Read & Respond week 8: Group blogs past

In preparation for your group blogs (to be announced in Wednesday’s class), you’ll be taking a look into the past. There’s no Briggs chapter for this week; instead, you’ll take a leisurely read through what has come before. Read the following:

1. Morgantown Problems (2013): This is one of the best group blogs produced in this class, and I want everyone to have a look (especially the Panera post and its resulting comment thread).

2. At least ONE of the other previous group blogs (see list):

Move-in Morgantown (2010)

MountainEats (2011)

The Eclectic (2011)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Morgantown (2011)

Graduation Preparation (2012)

A “J” in the Life (2012)

Mountaineers Connect (2012)

#gradschoolproblems (2012)

Morgantown Man Cave (2013)

Meet Me in the Mountain State (2015)

A Gentleman’s Guide to Morgantown (2015)

Wild But Not So Wonderful (2015)

Humans of Morgantown (2016)

Morgantown Matters (2016)

Morgantown Underground (2016)

The New Motown (2016)

Your response will focus on the two blogs (Morgantown Problems and one other) and what they did. What are they about? Is there a clear focus? What are some of their strongest posts? Weakest? (yes, you have to pick one – be constructive) Finally, and most importantly, what would you have done differently, and how does that influence your own group blog plans? Your response is due as a comment to this post by Noon, Thursday, October 6 (note later deadline due to my forgetting to post this on time!).

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12 Responses to Read & Respond week 8: Group blogs past

  1. Beyond Craft Beer says:

    I like the first group blog that you posted. I found it very informative, well written and decently lengthy. There were parts I wasn’t super interested in, like bulky paragraphs or not-so-well done graphics. I thought their strongest post was about the diversity issue of the DA’s most influential people in 2013. I thought they researched it well, but it felt a little one-sided, like the DA has no defense and nobody asked for it? I don’t know. I’m biased in this situation.

    Their weakest post? The legacy of Gordon Gee as WVU’s President. I, unlike a lot of students, see straight past Gee and am not lured into the bow ties and group pictures on High Street. My personal opinion kept shooting into this post because I felt there were holes in their post. Like where are the real numbers about what our tuition goes to? Or how our student health insurance benefits us over getting our own personal insurance elsewhere? Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t enjoy that post at all.

  2. Alexa Ciattarelli
    R&R8

    Morgantown Matters focuses on problems within the University town, and talks about them from a student perspective. The blog also looks into the the impact Morgantown problems have on the community, not just how they effect students, but businesses, housing, workers and more. I think this is a great idea for a blog because it focuses on publicizing issues that more people need to be made aware of. I really like the “You Can’t Spell Party Without P R T – Why The PRT Is Closing Early” post. I think the group did a great job going writing about topics people are interested in. One flaw that I found in the group blog was their titles. I felt like they offered a little too much information and didn’t leave the readers interested in more. If there is one more thing I would have done differently, is maybe make the blog posts a little shorter in length. Some that I was reading, I felt would never end. In planning out my groups blog, I now know to be somewhat brief to avoid losing the readers attention.

    Similar to Morgantown Matters, Morgantown Problems highlights key issues within the town. But compared to the first blog, Morgantown Problems takes time to also focus on solutions to the issues this University town faces. I really like this aspect of the blog. It is thought provoking and interesting. One weakness in the blog is the interactive map. It is a cool feature but it does not seem to work as the group planned for it to. One issue I noticed with the blog is how some of the posts stray from the blog topic. It is possible that the team could not find enough Morgantown problems to discuss for 5 weeks, but then maybe their topic should not have been as focused. In noticing this issue, I would like for my group to make out topic a little more broad to prevent a similar problem from happening.

  3. carlyperez5 says:

    I chose to take a further look into the group blog Humans of Morgantown. This blog is pretty self-explanatory and therefore includes a random list of people in Morgantown, whether they are students or apart of the community. It is clear that each individual is included in the blog because they do something to make him or her unique or important. Some of their strongest posts are on Shania Helmick, Casey O’Donnell, and Jennifer Mangano. These posts stuck out the most to me due to their usage of original photos and plenty of hyperlinks. The posts also tended to be longer and filled with more quotes than other entries. Humans of Morgantown also had a few weaker posts on Rich Gutmann and Katie Padden. These two are amongst the less strong because the lack of information and original text. The two posts could also include more pictures to attract the human eye. I would add more of my own voice to this blog, as well as a few more pictures to a handful of posts. I plan to include a slew of original pictures to my group blog to keep readers interested.

    We were also asked to look over the blog Morgantown Problems. The blog entry on the new Panera was by far one of their best. The blog post included photos, tweets, links, and so much more. The post introduced relevant information that made you think and in the end created a discussion. The blog is physically appealing to the eye and has great use of colors and text. Each individual post has a heading that makes you want to read till the end. The only change I would make to this blog is removing the over-usage of numbered lists.

