State of the Union liveblogs

January 27, 2011

A little Thursday reading for you while you cower from the West Virginia snows: Here are the posts from those of you who took the liveblog option to Tuesday’s out-of-class in-class assignment.

For your further interest, here’s the FactCheck.org fact check of the speech – overall, they found it was pretty truthful. Enjoy reliving the heady experience of the 2011 State of the Union!

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Read and Respond – Week 4

January 26, 2011

This week, we’ll be reading about the fundamental unit of online communication (the link), and the human component of connective journalism (the crowd). In chapter 3, Briggs is concerned with the latter. His three focuses are “crowdsourcing,” “open-source reporting,” and “pro-am journalism.” Crowdsourcing is the main one to understand. What’s meant by this? How does it inform the rest, and the world of communication you all are entering into?

The term “The wisdom of crowds” is most recently popularized by James Surowiecki – he even wrote a book – but it’s been around for a while. Sit back and enjoy this short (and catchy) tune on the subject from Nova:

While you’re not expected to eyeball the weight of oxen (at least, not for this class), there’s a useful idea here in what groups can know. On the other hand, others like Carnegie Mellon’s Vassilis Kostakos take issue with “the wisdom of crowds,” arguing that those online crowds are often a very small percentage of highly engaged users. How do these reconcile in your approach to connective journalism?

Next, move on to links and linking. The simple hyperlink is an obvious use of linking, but it’s not the only kind – social media applications employ linking in their own way. So let’s read about links:

  • David G. Post, in this 1997 essay (ancient history!!!), lays out some common questions and criticisms of the humble link that are still pertinent today.
  • Bill Thompson talks about links as the key component of “the semantic Web.” We may argue, as he puts it, “a link is just a link,” yet often there is more going on in the way the link is used.

What do you think about links? What is the nature of a link, and what are the ways in which we use them? What are the similarities and differences of hyperlinks and the social links involved in crowdsourcing? Finally, what kind of ethics and etiquette do you see as necessary for using either of these kinds of links in your journalistic and personal work?

Remember to respond to this post by noon on Monday, January 31. As always, responses should be around 200 words, and links to arguments or evidence on your own blog or elsewhere are strongly recommended.


Sort of In-Class Assignment: Tweet or Liveblog the State of the Union

January 25, 2011

In lieu of lab today, we’re going to engage our social media skills in real time. At 8 p.m. tonight, President Barack Obama will deliver his annual State of the Union address, which will be broadcast on pretty much every major network. You will be covering it. Your out-of-class in-class assignment is to either tweet or liveblog the State of the Union address. Depending on the option you choose, here are your instructions:

Option 1: Twitter

  • If you don’t have a Twitter account, you’ll need to create one (it’s easy – go to their site).
  • You must send me your Twitter handle to follow. If you don’t want me following your main account, create an alternate and send me that. No handle, no credit.
  • Although personal reaction is a big part of Twitter, tweets should not be all opinions (e.g. “Right on!” or “That’s stupid.”). What can you add to the conversation? Can you provide links or data that support or contradict the statements being made? What can you add to ReTweets? Try to make your conversation valuable.
  • There is not a set number of tweets you must make other than “enough.” Two is not enough. Use your judgment.
  • Experiment with hashtag (#) topics. The #wvublogj tag isn’t required, but you might see what tags others are using (e.g., #sotu for State of the Union).

Option 2: Liveblogging

  • To liveblog, you’ll need to continually update a single post with the latest developments. It’s typical to place the latest updates at the top. For example:

8:15 p.m. – Stop clapping already!

8:01 p.m. – The clapping begins.

  • You’ll need to identify the time of each Here’s some guidelines for how a liveblog works.
  • You must send me a permalink to your post to receive credit.
  • Although opinion is definitely part of blogging, your goal should be to add to the conversation as well as provide your immediate responses (e.g. “Right on!” or “That’s stupid.”). How can you enrich the conversation? Can you provide links or data that support or contradict the statements being made? What connections can you make?
  • A few links would surely be helpful. Try to make connections others might not think of.
  • If you can’t make the time of the address, you’ll need to find a re-broadcast online and liveblog it (use the points in the video as your time stamps, e.g., 0:00, 0:12, etc.). This must be posted by noon on Wednesday, January 26.

Once more, you must send me either your Twitter handle (e.g., @thebobthe) or liveblog permalink to receive credit for this assignment. Experiment with your chosen medium and see what you can do!


Social Media Challenge #2 – Talking Back

January 25, 2011

Last week you built and annotated a blogroll to follow in your own blogging pursuits. The Read-Write Web isn’t simply about taking what you need, however – you also have to become part of the conversation. This week you’re going to make your voice heard.

