Week 6: Wiki & Blogging, Cont'd.

Today, in the next leg of our online-community tour, John will show us Last.fm, Veronica will present Online Community Report, and Reid will present Fallen Sword.

We will also spend a nice, big chunk of time on writing mechanics. Par-tay!

We're going to do more with wikis in the next few weeks, but we're going to pause for a moment to revisit your blogs. One of the ways you can help build a readership is to enter blog carnivals, which are events hosted by one blogger who solicits posts on a certain topic and presents a "table of contents" or list of links to those posts. The result is that readers of the host blog get exposed to a range of other bloggers with similar interests — and, hopefully, they subscribe to their new discoveries.

PLEASE NOTE: For those of you who have, so far, kept blogs that mainly of personal/niche interest, you might need to change the way you write your posts in order to participate in a carnival. You don't need to change your topic, but you should be thinking about giving a wider audience a reason to read (and subscribe to) your blog — and this might mean expanding the scope or adjusting the writing a bit.

  1. Write a blog post (minimum 300 words, 3 links, 1 image or video) and submit the post to a blog carnival.
  2. Submit the same post OR previous posts to 2 more carnivals, so you have submitted to a total of 3 carnivals. It doesn't matter whether you submitted the same post or different posts to the different carnivals, but you need a total of 3 different carnivals.
  3. In a sidebar element, list links for host blogs of the 3 carnivals you entered. Be sure to link to the host blog itself, not the blogcarnival.com listing.
  4. Grant, Caleb, and Amanda will present online communities that include wikis.


Week 5: The World of Wiki

Today we'll see three more online communities: Shira will present Retroland, Tony will present Bodyboarder, and Jesse will show us BigSoccer.

We'll also take a little tour of Wikipedia and Wikia to get a feel for what they are and how they work. We'll also discuss the issues raised in the reading for this week (including crowd vs. community, the role of "experts" vs. "amateurs," the nature and effectiveness of wikiquette, etc.).

Then we'll get started on creating and editing our own wiki pages. This requires learning basic wiki markup language, which is pretty simple (kind of like HTML, but different). We'll begin by looking at a simple prototype I created on Wikia, and everyone will create a page and link to it by editing the main page.

  1. Finish your wiki page. Write at least 500 words on your topic. Break the page into at least three sections using level-two headlines. Include an internal link to the main BECA 670 Wikia page and at least 3 external links. If you run into tech trouble, check out the excellent tutorials, which will take you through everything from creation to editing and formatting text. NOTE: DUE 9:00 a.m. THURSDAY!
  2. Sharon, Veronica, Reid and John will present online communities that use wikis as one of their components.


Week 4: Thinking About Community

Today we'll look at three online communities: James will present the Yahoo! Health Group, Jeannine will show us the Guitar Hero site, and Shira will give us a tour of GameDev.

We'll talk about each of these with a view toward generating ideas for our own BECA online community project. What features and functions can we find that seem like good ideas (or adaptable ones) for our community?

We'll also talk about this week's reading and the issues it raises regarding "professional" news vs. citizen journalism, and the nature of online communities in general.

And — yes, there's more! — we'll get everyone set up with Feedburner feeds, and discuss stats, publicizing, and audience-building through blog carnivals and webrings.

  1. Catch up on blogging: by next Thursday at 2:00, you should have 3 posts (spellchecked and proofread, with at least 3 links and one image or video) and also you should have made 10 comments (each on a different person's blog, each with a link). PLEASE NOTE: I do expect you to go back and spellcheck, proofread, and correct your previous posts; however, only this week's post needs to be 300 words — you do not need to go back and lengthen your previous posts.
  2. Read SF Weekly article "Wikidiots".
  3. Jesse, Tony and Sharon: find an online community that you think has some relevant, inspiring features, and be prepared to give a short presentation to the class next week.


Week 3: Keep On Bloggin'

I see some highly intriguing and promising blogs starting up! Lots of personality and enthusiasm coming through, and great potential for building readership and letting your style and subject evolve.

For those of you still working on getting your blog built and your first post posted, check in with me if you're having trouble. I'd like to get your blog on the list ASAP so you can start getting feedback from the class.

Also: don't forget to PROOFREAD (I'm seeing way, way too many simple mistakes such as plurals vs. possessives, missing apostrophes in contractions, spelling, run-on sentences, etc.) — use the Mechanics Handout in the sidebar and/or your handy APA Style Manual (or the dictionary or any other grammar reference) and get those posts tidied up!

For this week, I've got some reading for you, and I'd like you to keep going with your blogs (details below). My internet access is a little sketchy for the next few days while I'm at a conference, but I'll be checking in as much as I can.

See you next week!

  1. Read this article on community building by Craig Newmark (founder of craigslist)
  2. Check out this article/chart of the life-cycle of a blog post
  3. Write and post another blog entry (with at least 3 links and an image/video/audio)
  4. Read the 5 blogs under your name on the list and post a comment to each. Comments should include thoughtful feedback on the post and also on the blog itself (any helpful suggestions for the author?) and at least one link. (No image/video; Blogger doesn't allow these in comments.) If you aren't on the blogroll yet, pick any 5 blogs to comment on.