  4. jayrudolph says:

    I really liked how the title was Morgantown Problems yet they were’t just basic Morgantown problems. They were actual complex real life situations. My favorite post was the Hot Dog man post, I think that the way this post was put together was excellent. They used just the right amount of information and personal flavor to it. They embedded links and even had an interview video of the hot dog man himself. I think the weakest post was the list of top men in Morgantown. This post was very long and dragged on… It actually had me not wanting to finish reading the post because of how lengthy it was. Way too much was going on for a small blog post. If I were to redo this group blog I would primarily focus on actual real life Morgantown problems I felt as though some of the posts weren’t exactly problems and more of controversial subjects.
    The Grad School Problems blog is what I chose to look at next. I think that this blog also had a lot of potential. Although it would be very hard to write as an undergraduate student currently I believe that they did a great job incorporating topics that were relevant to the topic. I thin that my favorite post was the Whats a Library post. It was clearly from the perspective on a neutral student. They could have been undergrad or graduate student and written this post. They did a great job of making the post opinion based but also portraying information and an understandable way. I didn’t really have a least favorite post because all were important some just don’t apply to my life yet. I think they should have had a form of organization for what they talked about. Maybe started with early grad school life and progressed through late grad school life.

  5. I like how the students included different visuals, such as pictures and videos, charts, various data and different sources to back up their stories. This looks credible and professional. It looks like a lot of research had been done before composing these stories. The blog addresses issues and problems the town was facing in 2013.
    It’s hard to point out the weaknesses of the blog. I guess I would change a couple headings. For example, “Why Small Business Saturday is Stupid”. While it sounds intriguing, it also indicates a strong personal opinion. I guess after seeing a heading a person might not even read the whole blogpost because they might have a strong opposite opinion on small business Saturday event. I think if this story had to be published in a newspaper, this heading would not make a cut. I thought Whitneylynngodwin’s posts were really interesting. She incorporated a lot of data, Twitter, pictures and stats into her blogposts. She also included a lot of detail in each blogpost.
    Humans of Morgantown: I like how they took an idea from Humans of NY and applied it to WVU and Morgantown. They obviously had to go out, look for people and interview them. Some of the posts were not as detailed. For example, “Ivan Vera” had no links or any other types of sources. I do understand that it’s hard to include data, maps, Twitter when you are writing about people and their life stories. Perhaps, more visuals such as pictures and video interviews/voice recordings could be helpful.

  6. michalalynn says:

    Morgantown Problems talked all about the issues facing Morgantown residents as well as university students. Their post on Panera was definitely one of their better posts. It allowed an open discussion on whether or not more chain businesses are needed downtown. The strong point of the post was the fact that it included a lot of hyperlinks and other interesting visuals. Most of their other posts also made a point to include other visuals and hyperlinks, which are wonderful for keeping your audience engaged with your posts. One thing I found on their blog that I didn’t love was the repeated “listical” format.

    The other blog I took a look at was Graduation Preparation. The content of the blog was engaging and could be helpful for its intended audience but the means of presenting it was not. The blog itself has a very basic theme with no color that isn’t engaging for the readers. The posts typically have little to no opportunity for engagement via hyperlinks or photos. If I was redoing this the biggest thing I would fix is to add color and try to get audience engagement.

  7. Ryan Decker says:

    Morgantown Problems was an interesting blog, talking about the problems that come up in Morgantown. Posts also had tips and made good arguments of changes that should be made in or around WVU’s campus. I think one of the strongest posts was the one about the DA’s list of influential people. I hadn’t heard of that and it’s refreshing to see so many people – including WVU-affiliated accounts – jump on the DA for it. Another strong post was the one about President Gee. However, I thought one of the weaker posts was by the same author about the hot dog man on High Street. For some of the posts, the writing was a little too informal in style for the average person to take some of the posts seriously. One thing I would’ve done differently would be to not allow a number of posts to start with “So…” That was really annoying.

    The other blog I read was Morgantown Man Cave. It had a pretty broad topic area of sports, video games, music, movies and mustaches. I thought the “Guidelines for student-athletes on social media” was really interesting. I didn’t see any weak posts, structurally, but I thought the post on the PRT was a little out of place. However, I like that the person that wrote it tried to relate the PRT to manly things. I think if the layout of the website could’ve been something a little more manly it really would’ve tied everything together.

