Web Expressions – Blog Spotlights – week 3

Arinda Stokes has a very interesting article on her blog that I urge everyone to go to and comment on. It asks questions about picking a major and how to handle picking one even if you don’t know what you want to do for the rest of your life.

Emma White has an article that hits a little close to home with me and my past roommate experiences. Worth a read as many of you may be able to relate ;)

Kyle Widness wrote about the “Grandest thing in Life”. A pretty neat post regarding my home state and one of its many impressive landmarks!

Google Blog Search

I just read about this at my friend Cliff’s blog! It seems Google now provides a Blog Search tool! Yup, a Google search geared towards blog sites. Very groovy. Google states (and yes, I’m ripping off my friend’s story…but who cares :D I reach a different audience.)

Blog Search is Google search technology focused on blogs. Google is a strong believer in the self-publishing phenomenon represented by blogging, and we hope Blog Search will help our users to explore the blogging universe more effectively, and perhaps inspire many to join the revolution themselves. Whether you’re looking for Harry Potter reviews, political commentary, summer salad recipes or anything else, Blog Search enables you to find out what people are saying on any subject of your choice.

Cliff does say:

After tinkering with Google Blog Search for a bit, I have to say that it seems pretty good. It’s never quite clear how Google gathers their info and ranks their sites, although they do seem to lend quite a bit of weight to tags.

I’ve played with it a bit and I definately think its the right plan. Just one more thing to add to Google’s large list of services I use!

Web Expressions – Blog Spotlights

I was reading over all of your blogs today and came accross one that I think has a very interesting topic that warrants some response and comments. Check out “Russo’s Blog” and her post about “School Life.” Read it, comment on it…get a discussion going. Perhaps use that to fuel a post on your blog as well.

If you are into Football and want some sweet info on the recent Pats game, check out these blogs:

The End Zone
mbegalle’s personal blog

As the semester moves on I will spotlight various people. There are a lot of good blog posts out there, but on occasion I’ll just handpick a couple that catch my eye or just to push people to read others’ blogs. (you see, reading blogs is just as important as posting them!) Try to find a couple that interest you and watch them. Post responses in their comment sections. Post responses in your blog that quote them! Lets get some social networking going :D

Web Expressions – More Blog Info

Yup, once again we will be discussing Blogs in class. I will be handing out and article on Weblog (Blog) History and we will be going over some of the points in class.

Here’s a sweet quote from the article:

Media is a corporate possession…You cannot participate in the media. Bringing that into the foreground is the first step. The second step is to define the difference between public and audience. An audience is passive; a public is participatory. We need a definition of media that is public in its orientation.

Something else to note:

The original weblogs were link-driven sites. Each was a mixture in unique proportions of links, commentary, and personal thoughts and essays. Weblogs could only be created by people who already knew how to make a website. A weblog editor had either taught herself to code HTML for fun, or, after working all day creating commercial websites, spent several off-work hours every day surfing the web and posting to her site. These were web enthusiasts.

Also: :)

By highlighting articles that may easily be passed over by the typical web user too busy to do more than scan corporate news sites, by searching out articles from lesser-known sources, and by providing additional facts, alternative views, and thoughtful commentary, weblog editors participate in the dissemination and interpretation of the news that is fed to us every day. Their sarcasm and fearless commentary reminds us to question the vested interests of our sources of information and the expertise of individual reporters as they file news stories about subjects they may not fully understand.

And:

The blogger, by virtue of simply writing down whatever is on his mind, will be confronted with his own thoughts and opinions. Blogging every day, he will become a more confident writer. A community of 100 or 20 or 3 people may spring up around the public record of his thoughts. Being met with friendly voices, he may gain more confidence in his view of the world; he may begin to experiment with longer forms of writing, to play with haiku, or to begin a creative project–one that he would have dismissed as being inconsequential or doubted he could complete only a few months before.

Another article that I would urge you to read (or simply skim) is: Educational Blogging

The quote I like from this is:

“The blogs give us a chance to communicate between us and motivate us to write more. When we publish on our blog, people from the entire world can respond by using the comments link. This way, they can ask questions or simply tell us what they like. We can then know if people like what we write and this indicate[s to] us what to do better. By reading these comments, we can know our weaknesses and our talents. Blogging is an opportunity to exchange our point of view with the rest of the world not just people in our immediate environment.”

