Saturday, September 10, 2011

Basic Blogging, #potcert11

Explaining how to get started blogging was on my mind before this course started: a friend asked for help with basics. I assumed (and we all know the cliché about how that breaks down) everybody taking the class would already be a blogger. So I thought, why not revise and repurpose for the class? Too basic, just ignore it: filtering practice.

Blogging is not that different from writing email. The compose screens are very similar. Instead of emailing to designated addressees, you publish - send it into cyberspace. A number of blogging platform offer post by email, making blogging even more like email. Compose in your email program and save in drafts. Alternately, you can compose in a word processing program and then copy paste into the message screen. Use WordPad and save to rtf because Word has too much hidden garbage code that may not transfer well 

Explanatory stuff + links below the fold. Looking over a few blogs about teaching and in your subject area will help you get a feel for blogging and the possibilities. Best advice: just do and figure out the details as you go along. Ask questions: anyone you know who blogs is part of your learning network.

Whether or not you continue blogging and what you blog on your own outside the class is up to you. Blogging is flexible. Get used to blogging here. Later, when you are comfortable with the medium, play and experiment 

I couldn't find Blogger's basic how-to tutorial until I opened another browser that did not know I have a Blogger account. A pox on smart ass computers and platforms. Here's the "getting started tour" . Basically, clicking Blogger's "get started" button walks you through the process. Most if not all blogging platforms have a post by email feature.  

Posterous  "If you can email, you can use Posterous. Just email with your photos, video, music, and thoughts and we’ll make sure they look great on the web. Prefer to post from the web? No problem. Our web editor makes it super simple." A good choice too except 

[Addendum: Posterous,  acquired by Twitter, then discontinued, no longer exists. Since then, I've been using Tumblr more.] 

I started with Blogger, still use it the most and have also used Posterous enough to get used to its features. These include autopost settings for Blogger and other social media. I can code pages breaks and tags into email, upload videos and documents and reply to comments by email. Blogger's recent upgrades added a number of features, tools and design options.

WordPress, covered so well I don't need to, gets good reviews, has more themes and plug-ins (add on webtools) and is considered the choice of pros. Here's WP's "getting started" website. Honestly though, it's not enough to convince me move there. Besides, every time I've thought a out doing it for the features, Blogger adds more... usually the ones I most wanted. No matter how "easy" a blogging platform tells you that migrating a blog there will be, it is never as easy as not doing it. The more blogs you have the easier it is to stay in one place... and I have a lot of blogs.

Besides, as long as layout is neat, attractive and readable, content is what matters most. The rest is lagniappe.

And closing with few basic blogging articles / tutorials that I did not find too tiresome ~ skipping marketing oriented articles and those pushing specific platforms
If all you want to do is publish a page or so (separate from, as a supplement to or instead of a regular blog) but don't want to make a habit of it, consider pageOrama, the ultimate in minimalist simplicity ~ no registration, just write and publish single-use blog posts. Create a post instantly. No need to start, setup and maintain a blog. If you write more than one post in a series then you have to keep track of them. No file managers. 

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