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Academic Blogging Workshop

Presentation for the Academic Blogging Workshop, part of the Digital Humanities and Social Sciences programme at the University of Edinburgh

Nicola Osborne

on 22 October 2012

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Transcript of Academic Blogging Workshop

Be Seen in All the Right Places
(and all the right searches)... Include an About page so that you can be found by name, interest, etc.
Tag your posts
Use short descriptive titles
Let search engines know about your site: use Google Analytics, Google Site Maps and submit your site to Bing (http://www.bing.com/toolbox/submit-site-url) Make Your Posts Sharable Frame your post as a numbered list - e.g. "Top Ten Literary Heroines", "7 Ways to Conduct an Ethnography", "Renaissance Top Trumps"
Include at least one image per post
Include a "call to action" - some sort of request to follow up - whenever possible.
Make sure YOU share your own post where appropriate - Twitter, Facebook, email, etc. Why? Isn't that a bit tacky? It depends on your audience... but even a highly motivated intellectual audience finds lists, rankings, playful approaches appealing.
Lists, top tens, etc. are fantastic for sharing - they start conversations.
Lists and Top X.... attract lots of clicks (via Tweets, Facebook, etc.) and therefore rank very highly on search engines
A catchy headline is only that - your post can and should remain as rigerous and credible as ever, the headline is just a way to capture attention and ensure it's read. Why add pictures? Everyone loves a picture (or video)!
Reading online, on iPads, phones etc, is a different process. Images help break up the text, remind you where you've read to, make the text memorable, etc.
Images help your post look good when others link to it: you HAVE to have an image on the page for users to bookmark you on Pinterest; a picture WILL make your post more interesting when shared on Facebook, Google+, etc. Does that work? Why does that matter? SOMETIMES... Successful calls to action engage the audience by:
Setting up clear expectations (what will happen if someone does engage/comments/take part?)
Keeping the size of the task small and specific ("Please do comment below and let me know which 19th Century historian has influenced you most and why...")
Targeting the call to the appropriate audience and their interest and expertise.
Rewarding participation (e.g. replies to say "thank you" or continue the discussion, sharing of best answers, etc.)
Directly encouraging key people to engage (e.g. a targeted email or tweet to a friend, colleague or connection saying, for example: "I'd love to hear what your thoughts are on my post on archeology field trip tips". It lets your followers, colleagues, students or similar know that there is a new post there to share
It encourages others to share in similar ways
It sets a suggested wording for others to use - you get to set the tone, focus, and catchy wording for others to engage with.
It creates an item that can be reshared - through forwarding, retweeting, resharing, bookmarking, etc. Further Reading... LSE Impact Blog: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/
Professor Mary Beard's Blog "A Don's Life": http://timesonline.typepad.com/
Trading Consequences Blog: http://tradingconsequences.blogs.edina.ac.uk/
University of Edinburgh Social Media Guidelines: http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/website-programme/training-guidelines/creating-content/social-media-guidelines
National Museums of Scotland Feast Bowl Blog: http://feastbowl.wordpress.com/
Flickr Commons: http://www.flickr.com/commons
Plan and begin drafting a post for your blog.
The topic you want to discuss.
What you want to say, what your perspective is.
The people who will be reading the post and what they will understand - do you need to explain any particular phrases?
How you will include or reference literature, artefacts, other posts etc.
How you would break the post into readable sections, use images etc. Task 3: Prepare a post for your blog Post Regularly and Relevantly Sometimes you'll need some inspiration for new posts....

