“Blog” is an abbreviated version of “weblog,” which is a term used to describe websites that maintain an ongoing chronicle of information. A blog features diary-type commentary and links to articles on other websites, usually presented as a list of entries in reverse chronological order. Blogs range from the personal to the political, and can focus on one narrow subject or a whole range of subjects.
Many blogs focus on a particular topic, such as web design, home staging, sports, or mobile technology. Some are more eclectic, presenting links to all types of other sites. And others are more like personal journals, presenting the author’s daily life and thoughts.
GENERALLY SPEAKING, BLOGS TEND TO HAVE A FEW THINGS IN COMMON:
- A main content area with articles listed chronologically, newest on top. Often, the articles are organized into categories.
- An archive of older articles.
- A way for people to leave comments about the articles.
- A list of links to other related sites, sometimes called a “blogroll”.
- One or more “feeds” like RSS, Atom or RDF files.
Some blogs may have additional features beyond these. Watch this short video for a simple explanation for what a blog is.
A blogger is a person who owns or runs a blog or a person who maintains the blog. That is, posting articles or new posts, information, sharing the most up-to-date news, opinions and case studies to name but a few.
There are many different types of blogs on WordPress.com, and they span over 100 languages. You can browse our tags to get a sense of the topics covered by WordPress.com bloggers, or take a look at these examples of popular blog categories:
- Personal:This is the broadest category and includes blogs about personal topics like politics, music, family, travel, health, you name it.
- Business:Professionals ranging from realtors to lawyers and stock brokers are using WordPress to share their expertise, and companies have discovered the power of blogs to personally engage with their customers.
- Schools:WordPress is a great way for teachers and students to collaborate on classroom projects.
- Non-profits:Foundations, charities, and human rights groups find our blogs to be great tools to raise awareness and money for their causes.
- Politics:Members of parliament, political parties, government agencies, and activists using our blogs to connect with their constituencies.
- Military:Members of the military blog to report what they see happening in various parts of the world and to stay in touch with their families.
- Private:Some people make their blogs private to share photos and information within families, companies, or schools.
- Sports:We’ve got teams, athletes, and fans using blogs to express and share their passion for various sports.
- How-to, tips and reviews:There are lots of blogs that share tips and reviews about cooking, games, music, books, movies, and so on.
TYPES OF BLOGS:
- SEO blogs:Blogs that are written for search engines instead of humans. These blogs are dedicated to trying to fool Google and other search engines into ranking them or the sites they link to highly. WordPress.com is not meant for this type of activity.
- Affiliate marketing blogs:Blogs with the primary purpose of driving traffic to affiliate programs and get-rich-quick schemes . This includes multi-level marketing (MLM) blogs and pyramid schemes. To be clear, people writing their own original book, movie or game reviews and linking them to Amazon, or people linking to their own products on Etsy do NOT fall into this category.
- Warez blogs:Blogs that promote pirated copies of ebooks, software packages, music, movies, games, etc.
- Automated blogs:Blogs that are generated by computers, including randomly generated blogs, blogs that re-publish press releases, marketing material, search engine results, link dumps or any other mass-produced content.
- Book tour blogs:Blogs that consist primarily of pre-written publicity material, as opposed to original book reviews, for the purpose of promoting books and driving traffic to other promotional and giveaway sites.
Advantages of Blogging
Current uses of blogging:
From this week’s discussions, it seems that educators are currently using blogs for the following purposes:
- Classroom management – posting assignments, class notes, Q&A section for students, articles/videos of interest
- Discussion – Students posted their reflections or thoughts based on a specific question or activity
- ePortfolios – Students have a space where they can showcase their artwork, videos or other digital artifacts.
When using blogs in the classroom, they can:
- facilitate shyer students to participate in discussions
- improve the quality of student work
- have an open space where students/parents can find classroom materials
Issues to consider when blogging:
While there may be benefits, there are some considerations teachers need to think about prior to blogging. These include:
- time needed to manage and maintain blogs
- educating students about security/safety issues so that they are not putting personal information on the blog and putting themselves at risk
- students creating inappropriate posts or posts with inaccurate information
- students not being receptive to the blogging activities and not participating
Future of Blogging:
When looking at blogging as a venture for the educational market, many of you had some ideas of what should be done to make blogs go from good to great:
- Address security issues: Allow blogs have the flexibility to be kept private in a closed system, where the teacher controls the people who have access to the posts.
- Add Video, voice threads or Live Forums: Right now blogs are very much a written medium and it would be good to have the option to upload videos or voice messages. Also as blogging is more of a asynchronous type of activity, the addition of a live forum can move it to synchronous mode.
- Change layout of discussions: Allow the discussions to be threaded as they are in our WebCT discussion forums and have an option to download and save discussion threads.
- Make blogging in the classroom easy to implement and maintain: Teachers already are pressed for time and it would be best if future blogging platforms are easy to set up and manage.
- Make connecting with other networks and blogs easier: To help promote the work being done by students, future blogging platforms should have the option of connecting to other relevant blogs and sites. This way students and teachers can truly become a part of the global community (if they choose).
- Customization: Allow more flexibility in the blogging platform to allow for more customization. This way teachers can tailor the blogging platform to suit their chosen activity.
All of the above needs to be addressed prior to starting a blogging activity. Parents need to be made aware of the blogging activity and it must follow school and district guidelines. In addition, the teacher should create strict blogging guidelines that students should follow and immediately address any breaches of conduct that do arise.