Deadline: Before midnight, Tuesday, 9 November

When we meet in class this coming Wednesday, we are going to be reinventing ourselves, and our blogs. You will have an opportunity to build a new blog, with a new team. You can even go it on your own for the remainder of the semester if that is what you want to do. Or you can redefine your own group blog to clearly focus on some aspect of information technology and new forms of communication.

To that end, I want everyone (individually) to propose a weblog that will focus on a particular, relatively narrow, topic area. This must be something that will be different enough to attract an audience, and you need to be able to gather the best material from the web, other media, and your own contacts to build this into something worth looking at over the remaining weeks we have together.

For inspiration, you might look at some of the successful blogs that are commercially backed. The three blogging empires right now are:

* the Gawker Group, which includes blogs like Gawker, Wonkett, Defamer, Fleshbot, Gizmodo, and Jalopnik;
* the Corante blogs, including industry-related blogs like Online Dating News, Many2many, In the Pipeline, Flackster, GoYaMi, Get Real, and Brain Waves;
* Weblogs, Inc., who host, among others, the P2P weblog, engadget, hack a day, the mortgage weblog, Judith Meskill’s weblog, the spam weblog, and gadling.

While these blogging dynasties are producing blogs they hope will make money (and therefore that must attract a lot of eyeballs), there are a lot of others out there that draw a public audience by focusing on particular topics, ranging from Coolhunting, to Daddy Types, to Curbed. Some of the most successful blogs of late have been political blogs; Newsday suggests that the DailyKOS pulls in $600,000 of advertising anually, while Atrios is blogging for about $7,000 a month. However, writing on political issues requires you to be quick, and to both get at information that otherwise would remain uncovered, and do so in an engaging way. That’s a pretty tight market.

Post with the name of your proposed blog, what you will cover, why you think there is an audience for the topic, what kinds of posts you will make, and how you will uncover interesting news for your blog. Indicate some of the blogs that are in the same space, and how yours will be different. Be as original as possible, and as narrow. What kind of news would you like to have a more frequent and focused update on?

Make a compelling case in your blog entry, and I will select the best of the bunch to pitch in class on Wednesday (just a 2 minute explanation of your idea). Even if you already know you want to be on someone else’s team, you need to come up with your own concept for the purposes of this assignment.

Questions? Ask them here in the comments!

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  1. Posted 11/7/2004 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Your post is right on. I’ve been writing Brain Waves for almost 2 years and before that another blog for 1 year. The key to creating a successful blog is to go deep into a subject, offer relatively objective analysis, don’t get too political too early, link to several bloggers around your topic, be consistent in your posts, be creative every once and a while, try to guest a well known personality to guest blog and most of have a good time doing this…you won’t make any money at it. Do it to build your reputation as an astute observer.

  2. Posted 11/8/2004 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    “Content, Content, Content.”

    The key to success for holding people’s interest always lies in consistent content. Let people find what they seek on a regular (i.e. daily) basis. If you don’t make a post as regularly as you should, you lose your audience. It’s hard work, that’s why finding what you like to blog about is very important. Once, you’re up and going, you could encourage your readers to help suggest relevant content for your blog!

  3. Posted 11/9/2004 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Does the topic of our proposed blog have to be something related to “information technology and new forms of communication?” Could the focus of the blog be something like politics or sports?

  4. Posted 11/9/2004 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    It has to be about IT and new forms of communication. But that doesn’t mean it *can’t* be about politics or sports.

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