How-To: Adding to your Blogroll

January 17, 2012

For Social Media Challenge #1, you’ll be creating a blogroll of the 10+ blogs you’re following in your RSS feed. A blogroll keeps your influences at your fingertips, and it’s a useful way to show visitors to your blog the places you use for information. It makes sense – if they like what you have to say, they might want to know who you like.

It’s easy to create and update this in WordPress:

  • Sign in to your blog and click “My Dashboards”
  • In the left column, go to Links > All Links
  • Click “Add New” (at the top next to “Links”) and fill in these blanks:
    • Name: What is the blog or blogger?
    • Web Address: The URL – be sure to include the http://
    • Description (OPTIONAL): Tell something about the blog
    • Categories: Default is “Blogroll” – you can create others if you like
  • Click the blue “Add Link” button on the left, and you’re done!

How-To: RSS feeds and Google Reader

January 17, 2012

Blogging means reading. How do you keep on top of everything you’re trying to read? Easy – you use an RSS feed! In class, you were required to start following at least 10 blogs with relevant information to your personal blog (and add them to your blogroll). Here’s a recap.

RSS stands for Rich Site Summary but is more commonly understood as Really Simple Syndication. From whatisrss.com:

RSS solves a problem for people who regularly use the web. It allows you to easily stay informed by retrieving the latest content from the sites you are interested in. You save time by not needing to visit each site individually. You ensure your privacy, by not needing to join each site’s email newsletter.

People use feed readers (like Google Reader) to follow RSS feeds. You can add any site that syndicates content to your feed – sites with syndicated content will have an icon in their URL window that reads RSS, XML, or RDF. Here’s how to set up a reader for yourself:

We’ll use Google Reader, which you can access at reader.google.com

  • Click “Create an account” button to create a Google account (if you have a gmail account, you can skip this step)
  • Provide your email account and a password
  • Agree to terms of service and click “I accept” button

Once you’ve signed into Google Reader:

  • Add blogs – Click the big red “SUBSCRIBE” button in top left
  • Manage blogs – Your subscribed blogs show up in the left column under “subscriptions” (click one to read posts from just that blog, click “All Items” at the top of the left column to see posts from every subscription)
  • Hold the “All Items” button (at top) to switch to view only new items
  • “Mark all as read” is a useful way to clean house when your feed gets backed up
  • You can switch between “List” (just the headlines) and “Expanded” view with the buttons at the top right

Student blog listings – 2012

January 17, 2012

Below is this year’s listing of your personal blogs, including short descriptions of what readers can expect from each. Once I’ve gotten everyone’s address, I’ll post links to each of these in the “Students” menu on the right-hand bar. Have a look and get to reading and commenting.

Although I’ve posted the descriptions you’ve given me, some of you still need to refine your concepts (if you’ve heard from me about this but see someone here with a seemingly similar concept, rest assured they have also heard from me). We’ll continue to work on these this week. In a nutshell, remember the Don’t list we discussed in class last week: No diaries, no “my crazy life,” no expert advice (you’re not one), and no recipes/reviews (you’ll notice these are all one-way approaches to blogging). But also remember the Do list: Identify a focus that lets you connect to existing conversations and communities, that provides multiple external sources of information, and that is fruitful enough to maintain long after this course has ended.

Marshal Carper: A scrawny writer attempts to return to jiu-jitsu training after a major knee surgery.

Michael Carvelli: It will be a blog where WVU fans can go to get up-to-the-minute news and information about Mountaineer athletics.

Sarah Cordonier: My blog is about what life is like in a family with many children (allocation of resources, family dynamics, misconceptions, etc.).

Erin FitzwilliamsFocusing on animal rights and ethics news in West Virginia, but will also discuss/localize national and international news from time to time.

Breanne Hill: My blog covers the events and people surrounding the study of martial arts at West Virginia University, focusing on the college students practicing Taekwondo.

Hunter Homistek: The CoalFist is West Virginia’s premier mixed martial arts blog.  Come here for fight info, fighter profiles and places to train in the Mountain State.

Greer Hughes: I would like to focus on iPhone photography and specifically Morgantown photos and apps.

Matt Krauza Midnight Writer is all about the life of a graveyard shift worker and how working that shift affects their life.

Autumn Lonon: It is the broke girls guide to getting the most out of your college years.

Matt Murphy: Explore Route 40 exists as a guide for locals and non-locals alike to introduce local restaurants and attractions along America’s first federally-funded highway.

Candace Nelson: My blog will focus on local food culture in Morgantown, which includes people, events, ideas and community that all have a passion for food and drink.

Mary Power: Though Ramen Noodles, Easy-Mac, and fast food are all subpar culinary creations, it is possible to live on a college budget and eat well (if your definition of well involves slabs of butter, which mine does).  This blog aims to detail that struggle as well as different student diets while providing easy, quick, and wonderful creations.

Ben Scott: My blog will be discovering and exploring the wilds of West Virginia through original photography and recordings.

John Simson: My blog is basically about the progression of extreme sports and the individuals that are progressing them.

Katie Sloane: I will be writing about preparing for life after college, how to cope with the changes that my peers and I are going to face, and resources that are available to aid us in this journey.

Anan Wan: I’ll focus on the daily life of the international students in WVU, especially on the biggest Chinese traditional Spring Festival celebration.

Matt Wolford: My blog will focus on the latest tech buzz and I’ll give my opinion of why I think it’s positive or negative to today’s world and the consumer.

Samantha Young: The blog will address ideas for students who want to eat healthy and are on a budget.