Assignment #3: Start Following

January 23, 2017

So far, you’ve introduced yourself, determined a focus for your blog, and made your first posts. This week, you’ll identify sources of information that will contribute to your writings.

Part 1: Refine your focus

This week, you created an “About” page with your blog’s mission statement. In class today, we assessed these focuses. Based on my and your classmates’ feedback, refine your “About” page and add some depth. Remember these points from our readings:

  • 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?
    • Remember: No advice blogs, no reviews, no profile-only blogs, no whatever else I decide is off-limits (I’ll tell you if it’s you)
  • It’s not about everything. Avoid being too broad (e.g., “pop culture”) – if you say you will write about something general like “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.
  • 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.

Part 2: Identify sources to help you

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 at least 10 individual bloggers to follow. Each of these blogs should be a spiritual cousin to your own – they do something related to what you hope to do. They can NOT be general, non-blog sites (e.g., ESPN.com) although you may link to an individual blogger on such a site (no more than one from a site) as long as you justify why that writer is an excellent source for you. You have to find people and communities that are talking about what you want to talk about!

Part 3: Identify issues to cover

As we’ve discussed this week, you need to get out of the way and cover your community and the current issues that concern it. After reading your bloggers, you must identify five timely subjects or issues that could serve as the focus of one (or more) of your upcoming posts. Each must include at least one link to current discussion on the subject and explain what the focus of your post could be.

You’ll need to complete the following steps:

  • Add a blogroll (Links > Add New > Create a “Blogroll” category) and add your 10 blogs to it (5 pts)
  • Write a blog post explaining (in 1-2 sentences each) each of the five issues you’ve identified and how you might cover each in an upcoming post – don’t forget to include relevant links for each! (5 pts)
  • Yes, this will count as one of your two weekly posts, but only if you actually write a post with a meaningful beginning, middle and end. If it’s just a bulleted list with no actual writing or description, you won’t earn this credit. (5 pts – one of your weekly posts – for compelling, coherent writeup)

Due: 10a 4p, Monday, January 30 (NOTE: Time updated due to class cancellation)

  • To receive credit for this assignment, you must post a link to your post (with a short description) in a comment to this blog post.
  • Your blog post MUST be made on Monday!