Tips for bloggers:
Keep it snappy.
Choose a topic for your post and stick with it. Organise your content logically. Paragraphs that are too long can be hard to read when scrolling through posts on computers, tablets, or phones – try breaking content up into shorter paragraphs. At times, titled sections (sub-headings) or bullet points can add emphasis while staying brief, but be careful not to over-use these. You aren’t writing a grocery check-list. Check out this example for formatting ideas.
Use links (‘Hyperlinks’).
Linking to other websites, blogs, examples or studies is useful for many reasons. Linking to sources of information can strengthen your points with evidence and allow readers to follow up on interesting tangents you don’t have time to discuss in full. Linking to past posts means you don’t have to re-hash arguments that have already been made. Linking to other sites also helps boost a blog’s search engine ratings, as well as enhancing your credibility by aligning your blog with existing sources. Linking to other sources also serves as a form of evidence, which substantiates your argument or points of view, and enhances your post’s readability (see Blog Marking Rubric).
Choose fonts, sizes, colours, and spacing for different parts of the writing (headings, sub-headings, body text, quotes, and captions) and apply these consistently. Blogs require attention to presentation, and this includes using visually engaging but legible text.
Embed relevant pictures, either your own or public domain images from elsewhere (and credit the original source!). Images can make your blog more visually interesting and can capture a reader’s attention better than a wall of text. Experiment with infographics if evidence in your argument lends itself to diagrams. Take care when sharing personal images – consider the privacy of yourself and others pictured. NB: Respect your obligations to copyright and intellectual property laws! Be sure you credit all multi-media content to its original author (see Blog Marking Rubric).
Take privacy into account.
Think carefully about which site you will use to make blog posts, and whether you want posts to be public or private. You can adjust privacy settings on most sites to make your blog password-protected or only available to certain people – just remember that your instructors will have to be able to access the blogs for marking and they will not chase you up for access! If you set your public blog to private, your tutor and instructor cannot access it for marking.
Also, if using your full name on a public blog, keep in mind that search engines may bring it up years after you’ve completed this course. No matter how you set your privacy, remember to use links and language as though you are writing for a wider audience to demonstrate your understanding of how to construct blog posts with impact.
If you have concerns about privacy, we suggest using Blackboard as your blogging platform. Only the instructors will have access. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll lose access to the blog and its content once the trimester concludes. This may not be ideal for those of you who want samples of creative coursework for future use.
Be your (best) self.
This is not a formal academic writing exercise, but a way of sharing a personal response to the course content. Demonstrating your analytical understanding of ideas from the course is important, but allowing your personality to shine through in your writing voice is what would keep readers returning to your blog. Bear in mind that being relatable doesn’t mean dropping your standards as a writer – typos and grammatical errors should be fixed before posting. It also doesn’t mean that all blog posts are based on your opinion; claims must be grounded in course material and substantiated where necessary.
Understand your audience.
Who are you writing to? What tone and language is appropriate? How much would you expect them to know about certain topics? Each post should be readable and understood by a general audience. Can your mom, partner or non-Media Studies flatmate make sense of your post? If so, you’re on the right track!
On platforms like Tumblr and WordPress, tagging your posts with relevant keywords and/or #hashtags allows readers to search within your blog for related posts and find publicly viewable tagged posts through the site’s search functions.
For an example of what constitutes a “Good Blog” / “Bad” Blog Post, see the MDIA 104 Resource Blog: Good Blog Example #1 and Bad Blog Example #1
Recommended blog hosting sites:
(Remember all blogs must be hosted on the same platform, from the same account, for the duration of the course!)
Free. Easy to use. Many customisable options for themes, design, and layout (not all are free). Widely used with an active community and help forums. Very secure.
Free. Easy to use. Optimised for microblogging and image-heavy posts rather than longform text content. Social network elements are more prominent on Tumblr than other recommended sites in this list. Many customisable themes available (not all are free to use).
Free. Simple and old-fashioned blogging site, suitable for personal and non-professional blogs. Few customisable layout options but enough for the purposes of this assignment. Sign up with a Google account.
The maximum privacy option. Free (technically paid for in your course fees). Good choice if you want to keep your posts private for instructor view only, and hidden from the rest of the internet. Not a good choice if you want to access the content after the trimester ends, as the blog will be automatically deleted. Theme and layout less visually customisable than other options but suitable for the purposes of this assignment.
Not sure which to choose? Check out more pros/cons of each here: https://startbloggingonline.com/blog-platform-comparison-chart/
Important note about Submission & Marking!
No matter where you host your blog (except Blackboard), you’re required to cut & paste the blog post’s permalink to the appropriate Blackboard drop-box for marking. We will not go looking externally for your post so if it’s not linked, it won’t be graded!
For blogs hosted on Blackboard: There is no permalink for Blackboard Blogs. Instead, you’re required to cut and paste the title and date of the post you want marked into the “Add Comments” box within the appropriate Blog Assignment Drop-Box. This will inform your tutor where to access your blog for marking.