What is it?
By now, everyone’s heard of blogs and blogging. It’s kinda hard to miss, particularly now that blogging is so popular that it’s accused of being, among other things, the death of print journalism given form and, if not substance, then certainly shape. If you’re not sure exactly what all the hype is about, we’ve let someone else find a handy video that will try to explain why blogs have become such a big deal.
There are essentially two types of blogging software tools out there: hosted and installed.
- Hosted blogs allow users to sign up for a blog and get writing more or less straight away. The hosting company providing the blogging software usually takes care of everything for you, so all you have to do is choose a name for your blog and write! Some of the most popular hosted blogging services are Blogger, LiveJournal, WordPress.com, and Vox.
- Installed blogging services provide you with the software to run your blog, but you need to download it and then install it on a web server. Installed software tends to be more powerful and gives you more control over the functionality and look & feel of your blog, but requires more technical skill to operate. Some examples of installed software are Movable Type, Textpattern, and WordPress.org.
Like webmail providers, there are literally hundreds of blogging services out there for you to pick from, all with their own pros and cons, including the cost and the range of features available. Some are better equipped to deal with different types of blogging (like photoblogging) than others.
The service we’ll be using for 23 Things is WordPress, which is simple but robust, is hosted, and has some nice bells and whistles. It’s the platform that’s been used to publish this blog, in fact.
Why should I use it?
On a personal level, it’s about sharing ideas, interests and the events of your life with other people, be they friends, family or complete strangers.
On a professional level, it works much the same, only you’re using the blog to share important ideas, interests and events from your workplace – and do it in a less formal and more interactive manner that traditional communication avenues allow.
Take student feedback. As it stands at the UWA Library, responding to student feedback is fairly laborious – and dare I say, old-fashioned – process that involves little slips of paper being stuck on walls wherever room can be found. It’s also not one that allows students to easily respond to feedback, or even see what concerns students were raising a few months ago.
Here are three reasons you might put this on a blog instead:
Feedback for all the libraries is located in one place, meaning that students can read, say, both the complaints about the lack of free computers in Reid and the compliments about the lack of a wait time in Science.
Students have a greater opportunity to respond to you – and you to them. Your post replying to the complaint about Reid computers might be commented upon by another student, who suggests the coming in before 10am to avoid the queue, but also remarks that she’s always having problems with printing. You can then reply directly to the concern about printing problems and update your original post with the advice that coming in earlier ensures a spot.
A blog would make the feedback system a lot more open and permanent. Students could easily search the blog for previous instances of their question, or even just browse back through past months to see what other people have been talking about.
To Complete Task 5
- Set up a blog for yourself in WordPress (instructions) using the username you chose last week
- Use the webmail account you set up in the last task to e-mail email@example.com with the address of your new blog
- Make your first posts to your blog. Don’t forget: you should update your blog this week with two posts – one for last week and one for this week.
- The first post is for last week should deal with your thoughts on lifelong learning and the 7 1/2 Things,
- The second should look at your thoughts on setting up and using webmail and blogging.
- See what other people are blogging about through the Participants Page.
- Have fun!
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