Blog Sites

Audio narration for this page now available. Click the play button below and then follow along. (NOTE: if you use a tabbed browser, you can open links in a new tab while the audio continues to play in this page.)

Page narration:

  1. What – Weblog: A blog is a website where entries are made in journal style and displayed in a reverse chronological order. Blogs often provide commentary or news on a particular subject, such as food, politics, or local news; some function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. Most blogs are primarily textual although some focus on photographs (photoblog), videos (vlog), or audio (podcasting), and are part of a wider network of social media. (From Wikipedia)
  2. Why – Read Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, or Stephen Downes for Educause for good explanations of the potential benefits of blogging. There are also other reasons to use blogs – don’t think of them only as a place where people dump their commentary about issues they are interested in. Blog sites can also be very useful as an easy-to-create website for information that you want to display while still allowing comments and interaction. For example: my Online Student Satisfaction blog is really just a way of sharing information about our Noel-Levitz survey results for online students and this Online Faculty Peer Review blog is used to both disseminate information blog-style while also being a document repository for the adapted materials from Quality Matters.
  3. Who – Students are doing it internally and externally, faculty are doing it internally and externally, staff are doing it, and maybe you should be too. Authors are doing it (see Chris Anderson and The Long Tail).
  4. Where – Lots of free sites. Blogger, WordPress, WordPress Open Source, Edublogs, Movable Type, Live Journal, etc. Many campuses host their own blogs: see Ball State, Pace University, LSC blogs, LSC Wave (news), Paradise Valley CC Student Life
  5. How – Set up a free account, get started writing, read other blogs, leave comments, invite others to leave comments for you.
  6. Quote Errata: “Never have so many people written so much to be read by so few…” Katie Hafner NY Times (Why is this wrong?)

blogger startI use Blogger (owned by Google) for some things. Far From a Shining Star was the first blog I ever created and it is still my primary blog. Blogger is free and very easy to use. They allow you to customize your site by adding lots of widgets and other features. On the down side, they don’t have the capability of adding individual pages that aren’t part of the blog postings.

The site you are reading right now is provided to me (and you) for free at WordPress.com. WordPress is an excellent blogging tool but it is a bit more restrictive than Blogger in that they don’t allow certain types of content (especially flash and javascript) unless they have built a specific tool to utilize the content. This restrictiveness is I heart WordPressrelated to security concerns and is a wise approach to follow. WordPress.org is the free and open source option for hosting your own WordPress blog software. It is not exactly the same as wordpress dot com, but very similar and based on the same original code.

Blogger photo by leighblackall and WordPress photo by naokomc (creative commons licensing)

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