Blogging FAQs

FAQs About Blogging

Q: How is a blog post different from an article or essay ?

A: Blog posts are generally shorter—any where from 250 to 1,000 words, or 1/2 to 2 double-spaced pages. Posts are written for a specific audience, and usually provide insight and commentary on a specific current event, hotly debated issue, or pop culture event, like the Oscars, the latest episode of a tv show, or a celebrity pregnancy/brush with the law.  (Very popular blogs exist whose sole purpose is to provide commentary on shows such as LOST and Project Runway.)

Though the style of blog posts tends to be less formal than a hard news article or an academic essay, this does not mean that they should be imprecisely worded or otherwise carelessly written. You should use the spellcheck (see the icon with the check mark and “abc” in the toolbar above) and proofread, because spellcheck won’t catch errors in usage, like the difference between “its” and “it’s,” “to” and “too,” “there” and “their” and “they’re.”

Q: I notice that blog posts on tumblr often look very different than posts in WordPress, Blogger, and other platforms.  Why?

A: Tumblr blogs allow you to “tumblelog” or “microblog.” Like Twitter, the posts are usually very short, sometimes just an image with a caption or a video.  However, this just one way that they are used, albeit by a very large group (6 million and counting) of users.  The point of a tumbleog is not to restrict you from longer, more in-depth text posts, but to give you flexibility, and make the blogging and re-blogging (sharing) process as user friendly as possible.

Actually, some of the most well-respected newspapers, magazines, and media organizations now have tumblelogs because of their ease of use, but, more importantly, because so many people are using the platform (again, over 6 million).

So, your blogging groups (A and B) must meet to discuss the mix of photo, video, and text posts that you want to offer in order to appeal to your audience and meet your editorial mission.

Q: What are “tags”?

A: Tags are a way to organize your posts into categories so that readers can more easily find the kind of content they’re interested in. For example, if you write a post about how Reza Aslan’s book causes you to think differently about the roots of the Holocaust, the tags for the post might be “Aslan” and “Holocaust”

Note: For the purposes of this class, I’d like you to also tag the post with your last name.  This makes it easy for readers to find all of the posts you have written by clicking on the tag.

Q: What about those cool hyperlinks things?

A: The medium of the Web allows you to do many things, but perhaps the most important is being able to link us to many other places on the Web from one page.

Hyperlinks are especially useful if you are writing about complex issues, because you can create links to sites that provide definitions and context that the reader might lack. In this way, hyperlinks provide readers with the opportunity to engage with an issue in increasing depth. Each of your posts should have at least 3 hyperlinks.

Q: The blogs I admire always have photos, music and video that I can click on and watch or listen to. How do I do that?

A: What you’re describing is a process called embedding, and it is very easy to do on WordPress.  For video, you just put the cursor where you will it to be placed and then paste the url of the Web page into the window.  Clicking on “preview” in the upper right hand corner of the post page will show you what it looks like.  Photos and other images can be uploaded by url or by selecting a file from your computer.  If you can attach Word document to an email, then you can post media to your blog.

Google maps, Google books, and many, many other sites provide you with ready-made html code that you can copy and paste into your blog post, allowing you to embed interactive maps.

Q: I’m bad with titles?  Any advice for titling posts?

A: A good title is like a good newspaper headline: it summarizes and grabs your attention. Simply titling a post “My post” is lazy and no one will want to read it. For example, if this was a post, I might title it: “Don’t know much about blogging?”