All posts by Erin Downey Howerton

Week One: Blogging

Welcome to 23 Things! My name is Erin Downey Howerton, and I am excited to introduce everyone to our first activity: blogging. If you get stumped, please click on the “comments” link above to add your question. There might be others with similar problems, and I can answer you publicly in a follow-up comment so all can see & benefit. I am your guide for the week and will do my best to help you succeed!

Introduction

If you’ve ever kept a diary or a journal, you know the basics of blogging. On a regular basis, you write new entries (we call these posts). Blogging serves much the same purpose as traditional journals, but they go one step further.  Blogs can be a place to reflect and organize your thoughts, and then your thoughts can be amplified by interaction with others via comments on your posts.  It’s a way to start a conversation with people who are interested in the same ideas you are!

Click on the triangle in the middle of the video below to watch a short explanation about blogging from CommonCraft.

Sharing/Productivity/Community

Individuals and institutions blog to create a dialogue with their readers. For 23 Things, your blog will be the place where you keep a record of what you’ve experienced during the week. It will also give you a way to communicate with other participants.

Your blog will serve as a springboard into your own personal learning network (PLN), which will last far beyond the time we spend together doing 23 Things.

Blogging Platforms

There are many different platforms to choose from! Shop around and see which site appeals best to you.

SIMPLE and FAST: Try Posterous or Tumblr. These blog platforms are pared down and minimalistic. You can even create a post via email with Posterous! Choose one of these if you want to get off to a quick start.

(Note on Tumblr: You have to go thru a few extra steps to get comments working.  Check it out here.)

FULL-FEATURED and POWERFUL: Try Blogger, WordPress, Edublogs, or TypePad. Blogs created with these platforms are more versatile and can accommodate more customization. They have all the basic features, but also allow advanced users to tinker “under the hood” if that’s important to you. Choose one of these if you’re looking to kick it into high gear!

(Note: If your public library already has a KLOW site (My Kansas Library on the Web) you are using WordPress.  Selecting WordPress would be a good option if you’d like to become more familiar with the interface.)

Instructions

Want a step-by-step tutorial? Watch this screencast where I walk you through creating a blog in Blogger. You’ll go through a similar experience no matter which platform you select.  (I used www.screencast-o-matic.com to create a quick, free screencast in my browser!)

Follow the next three steps:

1) Pick a platform that you like and create your own blog!

Posterous | Tumblr | Blogger| WordPress | Edublogs | TypePad

Please note: You need to have a separate, unique blog for yourself to use for 23 things.  Please don’t register your library’s blog, or a blog you’re using for some other purpose.  We will be looking at your blogs to see how you’re doing with each thing.

2)  When you are done, click here to register your blog address (URL) with us.

Your weekly blog entries will earn you continuing education credit (for those of you going through the whole program). We encourage you to register even if you are only taking part in selected units – you are part of our community too!

3)  Create your first blog post!

Tell us a little bit about who you are, what library you work for, and why you’re taking part in 23 Things. Since this is an official weekly post (you can write more than once a week if you want), please title it “Week One: Blogging” just like the post you are reading now.

In the following weeks, you will be writing about the other 22 things. Along with the assignments that your mentors will give you, consider the following blogging prompts:

  • What are your feelings (good and bad) concerning the tool of the week?
  • Have you had any breakthroughs? Any failures? What have you learned from them?
  • Create links to resources, other people’s blogs, or other useful sites on the web in order to connect your posts to the wider world (even if you’re only linking back to the 23 Things blog!).
  • Most importantly, visit a few other participants’ blogs and leave comments on their posts so you can start conversations.

Examples

What does a successful post look like? There are as many ways to blog as there are blogs themselves. Get a little inspiration from the bloggers below:

Enabling comments on a Tumblr blog

So I’ve already noticed today that you have to go thru some extra steps to make comments work on a Tumblr blog.  If you didn’t choose Tumblr, ignore this post!  But if you did, please follow the steps involved to 1) register your blog on Disqus and 2) enable comments on your Tumblr blog.

Read this first:  http://www.tumblr.com/docs/faqs#comments

Make sure you’ve selected a theme that allows Disqus.  (Disqus = discuss, get it? :) )

Sign up for Disqus here: http://disqus.com/comments/register

I have created a screencast so you can see how it works.  Sorry I did not anticipate that as an extra step!  We are ALL learning this week ;)