Monday, 31 May 2010

Thing 3 - Create your 23 Things blog

Welcome to Week 2, Thing 3!

After completing Thing 3...
You will have a shiny new blog to use throughout the programme to record your progress. You will also have begun to think about how you want to present yourself online via your blog and what makes for a good blog.

What is blogging and is it relevant to libraries?
Check out the Wikipedia entry on blogging for a perfectly acceptable definiton and brief history, then come back here. There are numerous blogs and bloggers within the field of librarianship. Many librarians pen individual blogs which they use to reflect on their professional experiences and to offer their opinions on the library world, while many libraries on the other hand maintain organizational blogs in order to promote services and enhance communication with their users. There are of course also many blogs written by people participating in 23 Things programmes at other instutitions.

Blogging during 23 Things
Blogging is a key element of the 23 Things experience which we'd like all participants to engage with. Every time you complete a Thing we ask that you blog about it. Your blog posts should aim to constructively evaluate each Thing, giving an indication of what you liked (or didn't like) about it. They should also offer the reader an ongoing flavour of your experience of the programme. It's worth mentioning that any blogs which contain posts which say little more than 'Done Thing 3' will not be eligible for completion as that is neither entering into the spirit of the programme nor the purpose of blogging.

Blog platforms
We have chosen to give instructions on creating a blog on the Blogger platform as its very quick and simple to get going on, however, you may choose to use the other main free blog provider WordPress instead. N.B. If you already have a blog, there's no requirement to create a new one for 23 Things.

Step-by-step instructions
1. Go to and sign in at the top right-hand corner with your Google account username and password. This will bring you to a sign up for Blogger screen. Some of the information may already be filled in for you (depending on what you told Google when you signed up for your account) but you will need to choose a display name and to accept the Blogger terms of service.
2. You now need to name your blog, and choose a web address (URL) for it. The address has to be unique so your first choice may not be available.
3. Now choose your preferred layout template for your blog. You can change this at any point for a different one.
4. Congratulations your blog exists. Simples!

Your first post
You now need to create your first blog post.
1. Click on the orange arrow that says 'start blogging' (if you have logged out and are returning, then click on 'new post' by your blog's name on your dashboard - the screen you see when you log in). This will bring you to the posting screen.
2. Enter a title for the post, and then type your text into the box. There is a toolbar at the top of the box which will allow you to format your text and add links and images.
3. Write something here about what you hope to get out of Cam 23 and your previous experience of Web 2.0 and social media.
4. When you have finished writing the post, type in 'Thing 3' in the labels box under the text box. You will need to tag all your posts with the number of the Thing being blogged about and any other descriptive words you want to use to help you find the post later on (just as we librarians add subject headings to catalogue records in order to help users retrieve books)
5. Click the 'Publish Post' button at the bottom of the screen, and your first post will be live.

Any problems?
If you got lost at all at any point above, I can recommend this Blogger tutorial (from YouTube)


Remember, you are required to blog about each Thing on your blog in order to complete the programme. You'll be blogging about Things 1 and 2 as part of the next Thing.

If you'd prefer to use WordPress for your blog then you will find this comprehensive tutorial by Chris Abraham very useful: Wordpress: Step-by-Step (from YouTube)

Further reading

Much has been written about the value of blogging. Check out the following:
Top Reasons Why I Blog by Larry Brauner
Why I blog by Andrew Sullivan
and for a view from one of our very own Cam23 participants:Why Blog? by Ange Fitzpatrick

To read about what makes a good blog post check out:
What makes a good blog post by Steve Wheeler

There are many bloggers out there who were initially sceptical about its worth (I'm one of them!) or fearful of publishing a blog. Read the post at the Totally Academic blog and at the blog about these respective issues.

I also suggest you have a look at this 'Blogs in Plain English' video:

Optional extra

Read this post about using images and then edit your initial post to add in an image or two.

Next time...
You'll be registering your blog, blogging some more and checking out other Cam 23 blogs.

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