Blogging 101

Hello! Welcome to our new class blog. Here are some helpful tips on how to create an effective blog post as well as a basic introduction to WordPress.

1. How to post.

There are 2 ways you can post a contribution to the blog. The first way is through the QuickPress option, which allows you to post from the main “dashboard” (WordPress’ cute name for the main area of the back end portion of the blog, where you can post, as well as edit posts and comments). The QuickPress option allows for minimal structure. You can add text, pictures, links, and video, but not much else. It’s preferable if you’re not especially tech-savvy or you don’t have much time to post.

QuickPress

The second, more elaborate (and in my opinion preferable) option for posting is the “New Post” option directly above the QuickPress area. This links you to a separate page in which you can more elaborately construct a blog post.  In addition to adding media to your post, this lets you more precisely craft your text, much as you would in MS Word or Powerpoint (adding bullets, a “quote” feature that distinguishes quoted text in a post, proofreading, etc.). I strongly suggest exploring this method of posting, especially the “more” feature, which creates a link (say, after the first paragraph of your post) to the entire post, preventing one gigantic post from taking up the entire first page of the blog.

Insert More button


New Post button

2. What your post should include.

Blogging is suppose to be enjoyable and blogs should be fun to read. The biggest mistake many students make when posting to a class blog is writing their post in a word processing program and then copying and pasting it into the blog.  These posts generally read as papers, don’t include pictures,  links, quotes, video, audio, or any type of thoughtful layout or style. They’re boring and receive the least amount of comments. We’re blogging about media, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t include interesting images and video in your post to break up the text, allowing for a more enjoyable read.

3. Tags.

Tags are important, and allow us to organize our posts by various topics and themes. They can be fairly broad or very specific. The trick is to include tags that are neither too broad (i.e. “media,” this is a media blog so obviously all of the posts will be about media) or too specific (i.e. “Janet Jackson’s Superbowl Nipple,” this is a very specific event, and it’s doubtful that more than one person would discuss it extensively). Examples of good tags would be things like “2008 Presidential Election,” “Photo-Ops,” or “Fox News.” Please remember to include 3-5 tags with each post!

Tags

4. Comments.

Comments are essential to any blog and in an academic blog they act as a continuing discourse outside the classroom. Comments should be thoughtful, critical, and well-constructed. Comments such as “That is so interesting, I’ve never thought of that before!” don’t foster any sort of meaningful discourse. Also, keep in mind this is a public blog and is included in the results of major search engines such as Google. Anyone can find and read it. It is not uncommon for outsiders to read and comment on your post (including “important” people such as other professors, employees at media companies, etc.).

TBC

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