Are there news or current affairs stories that relate to your studies and could help you understand an area of theory, or communicate what you have been working on?
Are there particular events, deadlines, notable calendar days that you can use to build a plan for your posts? http://timesonline.typepad.com/ Mary Beard's blog uses current affairs and events in her own personal and professional life as a way to discuss, illustrate and compare with the classical world So, what's in it for you? A well written blog can be a...
Living archive of your active and past research, key thinkers and theories you are working with, your interpretations and reflections captured over time...
... and therefore a fantastic resource for papers and publication.
Opportunity to try, improve or master adapting your work for new audiences, for public engagement.
Forum for discussion, for peer and public comment, for developing your ideas with yourself and with others.
Superb shop window for your work and expertise - your publications, your current interests, your achievements, your ability to communicate your work.
And, potentially... and additional impact for your research... Blogging basics
What's in it for you?
Task: who are your audience?
What you should (and should not) be blogging about...
How to create engaging and sharable content.
Task: planning content
How to get your blog found and read (by the right audiences).
Task: draft a blog post
Questions What will be covered today... Accessible discussion of research and the process of research as is progresses.
Quirky or playful content that is related to, and/or helps you draw out and engage others in your work.
Reviews, discussions, commentaries of literature or ideas you are examining.
Interesting questions or material that has raised good debate in teaching and presentations.
Reflective takes on your own or others' work.
Some sense of you as a person, bring your own perspective and interest into your posts, make it personal (but appropriate). What makes a good academic blog post? Inappropriate or sensitive information - personnel or student matters, unpublished minutes, confidential infomation...
Personal information or images that might impact on your reputation or the credibility of your blog – content posted in anger, late at night, etc. without checking accuracy/quality, improperly cleared/copyrighted images, highly political content
Spam - make sure you ALWAYS moderate your comments!
Anything you would not want a peer, a colleague, a student, the media, etc. to see or read. What should not be shared Credit Where It's Due... http://tradingconsequences.blogs.edina.ac.uk/2012/08/14/gin-and-tonic-a-short-history-of-a-stiff-drink-from-activehistory-ca/ Great Example of quirky, relevant, enlightening content http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/website-programme/training-guidelines/creating-content/social-media-guidelines http://feastbowl.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/ask-a-curator-day/ A great brief record of an important event, explaining why they were taking part... Make sure you ALWAYS credit authors, images, quotes, theories, ideas, etc.
Acknowledge and respond to genuine comments and feedback.
Link to useful sites, bloggers, etc.
Do provide usable references - including to your own work - when appropriate (this ensures proper credit and adds value).
Never quote whole documents or images that you do not have rights to share. Optional Task: Seek feedback Always read over your own drafts before publishing them - you will find your voice and learn to spot common errors quickly.
If you are not sure about a draft post then ask someone trusted to take a look and give you comments before publishing.
Get trusted colleagues or friends to read over posts and leave comments or give private feedback.
Seek feedback from specific experts, opinion leaders, etc. on specific posts when appropriate - this will be useful for you and may trigger comments on your blog. http://history.howstuffworks.com/historical-figures/top-5-marie-antoinette-scandals.htm http://digitalculture-ed.net/tracys/2009/11/19/cyborg-life-through-aimee-mullins-eyes/ Here the picture is both an eye catching image to introduce the post and to visually contextualise "cyborg" and "prosthesis" as discussed in the post. http://pinterest.com/search/?q=eighteenth+century Each image here is also a link to another website - blogs, galleries, archives, image sharing sites, etc. http://katedaviesdesigns.com/2008/02/22/same-as-it-never-was/#comment-300 A blog post including critical comments on "mis-quilting" history lead to a rich discussion on this textiles blog... How Was that? REF (2011). Assessment framework and guidance on submissions (REF 02.2011), Pp. 48. http://www.ref.ac.uk/pubs/2011-02/ http://www.ref.ac.uk/media/ref/content/pub/assessmentframeworkandguidanceonsubmissions/02_11.pdf http://www.guardian.co.uk/higher-education-network/blog/2012/oct/05/the-higher-education-blogs-network Blogging Basics: WordPress.com
WordPress.org } Structured well for search engines, function as flexible website CMS. All content is exportable. Easy, connects to Google+, less flexible design and structure. - - - - Supported by UoE, EASE authenticated with access control. Visual, existing community, flexible tool, design less flexible. Connects to other social media tools, works well with email. Are you already blogging? Have you blogged before? What is a blog? A place to entertain, to engage... ... or to show off? A space for discussion? A teaching space? (1) Who are you writing for?

(2) What voice, language, special qualities will your audience(s) want or need for your blog to be relevant and interesting to them? Academic Blogging Nicola Osborne,
EDINA Social Media Officer But first... Blogging Basics: A diary? A space for reflection? A way to publish and share? Yes, ALL of these... I advise and look after ~30 EDINA blogs...

