Monday, August 6, 2007

Exit the Blogosphere

Thus ends this summer's NYU continuing ed media studies class about blogging.

I had a blast and really enjoyed the students -- and their ideas and insights about blogs and online media.

People who rode along should be sure to check out the student blogs -- nascent though they may be -- and let students know what you think of their work!

I'll see you online. Feel free to contact me at any time: kalel AT well DOT com.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Notes from July 25

You can now access the notes from our final session online.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Guest from July 18: Elizabeth Spiers

This week, we were joined by Elizabeth Spiers.

As the founding editor of Gawker, the founder and former publisher of Dead Horse Media (home of Dealbreaker and Fashionista, among another), she was chock full of stories about what it means to blog professionally -- as a writer, and as a business owner.

Thanks, Elizabeth, for stopping by!

Notes from July 18

My notes from this week are now available.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Notes from July 11

Maybe it was the rain, but only one student showed up tonight! We hung out discussing blogs and other topics until almost 7:30 before calling it a night. Class will resume next week, and we'll just shift topics ahead a week in the syllabus. I'll update that document now.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Guests from June 27: Gregory Galant, Amit Gupta, and Angus McIntyre

We had three guest speakers last week -- multiple guests for multiple media. They were Gregory Galant, host and executive producer of Venture Voice, as well as CEO of RadioTail (podcasting); Amit Gupta, founder of Photojojo (photoblogging) -- and pictured; and Angus McIntyre, senior developer of (videoblogging).

Guest Notes from June 27: Angus McIntyre

Guest Angus's notes are also now available.

Notes from June 27

My notes are now available.

Monday, June 25, 2007

On Transliteracy

When I pinged Eric Rice for feedback about the podcast portion of this class, he turned me onto a new term: transliteracy.

I've long been interested in multiple media literacy, but this term frames my thinking in a new way. It should be useful for this week's session.

Guest from June 20: Tery Spataro

Last week's guest speaker, Tery Spataro, works as senior strategist, interactive media, for Siegel+Gale, a branding firm. She's also an active blogger, contributing to Daily Eats and BlogHer.

Having been active in online communities almost as long as they've been around, Tery shared some stories about her experiences and ideas. She also brought delicious chocolates!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Who Said That?

Last night, we briefly touched on the benefits and dangers of anonymity. Today, this article crossed my transom. Any comments?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Guest from June 13: David Krell

We were joined by two guests this evening. One, Mary Lou, was a friend of Carrie's, who came by to check out the class. The other, David Krell, was our featured speaker.

David is a practicing attorney who focuses on intellectual property. He received his LLM in intellectual property from Cardozo Law School in New York City in 2005. He also earned a J.D. from Villanova Law School in Villanova, Pennsylvania.

Having worked with Broadway Video and Classic Media to research the history of entertainment properties in order to strengthen their protection, David works with clients who are beginning their first venture into business and intellectual property. Current clients include a fashion designer and the founder of a nonprofit.

Interestingly, David is also a television historian. An avid TV fan, he is a frequent commentator on Talkin' Television on KSAV.

Over the course of his remarks, David mentioned the blog Likelihood of Confusion.

Pop Culture References to Blogs

When I got home from class tonight, I turned on the TV, and on Comedy Central, they were airing a rerun of the South Park episode "The Snuke." The best parts of the episode touch on one of tonight's topics -- the tracks and paths we leave online by participating in blogging and other user-generated media activities.

I've embedded a YouTube video of portions of the episode below. True to form, portions of this South Park episode are of questionable taste. If you are easily offended by references to racial stereotypes, female anatomy, flatulence, and other themes, don't watch the whole thing. But if you fast forward to about 3:20, you can get a sense of what I'm talking about. The next segment most worthy of your attention begins around 5:03.

This post is also an exercise of another topic from tonight's class: copyright infringement. While I did not edit nor upload the YouTube segment, and while I do not in general condone copyright infringement, I believe that this falls under fair use. I am including the segment here for teaching purposes, as well as research, scholarship, criticism, and comment. The use is also important for the discussions in class, and I've highlighted a specific, small amount to meet that educational purpose.

Notes from June 13

My notes are now available.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Another Book About Blogging

In today's mail, I received a book I learned about after class started -- but which is still worth our consideration. In late May, Cory Doctorow recommended that I check out Suzanne Stefanac's Dispatches from Blogistan: A Travel Guide for the Modern Blogger.

