Welcome to the Wild World Web

Congratulations to everyone tonight for setting up a blog! You’re all journalists now, believe it or not. That’s all it took. I know I threw an incredible amount of information at all of you in a short period of time (and we had lots more we didn’t get to). We’ll cover more on the craft of blogging in coming weeks, so don’t worry if you’re still feeling a bit lost. For next week, you have a boatload to do:

1) Email me the link to your blog so I can start reading and can add you to the class blogroll so you can start reading each other. A reminder that each week’s blog posts are “due” by 10 p.m. on Tuesday the day before class to give me time to read them and choose some points for in-class discussion. Also, since this is our first email communication, make sure to tell me in your email whether you want me to use any email address other than your designated Georgetown.edu email address. If you have a personal or work email you’d prefer I use to communicate with you, let me know now.

2) You’ll find in the column to the left, by the blogroll, the link to the class del.icio.us feed as well as some Georgetown resources. Make sure you start reading some blogs this week and start posting items—almost anything could be relevant on the del.icio.us feed, from news articles to YouTube videos to favorite podcasts. And don’t forget to to tag items with your name so you get credit for them. You can go either to the website to post or you can install the browser buttons. I recommend the latter and, as I said earlier night, I also recommend switching to Firefox as your browser if you don’t currently use it. The del.icio.us username is socialmedia09 and the password is the class designation, mppr850. DO NOT SET UP YOUR OWN ACCOUNT.

3) Read Scoble—he has some great background on the web and blogging. He’ll also give you lots of tips on blogging and “voice.” Remember the Cluetrain Manifesto!

4) Get blogging! Read that post on blogging tips and the related articles that I posted in the del.icio.us feed and then take your new blog out for a spin and kick the tires a bit. I expect a lot of this is going to be difficult at first, so feel free to ask lots of questions via email or give a call. Next week we’ll spend a lot of the class on blogging tips, voice, tone, and what makes a good blog entry, and Scoble has tons of tips too. Also keep thinking back to Gillmor and the Cluetrain Manifesto, which along with the “Long Tail” and “Here Comes Everybody” (we’ll get to those soon) will be the foundational texts of the class.

5) For your first blog entry for next week’s class, write about whatever aspect of Dan Gillmor’s book you found most interesting. For this and all future “response blogs,” please start your blog title with “RESPONSE #1:” and then the title of your post. In future weeks, use “RESPONSE #2:” and so on, through #13. This is to delineate for me which blogs are in response to questions and which ones are free-form blogs.

6) If you don’t have an account on Google, please make sure to set one up before class next week, i.e., make sure that you have a gmail.com address. You won’t have to use this for email, although it’s the best of the free email programs on the web.

I promise that future weeks won’t all include as much outside work; we just have to cover these important texts to establish the base on which to build the rest of the semester. As we used as a rallying cry on the Dean campaign, “To the blogs!”

(P.S. As you’re reading about blogs here and there over the coming week, think about what I purposefully did wrong in this entry that’s a blogging no-no. A bonus point next week to whomever can figure it out.)

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