Blogging 2: Web Communities

This course builds on our basic blog skills to explore how bloggers become active in communities on the web and in real life (IRL). Every blogger is part of a chosen, and sometimes an unchosen, web community. But how are those choices made? How can a blogger encourage one set of readers and/or discourage others? What aspects of earlier analogue or paper-based communities do blogs replicate or improve on? When do blog voices break the rules of IRL communities? In this course, you may wish to continue work on a blog established in Blogging I, bring a personal or work-related blog that you wish to define and develop in the course, or work on This Week in Incarceration — Past and Present, the blog of the Global Dialogues Project at the Humanities Action Lab. Readings will put web communities in their historical and cultural context, with a special emphasis on tone and the blogger’s online persona. Students will write at least three posts a week, cross posting to the course blog. By the end of the class, each student should have a strategy to draw and retain desired readers, as well as strategies to deter unwanted readers.

Students need not have their own blog, but can write blog posts for the “Global Dialogues: Mass Incarceration” blog instead.

Learning outcomes. Students who complete the class successfully will learn:

  • How to define their own blogging ethic and apply it consistently;
  • How to manage a comments section and deter trolls;
  • The advantages, and disadvantages of blogging under one’s own name or a pseudonym;
  • How to become part of a network of bloggers;
  • How to use links and blog metadata to position their blogs for desired readers.

Classes will be held October 8, October 15, October 22, October 29, and November 5.