Now that I have the book in front of me, it appears to be a blogger's book about blogging -- and not in the sense of what tools to use and how... but how to think about and approach the practice of blogging. I plan to dip into it soon, but in general, it seems worth recommending. If you want to know why people blog, as well as about the different ways people do so, this text could be right up your alley.

Worth a look!

Notes from June 6

My notes from last week are now available online.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Writing for the Web

USC Annenberg's Online Journalism Review offers some good guidelines for writing blog entries and other online items. You might find them useful as you begin your individual blogs.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Only HTML You Need to Know

I was being a bit flippant in class, but if all you know how to do is code Web links in HTML, you'll be a fine blogger. There are tons of HTML primers available -- this is a good place to start -- but, really, all you need how to do is two things.

One, make a link. The code to make a link is a staple -- and should be the first thing you learn. If you were to take out the spaces, a link to this article -- -- would look like this:

< a h r e f = " " > This is the text you want linked. < / a >

That would show up as:

This is the text you want linked.

I can show you a shortcut in Blogger in class.

The second thing you want to know how to do is how to set aside quotes or excerpted text. That's called a block quote, and that's the code: again, with spaces,

< b l o c k q u o t e >The text you want indented.< / b l o c k q u o t e >

Why do I put in the spaces? To trick Blogger into thinking I'm not really inserting code so you can see the text. There might be a better way. I'll try to find one.

Questions? Email me. I'll do my best to answer quickly.

But seriously, those two things are all you really need to know. Also, don't be shy to experiment. You can't really break the Web, and you can always clean up your blog.

Notes from May 30

The notes from last night's class are now available. They're not as well organized as previous weeks, partly because Google changed how formatting Google Docs works -- and partly because my upload was a rush job. If they're less than useful, let me know!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Credit Where Credit Is Due Dept.

Tonight, I added an Important Links element to the sidebar of the class blog. In part, I was inspired by the class blog for Cory Doctorow's class Pwned at USC.

When you publish a blog post about something that you found via another blog, I encourage you to give some credit to the blog that turned you on. Thanks, Cory!

Notes from May 23

I've posted this week's class notes. All of the links mentioned in class -- and more -- are featured in the notes.

Political Party Lines

There's an interesting article in yesterday's Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune that compares how the Web is used by the Democratic and Republican parties. We'll spend more time on political blogs later in the course, and this might be some useful early food for thought.

Are Bloggers Journalists?

A writer and editor for a political Web site in Hawaii is embroiled in a lawsuit involving reportage about the failure of a dam, which led to seven deaths. The prosecuting attorney has asked that the reporter, Malia Zimmerman, divulge her sources. Hawaii has no journalist shield law.

What might be more interesting, however, is that one of the issues the judge needs to determine is whether the writer is a "real journalist." The publishers of the Web site don't consider it a blog, and the writer in question worked as a consultant for ABC's program "20/20."

"It seems to me that if a blogger is a journalist, everyone can produce a blog and never be subject to a subpoena," McCorriston said. "Are all bloggers journalists? It's a question that's never been answered anywhere."

Are all bloggers journalists? No. Are all journalists bloggers? No. Are some bloggers journalists -- and vice versa? Of course. It'll be interesting to see how this shapes up.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Chalk Bored

Chalk Bored
Originally uploaded by h3athrow.
This is what I saw before anyone from the class entered the room.

I encourage you to take your own pictures of the class.

Later on -- week seven (7) -- we'll discuss how to best add additional media to your blogs.

For now, if you don't already subscribe to an online photo-sharing service, sign up for Flickr, which I consider to be the best -- and which integrates well with Blogger.

A Tool for Reading Blogs

Also before next class, I'd like you to sign up for Bloglines, a Web-based RSS reader.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is a tool with which you can subscribe to blogs so new posts automatically get pulled into a reader.

We'll be using Bloglines to read each other's blogs, as well as other blogs we find worth keeping up with over the course of the class.

Tools for Collaborative Browsing

Before next class, I'd like you to sign up for two services.

Medium is a service that enables friends to share presence while on the Web -- you can see where your friends are online when you're using Medium at the same time. StumbleUpon helps you bring the serendipitous browsing we experience in bookstores and other settings to your Web experience -- by randomizing the Web in a somewhat controlled manner.

You can get a sense of how we might use the two tools in class together by reading this post in my personal blog, Media Diet: "On Serendipitous Browsing."

