Why blog?

February 7, 2011 at 12:08 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

We ask ourselves over and over: What’s the big deal about blogging? If you have an active Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter account, that should be all you need as far as this whole social media thing is concerned, right? Well, that may not necessarily be the case. College professors and PR professionals aren’t continuously buzzing about social media for nothing. While it’s important to know what PR pros are talking about in their blogs, it’s also important to join the conversation. The definition of “blog” can be left up to one’s own interpretations. In a nutshell, it can be defined as a personal or professional website in which the publisher provides a stream of thoughts, ideas, graphics, and analyses as they relate to a reasonable extent of the publisher’s bias. Blogs are useful tools because they give insight into everyday opinions, thoughts and trends within one’s particular field of interest.

The list of reasons to blog can go on and on but as a college student and aspiring professional, three main benefits of joining the blogosphere are: professional development, organization and knowledge.

1) Develop professionally

It’s imperative to stay on top of the social media movement. Although it’s called a trend, social media is more of a movement that continually forces users to engage and interact. It allows users to be as formal or informal as they please. A blog is a great professional development tool because it links professionals and those aspiring to be, connects businesses to consumers, associates people who have similar interests and also sharpens writing skills. Besides, college kids love to stay up to date when it comes to “trends,” right?

2) Get organized

Blogging is a productive way to organize your thoughts. Instead of writing on sticky notes, napkins and random scraps of paper every time you think of something cool or interesting, use a blog. Each post will be an electronic copy of everything you’ve thought on any particular day. Having a blog may help you with your job, school work or organizational affiliations as you refer back to things you’ve written or read. Rather than taking on the habit of cramming and thumbing through unorganized notebooks for tests, a blog gives students/aspiring professionals an opportunity to categorize special notes and thoughts.

3) Learn!

Taking on the responsibility of keeping an updated blog forces you to stay active; you have to stay on top of blog-worthy topics. Whether you’re finding your inspiration in the news, trade publications, entertainment media or someone else’s blog, blogging is a constant learning and growth experience. Soaking up loads of information and sharing your perspective takes a good bit of work, but the rewards may make it worthwhile. It doesn’t give room for procrastination, which certainly a habit many students would love to break!

While blogging is elaborately planned and fairly organized, microbogging may prove to be an easier way for students to throw out quick thoughts and stay up-to-date with real-time posts on the latest news. If you don’t have time to sit and upload pictures or write pages of thoughts, sites like Twitter (a microblogging site that only allows posts of 140 characters or less) are useful.

Micorblogging is simply the shorthand version of blogging. It allows users to comment and read short posts while not having to go in-depth on any one subject. In public relations, students can find many microblogging tools and conversations that still provide the same benefits listed above. For example, discussions on Twitter such as #PRStudchat, #Journchat and #PR20chat engage students and professionals by having a Q & A discussion section on various topics in the industry. In this sense, microblogging allows students to gain insightful knowledge in a matter of seconds as opposed to having to read full pages of one person’s thoughts (blog).

Do you think blogs and microblogs are useful tools? What are some ways you use blogs/microblogs as personal or professional tools? Post your links!

By Miah Evans


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Blue Ribbon Blogging

February 6, 2011 at 11:20 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

The blogosphere is a powerful place. Pushing its way into the lives of nearly everyone interested in news, scandal and community, the blog world is built around John Stewart Mill’s theory of free discourse. On the Internet everyone is entitled to an opinion. Everyone else is also entitled to determine whether or not those opinions are relevant. With all of this information, however, it can be difficult to distinguish the good information from the bad. Some blog entrepreneurs, however, have become quite successful at doing just that.

The article, “29 Ways to Keep me coming back to your blog again and again” by Darren Rowse highlights many of the strategies these entrepreneurs use to distinguish quality content everything else. Two of the best blogging tips from the list are featured below, along with an actual blogger making a living by following these rules.

1. Teach me how to do something.
Teaching a reader something new is probably one of the most popular reasons for blogging today and thousands of popular and wildly successful bloggers are making a living by doing it well. Whether blogging about how to blog or blogging about how to solve a calculus problem, bloggers teach their readers how to do just about anything these days.

Being a photography enthusiast in my spare time has led me to find a particularly helpful blog site called Strobist. David Hobby (seems like a fitting name) is an American photographer and has become somewhat of a guru by writing his extremely popular blog about photographic lighting. By blogging mostly about technique and practical knowledge, rather than pushing products, David found success, and his blogging venture was named one of the Best Blogs of 2010 by TIME magazine.

10. Make me feel like I’m not the only one who…
Personal experiences and interest blogs are another huge draw for bloggers and blog readers alike. Unlike teaching blogs, personal blogs help people all over the world feel like they are not alone in their daily lives. By reading these blogs, many people struggling with similar problems can find comfort and community among people with similar interests and issues.

While some people argue that all of this personal information floating around the web is just TMI, the blogging site PostSecret has made quite an impact. Created by Frank Warren in 2005, the blog centers on the idea of anonymous post cards submitted to the site by people from all over the world portraying a deep and sometimes dark secret. The idea behind this anonymous confession is to empower both the author and the audience, finding comfort and healing through an anonymous community of acceptance and empathy. The blog began on Blogspot with 10 new secrets uploaded each week and has grown to encompass multiple books and a traveling art exhibit featuring submitted work.

By Lauren Aylworth

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The Ultimate Guide to Blogging and Microblogging

February 6, 2011 at 10:24 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

The Ultimate Guide to Blog Promotion

Already have a blog but don’t know how to gain followers? Want to know what you can do to promote your blog without sounding like a salesman? Need some good topics to blog about? As the title implies, this article from Bloggingpro.com is definitely the ultimate guide to blogging. Here you will find everything you ever wanted to know about writing a good blog.

While it may seem like a lot of information at first, headings like “Launching a Blog Successfully” and “Search Engine Marketing for Blogs” make it easy to find the section that best fit your needs. In addition to providing detailed explanations, each section contains a list of links to extra articles on even more specific topics. Under the heading “Blog Metrics and Tools,” for example, you will find links to articles like 20 Blog Analytics Tools and Blog Metrics: Six Recommendations for Measuring Your Success. Depending on your level of experience, you might find it helpful to read each piece or to skip to the section that best fits your needs. Either way, The Ultimate Guide to Blog Promotion provides valuable insights into almost every aspect of the blogging process.

9 Easy Steps to Add Twitter to Your PR Mix

This article form Ragan.com is a great resource for anyone just entering the world of Twitter or who wants to learn more about how it can be used as a PR tool. Unlike a standard blog, Twitter is a microblog. This means that every entry is very short and specific. While this format may seem impractical for many business and PR purposes and certainly doesn’t lend itself to going into detail, microblogs can be easily adapted to suit almost any of these functions. Because they can be updated quickly and easily, microblogs like Twitter are becoming very popular channels by which one can rapidly disseminate news and learn about the latest situation.

This article not only covers the classic uses of the microblog, but also tells how best to use them on a regular basis. Ragan’s article describes ways to easily integrate microblogging into your daily social media regimen by using tools like TweetDeck. The article and also touches on microblog etiquette (something all microbloggers should be aware of) and ways to optimize what you and your followers gain from your microblog. This article is valuable to anyone who already has or is thinking about starting a microblog.

By Meredith Julian

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