Now that you’ve explored the Create +8 blog and found out all about the program, it’s time to jump right in with Week 1′s topic: Blogs! This post will give you a brief overview of the technology, explain the activities for the week, and provide links to some additional reading for those who would like to know more.
What it is:
A blog, or weblog, is a format for publishing content on the web. As the name suggests, blogs are, quite simply, web-based logs of information that have the following features in common:
- content is organized in reverse chronological order, with the most recent entry appearing at the top
- dates and timestamps indicate when content was published
- archives are automatically generated by the blog software
- visitors participate in the conversation by leaving comments to blog entries, or posts
Way back in April of 2007, Technorati estimated the existence of over 70 million blogs with an average of 120,000 new blogs being created daily. It’s likely that many of your colleagues, friends, family members, neighbors, and even their petsalready have their own blog (ask your cat). You’ll find blogs written about anything and everything; some are focused on a single subject while other bloggers write about whatever comes to mind. Common blog topics include personal stories or insights, technology, politics, news, entertainment, books, business, hobbies, food, finance, sports, and, of course, libraries!
How it Works:
Still confused about blogs? Watch this video from the Common Craft Show. It should clear things up! viewVideo.php?video_id=12423&title=Blogs_in_Plain_English
Why it’s Useful:
This WebJunction article is great if you want to read more about how librarians and libraries are putting blogs to use. Then check out a few of the librarian blogs on this list from the LISWiki. And if you’d like to explore some of the ways academic libraries are using blogs, check out some of the examples on the Blogging Libraries Wiki.
Ready to start blogging? Set up your own blog and add your first entry!
- Use WordPress.com to set up your own blog. It is a free blogging tool where you can set up an account and start a blog in a matter of minutes. If you already have a blog and would like to use it to track your progress during this program, feel free to do so!
- When you set up your blog on WordPress, your blog address will be http://nameyouchoose.wordpress.com.
- WordPress.com offers many themes/templates so you can choose one that fits you. Depending on the theme/template you choose, you might also be able to customize the header, sidebar widgets, and more. Take some time to explore the dashboard (i.e., the back-end of the blog) to see what options are available to you.
- For detailed instructions on setting up a WordPress.com account, check out this great FAQ page.
- It’s up to you to decide just how much you will reveal about yourself on your blog, but please provide at least your first name in either your profile or an early entry so the rest of the participants will recognize the author of each blog. The title of your blog and your username do not have to reveal your real identity. You can be as creative as you want with this!
- Once you’ve set up your blog, go ahead and add your first entry! For your first entry, please introduce yourself and share something interesting or fun, like your favorite childhood game or your favorite current hobby . Or maybe you’ll want to share your favorite blogs (library-related or not) if you’re already a fan.
- *Important – Please write an additional entry about your thoughts on blogs, blogging, libraries, and your experience setting up your own blog. You’ll be asked to write a blog entry like this for each week of the program.
Once you set up your blog, go here and fill in the following information:
- your name
- the name of your blog
- your blog address (URL)
Keep an eye on your own blog. If someone comments on your blog, it’s perfectly appropriate to respond with a comment of your own. If people see that you usually respond to comments and questions on your blog, they’re more likely to comment and even come back! You are also to read and comment on your fellow bloggers’ posts.
More to Explore:
- Blogs for Libraries, WebJunction
- Academic Libraries, the Blogging Libraries Wiki
- Weblogs (list of librarians’ blogs), LISWiki
- 7 Things You Should Know About Blogs (pdf), Educause Learning Initiative
- Anatomy of a Blog
- Blog, Wikipedia article
- Why and How to Use Blogs to Promote Your Library’s Services, Darlene Fichter