This challenge is due at noon Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Description

For this challenge, you will identify several blogs of interest and add them to your blogroll and Feedly RSS feeds. Also, you will post a response to someone else’s blog post on your own blog, incorporating an image and a bulleted list.

Explanation

Finding and following five blogs:

  • Find three good blogs that address journalism, public relations, advertising, social media, or some combination of these topics. The TOPIC of each blog must be journalism, PR, advertising, or social media. In other words, a political blog, a sports writer’s blog, a corporate blog, or a nonprofit’s blog DON’T count. You’re looking for blogs about the journalism, PR, advertising, or social media industries. You’re free to use one of the links from the “Sites worth seeing” section on the course blog, but no more than one. Choose three good blogs that INTEREST YOU and that you wish to FOLLOW REGULARLY. Choose blogs that are updated regularly, not blogs where the last post was months ago. Here are some sites that might help you find blogs, but also feel free to find blogs on your own:
  • Subscribe to these blogs’ feeds using Feedly. Feedly requires you to log in using a Google account. (If you don’t have a Google account, you’ll need to create one.) To follow a blog in Feedly, click on +Add Content and then start typing either the name of the blog, the web address (URL) for the blog, or the address (URL) for the blog’s RSS feed (which you can probably find by looking on the blog’s main page for an RSS icon or XML button, or searching the blog’s main page for “RSS” or “feed.”). Feedly should automatically find the blog. In order to follow a blog, click the green “Follow” button.
  • Now, find two more good blogs that interest you. These can either be more blogs about journalism, PR, advertising, or social media, or they can be blogs about an unrelated topic that interests you. Blog search engines such as Technorati or Google Blog Search may be able to help you find relevant blogs. Add these two blogs to Feedly, following the same process as above.
  • Next, add all five of the blogs to the “Blogroll” of your WordPress blog. Log in to your WordPress account. Go to the Dashboard for your blog and select “Links” from the left column. You’ll probably see some links are already there in the category “Blogroll.” I recommend deleting those links unless you really think you’ll be visiting those sites a lot. To delete them, check the boxes to the left of them and then select “Delete” at the top (underneath “Bulk Actions”) and “Apply.” Now, add your five blogs. For each blog, select the “Add New” button. Then type in the official name of the blog and paste the URL for the blog’s homepage. Make sure the URL is the full address, including the http, the colon, and the two slashes. Under “Categories,” select “Blogroll.” You don’t need to fill in anything else. When you’re done, click the blue “Add link” button to the right. Follow this process for all five blogs. Need help? This WordPress support page might be of assistance.
  • Make your blogroll appear on your blog’s main page. In the Dashboard, go to Appearance > Widgets. Drag the “Links (Your Blogroll)” widget from the left-hand side into the Sidebar on the right. Try to place it in the Sidebar if you can, but some WordPress themes may require you to place it in the Footer. Now, click on the Links widget. Make sure that under “Select Link Category,” Blogroll is selected. You will see some other options for how the links should be sorted and displayed. Make sure that “Number of links to show” is set at a high enough number that all five of the links you’ve just added appear on your blog’s main page. Click the blue “Save” button for the changes to take effect. Now view your blog’s main page to make sure the blogroll appears and to make sure all of the links work properly. Need help? This WordPress support page might be of assistance.
  • If you want to delete the “Blogs I follow” widget from your sidebar, go ahead (you don’t want to overload the sidebar with too many lists of blogs). It’s your call. You will continue to follow those blogs, even if you delete the widget.

Creating a blog post

  • Write a short blog post that references a recent post on any of the five blogs you’ve just followed. Use the post on that blog as a starting point or inspiration for your own post. Your writing should either be a response or reaction to that blog post or should build upon that blog post in some way. It should not simply summarize the other person’s post. Basically, you’re continuing the conversation that was started on another blog. Be sure to give your blog post an interesting title that would make people want to read it and give the post at least one or two appropriate tags.
  • Your blog post must be 300 to 500 words. Do NOT go over 500 words.
  • Your post must contain “bullet points” (a bulleted list) somewhere within the post. (Use the “Unordered list” button in the WordPress editor’s toolbar.)
  • Your post must include a link to the post on the other blog. Work the link into the body of your post (similar to what you did in the first challenge assignment). Don’t tack it on at the end.
  • Your post must include an appropriate Creative Commons image found on the web (with proper attribution, either in a caption or at the end of the post, including the person’s name or user name, a link to the site where the photo is located, and a link to a description of the Creative Commons license). The photo can be somewhat generic (a “stock image”) but it should relate to your post in some way.
  • To find Creative Commons photos that you can use without violating copyright, go to the Compfight search site (make sure to search for photos with a Creative Commons license, not “Any license”), Flickr’s Creative Commons search site, the CC search page, or Google Images, using Google Images’ Advanced Search feature to limit the search to “Usage Rights: Free to use or share.” This page also has links to some other search engines for finding Creative Commons content and tips on avoiding copyright issues.
  • Once you find an image, download it to your computer.
  • In the WordPress editor, go to the place in your blog post where you want to insert the image, and click the “Add Media” button. You can then upload the image to WordPress. Play around with the sizing and alignment until you get it to look the way you want. Having trouble inserting the image into your blog post? This WordPress support page may be of help.
  • There must be a credit, either at the end of the blog post or in a caption accompanying the image. The credit must include the name or user name of the image’s owner, linked to the page where the image appears, and “CC” or “Creative Commons,” linked to a copy of the Creative Commons license for the image. (If you’re using Compfight, it will give you all the necessary HTML code to paste into your blog post, but you’ll have to switch from “Visual” to “Text” mode in the WordPress text editor when you paste the raw HTML code. For other image search sites, you’ll have to locate the necessary information — including the owner’s name or user name, the webpage containing the image, and the webpage listing the CC license, and then create the photo credit yourself.) Here are two examples of what a credit at the end of the blog post might look like:

     

    Photo Credit: Sebastián-Dario via Compfight cc

    Photo Credit: yasmapaz, cc

  • Preview your post before submitting the assignment to make sure everything looks right and works correctly.

Submitting the assignment

This challenge is due at noon Tuesday, Feb. 18. Send an email to COJR3002@gmail.com with all of the following:

  • A link to your blog post. (I will also be checking out your blog’s main page to see if you added the 5 blog links to your blogroll.)
  • A Microsoft Word attachment with a screenshot of Feedly in which your five feeds are visible. To get a screenshot: Open Feedly and expand it to fill the screen. Make sure the five feeds in the left pane are visible. On a PC, hit the PRT SC button (probably in the top row of the keyboard). On a Mac, hit the following key combination: Command+Control+Shift+3. Now, open Microsoft Word. In a new, blank file, select “Paste” (or Ctrl V). This should paste the image into the Word file. Save the file and attach it to the email.

Grading

The challenge is worth 20 points, broken down as follows:

Blog post (8 points): You will be evaluated on the quality of the post (Is it an informative response to someone else’s post, and not merely a summary of the other person’s post? Does it have an interesting headline?), length (Is it 300 to 500 words?), linking (Does it contain a link to the other person’s post?), and spelling and grammar.

Use of image and “bullet points” (6 points): Does the blog post contain “bullet points” (a bulleted list)? Does it include an appropriate Creative Commons image with a proper credit that links to the image and the license?

Blogroll/RSS feeds (6 points): Did you find five appropriate blogs? Were the links correctly added to your blog? Were the RSS feeds correctly added to Feedly?

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