Thursday, October 2, 2008

Blogging: Gotta Try It!

One of the most interesting homework assignments I give my students is to start a blog and maintain it over the class term. This assignment really helps the students understand what it takes to create and maintain a social media property. Last night, we discussed the process of blogging and the student reactions to it.

Choosing a Topic

Some students found it difficult to find a topic they could blog about for several weeks. They had a lot of ideas but weren't sure which they could sustain!

Teacher's Advice: Always choose a topic you are passionate about. If you hope to make money from your blog someday, be sure to choose a topic others are passionate about as well. :)

Naming Your Blog

Other students struggled with finding the right name. They had noticed that, given a list of blogs, they would be more inclined to read those that had interesting names.

Teacher's Advice: While a good blog name is important, the more critical aspect of blogging is the actual content that goes on the page. A good name may bring someone to your blog once; great content brings them back!

Finding Your Blogging Voice

Students also shared they had a hard time deciding what the tone of the blog should be. Should it be very professional, with sentences properly thought-out? Should it be casual, as if one was carrying on a live conversation? The students are writing blogs on both ends of that spectrum, and both are generally OK!

Teacher's Advice: Write in a way that is natural for you and also encourages your readers to participate in the conversation.

Determining Blog Goals

One of the most important aspects of creating a new blog is deciding what you want the blog to accomplish. Is it a blog to educate others on a certain topic? Are you trying to persuade people to your side? Do you want to be seen as a content expert in a certain area?

Teacher's Advice: Determine your goals, and your audience, before writing even one post. Then, use those goals to guide you on future content, frequency, voice, and linking strategies.

Let's Blog!

Please check out the blogs from both this term (Fall 08) and last term (Summer 08) on the right. A blog to note is Blogging Around the World. This blog was started last term here in the USA which the student, Nicoletta, has decided to continue now that she is back home in Rome. She even attended a Web 2.0/blogging conference in Italy - both as an observer and as a participant. Well done, Nicoletta!


bloggingaroundtheworld said...

Thank you, Becky!
I've been starting to read new blogs. There are some interesting topics and information.
What I'd really like to share with your students and readers is my experience here in Italy after our class. Even though social media are not as developed as in US (especially for business), it's plenty of debates! So, it's useful and exciting to be part of the discussion
Enjoy your class!

Jo said...

It is interesting to hear your experiences. I used a blog to help students discuss emerging business plans. A handful dived in and made enormous progress in their own thinking. Most seemed to be overwhelmed.

I think using a pubic blog is an excellent exercise in developing a personal leadership style. Who are we, exactly? And harder still, who do we want to speak to us! I suspect this clarity emerges overtime as we blog.

bloggingaroundtheworld said...

Hi Becky!
On October 15th there is an annual no profit event, which aim is to create awareness and attention about a social issue, by involving bloggers, porcasters, etc.. This year the topic is poverty. I believe it is a useful example of viral campaign. I'd like to suggest you to ask your students to partecipate by writing a post in their blogs. What do you think?
You can find all the information here:

Becky Carroll said...

Nicoletta, thank you for continuing to be involved with my class, even after you moved back to Italy! You can still come on over to our class discussion group on Facebook and encourage the current students. I am glad you are continuing to blog and hope you find it useful for you.

Jo, thank you for sharing the experience you had in using blogs to help students. Writing for a blog forces a person to solidify their thinking so it can be expressed to others. It can be overwhelming at first, but after awhile, it becomes part of what you do. That can take anywhere from 3-6 months, but for those who are determined, it is worthwhile.