Friday, July 8, 2011

Vital #1: Blogging


Have you ever kept a journal, a diary, a simple log of what you’ve been up to? A blog (or “web log”) is simply an online version where you can record your thoughts and musings in online posts. You can write about any topic that interests you—education, libraries, travel, food, your kids, in a word—anything!

Blogs take you one step further than a simple diary, with the ability to share what you’ve written with the world, invite comments and questions (or not!) through the commenting feature. Blogs are a wonderful way to connect with other people with similar interests. Blogs can be a great way to develop your professional network and are also wonderful for helping you to remember events and projects in the future and to reflect upon them as you go.

Blogs let you do all these wonderful things without the pesky need to master (or even think about) HTML or web page creation. Additionally, they are usually free to create and maintain!

For more information, check out this short video about blogs from the Commoncraft Website.

How does this help me?

Blogs sound great and all, but how can they help you? You can use a blog to
  • Connect with members of your community
  • Share book recommendations and reviews
  • Showcase student writing projects & portfolios
  • Share interesting new tools and technology
  • and much more!
This article from WebJunction has 6 great reasons why you should consider blogging. I particularly like reasons 1: "Writing a blog keeps you current" & 2: "Blogs are an advocacy tool." We work hard as librarians to stay current and keep up with the constantly changing landscape. We are (or should be) constant advocates for our own library programs and for libraries in general. One more tool in our toolbox is always handy!

Here are some examples of library blogs in action:
Chances are good that you already know a person or organization with a blog. Two of these blogs are written by librarians within the WSWHE BOCES SLS.

Stuff to check out

There are plenty of different blogging tools to choose from. Some are more full-featured than others, some are more a quick-start. Poke around and see which appeals to you! These are all free options.
  • Posterous. Super minimalistic, Posterous can get you off to a quick start. Two neat things you can do with Posterous: create a post via email and easily share your posts with your Facebook and Twitter friends/followers.
  • Blogger, WordPress and Edublogs are full-featured blogging tools that allow for more customization. You can get started quickly and easily, but can also poke around in settings and make the blog more personalized over time.
If you haven't used any of these blogging tools before, you might try Blogger. The video below can help you get started.

Vital Task

Your first task is to create your own blog. This will help you to keep a record of what you’re learning during this project. It will also serve as a way to communicate with other participants. You can use any of the blogging platforms we’ve mentioned, or another if you prefer. If you’re new to blogging, try

First: Choose your platform and create your blog!
Posterous | Blogger| WordPress | Edublogs

Important stuff: You must have a blog specific to this project. Please don’t register your library’s blog, or a blog that you’re using for another topic/purpose. We will be looking at your blogs to see how you’re doing with each topic and to track your progress through the project.

More important stuff: Don’t forget to write down your account info! Login, password, URL, blog name.

Next: Create your first blog post!
Tell us who, what, where, why!
· Who are you?
· What have you learned in the program so far?
· Where do you work?
· Why are you taking part in this program?
Since this is an official weekly post (you can write more than once a week if you want), please title it “Virtual Vital: Blogging”.

And then: Register your blog here
We’ll use this to create a list of participants' blogs so everyone can read each others blogs and share their tips and ideas. Your blog entries will also be the basis for earning professional development credit.

Finally: Comments
Check the list of participants' blogs. There is a list on the Participants' Blog page, and they are also listed under the 'My Blog List' widget on the right side of this page. Take a look at other people’s blogs and leave a comment or two on anything you find interesting. Keep in mind that this is a way to share your ideas, react to another writer’s thoughts and to make connections with other people. When commenting on a blog post, remember to be respectful and courteous, even if you disagree with something they’ve posted. Next week we'll work on how to organize all these blogs!

Comments, part the second:
Leave a comment on this blog post as well, if you like.   You can say hello, post a link to your own newly created blog or let us know you're here and planning to join us.  Welcome!


  1. Hi Amy!

    Looking forward to learning in this course! Thanks for inviting me! As I stated in my blog, my other mentor, Maureen is also participating! I get the best of the best huh! :)


  2. Welcome Alison! Glad you could join us! I hope that we'll all learn from each other and look forward to exploring some nifty tools with you!

  3. Hello, everyone!
    I registered my blog also - it's been part of my life now for over four years. Blogging is what you make it. For me, that means a creative outlet, personal journal, and connective tool; for you, it may evolve into something totally different.
    Have fun with it!

  4. Hi, I my computer or the internet is not letting me post comments on other blogs here. Very strange really. I keep going in a circle logging in and it keeps bumping me out again. So bear with me while I see if I can straighten this out over the next week or so.

  5. Hello,
    I am wondering if the problem Maureen is running into is something we will all find. I just had the same thing happen. Do we need to first be following a blog to be able to post to it? Could this have something to do with the settings we are using to create our blogs? Do we need to allow for comments? I am just throwing out ideas that I was thinking about. If anyone has ideas or suggestions please share with everyone.
    I am really looking forward to sharing this learning experience with you all, and getting lots of ideas for strengthening and sharing our library programs!

  6. Sarah and Maureen,

    You should check the setting on your blogs to be sure that comments are enabled. I don't see comments I made, either, and I use my Google I.D. which usually presents no problems.

    Select "Show" and "Anyone" to ensure that all can comment.

  7. Hello,
    My name is Stacey and although I am looking forward to learning about Blogs this summer, I am feeling a bit frustrated. I created my blog, yet can't see it in the participating blog section of this site.
    Thanks, Stacey
    PS- What's the best choice for posting comments? Which choice should I choose from the select profile next to comment as?

  8. Hi Stacey! Your blog should appear in the participating blog section and on the blogroll on the right side of the screen. I have to put them in manually, and hadn't gotten to your yet--sorry for the frustration! In terms of posting comments, you can use any of the choices--it is designed to make it as easy for you as possible. If you have a Google ID (and you do, it's how you logged into Blogger), you can use that. If you prefer to comment anonymously, you can do that too.

    If anyone is still having trouble with comments after Diane's advice, please let me know and we'll work together to sort it out!

  9. I just saw an interesting infographic shared on Twitter:

    If you decide to continue blogging, you might want to bookmark this!

  10. Hi Amy:

    I was wondering if I'm missing something because I'm not seeing another posting for the second week for organizing the blogs?


  11. Alison-
    Sorry about that! We had week two all set to go and hadn't hit 'publish'. You should be able to access it now here:
    Thanks for the reminder!

  12. I am a little behind on RSS feeds, I've had my 4 year old grandson for the week. I am almost finished with my list. I haven't seen any postings lately and see that Part #3 isn't up yet. I just wanted to make sure I hadn't missed anything. Mary H.

  13. Vital #3 is here! Sorry for the delay!

  14. Hi Amy,
    I have been trying to comment on yours and Katrina's comments on my blog and I can't. I tried 5 times and it wouldn't let me. the option to post anonymosly is gone and it keeps sending me to google. I tried using my google account to post. It says I ahve to make changes to gain access. I tried becoming a folowwer but I stil can't post. Any suggestions?
    Thanks, Stacey