Right now, I (Barry) am with high school students in the Race and Medicine: Nature and Nurture class at the American Museum of Natural History, helping them learn how to write a blog. I was asked to come in to help them learn how to blog about what they are learning in the program.
What we are doing together is going step by step over how to make a blog post that is extravagant, awesome, exciting, fantastic and educational (and co-written).
Step 1: When you start writing your blog post, write it in a big place, with big space, like a word processor or on a pad of paper (a web browser can be confining).
Step 2: Make an outline and then answer Who, What, Where, When and Why (to provide context). See the first two paragraphs of this post as an example.
Step 3: Make it personal. For example, in September 2003, I posted my first blog post. It was a blog I made with my wife about fun things to do in NYC. Now, ten years later, so much has changed with blogs. In fact, most of the students in this room have not been to a blog but ALL have experienced what blogs have brought us through Facebook: sharing interesting and funny things, commenting, socializing online, etc.
Step 4: Make it useful. You want to be informative, provocative (if you can back it up), and philosophical (fill them with deep thoughts). This blog post, for example, will help people learn how to make a blog post and do it for themselves. (I am having fun so far) (Shelton replied, when I wrote that last sentence on the screen, “Yes you are!”)
Step 5: Get networked. The blog post should not be the end but the beginning of networking, connecting the reader to other people, ideas and interesting things. So, you have to include links.
Step 6: Make it participatory. As Saijah just said, Facebook without being able to respond would be like reading someone’s diary. To make a blog post participatory you can ask your readers questions or ask them to do something. Make it a conversation! Saijah would like you to respond below by sharing your own tips for making blog posts.
Step 7: Give it a title. For example, the students are coming up with all sorts of awesome titles for this blog. For example, this one could be called Blog Recipe. Or, Your Guide for Blogging. Or, Blogception (like the movie Inception, because we are blogging about blogging. Or, BlogNA (because like DNA this is a template). As you already know, the title they chose in the end was: Blogception (a hands-down winner): a live collaboration between students and a blogging expert.
Step 8: The students made me just now realize a step 8 – proofread what you wrote after you are done (they are laughing at me).
Step 9: Manage your Taxonomy (where the post fits in the categories for the blog site) and Folksonomy (the emergent categories that grow one post at a time).
Step 10: Post and Tweet it. Once you post it, use Twitter to spread it around. You want people to retweet it, hopefully people with more followers than you! Don’t be shy to ask people to spread it around!
Step 11: Revise it! (We added this after we posted it) Once it is posted you can always come back and change it. Such as…
Step 12: Add a photo. You always have to have a photo! (We added one here and at the top)
And don’t forget: Saijah would like you to respond below by sharing your own tips for making blog posts.