[Tomado de: SO YOU WANT TO WRITE A BLOG….. Daniel W. Drezner. Associate Professor of Political Science. The Fletcher School, Tufts University, March 2007]
How to succeed at blogging
The way to publish a successful blog is to attract well-informed readers, while at the same time minimizing the misperceptions of colleagues who might read it. How can this be done? Ten pieces of advice to you, the novice blogger, from a five-year veteran:
1) Imagine your audience. Besides yourself, who do you want to read your blog? This is strictly a matter of personal choice. Some blogs are intended to reach only their own specialty. Others are intended for a general political science audience. And yet others are intended for an even wider audience. While there are common keys to success for all weblogs, it helps to anticipate the target audience’s expected background knowledge.
2) Think small at first.. Do not expect, just because you’ve decided to start a blog, that you will immediately adapt to the format. When you start your blog, it will not look pretty. The good news is that there is a learning-by-doing curve in blogging, and you can adapt to the format over time. The point is, give your new blog a month or two of shakedown before trumpeting it to other political scientists.
3) Write clearly and concisely. We have been trained within an inch of our lives to write for other academics. To the lay person, therefore, academics are too long-winded, too afraid of emotive language, and too in love with their own jargon to be easily accessible. Write as clearly and directly as possible.
Even if your intended audience is strictly limited to other academics, there are ways in which crafting a blog post is different from writing for an offline format. One simple rule of thumb – readers will give up on long blocks of unindented prose online long before they get discouraged when reading a similar amount of text on paper. Paragraphs should be no longer than 100 words.
4) Link, link, link. Many political scientists who try their hand at blogging mistakenly believe that the blog functions as a place where they can dump unaccepted op-ed essays. This overlooks a crucial component of the blogosphere – its networked, hyperlinked structure. As a general rule, try to link to at least one other we page in composing an individual blog post.
It also helps to link to other bloggers’ perspectives on the topic of your post. Search out weblogs that focus on similar topics and read them on a regular basis. This serves several useful purposes. First, think of it as the blog equivalent of a literature review – what are other people’s takes on a New York Times op-ed, for example? Second, they will often provide useful fodder for your own musings. Third, most bloggers want to know if others are talking about them. Various search engines and trackback features within blog software makes it easy for writers to find your blog. This allows the possibility of an iterated online exchange of views. If you are really interested in attracting traffic, be sure to e-mail popular bloggers when you have a post that targets their interests.
5) Remember – you are the editor. The blogosphere's comparative advantages are speed and no editors – but that does not mean that once you have posted something it is sacrosanct. In the hour after I initially post something, I will often revise it, to clean up typos, correct my grammar, add relevant links, and bulk up my arguments with more detailed points or supporting facts. The best bloggers have well-honed internal editing systems – and they use them on a regular basis.
6) Develop a thick skin. As someone accustomed to having colleagues rip apart my academic work in workshops and conferences, I have always found the criticism of blog commenters to be far less damaging to my psyche. That said, the blogosphere is not for the faint of heart. Many bloggers thrive on critiquing any and every post. Commenters can be even more abusive in their language. One category of commenters – referred to in blogging argot as “trolls” – will submit comments that have little to do with the original post. The more popular a blog becomes, the more this becomes a problem. The more you can filter out online rudeness in your own mind, the more productive you will be.
7) Respect the boundaries. Senior colleagues take discretion seriously, and episodes of professional misconduct involving weblogs have taken place in the past. One great fear of non-bloggers is that their interactions with you and with others will become fodder for your weblog. Your will need to reassure others that you will blog in a prudent manner. Do not talk about faculty meetings. Do not regurgitate campus gossip or hearsay. Do not post about your interactions with students, even if the interactions seem harmless to you. Be respectful of others. Your colleagues will respond to the tone of your blog – the more worried you are about their reaction, the more careful you should be.
8) Expect and correct misinterpretations. In conversation, people are used to reading body language, voice intonation, and numerous other cues when interpreting messages. In print, editors can pick up phrases that might be misinterpreted. These cues and checks are absent in weblogs. Because blogs are self-edited and instantaneously published, they tend to resemble e-mail more than any other publishing format. One fact that has become clear from electronic mail is the ease with which misinterpretations arise and mushroom beyond control. When misinterpretations arise, be sure to respond quickly and clearly.
9) Dilute the risk if necessary. If you want the benefits of blogging but have reason to be concerned about how it would affect your academic standing, there are ways to reduce the risks. One possibility is to blog under an alias or pseudonym. Another would be to form or join a group blog. The downside to these approaches, of course, is that they also reduce some of the rewards that come with blogging.
10) If it’s not fun, then don’t do it! Done properly, a blog can be a great asset to a political scientist – but it is hardly a prerequisite for a successful career. If you try it out and you feel it is not working out, then stop blogging.
[Texto completo en: http://www.danieldrezner.com/archives/003248.html]
PAPER TRAIL: The tyranny of 24/7 email; Tillie Olsen - Our fall issue is out now (click here to download the iPad edition), with Christian Lorentzen on Ben Lerner’s 10:04, Christopher Caldwell on Rick Perlstein...
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