Guide to Blogs
There are many different blogging platforms available on the internet. Many are fairly similar, so are very different. However, so long as they are public and allow comments, they are are a valid way of participating in the course. Below are my own descriptions of different platforms, as well as links to resources for setting up your blog.
- WordPress: This is my first choice (obviously, this is a WordPress installation). Wordpress blogs have lots of flexibility, but, on the other hand, that flexibility leads to greater complexity. This is the best choice if you are already familiar and comfortable with blogging. I’ve begun hearing that WordPress.com is limiting the ability to embed media into posts, so if you plan on using a lot of videos and the like in your posts, this may not be the best choice.
- Tumblr: An easy to use, casual blog format. As the originator of the “tumblelog” format, Tumblr is often used just to “reblog” material that other people have posted, which allows an easy spread of information. However, it can also be used for the more extensive posting this course requires. Recommended for ease of use. You will need to add comments to any Tumblr blog using Disqus. Instructions for doing so are below under here. The process is fairly easy and straightforward, but if you are not comfortable doing this, don’t use Tumblr.
- Blogger: Google’s on blog system, Blogger has recently undergone a revamp (like all Google services). It is a good middle ground between WordPress and Tumblr. Recommended if you want something simple, straightforward, but with many of the same features as WordPress.
- Posterous: I haven’t personally used this, but it is growing in popular. Posterous tends towards the Tumblr end of the continuum, while looking more like a traditional blog.
There are other options out there. If you are familiar with them and would like to use them, please feel free. They must only meet these conditions: 1) must be visible to everyone and 2) must have comments.
Picking a blog
Which blogging platform is right for you depends on your style of writing and engagement and your aesthetic preferences. If you are a stickler for details, want lots of options, and like more extended discussions, then WordPress and Blogger are better options for you. If, on the other hand, you prefer a more chaotic feel that allows you to track down new information and pass it on, integrate it into your own work, and have cross-blog conversations easily and quickly, Tumblr is the best option for you. All formats have their pluses and minuses. I recommend going to each site and checking out their examples, even searching the web and looking at the different kinds of blogs that are out there.
How to Blog: This blog entry about blogging is getting quite long in the tooth, but it is still extremely useful. Get a crash course in the basics of blogging.