I also write a professional blog, a personal blog, and have previously
used blogs to track and reflect
upon my learning (during the
MSc in eLearning). http://nicolaosborne.blogs.edina.ac.uk/ How do I get started? Blogging Basics: Register and name your blog
Complete your About Page/Profile
Set up the theme/look and feel
(Optional): Install Google Analytics
Start Posting! Blogger.com PebblePad Tumblr Posterous (free) Tools [UoE ODL Hubs & EDINA use WordPress(.org)] TASK 1: Think about your current blog, or the blog you plan to start... Tips:
Pick your blogname carefully
About pages are essential
Search YouTube for great "how to" guides on getting started with and making the most of common blog platforms A great blog can demonstrate impact, engagement and awareness of research amongst a much wider community beyond academia. How did that go? Planning Content: What will you blog about? Great blog posts tell a story... Take a look at blogs from those in your research area, blogs you’ve read before, blogs you see as good examples that strike the right tone... TASK 2: Planning Content (1)What do you think is particularly appealing about the content on these blogs? What motivates you to read or share a post? (2)What content would work for your own blog?
How much time can you spend on the blog?
Do you already have content you could blog about?
Are there events you've attended you would like to compare notes on, share and discuss?
Can your current research interests be shared?
Are there papers or publications you could make more accesible and reflect upon, act to, enrich with new updates, images, etc?
Are there issues of public debate that you could use to highlight the application and relevance of your research?
Are there teaching topics you'd like to contextualise?
Think about what works well on others blogs - can you take a similar approach? (3)Are there key dates that some of those posts would be most appropriate for? Perhaps a major conference, a key public event, specific teaching dates, to mark a presentation or publication, or to coincide with a major exhibition at a museum or gallery/film release/book launch, etc? Monitoring your blog Use GoogleAnalytics and any built-in analytics/insights tools provided by your blogging tool to see:
If your posts are being read and who by.
If different types of post have more views and comments than others.

Use trackbacks and pingbacks (if available) to see who engages with and links to your posts...
Are they bloggers you should be reading or engaging with? + Many more resources in the handout! Questions? "The Book of Elves and Fairies 3" from flickr user plaisanter~ / Nancy Ellis | http://www.flickr.com/photos/plaisanter/5313477885/in/set-72157625251611390/
"Magic, Stage Illusions_79" from flickr user plaisanter~ / Nancy Ellis | http://www.flickr.com/photos/plaisanter/5282631312/in/set-72157625251611390/
"Magic, Stage Illusions_157" from flickr user plaisanter~ / Nancy Ellis | http://www.flickr.com/photos/plaisanter/5282030841/in/set-72157625251611390/
"paper-texture-14" from flickr user designshard / Max Stanworth | http://www.flickr.com/photos/designshard/7585538284/
"ink-stain-texture-20" from flickr user designshard / Max Stanworth | http://www.flickr.com/photos/designshard/3452035317/in/set-72157616979405186
"Diary of 494 Sergeant Joseph Cecil Thompson, Gallipoli 1915. Pages six and seven" from flickr user thompsoe / Ellen Thompson | http://www.flickr.com/photos/eethompson/2143546778/
"Group Discussion" from flickr user mikecogh / Michael Coghlan | http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikecogh/5248075297/in/photostream/
"Write" from flick user spaceamoeba | http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceamoeba/1335870848/
"107 The Magic Carpet Magazine 1977 Odyssey Publications Cover Art by Margaret Brundage with Logo by J. Allen St. John from Oct-1933 Includes Ismeddin and the Holy Carpet by E. Hoffmann Price" by flickr user California Cthulhu (Will Hart) / Will Hart | http://www.flickr.com/photos/cthulhuwho1/6943034711/
"Busker Jazz Hands" from flickr user zoonabar / Chris Brown | http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoonabar/5893131551/
"Yeah, I'm listening" from flickr user zoonabar / Chris Brown | http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoonabar/5922613857/in/photostream/
"Teaching by flickr user DBduo Photography / Daniel R. Blume | http://www.flickr.com/photos/drb62/2474763910/
"Some Ticker Faces" from flickr user MCAD Library | http://www.flickr.com/photos/69184488@N06/8091033430/in/photostream
"Once Upon a Time" from flickr user The New Ruffian / New Ruffian Photography | http://www.flickr.com/photos/newruffian/3290473491/in/photostream
"17th century embroidered satin book cover with silver threads." by flickr user Aria Nadii / Aria Nadii | http://www.flickr.com/photos/wildmuse/4255661396/in/photostream
"Fleurs de Mai" by flickr user spattison / Sharon Pattison | http://www.flickr.com/photos/bookandtile/2664331343/in/photostream/
"Penmanship" by flickr user plaisanter~ / Nancy Ellis | http://www.flickr.com/photos/plaisanter/5289014822/in/set-72157625251611390
"Magic, Stage Illusions 158" by flickr user plaisanter~ / Nancy Ellis | http://www.flickr.com/photos/plaisanter/5282030507/in/set-72157625251611390 Image Credits What works best will depend on WHY you are blogging... http://www.guardian.co.uk/higher-education-network/2012/oct/19/academic-blogging-power-pitfalls-livechat/ Who are your audience(s)? What should you blog about? Readable and accessible writing (the style depends on the audience).
Personal or insightful take on the topic.
Relevant and timely content.
A sense of openness to discussion or comment (so that your readers are encouraged to engage).
Adding value to the writing - include visual elements, links out to other sites, alerting readers to a new key event or publication, etc. Caution! How was that?

What ideas came to mind? Submit your blog to key directories and lists
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