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Blogs and their content
GETTING STARTED: I am working on the premise that you now have set up your blog. You have been through all the technical and managerial torment of getting permission and then the technical know-how of getting under way and being up and running. Ok – so what happens next? Do you sit back and wait for content to magically appear? You may be waiting a long time. Uses of Blogs Edited by Axel Bruns and Joanne Jacobs
Blogging is rapidly developing into a mainstream activity for many Internet users, however there are a variety of styles of blogging - from de facto news sites to marketing blogs, blogs as learning tools, writers' drafting blogs, corporate dark blogs and fictional blogs. So you need to make the style obvious and easy to contribute and welcoming to those you want to contribute. In other words you need to tailor the blog to meet the requirements of your customers. Blogs are socialising cyberspace, with a new range of books coming out to further inform about this phenomenon. The appearance of books on the topic is unusual in itself, as they deal with such different medium.
As the first edited collection of scholarly articles on blogging by experts and practitioners in a wide range of fields, Uses of Blogs offers a broad spectrum of perspectives on current and emerging uses of blogs. While blogging is rapidly developing into a mainstream activity for Internet users, the actual application of blogs in specific contexts has so far been under-explored. Because there are a variety of styles of blogging - from de facto news sites to marketing blogs, blogs as learning tools, writers' drafting blogs, corporate dark blogs and fictional blogs, to name a few - it can be difficult to imagine how blogs might be used in particular environments. This book demonstrates the take-up of blogs and blogging for a number uses in industrial and social contexts.
"This is a broad, but deep look at the social, political, business, and academic effects that blogging is having on our society. Highly recommended!"-- Robert Scoble, Corporate Blogger, Microsoft Corporation "We blog, therefore we are players in our own future. Jacobs and Bruns have provided an exciting and useful map to the practices, ethics, and potentials of this most encouraging Internet phenomenon. Highly recommended."-- Pat Kane, Consultant, Singer, Activist, and Author, The Play Ethic Don’t forget your Learning Web 2.0 training, as this also has heaps of useful information to get you launched into the blogosphere.
Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and Beyond: From Production to Produsage, Axel Bruns's far-reaching and conceptually powerful book, From Production to Produsage, captures a shift in cultural logic which is profoundly altering how culture gets produced, how knowledge gets circulated, how reputations get made, and how industry, politics, and education operate. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to know more about Wikipedia, Second Life, eBay, Flickr, Moveon, or YouTube, in short, for anyone who wants to understand the turn towards participatory culture. -- Henry Jenkins, author of Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide
If you need some inspiration to get started, there are some sites you might like to take a look at: http://blogs.com.au/ which leads into http://theaustralianindex.com/ Where you can add your own blog: And don’t forget – http://blogs.alia.org.au/
Checking out other blogs helps you to decide on the purpose for your own blog, its style, from, type and appeal and allows you time to consider instances or problems before they may arise. Again the Learning web 2.0 training is very useful here, especially the reference to IBM code of ethics for on-line behaviour.
Posted in Blogging for Education, General on August 3rd, 2005, was a lovely quote that I wanted to share: “I’m no stranger to trying to set up freely available online services for people to use… I’m also no stranger to watching as a couple of people drag their feet in, have a look around and quietly disappear. As a well respected edublogger once suggested to me, we’re often guilty of designing a nightclub for what is really a pubfull of people, and while a pubfull can be great fun in a pub… in a nightclub it feels worryingly quiet.”
GETTING THAT CONTENT:
Generally Library blogs are usually an online journal tool and can be used to record individual or group experiences, observations, reflections, impressions, opinions, questions and research notes across a range of subjects. Blogs allow the author to display postings in chronological order. A blog allows other participants to comment on postings, creating a networked community of contributors with similar interests.
I recommend that you incorporate blogs as an elemental part of your work Don’t reinvent the wheel – things that you are already doing for work can usually be easily adapted to include on the blog. You need to get into the habit of producing content for your blog and encouraging other contributions. To do this consider what you want to include on your blog and what you normally do in the course of your library work.
Tie up between books & movies
Target people to contribute
Encourage contributions but do not be prescriptive Blogs are good for: personal expression & exploration. Let people approach contributions in ways that fit them. Look for variations on a theme from several contributors and never, ever, mention number of words!
You should use blogs for what they are good for Blogs are by no means the answer to everything, they are very strong alternative communication tools but if you want to build quizzes, run polls, have near-synchronous conversation, do listserv-y kind of discussion or strictly manage just about anything then you’ll probably want to look at another tool. Use blogs to assist people to publish articles, represent themselves online, interact with their peers as part of an organic community and manage their own digital content and identity.
Use proven and effective blogging tools – When you decide to set off on your blogging journey don’t, please don’t do it with some ‘tacked on solution’ to a large and established Management System. Blogs are just as complex as any other form of software and you want to get the tools off people who know what they’re doing.
Overcoming Bloggers Block
Writing regular pertinent blog posts is an area that most bloggers struggle with from time to time. The common ailment of writers block or bloggers block as it is generally known in the blogoshpere can strike at any time and generally when you least expect it to. If you keep in mind that a blog is a personal promotional tool for your website and that it should allow your readers to get to know a little about you, then allowing your blog to ‘feature’ your voice should help alleviate some of the bloggers block that is bound to occur.
