Social Media Challenge: Best of the Blogosphere

February 22, 2011

It’s almost time to begin our group blog project. As a final stage of your preparation for blogging excellence, you’ll be taking a look at blogs that ARE excellent. Your assignments are drawn from a variety of rankings of the best, most interesting, and most influential blogs out there (and I’ve tried to align these with your stated interests to the degree that that’s possible). The result is not exactly scientific, but it gives us a list with some variety.

You have all been assigned, in pairs and at random, to one of these blogs. These blogs are allegedly some of the best of the best, so go to it, read it, and get to know all about it:

  1. Deadspin: Eric Waddon & Rodney Lamp
  2. HiLoBrow: Aaron Geiger & Shay Maunz
  3. Huffington Post: Andrea Sauer & Kristen Wishon
  4. Everything Everywhere: Kirk Auvil & Shannon Teets
  5. Boing Boing: Sebouh Marjarian & Jazz Clark
  6. Pitchfork: Derek Rudolph & Alex Wiederspiel
  7. The Consumerist: Deepa Fadnis & Melanie Hoffman
  8. Cake Wrecks: Lindsay Cobb & Corey Preece
  9. Strobist: Devanne DiBacco & Jon Vickers
  10. The Awl: Keri Gero & Toni Cekada

In next week’s (Tuesday, March 1) class, each pair will do a 10 minute presentation on your blog. You’ll need to address the following (providing on-screen examples):

  • Basics: Explain the blog, its content, its design and its voice
  • Audience: Who is this blog for? How easy is it to get up to speed (Mission statement? FAQ?)? Is information provided on traffic and business information? How does it connect to a community?
  • Comments: Is commenting allowed? If so, how (if at all) is it moderated?
  • Metadetails: What are some of the top posts? Has the blog been in the news? Does it advertise?

This should not be stressful (no, really). Approach the blog as a reader first and a student second. Think about what we’ve read thus far in providing your critique. What are your blog’s strengths and weaknesses? What can you and your classmates learn from it for your own projects?

Due: In class on Tuesday, March 1. Extras such as handouts, audio/video, or lasers are not required, but are certainly welcome.

That’s right, there are no assigned readings for next week. All the more reason to read your blog!


In-Class Assignment: Tweetup!

February 22, 2011

You’ll like this one. At (or before, ideally) the start of class today, head to Twitter and search for the #JRLWeb tag (or just click this link). For the next hour (1-2p), we’ll be conferring with our colleagues from Memphis and Lehigh on the state of all media social. The requirements are easy:

  1. Log in to Twitter
  2. Go to #JRLWeb
  3. Participate (instead of our course #WVUblogJ tag, each post needs to include the #JRLWeb tweetup tag)

We’ll have some specific topics, but the range will be dictated as we go (so don’t be afraid to bust out the Jaron Lanier). Once we get rolling, I’m going to vanish so I can follow along on Tweetdeck; after things wrap up, I’ll head back down to the lab for today’s class (so don’t cut out early on me). I’m looking forward to some active, lively conversation, and I hope you are too!

(By the way, I do realize this isn’t an actual Tweetup – that would require meeting our Twitter pals in the flesh – but it’s as good a name as any for what we’re doing, so I’m sticking with it. Along the lines of what a Tweetup is/isn’t, this timely link on the current mass demonstrations throughout the world seems appropriate.).