Part 1: Start talking! – DUE: All comments made by Noon, Monday, January 31

You must post at least 10 substantive comments to the blogs you read (I will only count one comment to an individual blog). The majority of these should be to blogs in your blogroll, but some outsiders are acceptable. Be sure to include your email and blog address when you post, or it won’t count!

To verify your work, you will provide a printout (yes, a printout) of each comment (one page each is fine, so 10 pages total) and turn it in at next Tuesday’s class.

Note: A substantive comment goes beyond saying “Great ideas” or other spammer-speak to build on and extend the conversation. Run with their ideas! This brings us to part 2 …

Part 2: Keep the conversation going – DUE: Noon, Monday, January 31

Since the blogs in your blogroll are all aimed at your focus, you should be able to synthesize several of the ideas they present into something new that takes their ideas further. For this assignment, you will construct a blog post that brings together posts from at least three members of your blogroll and says something new about all of them.

Mail me a link to your post (not your main blog page) and a one-sentence description to the contents of this post by the due date.

Note: Although some summarization will be necessary, that’s NOT the point of this assignment. Instead, you must build an original discussion or argument upon these others’ ideas. Be sure to link as needed in order to give credit where it is due.

And in the meantime …

You’ve already been updating twice a week, so now it’s time to start optimizing those posts. It’s easier to post on weekends because you’ve got more free time, but it’s also easier for no one to read those posts because they’re enjoying their own free time. For the rest of the semester, then, each week (including this one) your required two weekly posts must fall on two separate weekdays (Monday – Friday). The majority of these posts should be in line with your focus – some deviation is natural as your ideas develop – and your posts must fall at least 24 hours apart (no posting all at once to get it out of the way).


Read & Respond – Week 3

January 20, 2011

Now that you’ve had a few weeks to get used to blogging and start reading some more established bloggers, let’s take a step back and look at where it all takes place: The Internet. Sparkly, isn’t it? I’ve attached a few supplemental links (and a video!) below that tell you a bit about where it came from and where it’s going.

Briggs this week calls his chapter “advanced blogging,” which is right in line with where you should be by now. You’ve got a few posts under your belts, but you’re wondering where to go from here. In keeping with this week’s history theme, he’s got a good section on where blogs came from, including a shout-out to Dan Gillmor, who’s a strong evangelist for rethinking media-audience communication (have a look through his Twitter feed for evidence of the man’s passion for this subject). Briggs offers up some good tips for getting started, which will be useful for your mission statement assignment (due Thursday!), as well as providing some useful terminology and audience-building tactics.

You might consider reading this week’s links before Briggs because many of them address the pre-Web 2.0 world (these are fairly in-depth, so SKIM). First, there’s this piece from the Internet Society, “A Brief History of the Internet” – it’s a little tech-y, but note the players involved. Likewise, take a glance at these two timelines: How the Internet came to be, and Hobbes’ Internet Timeline (now up-to-date!), which is an EXHAUSTIVE listing of events – don’t try to read the whole thing, but DO use it as a reference.

Finally, let your reading muscles relax and watch this video on just where the Internet came from:

Is the Internet something invented by an individual? Just where did it come from, and in what forms has it existed? How do its origins inform the things we use it for today?

Remember, your response is due as a comment to this post no later than noon on Monday, Jan. 24.


Social Media Challenge 1: Start Following!

January 19, 2011

In your first post, you introduced yourself and suggested a focus for your blog. This week you’ll solidify that focus and identify sources of information that will contribute to your writings.

Part 1: Find a focus – Due: Noon, Thursday, Jan. 20

Create an “About” page and post a blog mission statement. This can be the idea you touched on in week 1 or something new, but it must be clear and focused. You want your focus to be specific yet rich enough for regular updates – use this week’s Briggs chapter for guidance. Avoid being too broad (e.g., “pop culture” or “sports”) – you’ll need to spell out what a reader might get out of reading your site compared to the countless other sports sites out there. Two points:

  • It’s not about you. Make sure your focus is a larger conversation, not a diary or “expert advice” (you’re not one) or “my crazy life” blog. How can you connect with a larger community?
  • It’s not just links. Links are necessary, but a successful blog needs to add something to the information it synthesizes from elsewhere. Linking to a bunch of stories about the Pittsburgh Penguins is not blogging.

In 3-4 paragraphs, tell your readers what they can expect from your blog and how that subject will be informed by your perspective. Use mission statements like those of Treehugger as examples.