And:

Many writers assert that blogs came into their own only after the events of September 11, 2001. As Charles Cooper writes, “If you were scouring the Internet for news and context during those first terrible hours, you could have done a lot worse than eavesdropping on the free-wheeling mini-universe of Web logs chockablock with first-hand info and spirited commentary about what was going on. . . . For my money, some of the best stuff was being served up in this most unlikely venue.”

And also:

Whether you’re a warblogger who works by day as a professional journalist or you’re a teenage high school student worried about your final exams, you do the same thing: you use your blog to link to your friends and rivals and comment on what they’re doing. Blog posts are short, informal, sometimes controversial, and sometimes deeply personal, no matter what topic they approach.

So what are blogs?
I want you to answer this more in depth on your blogs before next class. We’ll be looking them over on Monday. Dig deep. Don’t just tell me “its a place to post stuff on the web.” Put some thought and feeling into your answer. What are blogs? What do you think they mean to you? To other people? How are they changing the media? What kind of impact are they having on everyday life? That kind of thing.

So…assignments for the weekend:

  • Prepare for Monday’s Quiz!
  • Do the blog entry I mentioned above.
  • Start thinking about what you will be posting throughout the week.
  • Next week we will be talking about e-mail, mailing lists, search engines, encryption, online shopping, phishing, netiquette, spyware, cookies, etc. Head on over to http://www.learnthenet.com/english/animate/animate.htm and read bullets 1-9.

Web Expressions – Student Blogs

Here’s a list of the blogs for Web Expressions!

Web Expressions – Lab 1 – Blogs

Alrighty! Today we’re going to be setting up our blogs. Here are some Blogging Instructions to help you get started.

Today we meet in Memorial 213 and we’ll be:

  • Going over the above documentation
  • Setting up our Blogs
  • Posting a Blog Entry
  • Commenting on someone else’s Blog
  • Giving the instructor $2,000 just for fun.

The use of Blogs in our class:
I have discussed this a couple of times but have not yet been clear on exactly how we will be using your blogs this semester. Starting 9/12/2005 you will be required to make a minimum of 2 non-assignment related posts a week. You can post as many posts as you want every week but here’s the deal:

  • If you post diary-like posts, it must convey an issue you have encountered and dealt with; and/or it must contain your opinions on topics you have encountered.
  • In addition to your own blog posts, you will also be required to post your answers to assignments throughout the semester. These do not apply towards your 2 posts per week.
  • I will be grading your posts. Here are the grading specifics for your semester of blogging (I will grade your blogging over the semester, not each one individually):
    Points Subject
    20 Regular postings (at least two/week)
    10 Postings address clear topic and fit in the theme of the blog or (for journal blogs) are particularly insightful.
    10 Postings are well-written and organized
    10 Postings contain adequate links to supporting/clarifying websites.
    10 Initiative and Originality
    10 Blog entries are of potential interest to outside reader.
    10 Response to comments: Author has responded to comments adequately.
    10 Effective use of images and text formatting to create a visually appealing blog.
    10 EXTRA CREDIT: Blog has off-campus commenter. (non-friend or family member )
    Forfeit all points if in violation. Netiquette: postings do not violate any rules of good Internet conduct. See notes addressing netiquette. (Violations must be immediately cleared up to prevent blog account from being switched off)
    100 TOTAL (110 with extra credit)

Blog Topics:
Blogging may not come easy to everyone. It took a while for me to get the swing of things, but once I started going I keep finding odd things to post :) If you run into a mindblock and can’t think of anything, maybe this will start your mind thinking in the right direction:

Maybe try a PSU centered blog

  • PSU events: music, films, plays, speakers, plays
  • PSU sports: how did the(fill-in specific sport) team do?
    How can team x improve? Etc.
  • PSU politics: what issues are ranging on campus.
  • PSU life: what is like to be a PSU student?

Aim for a special interest blog

  • Gaming
  • Poetry
  • Art work
  • Crafts
  • Cooking
  • Photography
  • Literature
  • Horticulture
  • Outdoor pursuits (hiking, skiing, biking, etc)
  • Bird watching
  • Editorial blogs: reacting to issues in the media.
  • Place blog: What is life like in … Plymouth, NH, your home town?
  • Informational blog: how to do something (configure a firewall, build a canoe, fix a car, etc, travel for $25/day, etc)

(grading scale provided by Dr. Evelyn Stiller, Plymouth State University)