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Category: Weblogs

Back from Break – The Projects

Cat baiting birds with carefully placed birdseed.

“Cat baiting birds with carefully placed birdseed.” by mcmorgan08 is licensed under CC BY-SA

The projects are up and running, and should be be starting week 2 of posting.

We haven’t had a more eclectic mix in a long time, from a scholarly investigation of blog culture, to posts on the supernatural, to a wunderkammer, and an encyclopedia. They are listed below so you can stop in and see what’s going on each week.

The Projects

The Darker Side – Abbie

a blog that shares posts about supernatural topics. The purpose of the blog will be to educate and entertain the reader on these particular topics.

The Stories You Don’t Hear – Aiden

Topics that I am passionate about and using extensive research and thought, come up with unique portrayals of these subjects that are maybe not well-known to the public.

Bible Time – Andrew

I will be reading passages from the Bible and explaining them, not only for myself to understand them better, but so others can learn as well.

Observations of a Tourist – Bonnie

[investigating] two public spaces: one physical (coffee houses) and one digital (weblogs and wikis) with expectations of finding connections and overlap between the two. This project will be a series of hypertext-rich blog posts synthesizing observations, research findings, theories, photographs and commentary.

Travel Blogging – Dani

a variety of travel blogs for explicit and implicit reflections on identity as a tourist; to further my understanding on the topic, I will study the blogs within the lens of scholarly articles and outside sources.

Political Geek Zone – Joshua

a blog on politics and current events. A blog is a very simple method for creating my own publication space where I can work on my professional writing.

Tips for a Healthier Life – Kendra

to educate people on how to live a healthier life by informing them on healthy eating tips and recipes, workout tips and body-image tips. Learning easy ways to have a healthier life is important because will improve one’s life as a whole.

Mr. E’s Monsterous Monsters Wiki – Raya

a wiki encyclopedia for my son’s Monsterous art. Along with the encyclopedia, there will be a discussion of dyslexia and how the creative collaboration of wikis may be beneficial to the dyslexic brain. Weekly reports

Mein Wunderkammer – William

a different look to the interesting parts of the internet and relate academic readings to them. … sometimes informal writing is necessary for the subject at hand, and I want to re-arrange my “wunderkammer” myself.

The Obligatory Reminder

Weekly reports! Post them by Mondays midnight, please.

Gate-keeping your comments with a quiz

Not an everyday need, but worth looking at. The gate could be porous or an iron curtain – your call.

Link to

Commenters offered a variety of ideas, which included everything from comment voting to more active moderation. The staff mulled over what they could implement that would be low cost and low impact to its community, and Grut had his own eureka moment while showering before biking to the office: why not a quiz? A WordPress plugin could force users to correctly answer a few multiple-choice questions before the page’s comment field would appear. Once he got to the office, he and fellow staffers spent three hours building the plugin, which Grut reminded the crowd is wholly open source.

Open source, so free to use and modify. Thank the Norwegian people.

Reading Blogs as Literature

25th January 2018

“25th January 2018” by themostinept is licensed under CC BY-SA

For advice on reading and posting, refer to ReadingsBlogAsDiaryAndCommonPlaceBo0k. Use the same criteria for reading and posting for this week’s foray.

The question of blogs-as-literature revolves less around the idea that a blog can be used to perform or distribute literary texts and more around the idea of reading blog posts and blogs as literary texts. The blog as a literary genre.

This is not a consideration of how to use a blog to publish literature. Instead, it’s a consideration of blogs as part of literary study. Aimeée Morrison make the case for this way of thinking in her article on blogs and blogging in  A Companion to Digital Literary Studies.


The Labyrinth Unbound: Weblogs as Literature, Himmer. PDF. “Calling a weblog “literary” does not require content that is about literature or even content that aims to be literature. It is not an attempt at categorizing one weblog and its author as more worthwhile in a canonical sense than any other. To the contrary, I propose that every weblog can be considered literary in the sense that it calls attention not only to what we read, but also to the unique way we read it. ”

The Pleasure of the Blog: The Early Novel, the Serial, and the Narrative Archive, Fitzpatrick. “blogs offer not simply a voyeuristic peek into someone else’s life — though, obviously, that numbers among their pleasures, too — but they also offer a form of writing that engages the reader by requiring her not simply to consume the content presented but also, in some sense, to produce that content, to complete what is present through a knowledge of what is past, an exploration of the ways that that present is situated, and a commitment to return in the future. The character of the blogger, and the narrative of the blog, thus emerges in a distinctively time-based fashion. ”

Imagining the Blogosphere: An Introduction to the Imagined Community of Instant Publishing]], Lampa. PDF.

