MITIA: Back to business

I had grand plans for being able to keep up with the blog (and thus the class) while I was away. Unfortunately, real life intervened. So this posting is an effort to get us back on course, so to speak. In it, I will lay out the coming week’s topics and readings. Next Tuesday (10/5) will be the first “day of reckoning,” and I will be sending out individual emails to each person in the class, with a *brief* evaluation of your work and a grade.

Checking up on the Joneses

Have you been watching what your peers are doing with their blogs? I have. Last week in Brighton, Kaye Trammell suggested that there were two ways to teach using blogs, the “boot camp” approach where you detail precise assignments, and the more open approach in which you give students a free hand. Although there will be a few more recommended and required assignments this week, I obviously fall into the latter camp.

But it looks as though several of the groups are already coalescing around themes and ideas. That’s great! I recognize it takes some time to get used to the new format, but much of what I’m seeing is fairly encouraging. This week, I’m going to push you toward some more of the common blogging practices, and hopefully we will see even more on the content side.

This is not a competition, but just as an FYI, the top 5 most visited blogs on the server are (in order): The Best Blog, Smurf’s Garden, Blog on Blogs, My First Steps (not our class), and UB Undressed.

What to post about

It seems, though, that some people are still at a loss for what to post about. In the past, when people have asked about what would be good to post on their blogs, I’ve answered “what you are passionate about.” And then, some have said “I’m not passionate about anything.”


The problem, in this case, is not with the blog. You need to find out what your passions are and pursue them. If you don’t know yet, don’t worry. Many people haven’t yet found what they are passionate about. Until you do, you need to be trying as many things as possible to find out. Go jump out of a plane (with a parachute). Go to a talk. Go to a concert. Stop watching TV. Start a minor revolution. Go do something and tell us about it. *Don’t* write yet another boring blog.

Original content is good, but if you need a starter, go out and find something on the web that you feel strongly about, link to it, and say something useful about it. One of the assignments this week is to create a “watch list” of blogs you find interesting, and posting commentary on your own blog. I “watch” a couple hundred blogs, but you can start small!


This week we will finish with the part of the course in which we talk about the process and practices of blogging. We will, of course, be looking at “blogging in action,” during much of the rest of the course, but I want to get through some of the mechanical parts this week. In particular, we will be looking at:

* Basic Design Issues
* Editing & Posting images
* Blogging “Services” and Environmental Scanning
* Personal, and Blog, “Brand Management” and Reputation


I’ll repeat these in the relevant posts, but at a minimum, you should be looking this week at:
* What is a blogroll?
* Google loves Blogs
* Google Time Bomb
* What’s Your Google Number
* Try Self-Google
* What are RSS Feeds?
(Don’t worry, they’re short!)

For the grads (and wannabe grads):
* Efimova, L. , and de Moor, A. (2005). Beyond personal webpublishing: An exploratory study of conversational blogging practices. HICSS, Kona. [pdf]
* Marlow, C. (2004). Audience, structure and authority in the weblog community. ICA, New Orleans. [pdf]

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  1. Posted 9/28/2004 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Hey, now, what’s wrong with being passionate about watching TV?

    I actually quite like how you’ve explained blogging here, and so far I’ve been trying to take a similar approach in my composition classes–allowing students plenty of room to blog about topics that interest them. In the case of my class, topic inertia *seems* to be less of a problem, but I’ll be interested to see what happens after the election.

  2. Posted 9/29/2004 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Delighted to be recommended for a course reading :) Please, ping me if there are interesting commentaries – I’m up for a discussion…

  3. Posted 9/30/2004 at 2:19 am | Permalink

    that marlow article is really good: the undergrads should read it and it should not be put into a “top self” category.

  4. Posted 9/30/2004 at 2:37 am | Permalink

    found an intersting article in german on your blog watch list under social networking software: well i don’t read german, but babblefish does:

    So Tim Bruysten quotes a die speigle artilce:

    German Blog

    Babblefish translation

    amazing that one can cut and paste and get the gist of an article in german.

    My thoughts is that blogging will prevent the onset of memory loss because it is socially engaging: seniors that are more mentally active, have a slower rate of decline in cognitive function. Also bridge players.

    Use it or loose it!

    if one compares bridge players, or bloggers, with persons on aricept, the bloggers and bridge players may do better: but this is hard to prove.

  5. stef
    Posted 9/30/2004 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    essay question in here

    The distinction between blogrolling, permalinks, and trackbacks.

    prepreparing how to fit this link/article into an essay will help push one over into the bplus, to a plus zone. don’t be complacent: there is a qlue in there towards aceing! chance favors the prepared mind.

    former summa cum laude…


  6. Posted 9/30/2004 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Chuck: Nothing wrong with TV, the problem is in how people use TV… :)

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