Tag Archives: blogging

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

I have a class of new bloggers who will be starting their own blogs soon, and I’ve posted some sample blogs for them.

I am no blog expert. I’ve not attracted thousands of followers nor been able to quit my day job or have a book/movie deal resulting from one of my blogs.

But, I’ve written a few hundred blog posts, and in the interest of maybe giving my new blog students some ideas, here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite posts:

There you have it, my personal “best.” I didn’t review my blog archives very carefully and may have missed a post or two that should be here. Blog fans, any of my posts or posts from other blogs that are worth noting to give my students ideas?


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Don’t Be A Log, Get Online And Blog!

The MMU Times swept the blog categories of the recent ICMA contest, which was nice.

We won even though many of our student blogs appear “dead.” That is, when absolutely forced to blog by a mean old professor, some students grudgingly blog now and then, maybe 3 times a semester.

MMU Times Blogs

The MMU Times Blog page. The top middle blog, by Zach D'Amico, won best in Iowa in the ICMA contest.

It’s not enough. Any student who wants to be “a writer” of any capacity has to have more personal thoughts to articulate and share.

WordPress issued a 2011 challenge to its bloggers to try to post every day. I have not taken that challenge—I feel I’m not ready to do that much blogging.

But ,I update this blog at least twice a week, and it’s not the only blog I update, either.

Why is blogging so important? Well, for one thing, we live in a 7-days-a-week, 24-hours-a-day communication cycle, and any PR or Journalism or Multi-Media Design student needs to think about working in that kind of “instant update” environment.

Blogging provides students with a URL to share when looking for an internship or job.

Most important, blogging is regular, public writing performance.

So, how should students blog? Ideas:

• Make a time to blog. A regular few minutes each week when you collect your thoughts and share them.
• Write your blog posts in Word and edit them before posting. You are your own web editor.
• Be careful of what you post. You can get sued for libel over a blog, and you are creating a public image of yourself. If you copiously drop the F bomb, you may be positioning yourself as a coarse writer with little respect for the power of that word or it’s appropriate place, for example. I think it’s not only OK, but a good idea to blog about political topics—but that does , again, create a public persona for yourself. If you rant about Sarah Palin, don’t apply for a job at the 2012 Palin Campaign.
• Make it readable. A blog may not be the place to post class assignments, particular if you’re replying to 7 questions that the blog reader does not see, for example. Try to have something to say, and say it in a way that readers would enjoy.

Anyway, that’s all of my wisdom for now. Blogosphere—do you have ideas about either the value of student blogs or rules for student bloggers?

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Here is a post, yes it is

The home page of the MMU Times, go there, times.mtmercy.edu

Just showing my students how to post in WordPress—many new blogs starting today! Most will end up on my blogroll, so watch for those links.

Students are watching me type, which is embarassing because I’m not so hot at it, and must be really, really, really dull for them to watch. So, soon I will stop. Maybe more later, we’ll see.


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A Year in the Life of a Blogger

What I like to see in my Hotmail in box. Someone had somethings to say on on my blog. Thank you, commenters!

The default “hello world” blog post was April 7, 2009, but it was April 8 that I wrote my first “real” blog entry. It was about the joys of riding my old Schwinn Continental bike, by the way.

My second blog was about blogging, and I posed questions about the reasons for and roles of the blog. Got some interesting comments, by the way.

For most of 2009, I blogged about once a week. As this school year went on, for some reason, my pace picked up a bit—I got more into the blogging habit.

Now, I probably post a new entry about twice a week, sometimes more often.

Why? Not sure.

Partly it’s that my small circle of readers, mostly family members or Facebook friends, will comment if I don’t blog, or will react to some of my blog entries. The Internet isn’t exactly the Matrix (yet), but it does allow me to form and maintain connections, and this blog is part of that pattern.

Me while finishing this post. Don't worry, won't abuse web cam by adding too many snapshots of old men to this blog.

Recently, I expanded into a secondary blog, where I post brief notes on my life as a bike commuter.

