I love this stage of the student blogging assignment.
We’re at that point where those who have taken to the assignment start to really strut their stuff.
Many are already doing just about everything right and just need a pointer or three.
That’s what this blog post is all about. It’s going to provide five pointers to address most of the current Comm 57 blogging challenges:
1. How to write with clarity—This is a challenge amongst many college students. They write a statement or an opinion and then move on without explaining the statement or providing an example, so the reader is left frustrated and confused because a full and clear picture has not been painted.
First of all, remember that most bloggers, including yourselves, are writing to a broad audience. So avoid industry jargon because it’s likely a lot of people won’t understand it.
If you write that you like something (an opinion), you must do two more things: tell us why and provide an example. If you state a fact that you learned elsewhere (e.g. industry trend, background info, or current event), you must do at least two things: tell us where you got that information then give us an example of that thing or occurrence. If you say Facebook shares are falling, and you found this out while reading the Globe and Mail, quote the Globe’s recent story. Tell us the Globe’s source and provide some data or other evidence backing up that claim.
2. How to cite in a blog—Don’t worry about APA style in your blog. Much of your audience won’t understand what you’re doing. Do what magazines and newspapers do and then go one step further by providing a hyperlink to the source. Comm 57 blogger Cynthia Posadowski did this fairly well recently in her blog. Check out the screenshot below from her latest post:
3. How to quote in a blog—Again, don’t use APA style for your quotations. Quote like a journalist. Introduce the quotation, provide the quotation and its source (in a link, if possible), then follow it up, something like this (see next three paragraphs):
With the departure of Rogers Communications CEO Nadir Mohamed pending, many people believe the telecom provider’s future is in limbo.
“Mohamed has held the rudder firmly, but no one knows what’s going to happen next,” John Shoemeister, head of research at Ainsworth Genuity, told the Globe and Mail this week.
Indeed, Rogers is facing some serious pressures on all sides—from its magazines division to its cable and mobile businesses, and there’s no end in sight, according to a Queen’s University business professor also quoted in the Globe article. THEN YOU MIGHT GO INTO SOME DETAIL ABOUT THE PRESSURE ON THESE DIVISIONS FROM THE PROF’S POINT OF VIEW.
4. How to use images—For the sake of making your blog look interesting, always use an image and credit the source of the image. Make sure it’s obvious why you are using the image. If the image doesn’t obviously fit the blog topic, delete it and find another. Otherwise, you’ll be detracting from your key messages and the reader will wonder why the heck that photo is there.
Don’t use images that people have obviously created to sell to people like you (e.g. stock photos taken from other blogs that other bloggers have paid for). Their creators might accuse you of stealing. Among the few images for which you don’t have to cite sources are your own. Also, you probably wouldn’t receive any flak for failing to source a Microsoft Clip Art image. However you probably should cite those, too. Here’s how to cite (non-APA) images from a variety of sources:
I) When you upload an image, you’ll see a grey column on the right entitled “ATTACHMENT DETAILS.” Below this, there are some text boxes.
II) You can do two things to credit the source of the photo. In the “Caption” field, provide the URL of the image’s source or simply state where the photo comes from (e.g. “A photo of me on the family farm in Prince Edward County” or “This photo comes from Microsoft Clip Art” or “Photo from Cataraqui Golf and Country Club website”).
III) Below the text fields you can also provide a URL that will link the image to the source website. If a user clicks on the photo, he or she will be taken to the source of the photo.
5. How to use hyperlinks—If you want to show readers where you found your evidence, don’t paste a big, gangly URL into your blog. Instead, highlight the word, or words, that best represents the subject or source you want to cite and then go to the toolbar above the text field. Click the chain link. A box will open with a field for the URL for the website you want to connect to. Paste the URL into that box.
Make sure you tick the check mark box under the URL and Title fields that asks if you want to “open in a new link/window.” This will prevent your blog window from closing and will instead open another window onto the site connected to your hyperlink. This will enable readers to easily jump back onto your blog.
So there you have it: five easy tips to improve your Comm 57 blog posts. In the immortal words of former Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs, “There’s just one more thing I want to show you.” Tags. Every time you create a post, don’t forget to create 10-plus tags. This will ensure that people who are searching through Google for the types of things you mention in your posts will have a chance of finding you and your blog.
That’s all for now, Comm 57 bloggers. Keep up the good work and I’ll see you Wednesday with your first grammar reports in hand.