Good Blogging – What am I Missing?

A friend recently asked me for some advice, to pass along to a business training enterprise intending to use blogging as a way to deepen the experience.  Just my cup of tea.  So I earnestly sat down and prepared the following suggestions:

The term “blog” is a portmanteau word, a combination of “web” and “log”.  Simply put, a blog is an online publishing tool.  Each blog consists of a series of entries (or “posts”), presented in reverse chronological order, with the most recent displaying at the top.  Blogging has evolved from its origins as a personal medium for keeping an online diary to a respected vehicle for commentary, news, editorials, and a way to deepen the teaching/learning process.

Through linking, commenting, and feedback, ideas and insights spread quickly through a blogging community.  Because blogs engage people in reflection and debate, they have become an effective mechanism for peer-to-peer knowledge sharing. Blogs foster the growth of communities and the dynamics of collaborative filtering and referring. They provide an effective way to vet and critique new knowledge.

What makes for a good blog entry?

–       Blogs are generally written in the first person – they are personal, subjective, and social.

–       Try to stick to one topic per entry, stay focused. Brief is good.

–       Use your blog entry’s title to communicate what the post is about and draw the reader in – a short, snappy title is usually the most effective, maybe one that is… a question?

–       Good blogging, like any good writing, has an audience in mind (keep your readers – or a particular reader – in mind when composing your blog entries)

–       Give readers a chance to absorb information in your blog post by offering bite-sized pieces (lists, bullet points, quotations) of information where possible

–       If you’re reporting on some one else’s story, give it your spin or a new interpretation

–       Blog entries can include text, hyperlinks, images (photos or screen shots), or video.

–       Links (to other blog posts, resources, or articles) help to take the reader deeper into the topic or discussion (make sure your links work when you publish your post!)

–       A good blog post usually includes a question or an invitation to chime in or “comment”, fostering a two-way communication between readers and authors.

–       If you do receive comments on your blog, be sure to respond to them. Create a culture of interactivity and let your readers know that you have heard them.

–       Readers tend to respond well to humility – don’t be afraid to show gaps in your knowledge or reveal your own weaknesses.

–       Arguing and disagreement is good, as long as everyone remains civil, encouraging, and friendly.  Humor always helps.


Problem was, when I finished, it somehow felt a bit hollow.  If I had read this list four years ago (before I started blogging myself), I’m not sure it would have convinced me.  Not sure I would fully grok the value of blogging.  So, can you help me?  What am I missing here?



Filed under Blogs, Teaching with Technology

6 responses to “Good Blogging – What am I Missing?

  1. Kate

    You’ve got lots of great detail here. I think you understate the importance of having a voice and that it takes time to find your voice. Part of having a voice is having opinions… and those opinions, if articulately stated (and perhaps not too ridiculous?), start a conversation. The whole blogosphere thingy.

    • rheyden

      Good point, Kate. Finding/having a voice is crucial – and using it to generate disucssion and community – ah, there’s the rub!

  2. I agree with Kate. Consider summarizing much of what you’ve said here with: find your voice. Ask questions, define your passion. Share it.

  3. rheyden

    “Define your passion. Share it.” I love that, Jenn. Thanks!

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