So, a bit more than a year into it, what does it mean? What are the highs and lows of blogging? Some thoughts:

  • No magic. In pop culture, a few blogs have “taken off.” My daughter is fond of quoting “Project Rungay,” an entertaining blog that partly comments on “Project Runway.” I haven’t tried for such a coherent theme and have not seen hundreds of thousands of hits on my blog, so I have not uncovered the magic of wider popularity. Not sure that was a goal of mine anyway, but accidental fame and riches would be OK.
  • Love comments. My sisters Pat and Cate comment most often, with Toni sometimes throwing in her two cents. I appreciate comments, they give me something original to read on my own blog and they also let me know a bit of what people react to. Don’t mind it when some place their comments on my Facebook page, but every time a comment is posted on WordPress, I get an e-mail at my Hotmail account. I admit it, it’s a bit silly, but still. “comment-reply” is one of my favorite e-mail subject lines because when it shows up in Hotmail, it means someone wrote something on my blog. Please comment on.
  • Personal stories. Amanda, my oldest daughter, has hinted in some of her comments that she likes my childhood stories. I’m sure that’s one role of this blog—it’s running self disclosure in what I hope is a mostly positive way. My sisters knew about the Irish Mail, but not my daughter.
  • Rising readership. Although my blog has not reached any pop culture fame, it has slowly gained readers, which is nice. I probably average several hundred a month now, although I don’t know how many are “new” or simply friends coming back for second looks. And, part of the driver of the trend is that I post more, which, I’m sure, draws more hits from my more loyal blog readers. Still, I think the long-term trend is bigger than that, and one point I will ponder later is who the new readers may be.
  • Plan to carry on. I may scale back a bit as summer comes on and Jon’s wedding approaches, but I’ve found the first year of blogging to be a pleasure, and I plan to carry on. My “bike” blog will continue, too, but this is my “real” blog home, where I’ll write longer posts.
  • Popular posts. For some reason, must have to do with topics people either search on Word Press or Google, a few of my old posts show up as being viewed every week. Months ago, I wrote about how I feel about my name. That post is a vampire post—it never dies. So, too, a random post last summer about how to slay rodents. Must be a theme that comes up now and then in people’s lives.

What are my favorite posts, regardless of popularity? Here they are, starting with the oldest (not necessarily the best):

  1. “Future of College Newspapers,” April 19, 2009. My points still hold up, I think. If you want more out of your college life, join your campus newspaper.
  2. “A Blog for George,” June 17, 2009. June of last year was a tough month, with my father-in-law passing away. I hope my words helped healing, a little, but George did leave a big hole in people’s lives.
  3. “The Spider Month,” Sept. 6, 2009. One of my sisters has never read it. You know which one. Arachnophobia.
  4. “The Life and Times of the (Half) Irish Male,” Oct. 9, 2009. Don’t know why, but this put a lot of us in “remembering” mood, although it was just a random post about a toy—which, as it turned out, had originally been my oldest sister’s.
  5. “Tristan’s First Bath,” Dec. 21, 2009. Tristan, Nikayla and Elizabeth—my grandchildren–have been recurring characters in my blog. Nikayla, the oldest, is probably featured most often simply because a child becomes much more interactive as she or he becomes more vocal and mobile. This bath blog entry, though, appeals to me for some reason.
  6. “The Horrid Holiday Sounds,” Dec. 24, 2009. What better, more heartwarming way to celebrate Christmas Eve that bringing to mind the worst of Christmas music?
  7. “A Joe by any Other Name,” Jan. 17, 2010. Comes with free photo of “Pleasure with Joseph and Stephanie.”
  8. “The Lovely Boots,” Feb. 1, 2010. She is outgrowing them now, but the boots retained long-term popularity.
  9. “Run, Sarah, Run!” Feb. 10, 2010. My “endorsement” of Sarah Palin. One of two “political” blog entries that I really like.
  10. “The ‘Science’ of Dan Brown,” March 3, 2010. Now there is a post that should resonate, but no, it’s “How to Kill a Mouse” that gets random hits. Must be some hidden code somewhere that says “don’t read this post.”
  11. “The Real Evil is Not Progressivism,” March 20, 2010. I have not checked the video links to see if they still work, but I hope so.
  12. “Last Times at the Times,” May 7, 2010. I’ll miss this year’s crew.

That’s my list of personal favs. I really like some of the ones that I wrote about Elizabeth and feel a little funny that none are at the “top” of my list–especially since the best photo on the blog is the one of a new baby E being held in hands–but there you have it.  I’m sure she’ll continue to be featured in many future favorite posts.  I don’t really hate or regret any of the rest of my posts, but it’s interesting to me that, although plants and gardening are the theme of this blog, the posts I personally like best are pretty much always on other topics.

Blog fans—one year in. Do you like reading this blog? Why? What are your favorites?
Please post a comment. Send Joe some auto-Hotmail and make him happy.


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