Social Media and Literature]]. Huff Post.

Travel Blogging is a literary use that continues a literary practice of the travelogue and travel novel. Any others suit this idea? Beauty blogging? Foodie blogging? Are these literature?

Search Google and elsewhere for examples, counter-examples, positions, suggestions…

How’d that bootcamp thing go, then?

Screen capture

By the looks of blog posts, Bootcamp went well.  Lots of experimenting with brief posts like Dani on CC and brief and informal but linked like Grace on CC. Early blogging tends to be hit and run as bloggers learn the mechanism: Abbie uses quick lists in the tradition of the first bloggers; others use humor; quick images and fast posts that record the moment – and here; and an image of the ever-popular encounter with ennui.

But there were also some more extended consideration on copyright and fair use.  Kendra turns her search for information  into the blog post itself, which turns her blog into a useful collection that she can use again – and others can use when they bump into it. The idea of collecting and reviewing links to good content is, again, in the tradition of blogging.

Here is the link that helped me the most throughout my research. It had everything I was looking for all in one place and it was easy to understand.

How to Copyright on WordPress

This site provided me with a copyright statement that I could use at the bottom of my page, all I had to do was copy and paste it into my text widget and customize my name and the name of my site. It was easy and effective! This site also gave me information on how to protect myself from content theft on all aspects of my blog site, which was also informative.

Bonnie takes a similar strategy: fashioning a narrative of the search for CC aid IP information – and adding a fast post that continues her review of CC later.  William takes on speculation about fair use of the CC logo itself.

Some substantive reflections: Raya goes expository in her Reflections.  Andrew works with a list – as did Abbie, with a list and reflection.

What to make of this?  Everybody engages in collecting, common placing, using the blog, at least at first, as a cabinet of curiosity – which leads us to the reading and posting for this week.

Week of 23 Jan: Blogging as Commonplacing

Ferrante Imperato, from Dell’Historia Naturale, Naples 1599. Alchetron

The Topic for the Week is The Blog as Diary and Common Place Book.  Blogs started (c. 1999) as logs – like a ship’s log – with the writers recording visits to websites  across the then-limited web. When pedestrian blog software was first introduced (c. 2001-2), blogging became popular and the popular culture started to characterize them as diaries. Both genres still are around, but have also developed into ideas of  the commonplace book and cabinets of curiosity. Blogs, seen this way, are used for personal and academic development of ideas, places for personal collection and consideration.  Personal, but not private.

Do this: Read and post on a few of the readings below.  Select what you find interesting. Set aside those you don’t.  You’re bound to find two or more of interest.  And if you don’t, google for other readings on the topic and work with those instead (Use Google Scholar to find readings that are more substantive than typically found in a google search.)

Make two posts during the week – one by the end of the day on Thursday, and another by end of the day on Sunday. Between those times, have a look at what others in class are posting and leave a comment or question where one comes up.

As you read the posts of others, watch for patterns and common ideas emerging.  Those patterns and common  ideas can be the basis for your post.

How to develop a post

The idea in blogging is to connect what you’re looking at to other materials – readings, videos, images, ideas, bloggers – out there on the web.

Rather than summarize what you read, use what you read as a jumping off point of your own thinking.  Consider how you can respond to the ideas presented.

  • Make connections to examples  in the form of links and commentary.
  • Draw on two of the readings in a single post to frame up a new idea or re-iterate an existing one. Quote and link to the source. Not all visitors will have read the sources, so help readers connect.
  • Find examples of the genres: diary, commonplace books, cabinets of curiosity.  Link to them. Comment on them.
  • Draft and post a critique to one or two of the readings
  • Google for more and other readings, or images, videos, et al, that you can connect to (as in link to) to create a constellation of connections.
  • Google for other readings on the same topic and read and work with those instead. Use Google Scholar to find readings that are more substantive than typically found in a google search.
  • I have not given background on the authors or publication for a reason: Google the authors to get started on an angle for blogging about the readings.
  • … add your own ideas to the comments

Take your time.  No need to rush a post.  Study your post as you work.  Revise it. Save it as a draft and return to it.

