October 10, 2011

Thing 1: Creating a blog and writing your first post

Follow this post to find out how to register!

So how do you go about becoming an academic blogger? Firstly you need to decide what kind of blogger you are. What do you want to achieve through blogging? In answering this question it can help to get a sense of other people at Warwick who blog and what they get out of it.

  • Do you want a place to publish your work online?
  • Do you want to raise your profile?
  • Do you want to practice your writing?
  • Do you want an online presence for a project you’re involved in?
  • Do you want to disseminate your research?
  • Do you want to setup a collaborative writing/publishing project?
  • Do you want to connect with other researchers?
  • Do you want to gain a wider perspective on your field?

These are just some of the things that motivate postgraduate researchers to get started. It’s not necessary to know exactly why you want to start blogging. Most people find that their interest in it changes (and grows!) over time. Nonetheless it’s a good idea to think about what you might like to achieve as a postgraduate researcher through starting a blog. This also shapes how you blog: what service you use and the style you adopt in your writing e.g. if you’re writing to connect with other researchers in your area then technical terminology is more acceptable than if you’re writing for a broad audience.

Now what about the practical side to getting started? Firstly you need to decide what platform you want to use. Below is a table with some pros and cons for the most well known blogging services, as well as links to step-by-step guides to using each of them. There are also other services such as Typepad and Posterous which are worth considering if you’re particularly keen to explore the range of options before you begin. However what counts as a ‘pro’ and as a ‘con’ depends on what you want to use your blog for, as well as how experienced and confident you are at using online tools. Here are some rules of thumb about what service might be right for you:

  • If you just want an online scrapbook to post thoughts, ideas, quotes and multimedia then use Tumblr. It also suits if your blog is going to be more personal than professional - though it’s worth pointing out that for postgraduate researchers in particular, as well as bloggers in general, the two categories can sometimes get blurred.
  • If you want a place to practice your writing, connect with other researchers at Warwick or act as an online presence for a Warwick based projects then use Warwick Blogs. The fact it’s branded and shows up prominently in search engines makes it very useful for these purposes. It’s also good if you’re not feeling particularly confident about the process.
  • If you want to disseminate your research, connect with researchers internationally or raise your profile then use Wordpress or Blogger.
  • If you want to setup a collaborative writing project then use Wordpress. Though the amount of functionality can be confusing at first, it has very powerful tools to facilitate multi-author projects and extending the functionality by moving it to a private hosting service.
  Warwick Blogs Wordpress Blogger Tumblr
Pros • Having a Warwick domain name means search engines will find your blog easily
• Easy to setup and use
• Good for projects largely based within Warwick
• Easy to register a domain name for your blog
• Extremely powerful and flexible
• Supported by large and active community
• Easy to setup with multiple users
• Owned by Google and convenient if you already use other google products
• It’s easier to use than Wordpress
• It’s possible to build your own templates
• Visually attractive
• Easy to use
• Social networking functionality built into the platform
• Great smart phone functionality
• Excellent for multimedia
Cons • It can be difficult to make your Warwick blog stand out
• Being prominently branded by Warwick can undermine the independent identity of your blog
• Degree of flexibility can be confusing for first time users
• Themes tend to be less attractive then Tumblr
• Many people think Blogger sites look less professional than other services
• Sites hosted by Blogger are sometimes slow to load
• Limited customization
• Designed for ‘micro-blogging’ and less suited to larger pieces of writing
• Generally more effective for multimedia then writing
Step by step instructions

Signing up


How to blog using Wordpress How to set up your Blogger account Beginners guide to Tumblr

To complete thing 1 create a blog using one of the platforms listed above. This blog will be used to track your progress on the programme. Each week we will ask you to write a post about each thing you have been asked to complete. For your first post write about your experience setting up the blog and tell us a little about what you are hoping to learn from the 23 Things for the Digital Professional programme.

Once you have created your blog you can register online to take part in the programme.

Further information

- 2 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. If we already have a blogger account, how do we feed our blog into the research exchange?

    14 Oct 2011, 09:56

  2. Emma Cragg

    Hi Barton,

    By filling in the registration form you have done all you need to register for the programme. Your blog now appears on the list of participant blogs which is linked from the sidebar.

    17 Oct 2011, 09:31

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