Do you promote affiliate programs on your website? Then why not blog about these and you may generate some income at the same time. Share a new product with your readers or give an honest review of an existing one. You could offer advice and tips on how to use certain products from your affiliate arsenal. Either way affiliate programs offer ample opportunity to post to your blog.
Subscribe to a favourite news source within your chosen field. Use RSS feeds, info from AliaRead or just read everything Ellen, Mylee and the gang send you. Whenever an exciting news story breaks, - latest award winners, trend etc. blog about it! Your readers will thank you for always providing the up to date, timely information they are seeking.
Remember to promote your website via your blog posts as well. New products, articles, reviews and special offers will all encourage your blog readers to visit your library site more often.
Use seasonal holidays and special occasions to your advantage. If Christmas is around the corner make a list of Christmas related points that are pertinent to your blog readers and create a series of blog posts for them to enjoy.
Continue to use your blog as a way to really interact with and get to know your website visitors and coming up with topics to blog about should become easier.
Building a steady and reliable blog readership requires the blog to be frequently updated. This can often be thought of as a hassle. However, you do not have be a slave to your blog. Write your posts according to whatever schedule you prefer to keep (note a schedule implies doing some writing) and then post them on the dates and times you prefer. Some blogs have a function that will automatically post saved instalments, where you can set the date to be uploaded.
Don’t forget to advertise your blog and provide on-line links to it. Keep the content turning over, and up to date. Post as many external contributions as possible. Hopefully there is a flow-on effect from your blog.
In an article about increasing traffic to your website, blogs were number 5 on the list.
10 Ways To Increase Traffic To Your Website
Gaining website traffic does generally take some time and effort on your behalf, but it doesn’t always have to be expensive and quite often it can even cost nothing. There is an abundance of so called traffic generating websites that usually charge fees for their services, don’t get lured in by their promises as they could turn out to be a very costly mistake. Here’s 10 ways that will assist to increase traffic to your site:
1/. Article Marketing: writing your own unique articles about topics within your niche and including a link to your website can dramatically increase your traffic. Webmasters are hungry for content to use on their websites, blogs and in newsletters. Free reprint article directories provide this much needed resource.
2/. Newsletter: keeping in regular contact with your mailing list via a newsletter or ezine can increase your traffic if you include articles that link back to your site or make special offers that are also only available by visiting your website.
3/. Message Boards: use message boards to build your expert status in your field. Many message boards allow members to include website links in their signatures. This offers one way of free promotion for your website every time you post to the board.
4/. Keywords: by doing keyword research and trying to figure out the search terms visitors are using and then including those search terms within your website can increase the level of traffic coming to you from search engines.
5/. Blogs: are a great relationship building tool and the fact that they are generally regularly updated makes search engines return to them over and over. Be sure to include links back to your website within your blog posts.
6/. Affiliate Programs: establishing an affiliate program to your digital or tangible products website will give you an array of online sales reps promoting your products and website.
7/. Viral Reports: people use the internet to find information, why not provide that information in the form of a short report and allow others to forward it to friends, thus making the report viral. By ensuring that you include links to your site within the report you should see some extra traffic generated from it.
8/. Interviews: being a guest on the new and popular internet radio shows and podcasts is just another way to establish your expertise and raise the profile of your website.
9/. Press Releases: are an inexpensive, effective way to promote your site to the media. If your website genuinely has something to promote and the release is not just a sales pitch.
10/. Teleseminars: holding a teleseminar or conference call covering a hot topic within your niche will create buzz and excitement and stimulate extra traffic. There you have it, 10 ways to increase traffic to your website and all of them are relatively inexpensive to implement.
MANLY LIBRARY’S BOOK BLOG (provided by Anne Johnson, Novel Ideas Blog Administrator & Head Cataloguer at Manly Library) http://blogs.manly.nsw.gov.au/novelideas/
The main aims of this blog are to:
1. Get staff talking (and excited) about books they’ve read.
2. Be a handy reference for recommendations and a clearinghouse of RA links for staff on the desk.
3. Provide a specific online community relating to our library – one that will get revisited by the public.
The third aim is probably the most important. There are many places where people can go to read book reviews on the internet. There are also many that people can contribute to (e.g. Library Thing). But what the blog provides is something specific to Manly Library. A local community. There are numerous huge online communities that people can become involved in, but this is smaller, more personal, and local. It is different from what is offered elsewhere, and perhaps goes against the ‘bigger is better’ networked world idea. But it makes sense for us, because we are targeting our local community, and we want to provide them with information about us in a place that they want to visit again and again. In terms of content – if the blog was only providing library news, I can’t imagine that many people would become involved with it. But because we’re offering them a place to comment and write their own content they are more likely to visit again, or subscribe to our RSS feed. It’s ‘pull’ marketing instead of ‘push’.
To get content for the blog I ask for staff to write a little something about books they read, that they’d like to recommend. I also use an RSS reader and recycle posts and get ideas from other blogs. The blog is linked to the library website and we’ve been getting approximately 300 hits per month. The public are invited to contribute and send their reviews by email. We’re also sending out brochures with our book club kits on which reviews can be written and returned with the book.
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