For advice on linking and developing a post, have a look at Lorelle’s Checklist. The checklist is not the same as the other material from Lorelle we’ve looked at.

Try posting from Elsewhere: places that are not your typical working spaces.

Length: 500 – 1000 words or so,  for each post

No padding, no slither. It’s not really about length so much as //the insight and depth you want too explore// and present – how detailed and closely observed are you going to make the post.

Length measured in engagement

Set aside the typical thinking on attention spans as guide to length.  The idea is to write in such a way that reading the post is worth the reader’s time.  That means the writer has to commit to engagement.  That means it’s up to the writer to //make// the connections, the insights, the links worth it. People pay attention to what they are interested in – It’s your position to find an interesting way into the ideas of these readings. Not everyone who starts to read will stay with the post. That’s fine. But see what you can do to make engagement worth the effort.

You have the entire web as content to work with. That should be plenty to start with.

The Readings


Bypassing the Customizer

If you are trying to add links to develop a blogroll and aren’t seeing a way to do it, you might be on the WP Customizer page.

If you’re seeing this

But you want to see this



Then do this:

Edit the url in the address bar of your browser:

To look like

That is

Then bookmark that page to get back to it when you need to.


Attribution Helper Bookmarklet

Here’s the bookmarklet I use for embedding Flickr CC images to blog posts. It comes from Alan Levine (@cogdog), and is a project he started on GitHub.

To understand Alan’s whys and wherefores, have a look at his documents.  Alan also includes a couple of video tutorials linked off this docs.

In this class, we’re not looking at the don’t-make-me-think, ready-for-prime-time kind tools.  We’re looking behind the screens, where the really interesting stuff goes on.  Take the time to consider the documentation and you’ll bring a lot away with you.

Weblogs Bootcamp Week 2

24th July 2017

“24th July 2017” by themostinept is licensed under CC BY-SA

BookCamp Week 1 is winding down or up – and you should be making a few posts to become familiar with the WordPress interface and the process of posting. You should also have a Twitter account set up and chosen a gravatar.

We meet on Tuesday to compare notes and start the second week of BootCamp.

Before then, you should visit your neighbors: The blogs that have checked in are listed in the blogroll. Visit, leave a comment …

See if anyone has tied their Twitter account in to their sidebar yet, using the Twitter widget. Have a look at how others are handling their About page.

See you tomorrow, 12:30.

Blog icon, site icon …

A student asked about the blog icon I mention in the StartUpExercises:

On the checklist it said to add a blog icon, but I can’t seem to figure out what that is. What exactly should I be looking for?

I dug around and found that WP has changed the term.  It’s now called a site icon.  See this page on WordPress Support: five step blog setup.  It’s a small square icon that appears in the browser address bar.
It’s not necessary to have a site icon, but it helps visitors distinguish your blog from others in their bookmarks and elsewhere.

Welcome to Weblogs and Wikis

Caution: Plastic Child

“Caution: Plastic Child” by mcmorgan08 is licensed under CC BY-SA

It’s spring semester, and Weblogs and Wikis is back for the 15th time.  I introduced the course in 2002-3, just after Blogger was introduced, and blogs were starting to be noticed by the media. Wikis were generally unknown outside of CS circles.

(Just for some context: MySpace was founded in 2003; Facebook showed up in 2004; Twitter was introduced in 2006.  The wired telegraph was invented in 1837; radio in 1895.  Hypertext: conceptualized in the 1940s. Demoed in 1968. Proselytized in the 1970s. Internet: Developed between 1966 (NLS) and 1983 (DARPA). The web was proposed in 1989, from a system devised in 1980, although it wasn’t widely known outside of CERN. Txting was limited to 160 characters and done on a number pad.)

I’ll use this blog for announcements and as a center for your blogs and projects.  Once you have a blog set up on WP, you should Follow this blog to be notified of updates.

For this week, read the CourseStatement2018 and start the BootCamp2018 exercises. Once you have a blog set up, add a comment to this post including a link to your blog so I can add you to the list of posters.  Also, email me with the link to your blog – just in case.