Blogging Workshop June 23, 2008
- 1 What is a blog?
- 2 Various Types of Blogs
- 3 How do you start a blog?
- 4 More advanced topics
- 5 Other intro sites
What is a blog?
There are lots of definitions of what a "blog" is, on the internet. Here is our own definition, for the purposes of this workshop:
- A simple tool that allows any individual the ability to publish news, information, or opinions via the internet."
Characteristics of a blog:
- Blogs usually have an individual or small group of people who write/edit the blog.
- Blogs can be set up as either a soap-box, one way communication, or as a community forum, open for anyone to comment.
- Blogs usually have the ability to "PUSH" their content out to subscribers, via an RSS feed. (RSS = Really Simple Syndication)
Parts of a Blog
- See example: Bluestem Prairie
- See example: Locally Grown Northfield
- "What is trackback" - An article
- RSS Feed
- Explanation: RSS in Plain English (video)
- What is a blog? - This article from the Economist magazine, offers an introduction to what a makes a blog a blog.
- Blogs in Plain English - A great video, less than 3 minutes long, by the folks at CommonCraft that explain what a blog is, in language we can all understand.
- RSS in Plain English (video) - Another great video by the folks at CommonCraft that explains what an RSS feed is.
Various Types of Blogs
Blogs can be used for LOTS of different things. Here are a few broad catagories for how folks most commonly use blogs. Please, keep in mind that many blogs cover more than a single category.
Blogs by government or elected officials
- Nathan McLaughlin - Mayor of Clarissa, Minnesota
- David Bly - State Representative District 25B
- Kevin Dahle - State Senate District 25
- News from Rep. Paul Thissen - State House 63A
- Paul Gardner - State House 53A
- Locally Grown (Northfield)
- Eveleth - part of Minnesota Horizons project.
- Greater Frogtown News
- Minnesota Country Mouse
- West Central Blog
Special Interest Blogs
- City Hall Scoop - Pioneer Press reporters use this blog to publish interesting tidbits of information that they uncover while reporting on local politics and local government. While, much of the information in this blog is of interest, it's stuff that usually would not warrant a entire article in either the print or online version of the newspaper (if they have any online only content).
- West Central News - Economic news, information and resources about west central Minnesota.
How do you start a blog?
The technical aspect of launching a blog, is really quite easy using sites like Blogger and Wordpress. Its usually more difficult to figure out what to include in your blog and who the audience is. Here are some tips for launching your own blog:
- Figure out who your audience is. If your goal is to build an audience, you need to know who that audience is, so that you can provide them with content that will be of interest to them.
- Keep it personal. The most successful blogs are the ones that have a personality. Your blog should reflect your personality. If you are writing a blog as part of a group, think as a group about the kind of personality that you'd like your blog to have.
- Read Other Blogs. Read other blogs to get a sense of what works and does not work. Learn from the mistakes of others.
- Link to Other Blogs. Be sure to include links, in your blogs posts, to other blogs that address the same audience that you are interested in. These should be legitimate links and not appear forced. People are more likely to read and link to your blog, if they know you are reading and linking to theirs.
- Post regularly How often you need to post will depend upon your goals, audience, and topics. However, I think that in most cases, it is safe to say that one should plan on posting a least 1-3 blog entries per week.
- Just Do It. Don't spend to much time thinking about your blog. Go ahead and give it a try. Don't be afraid to experiment. Your audience at the beginning will be very small, so don't worry about making mistakes.
Sites with free blogs
Group Blogging Sites
Blogs about blogging
Other interesting resources
More advanced topics
Other intro sites
These may possibly be helpful.