What is a blog?
A blog can be a place where you keep a private or public journal. It can be used to share news or information on a specific topic or a stream of connected topics. You choose what you want to write about and also whether you want to keep it for you own eyes or share it with others. The ‘social’ aspect of a blog comes in when you share it and allow your readers the opportunity to comment or contribute to your conversation. With most blogs you can now easily add extras such as links that allow readers to share your postings (new entries) via Twitter, Facebook and other social media tools.
Common Craft have created an excellent video that also explains what a blog is. To view follow the link to Youtube.
by Lee Lefever, Common Craft
Wikipedia’s definition of a blog
How do I set one up?
There are a number of free blogging sites who will also host your blog site. This allows users to quickly and easily set up their own blog without having to worry about techy things. Some of the most popular include Blogger, Tumblr and WordPress.
How do I get started?
Choosing the topic you want to focus on will be your biggest decision. This will then dictate the style and appearance of the blog template you choose. Even with the free blogging software you will there are a good choice of templates. The template you choose will define what it looks like in terms of the layout (1, 2 or even 3 columns), whether you have an image as a header and also what ‘add-ons’ or widgets you include.
Adding audio and video
If you choose to use the free version of WordPress (which is what I am using for this blog), there a couple of workarounds that you will need to learn so that you can import a video player and audio player. Alternatively you can just type in the url or create a hyperlink in your text. However this isn’t as visually pleasing and also takes your readers out of your blog to view/listen to such content.
You can make audio recordings directly from the website using the record button or upload audio files. These can be given a title, a decription and the option to add meaningful tags. There is also a free iPhone app, which allows you to both listen to audio files you have saved or create new ones which can then be uploaded to your SoundCloud library. To use these audio files on your blog, it is possible to embed the code of the player and your chosen recording. This is an example:
For more information watch this short video clip or go to the SoundCloud website.
If you use your own images. audio or video then you have the copyright to do so. However if you want to use someone else’s work, then it is important to know whether you have permission to so. Check out the notes on copyright and how you can look for media content with a Creative Commons licence.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Suggested further reading
If you are using WordPress then you need look no further intially than the online resources they provide. The Learn WordPress online guide is a straightforward guide that takes you through the steps of setting up the blog; brainstoring actvities to stimulate creativity and get you writing; and also more advanced information about how to upload images, audio and video.
Head First WordPress - Jess Siarto
This book is also an easy read and goes in to more detail.
The Digital Journalist’s Handbook – Mark S Luckie
Chapter 3: Blogging