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VOF Week 3: (Blogs- A Mixed Bag)

I started a blog in December 2007 and was pretty consistent with it for almost year. It was fun because I got to choose what I wrote about without the pressure of conforming to someone else’s expectations. I also didn’t have to worry about how each piece was structured, and was able to break traditional rules of writing, such as using all small letters, no caps, for affect. As a result some pretty creative pieces came out if it.

As a blog-writer I became curious of what other peoples’ blogs looked like-from the content of their blogs to the aesthetics of it. I took note of how others categorized each entry, for example according to the month it was written in or using creative titles like, Things My Mama Told Me Never To Do, but I Do Them Anyway. I also noticed what backgrounds and colors people chose to make their blogs more appealing to readers.

What I found was completely different than what I had been doing on my blog. I discovered colorful and bright pictures placed in sidebars and within the entries themselves, and videos to illustrate points.

I became nervous. Up until then I was using just straight text to express myself. I even had a friend comment on my blog about how I should put up pictures to draw more readers to it.

I logged into my account and after 10 minutes gave up. I had problems adjusting the size of my pictures and easily became confused with the placement of it…why is the picture I want in the sidebar showing up within my entry? Once I deleted an entire entry because I tried posting a picture.

I then decided to make my blog available on search engines. Although I received a lot more traffic, I became concerned of who was reading my blog and how they were using my pieces. I worried about plagiarism and wanted to know more about copyright restrictions on blog pieces, which is uncharted territory up until recently. I hid my blog from the public again.

It is now April 2009 and I am slowly venturing back on to my blog to learn more about the different types of media I can use to enhance my writing. Honestly, it is daunting. I am however giving myself tutorials on how to use different features and trying to find more information on my rights to my words.

I also am limited to color choices and backgrounds on my page because I have a blog that I am not paying to use. It would be nice to learn more about how I can write in code to go outside of the given templates, or even if I can.

A much needed Blogging 101 for Women’s Rights Activists would be much appreciated. I think we all could do a lot more if we knew how to use the tools, because they exist, but are being underutilized.

Comments

Tanya's picture

Grooveesista,Up until now, I

Grooveesista,

Up until now, I hadn't really focused on the issue of copyright and plagiarism when it came to blogging and I'm glad you reminded us of it. I'm sure, if and when, I start to blog this would be very important to me as well. I think the best way to deal with it is to issue a copyright notice on your blog, stating the rules for publishing it elsewhere (online or even in print - such as giving due credit). Other, then that I guess you have to let go..just as one has to do so in the traditional media. I, personally think as little information as possible about self should be disclosed online (atleast in terms of specifics) and it should be open for the public at large; because that is where one is really tested and able to grow with regards to his/her work .

I hope it's a smoother ride for you ahead!

Katie McDonald's picture

Thank you

Hey Grooveesista,

Sounds like two steps forward, one step backwards...but that is all part of the process as we learn and try new things. I myself have not done too much blogging...sounds as though some of the formatting and styling stuff can be tedious...I hope you find you blogging groove...

Katie

grooveesista's picture

thank you for your insight!

Tanya, I hadn't even thought of issuing a copyright notice on my blog! I think I was so wrapped up in finding more structured laws, that it didn't even occur to me that I could do something to protect myself. Thank you for the reminder that we are not powerless even when we may not know what the law says or fully understand our rights, in this case as authors of our work, but it can definitely be applied to broader terms.

grooveesista's picture

going with the flow

Thanks Katie for your comment.
Yes, blogging does a lot of times it feels like I am stepping on foreign soil, trying to figure most things out on my own, learning as I go, discovering new things, and then familiarizing myself with the different tools available.
In that sense, I really like the way you put it, "two steps forward, one step backwards."
I am slowly learning and that is what keeps me writing.

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