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.