Part 2: Identify sources to help you – Due: Noon, Monday Jan. 24

Blogging isn’t something you have to do on your own. With your focused topic in mind, it’s time to identify some sources to help you on that path. You will identify 10 blogs to follow. Each of these blogs should inform your topic in some way – for example, a social media blog might draw on ReadWriteWeb. You’ll need to complete the following steps:

  • Post links to each of your 10 blogs in your blogroll (via “Links” in your dashboard)
  • Add their feeds in Google Reader
  • Write a blog post explaining (in 1-2 sentences each) how each of these blogs will inform your own blog – don’t forget to include links to each blog in your post!
  • ALSO add Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, and the course blog to your Google Reader (these don’t count toward your blogroll, and they’re not required for it)
  • All of these things must be done by the due date.

Part 3: Add the Calendar and Links widgets to your blog

This is an easy one. In your Dashboard, go to Appearance > Widgets and drag “Calendar” and “Links” to your sidebar. This must be done by noon, Monday, Jan. 24.


Student blog listings

January 18, 2011

Here they are: All the blog addresses I’ve received (and if you’re not on this list, I need yours TODAY). Below are the links and some of the information you’ve provided me about what to expect from your personal blogs. I’ll be posting a permalink of these on the right bar once I’ve gotten everyone’s address, but for now, have a look and start reading and commenting.

  • Thomas Anderson: My blog is loosely based on the road to the nhl playoffs but will also follow the hot topics of the the week in the nhl and sharing other sites and blogs that will help the casual fan follow the second half of the NHL season. I hope to create a blog that will allow fans and followers see the games and events as I see them.
  • Kirk Auvil: This blog will be focused on video games, looking at them from various perspectives.
  • Toni Cekada: My blog is the health-themed one.
  • Joshua Clark: I want to explore the nature of flash and it’s future without being overly broad. For example, controversial issues spoofed in web content through flash, or the use of flash for advertising. Simple and fun to use, for good or for ill, flash is just a wellspring of creativity. Also, a few tech aspects such as smart phone integration may be touched upon, and things done in this medium that have rarely been seen before, or that have specific purpose that mirrors my own goals. Should be fun, and relevant.
  • Lindsay Cobb: I want to make a blog about volunteering.  I hope to be able to volunteer at least once a week and share my experiences in my blog.  To start I wrote about the little girl I sponsor in the Philippines.
  • Devanne DiBacco: This post just basically talks about what I want to accomplish in my blog, etc.
  • Deepa Fadnis: It will basically talk about how I got interested in financial journalism, my efforts to get to know the industry, find internships and will also discuss issues and events in the economy.
  • Aaron Geiger: I absolutely love the English language, and I’m hoping to utilize and enlist professionals in the fields of editing, writing, linguistics, education, etc., to help me explore the language as I know it. I edit books for my day job, so I have access to authors and editors. I also have some good connections in the creative writing community, so why not try to enlist these folks to share their wisdom? I could plug their wares, as well. Symbiosis. Hopefully this will work.
  • Keri Gero: My idea is “the gym diaries”. I recently started going to the gym (like 4 days ago) and I have adamantly gone everyday since then. I am by no means an expert on exercise or nutrition, but most of the people at the gym aren’t experts either. I would get advise (videos, radio casts, articles, etc.) from experts and try it and see what works for me and what doesn’t. I would also get other blogs about fitness, etc. to get their advise.
  • Melanie Hoffman: It will be about the struggles of daily student newspaper in finding stories, funding, politics and how The Daily Athenaeum compares to other college newspapers across the nation.
  • Rodney Lamp: My blog is about the Dallas Cowboys, including team news, season recap, and anything else.
  • Chia-Ju Lin: No link provided
  • Sebouh Marjarian: My name’s Sebouh Majarian and I chose to spend my semester blogging about Rajon Rondo and the storylines surrounding the Boston Celtics.
  • Shay Maunz: I’m blogging about being a broke college student, and trying to make that work for you, not against you.
  • Corey Preece: The title of my blog is “The Big Beast Blog,” with the focus of the blog being on the Big East athletic conference, covering men’s and women’s sports.
  • Derek Rudolph: No link provided
  • Andrea Sauer: A blog about becoming a wine connoisseur on a college budget!
  • Shannon Teets: I’ve decided to create a travel blog about weekend travels and daycations in Richmond, Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region.
  • Jon Vickers: It is about outdoor and adventure sports journalism.  I want to make it multimedia with video, graphics, pictures and text.
  • Eric Waddon: My first post is basically a description of what my blog is going to be about.  I gave a little information about myself and some details about what I plan to post in the upcoming weeks.
  • Alex Wiederspiel: No link provided
  • Kristen Wishon: An art blog, for people that enjoy art, photography, sculpture, whatever, but never took the time to learn about it. I was an art history minor in my undergrad. and love art related topics. I want to post a daily (or weekly) painting/art object/artist and give a brief history of it, update about art news, and perhaps give short and simple how-to’s on actually creating things yourself at home.