  8. lmalexander1 says:

    I like how Morgantown Problems doesn’t just highlight the problems and downfalls of the city of Morgantown, but gives solutions, highlights the people who solve them and points out the good things being done in Morgantown to solve it’s problems. I do think their focus is clear, and some of their strongest posts include Homeless, Hunger, and “The WVU Rack,” DUI, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, and Morgantown’s Comprehensive Plan: What’s In It For Students? All these posts either highlight problems in Morgantown and give solutions as to what is being done to solve them. I think the weakest posts are the Black Friday Posts, especially the guide. I don’t really see how that’s a problem in Morgantown, and if it is it’s not specific to Morgantown. I just feel as though those didn’t fit in the blog. Although I think the posts on this blog are great and highlight issues in Morgantown, I feel like they may be highlighting more controversial issues than problems. What I would do differently is focus more on the actual issues of Morgantown and not so much controversial issues among students and citizens.

    Morgantown Matters is a similar blog to Morgantown Problems. So similar in fact that I had a difficult time finding the differences between the two. I like Morgantown Matters because it highlights some controversial issues among students in Morgantown, but also points out successes happening around campus. I love this because everything relates to me for the most part. I like the traffic posts in Morgantown Matters because that really is a huge issue in Morgantown. I think the weakest post in Morgantown Matters was the “We Need To Change” post. While the post mentions the guest speaker that came to WVU, the post is really involving more of a world issue rather than a Morgantown issue. Again, the only thing I would do differently here is more clearly focus on Morgantown issues rather than world issues.

  9. rmsurella says:

    The Panera Bread on Morgantown Problems really drew my attention and interest to something I wouldn’t have thought of on my own, which is really the best goal I could think of for a blog to achieve. What brought it up to a higher level post for me was the part about how Panera refuses to allow its bakers to form a union. I had no idea that baking was a unionized profession and that Panera was treating their workers so unfairly, and how the author tied it into the hypocrisy of donating their leftover food. Their post I disliked most was the one about how the DA’s top 5 influential people were all white and all male. I think it was a blog post that was over-supplemented by media rather than original content and promoted a baiting racial narrative.

    The Morgantown Man Cave title drew my eye so I decided to give that one a read as well. A post I really liked was “WVU’s manliest classes.” Sometimes you read a blog title and realize what a great idea that is and then you wish you had it. I wish they had added a few more classes in there and incorporated more of a humorous element to it though. I think they had a lot more material to work with on that topic than they utilized. One of their weaker posts was the one containing successful party tips for WVU. I didn’t feel that it offered anything specific that you couldn’t say for any other school. It would have really helped this post to have more practical advice conducive to Morgantown specifically. On a larger scale, I would have like to see a post from this blog about places to go when your going out with just your guy friends, sort of like a “Saturdays are for the boys” post. A good spot would have been the High St. billiards parlor.

  10. Perhaps this may be an unpopular idea or opinion, but the first thing I read in Morgantown Problems seemed to borderline on a review or promotion for the Cupcakerie which I thought we were supposed to avoid. Beyond this stance, I found this article as well as the others on the blog to be very well done! The various points made it something extremely interesting for someone who has lived in Morgantown for only a short time to analyze. However, with that being said, it seemed like it may have been a bit broad. Morgantown Problems could include a LOT of different aspects, but I do think they managed to pull it together rather seamlessly.

    I found A ‘J’ in the Life to be extremely interesting (although I initially clicked on it, thinking it may have something to do with marijuana). As a young person entering the working world of journalism, I wanted to read all they had to offer! That being said it is an extremely attractive niche to college students- who are very likely to be blog readers. This was a very good choice for this group to cover. In addition to this, many of the topics were extremely obscure and interesting ideas that i would have never personally come up with. I think that this blog was able to tie in something they were familiar with, and still make it interesting to those who were also a part of this community.

  11. Morgantown Problems mentioned that it did get a lot of traffic and noterioty which means it was a successful blog, with mostly always sufficient and interesting posts. I think their post successful post was the one about Panera because it created a lot of discussion which is an important factor when trying to run a popular blog. I think their weakest post was the one about buying local, specifically the Cupcakerie. I think this post was pretty short and not enough information.
    Another blog I read was Humans of Morgantown. This blog was about exploring different students at WVU and showing really how diverse of a place it is.

  12. smarino92 says:

    I forgot to post yesterday but still wanted to put in my two cents because, well, I have to. I didn’t really care for the Morgantown Problems blog, I think it was cliche and overdone- I guess because I am from Morgantown it wasn’t compelling because I’ve seen all that before. I did however enjoy Morgantown Underground, there were a few things I haven’t really seen, and things I find compelling, like tattoo artists, etc. WVU and local stuff is so overdone in every class I ever take, and being a resident of Morgantown I don’t find it one bit interesting.If I had to pick honestly Underground Morgantown would be my favorite, Morgantown Problems my least favorite.

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