Blog Pile

Blog Tips from Grandpa CogDog

cc licensed flickr photo shared by x-ray delta one

This image is not exactly relevant, but was so bizarre I could not resist- who would not want a “Dual Head-mounted listening Device”? It looks like the perfect audio set up to enjoy radio ds106.

I’ve been spending a chunk of time combing through the projects people did for the Web 2.0 Storytelling assignment 3 of ds106. Like I wrote before, this is really a bag of gold for me, as I am sifting for examples to add to the 50+ Ways site.

I know for many people, likely the UMW students, the whole blogging may be a new experience. What is really great is I have not seen any two blogs that have the same template, and as we go, they are even getting more individualized with plugins, widgets, etc.

Not meant as criticisms, having combed through about 30 or 40 today, a few gentle suggestions from someone who’s been pounding the blog keys a while (and still learning how to do it better):

  • Personalize that “About” page. If your about page still reads “This is an example of a WordPress page, you could edit this to put information about yourself or your site so readers know where you are…” you give your readers nothing to know about you. You need not labor over it, but it is your calling card. When I go to a blog, I want to know something about the writer. You dont have to give a biography, and honestly, it could be a place to be super creative. This is your digital locker, so hang some stickers and photos of Donny Osmond (no don’t do that) (showing my age).
  • Declare your name somehow. Ok, you may want to be coy or obtuse, that’s okay. The default name assigned yo your posts are your wordpress username, and if it reads “d7ywtey” well, it makes it hard for me to give credit when I write about or link to your blog. You can change the way your name appears in your profile setting, or you could put a text widget on your sidebar, and do a mini “Hello, You can call me CogDog”. You can even connect the previous point by doing a one line intro on the sidebar and then link to the about page (more…)
  • Give Some Context, Please! I looked at a lot of entries where people embedded their stories– but that was the whole post! As a reader, I want to know more about your story. What is the premise? How did you create it? What is the story behind the story? It is the liner notes, the DVD extras I crave. Take some time to describe more about the piece.
  • Find a Voice. Writing more helps you better frame the narration, the story of your own site. You could be third person academic. You could lower case persona goofy. You could be insanely sarcastic or Steve Wright cryptic. Develop a style to your writing, your media in as much as you have your own personality.
  • Give media Credit If you use media from other sources, be very exact- provide a link to the YouTube clip or the song URL- not just the site you got it from. And of course, I know you are all using contetn that is licensed under Creative Commons or other open licenses, right? Anyone?
  • Bonus Jim Groom Tip Use paragraphs (that is a joke).

Like photography, blogging is something you just get better at by doing, doing, and redoing.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Alan, thanks for the tips and the specific note on my blog. I’ve fleshed out my “thinking” behind the scribbling.

    My inner lazy blogger sometimes pretends I’m the pretentious artist that says, well, it means what YOU think it means. You don’t need MY thoughts on the art.

    That said, there is definitely an art to balance insightfulness without being overly verbose. When fighting for attention spans it seems the laconic become iconic.

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