Blog essays explained!

blogessayexplained.screenflow – YouTube.

Instead of an introduction to week 2, this video explains the blog essay assignment in more detail, using my example essay as a model. �I hope you find it useful. �

via Blog essays explained!.

Categories and Tags: The blog post.

I sent this message out on email last night, but I also want to get it into the course site so I can categorize it and tag it.  I will be putting it in the class notes category and adding a week 1 tag.  I went back to my previous post about “how to read SMSG” and added the week 1 tag.  The next time I teach the class using this site, I will have both of these week 1 notes ready to go! Categorizing and tagging are life long activities, and will make more and more sense to you if you use them in all your courses, or at work, and if you consistently use WordPress, Evernote, or some other piece of software to organize and store your work.


As people continue to write their first posts (personal history with social media) and think about their first blog essay about either their online persona or the online persona of organizations, let me send you to a short explanation of the difference between “categories” and “tags” because I am asking you to categorize and tag all of your posts.  The WordPress Support page has an effective explanation:

(Be sure to use the WordPress Support pages if you are having any technical difficulties.)

Categories and tags should be useful to both you and your readers.  AS the WordPress page emphasizes, the effective use of tags and categories can get you noticed by the WordPress community.  That might not be improtant to you personally, but if you know how to use tags and categories effectively, the organizations you work for will probably appreciate getting notice. Categories and tags should be useful to you because they allow you to organize your work effectively.

I recommend that you might start with two categories, “Personal” and “Blog Essays.”  You will definitely be able to put your first post in the personal category, and if you write Blog Essay #1 about the “persona” you want to be online, that post can go in both categories.  As you add blog essays, all 12 will get collected into one spot so that any visitor could come and find, then read, all your essays under one category.  Readers will also be interested in you, and want to read through your more personal posts.

Key words like “Facebook, Twitter, Linked IN, Pinterest” will present a challenge: should those be categories or tags?  My philosophy is that if I know I am going to use those concepts extensively, I am going to make them categories.  I can always convert them to tags later.  Tags I use for key words that come up once in a while: MySpace and Friendster, for example. : ) I also tend to tag people (especially authors) rather than make them categories.

This semester will be about developing the category and tag habit, because you will increasingly see that all electronic communication can be tagged or categorized.  I use the Evernote App on my iPad a lot.  It is a place for taking notes: personal, professional, nonsense, you name it.  To really use that app, it is to my advantage to organize them into categories (or what they call stacks) and then even add tags to each note so that if I write one note about Pinterest in my #ec457 stack and write a second note about Pinterest in my #vcl357 stack, I can easily look at them together by clicking on the tag “Pinterest”–that will pull up all the notes  tagged with “Pinterest.”

You can  use a tag or category even if you don’t write about that word or concept.  I could tag or post a WordPress entry with “Facebook” even if I wrote about social networking generally because the post would be relevant to Facebook.


How to Read “Social Media for Social Good”

I noticed in my description of what to do in Week 1 that I didn’t give any real instructions for how to read SMSG.  Let me give you what are called some pre-reading notes.

Introduction. Identify points that seem relevant to you but make sure you take note of

  • the definitions of web 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0. These might be coming up in your other classes; they will definitely come up on the job or with organizations.
  • the goal of reaching 5,000 followers on social networking sites.  I don’t know many local organizations that have reached that number; pay attention to it when we look at Facebook.
  • Heather Mansfield’s advice to enjoy the flux and the play that comes with social media and the ever evolving technology.  If you hate the change and hate trying new things, social media (and this class) will not be for you.

Chapter 1.  This chapter is all about “the static web” or websites, enewsletters, and “donate now” campaigns. As the name “static web” implies, these aren’t the exciting tools, but they provide great return on investment, so we (as social media experts) still need to pay attention to them.  Rather than just read this chapter and make a few notes, I recommend that you:

  • spend a few minutes navigating the website of one large and one small nonprofit website, just to get familiar with them and to get a feel for their “persona.” From this website, you can go to Surfrider, Charity: Water, or International Red Cross (big) and small (Charism, Lakes and Prairie Community Action Plan, or The Arts Partnership).
  • read the the chapter with these websites up, and check to see which principles the websites employ, which ones they don’t.
  • pay particularly close attention to the advice on “good writing” but this course will emphasize writing more than it will emphasize design and technical knowledge, although all three will be relevant.

Go through these chapters and the nonprofit websites with Blog Essay #1 (#be1) in mind. A good analysis of the persona of a website, as developed through the writing, design, and integration of social media, would make for an excellent first essay.