Week 1: Set up blog, write first blog essay, don’t forget to connect

Week 1: January 8-16, 2018.

A week in this class will typically run from Wednesday to Tuesday, but Week 1 has  9 days counting Monday the 8th. NDSU’s spring 2018 semester technically starts Monday January 8th at 4:00 pm. Monday January 15th is Martin Luther King Day, so the rhythm this first week will be a little different.

Each week’s schedule will identify the goals for the week, the readings I am asking you to do, actions you need to take, and the interactions you should strive for.  Please never hesitate to ask for clarifications about class plans.


  • Learn about Web 1.0 and consider your relationship to 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0.
  • Start shifting your thinking about communication from linear (especially student to teacher) to dialogic and transactional (talking to each other, building a community, accomplishing tasks through writing, thinking of me as just one member of the community).
  • Set up your website for the class and start to get comfortable with WordPress or the blogging platform of your choice.
  • Write your about page and your first blog essay (see the assignment sheet to see why I call them essays and not posts) and start to get comfortable with the blog essay conventions for this course.


Early in the week, please complete the readings as they will inform the rest of your work.

  • read the Introduction and Chapter 1 of Social Media for Social Good (SMSG)
  • read the Introduction and Chapter 1 of Strategic Social Media (SSM).
  • read my remix of Greg Ulmer’s Avatar Descending.


Please complete the first three steps by Thursday and steps 4+5 by Sunday.  Use Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 15 and 16, to read and respond to each other. Promote MLK Day Celebration via social media: before, during and after.  Monday Jan. 15th, 6:30, Fargo Theatre on Broadway.

1. Set up your own website on WordPress.com or the blogging platform of your choice. WordPress is widely used in the non-profit sector because of its ease of use, support for multiple authors, stability as a platform, and services provided.  Please write a 400 word “About” page that tells readers about your history with social media.  Be sure to write in an engaging, active voice, include at least one image, links to your existing social media accounts or other online projects important to you. Heather Mansfield provides her personal history on the first two pages of SMSG; I’ve posted my account on the “About page”.  These posts will serve as introductions, but don’t treat them too lightly.  Don’t forget for a moment that we are working with “social media” in this class, so your post will make a social (and in many cases), first impression.  “[T]he first rule of an effective social media marketing strategy: stop thinking about communication in a linear fashion” (SSM 20). This is NOT your blog post for the week, however.  See item 5 below.

2. Share your URL with me and I will create a blogroll for the class. Handy for finding one another online.  Complete this by Thursday.

3. Request or accept membership in this blog, Electronic Communication @ NDSU. Once you are a member, you should be able to “reblog” your personal posts to the class site, which is another good reason to use WordPress. What you will need to do is access the full URL of your post (not just your base home URL).  Once you are there, you should see a “reblog” option.  Click that, and it should pop up a text box that gives you a chance to add a sentence or two as a kind of introduction (might be helpful), and it should give you the option to reblog to “Electronic Communication @ NDSU.” You can also look up “how to” items at WordPress Support.

4. Follow other students’ posts; write responses as you see fit (it might take until Sunday to get everyone posting).  You are not required to follow everyone (although you are welcome to), you are encouraged to follow the posts that intrigue you.  Another challenge in this course, closely related to the one above, is to get noticed.  You will have to consider, “when’s a good time to post?” You will need to figure out good response strategies.  If you want others to read your work, you need to reply to them in thoughtful, polite, engaging ways.

5.  Once you have set up a blog, shared the URL with me, and learn how to “repost” your blog essays to the course blog, start planning your blog essay #1; it will be guided by this prompt:

  •  “Who do you want to be online?” This post is more or less a continuation of your About Page (who have you been, past tense), and I recommend you  read my remix of Greg Ulmer’s Avatar Emergency. Use this post to think about the web: what does it do well? What can it do for you? Challenge yourself to think about who you want to be online as a professional, as a social change agent, someone who is not necessarily radically different than you, but the best / most interesting / most online appropriate version of yourself.  Use the takeaways on page 21 of SSM to help you think about how you can be a social media influencer.  Be sure to consult the Blog Essay assignment guidelines and work on the conventions / expectations for posts.

6. Check out the resources listed on pages 39-41 of SMSG.  Visit the recommended websites, and search for “WordPress for Nonprofits” and “15 beautiful nonprofit websites WordPress.” See what ideas you get for design elements on your own site.

7.  Promote the MLK Day celebration on  Monday January 15th, 6:30-8:00 pm, Fargo Theatre, 314 Broadway.  Use whatever means are available to you:  face to face invitations, phone calls, social media, class announcements.  Try to convince at least 10 of your friends to attend.  Get a feel for the challenges of trying to move people, especially to get them to an event they have never attended before, an event that has a political dimension to it, in a location they may not be familiar with.  Promote the event ahead of time, during the event, and after the event.  Take a selfie with you + anyone you convinced to come.  Look for me and each other so we can get a class photo.  This is a good end-of-first week way to also build our own class community.  My rhetorical task is going to be getting all of you there! Write a bonus reflection on your efforts and your thoughts on the event.  #MLKfargo?


  • Please take the time to comment on / respond to at least two other blog essays from the class.  Remember that you want to build up followers, and one way to do that is to interact with others.
  • Sign up for a Zoom account.  Zoom has become the online meeting platform of choice for a lot of organizations, so I want to make sure you are familiar with this platform.
  • Sign up for a Klout.com account. Klout measures your influence via social networks, although you have to grant Klout access to your Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, LinkedIN and other accounts.  Klout’s value gets debated, but you need to know about it even if you decide to disconnect from it at the end of the semester.
  • Attend the MLK Day event Monday January 15th, 6:30 pm, Fargo Theatre, 314 Broadway.

14 Responses to Week 1: Set up blog, write first blog essay, don’t forget to connect

  1. oscargzamora says:

    Hello my name is Oscar Zamora, currently enrolled in English 457 class. My URL is http://artistimagination.wordpress.com/

  2. azurebrock says:

    Hey. Just started my blog very quickly.

  3. alexlienndsu says:

    I have my about page up, (make sure you search “about” in the menu)

  4. kaitlynjenison says:

    Hi! My name is Kaitlyn Jenison. I just set up my blog for the class and this is my url: https://kaitlynjenison.wordpress.com/

  5. Hey my Name is Brent Schoenwald
    My URL is https://brentschoenwald.wordpress.com/

  6. Hello – My name is Jessica Peterson. The link to my About page is:


    • kab13 says:

      Hi Jessica. I think your About page is still in Preview Mode. If you go back into your dashboard, you will see where you can publish and update it as needed. Welcome to the class!

      • Thank you! Fixed it!

  7. Hello all! My name is Hannah Stevens– My URL is: http://hannahleighhoneyman.wordpress.com and the link to my about page is: https://hannahleighhoneyman.wordpress.com/about/

  8. hopewestland says:

    Hello, my name is Hope Westland. My URL is http://hope.westland.wordpress.com

    • hopewestland says:

      Im still having trouble finding how to reblog and such..cant anyone help?

  9. spencerman01 says:

    Hi, everybody. Christopher here. My URL is: https://truwordswordpresscom.wordpress.com/. To get to my about page use URL: https://truwordswordpresscom.wordpress.com/2016/01/16/about/.

  10. leahschmid says:

    Hello my name is Leah Schmid and this my URL to my page 🙂 https://leahschmidwordpresscom.wordpress.com/?p=4

  11. Hello my name is Jena and here is my URL

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