Photo by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com, after J. Howard Miller
What are blogs?
Blogs are discussion or informational sites published on the Internet and consist mostly of posts typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first).
Until quite recently, blogs were usually the work of an individual, occasionally of a small group, and often covered a single subject or idea. More recently "multi-author blogs" have developed, with posts written by large numbers of authors and professionally edited. Blogs have moved to the mainstream due to platforms such as Tumblr, Medium and, especially, Wordpress, where any person with access to a computer and internet can create their own webpage without a need to understand html or coding, as blogs create easy-to-use interfaces that manages much of this for the user.
Some examples of contemporary simple websites
Before Blogs as we know them now, there were personal websites. The pages most often started off on a basic table of contents type page where an overview of the website was presented. These sites were much less user-friendly, much less attractive, and were not largely accessible in the mainstream.
Blogs are often standardized to be in reverse chronological order which helps readers access the most current information first and then continue on to see previous entries
Blogs at UBC
UBC has two Wordpress services. UBC uses Wordpress go far beyond traditional blogs and uses the platform for most of its websites.
UBC's Blogs are available to anyone with a CWL. They are straightforward and are intended for individual users, although they do support multiple authors. UBC Blogs can be set up automatically through Connect to set up course blogs.
UBC's CMS sites are meant for official university pages. They have custom templates with UBC "common-look-and-feel" (CLF). Account and sites must be requested.
People all blog for different reasons but some significant reasons include:
- Fame and Fortune: though fame and fortune is stretching it a bit, if your blog has something unique to say and give, it has the potential to become well known and recognized.
- Community: UBC and LFS - A centralized place where people with similar interests share their ideas.
- Outreach - To involve people in a group's ideas or projects it's important to promote yourself. Unlike some social media, blogs give a user the ability to share more detailed information on an ongoing project or movement, provide more detail and allows users to go back and see past entries, generally with more ease than most social networking site.
- Something to Share - Advice, Q & A, tips and tricks
- Platforms like Wordpress are completely open, unlike other publishing platforms
- An intro to "What Makes A Good Blog?"
- Keep the audience in mind
- Who is your ideal reader?
- Have continuity and discipline
- If you need to, set a schedule
- Be part of a community
Blog writing style
- How long should a blog post be?
- Use paragraphs
- Link to sources and other information your reader will find useful
- Work in images and graphs
- Don't be afraid to break pieces up in to more than one post
- Better yet, update over time
The Downsides of Blogging
- Spam is common problem of blogging.
- Before you start blogging, make sure you're aware of Privacy in terms of blogging for both yourself and others
- Defamation may also occur
- Make sure to be aware of Flame wars, etiquette and any other potentially worse problems that could arise from blogging.
- How much access should I allow?
- Google searches and me
- What personal information do I want to share?
- Photos and Flickr: Example
- Audio and SoundCloud: Example
- Videos and YouTube, Vimeo, etc.
- Really Simple Syndication
- RSS in Plain English
- Aggregators: Google Reader & Bloglines
- Twitter Feed