For next Tuesday’s class, we’ll be heading to the J-Week Politico session. John Harris, editor-in-chief of Politico, will be speaking at 7:30 p.m. in G21 Ming Hsieh Hall. You can read more about Harris on his J-Week bio page. This will be our class for the week, and attendance is mandatory – you’ll need to check in with me at the main doors to the room.
Remember also that we’re tweeting this event, so be prepared with a phone or laptop. Every post you make needs to have the #jweek tag to be counted. For a good example, take a look at this tag (#futureofcontext) from the Future of Context session at South by Southwest just this past weekend – what were people talking about, and how?
So where’s the Read & Respond? At Politico, of course! Your mission is to hit up the Politico blog and get a feel for its tone, topics, audience … everything about it. You’ll then respondin a comment to this post with your impressions. These should be linked to our past course readings and discussion (don’t simply talk about how you liked it or weren’t interested – provide thoughtful and substantive commentary). Feel free to use specific Politico posts to illustrate your points.
Your responses are due by Monday, March 22. See you at the session!
(First: A blog job! Have a look – are your clips/skills what they need?)
Today’s “in-class” assignment will send you into the dark wilds of network television entertainment (try not to get eaten by a Grue). In preparation for next week’s Politico tweeting, we’ll be tweeting a class-selected 8 p.m. Tuesday TV show. Your choices are:
Biggest Loser (NBC):
Lost (ABC; rerun):
American Idol (FOX):
What do you tweet about? Everything! Give us your reactions, ask questions, engage in discussion – just keep the conversation going. If you’re a regular viewer, help newcomers fill in the gaps. If you’ve never seen it, give the old hands a fresh perspective. Got friends who want to weigh in? Have them join in with the #wvublogj hashtag.
The one requirement: PARTICIPATE. I’m not giving you a set number of tweets to make – if you’re participating vigorously and thoughtfully (yes, even about network television), you’re doing it right. Use this exercise to stretch your Twitter muscles and have some fun.
Once again, you’ll need to use our class hashtag, #wvublogj, for your work to be counted. We’ll go over more details in class this evening.
Your group blogs are now entering their second week. There’s some nifty ideas afoot (and a few people that need to get their posting schedule on track) – lots of reviews, some event previews and some things I don’t really have a name for just yet. So far so good.
Now it’s time to start adding value. This can be as easy as adding links and images, or get into some of the more interesting gadgets and widgets WordPress has to offer:
Writing about a place that makes a fantastic hamburger? It sure would be nice to see a photo of that sandwich.
Describing a little-known spot that’s hard to find? A map to the location would be a tremendous service.
Been reading lots of good or bad reviews? Hook us up with some links.
Need the menu, schedule, or business hours? Instead of putting it all in your post, give us a link to their webpage.
Is your subject on Twitter? Give us their handle so we can check them out.
Want to see what your readers think? Why not set up a poll?
That last one – the poll – may be new to you. WordPress makes it easy to set up. Follow these steps and give it a try:
In your dashboard, click on “Polls” in the left column.
At the top of the page, click “Add New”
You can enter three selections in the blanks that appear. Want more? Click the “Add another” button. Want a different style? Scroll through the choices offered below.
Click the “Save poll” button (it’s where the “Publish” button would be on normal posts)
Create a new blog post.
Click in the post where you want to add the poll. At the top of the text window, where you’d click to enter an image, click the fifth icon (it looks like a circular button and says “Add poll” if you mouse over it) and select your poll.
In the window that appears, click “Send to editor” under the poll’s name. The image won’t show up, but you’ll get a set of brackets – if you preview, you’ll see it.
There’s even more you can do with polls, but this is a quick start to the process. Experiment with these and see how they can help your blog grow!
This week we got started on Twitter. For this assignment, you’ll get a further taste of its capabilities. The requirements are simple – you may even have completed them already:
Create a Twitter account (you may use your existing account if you have one)
Add the Twitter widget (in your Dashboard under “Widgets”) to your personal blog by Friday, March 12 (if you’d rather keep your existing account private, create a separate account for this).
Find at least 25 people/organizations/whatever to follow (these should include @rww and @mashable – you may also follow your classmates, but not ONLY them)
Post at least 10 tweets by Monday, March 15 (these can be anything, but at least a few should have links and/or be retweets)
Post to your personal blog an entry on the tweeting experience. What did you like? Dislike? What did you learn, and what are you going to do with Twitter next? This post is due Tuesday, March 16.
In addition, your group must create a Twitter account and add the Twitter widget to the group blog by Tuesday, March 16.
A Word document of this assignment is available on eCampus – it also contains some how-to information that may be valuable if you missed Tuesday’s class. If you did, be sure to send me your Twitter handle!
Aside from this, don’t forget that the Group Blog posting schedule began THIS week. That means that you (individually) are required to have two posts to your group blog this week and each week thereafter.
The group blog project begins this Monday, March 8, and continues through the end of the semester. You’ve all been assigned to groups (listed below) based first on a distribution of disciplines and skills (PrnJ, TVJ, VisJ, Ad, and PR), second on the interests you demonstrated in your personal blogs. It’s now up to you to conceive of a blog subject and start your online publication. I’ve added some links (at the bottom of this post) to a similar class at the University of Texas to show you what other students in your position have done.
The full details are in the handout from class (it’s also posted on eCampus), but here’s an overview:
Posting frequency: Each member needs at least 2 posts per week, and the group will establish and follow a posting schedule.
Comments: You’ll make at least 5 meaningful comments a week to your blog and those of others.
Added value: Posts should go beyond plain text. Use the skills we’ve learned so far (and will continue to learn) and incorporate links, images, video, widgets, maps, wikis, other social media, and more.
Weekly memos: Every Sunday you’ll email me a memo of the week’s posts and comments as well as a short overview of your week’s experience and plans for the week to come. You’ll also post this to your personal blog each Sunday.
Due next week (these are group assignments, not individual ones):
Create your group blog in WordPress and email me the link (due Monday, March 8).
Your first post (due Sunday, March 7) is a focused mission statement for your group’s blog. Ideally, you’ll put this on the blog’s “About” page (not the main page) so readers can find it.
Bring to class (Tuesday, March 9) a tentative list of topics and dates for your first two weeks of postings. This may change, but it must be thorough and complete.
And now, the groups!
Finally, some examples from Seth Lewis’ Writing for Online Publication class at the University of Texas – Austin. This class has served as a model for ours, and these group blogs from Spring 2009 (there’s another session active this semester) were the result of their own group blog assignment. Have a look to see how they handled things.