Thursday, January 25, 2007

Learning to Blog

I went over the general reason for blogging in my very first blog. Detailed reasons for wanting to learn to blog are 1) to express myself, 2) maybe teach someone something, 3) teach myself something new, 4) determine if blogging is something I should encourage as a viable technology for some of my friends and colleagues, and 5) learn to blog so I can help others in my organization is using and writing for blogs.

Since I was just trying out how to blog, I did not put a lot of thought into where to place my blog. Blogs in my organization are internal and I wanted to blog where others outside our network could get to it. Thus, I eliminated placing the blog on our server. Beyond that consideration, I knew any free blog service would work for my situation. I asked a couple of people. One had used blogspot in the past and another currently uses Google. I decided to go to my google account and blog there. Guess what? Blogspot and Google blogging are one and the same.

The next decision was to name my blog. I thought of deriving a name that would keep me completely anonymous, but decided eventually my blog would not be kept a secret so I came up with a name that folks who know me would understand the name. The name, like me, is not flashy, nor creative. I am still wary to use my last name and many details in my profile. Eventually, these will probably be known.

After I created a blog site, I was in a hurry to get started and did not take notice of things like what the url is, somehow I forgot my Google password in the process, then after while editing I received a note on the toolbar to run a pluggin from Office 2007. Since I am also trying the new Office, I clicked on the option to run the program. During the process, I lost the latest edits on my blog. My thought was "Darn, that was some good writing, too!" Well, I did not say darn, I used the other word. Lesson learned: if you need to install Active X control or some other program for your browser, be sure and save your current edits.

So I started my first blog. First, consideration in writing is who is your audience. Well, in future blogs, the audience may change from blog to blog. Kevin gave us the suggestion to write to a specific person who would be interested in the blog. So for this given blog, I thought of a few Extension county agents who might want to read about my experience of starting a blog in order to get a feel for what the bumps in the road would be like. Specifically, Tim comes to mind. Tim keeps up with the energy industry, although he says he not a prophet, he predicts with much accuracy when the prices at the gas pump will change. He sends his quick synopsis randomly through our internal email system. His reasonings behind the gas pump changes are interesting and are written in short paragraphs. I could imagine his blogging his synopsis, instead of emailing them. So Tim, I am writing to you. In a future blog, Iwill discuss news feeds and how they help make blogging efficient reads.

The blogging edit screen has easy buttons to bold and italicize, create links, and add graphics. Previewing is easy. A spell checker makes my writing much better. Saving the blog as a draft is a good technique because I have terrible typing skills, thus re-reading is important to me. Although this is only my second blog, I believe that I will write many other blogs, so I know I need to label my blogs for organization and so others can find the areas that they are interested in and ignore those other areas. Also, there are post options, where I can allow comments or disallow them. For now, they are being allowed.

Blogging is easy and other than losing a few edits on my first blog, the process was very easy.

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