I've already used the two tools with some of the people I work with, and I think we'll enjoy them. Let me know if you have any trouble signing up for the respective services.

Guest from May 16: Maura Johnston

Our first session's guest speaker was Maura Johnston. Maura maintains a personal site and writes for the music blog Idolator, which is part of Gawker Media. Previously, Maura maintained (You can learn more at a fan's appreciation page.). You can also find additional material from that project via the Wayback Machine.

Notes from May 16

Rather than edit down my first-night notes to an outline, I've decided to post them in full online. You can access my notes from May 16's commentary online.

It might be useful to revisit the notes while doing the week's reading -- and while reviewing your own notes from class.

It might also be interesting to post your own class notes, observations, and questions to your class blog in order to further group learning and discussion.

New Mailing List

I've started a Google Group for students of this class. It's a closed group, and only students will be approved as list members. I've invited everyone who participated in the first session last night to join. We'll use the list to continue our conversations between classes, as well as to update each other on class developments, blog-related news events, and the like.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Ruin of the MilBlogs?

Class hasn't started yet, but here's a quick thought exercise:

Two articles make an interesting parallel read this week. In Slate, Phillip Carter considers whether the American military should restrict blogs published and written by soldiers. His verdict? No. The military branches have the right to do so, but not doing so helps bridge the gap between people in the military -- and civilians.

Besides, if the U.S. Army and other organizations did censor soldiers' blogs, our government would be one step closer to that of Fiji. Since the coup late last year, the military might be taking steps to shut down several blogs critical of the regime.

What concerns need to be taken into account when looking at blog coverage of the military? Should soldier bloggers be treated differently than civilian bloggers? Do soldiers give up their right to free speech when they join the military?

Update: The Department of Defense has announced that soldiers serving overseas will not be able to access sites such as YouTube and MySpace. The reason: Increased traffic slows performance of network performance. Possible solutions: Use your own computer and network.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Syllabus to Ride

You can see the working syllabus online.

If you have any feedback, please leave it as comments here.

Update: I will update the syllabus as the class progresses. Please refer to the uploaded syllabus each week rather than the initial photocopy I distributed in the first session. (5/17/07)

Class Is in Session

I recently learned that six students have registered for this class -- and that the class is a go. I'm completing work on the syllabus in the coming days and am really looking forward to this. Our first session is Wednesday, May 16. I hope others will join us as the course progresses!

Update: One student dropped out before class began, so class size is set at five. Thanks to everyone who came to the first session! (5/17/07)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

URLs for Writer's Block

Margaret mentions a lot of different Web sites and blogs in her book. Here's a list. Each link might give you some ideas of what you could do with your own blog.

Exercise: Pick three blogs or sites from the above list. Read them daily for several days. Write a brief essay about what you like and dislike about the blogs, as well as how they and their writers' work. Compare and contrast.

A Cure-All for Writer's Block

Parts of this course will be similar to a media studies class. Other parts might seem like a creative writing or journalism class. In her new book, No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog, long-time blogger Margaret Mason, writes, "In the end, blogging is just writing."

But if you're new to blogging, what about? As the class progresses, students will develop and maintain their own blog. If you're not sure what to write about in the beginning, this book might offer some helpful ideas -- especially if your blog concept is more personally oriented. Some of my favorites: "Examine your paperwork," "Get nostalgic," "Give us your scraps," "Give a tour," and "Take inventory."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

About the Instructor

Heath Row joined DoubleClick as research manager in September 2006 to study the impact of new technology on advertising -- and vice versa. To date, he has authored several research reports, including "Touchpoints IV: How Digital Media Fit into Consumer Purchase Decisions," and "Influencing the Influencers: How Online Advertising and Media Impact Word of Mouth."

Between August 2005 and his move to DoubleClick, Heath worked as senior director of community development for Squidoo, a content-sharing platform founded by Seth Godin.

Previously, he served as an editor and writer for Fast Company magazine for roughly eight years. At Fast Company, he founded the Company of Friends, the magazine's global readers' network, and FC Now, the Fast Company team blog.

Heath has been blogging formally since June 27, 2001.

Update: You can email Heath at kalel AT well DOT com. You can IM him at h3athrow using AIM. You can also call him on his mobie, but you need to ask for that. (5/23/07)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Enter the Blogosphere

This blog is designed to support students participating in my continuing studies course Enter the Blogosphere: The Politics, Profits, and Perils of Blogs at NYU. For easy reference, here's the catalog description of the class:

Blogs have literally changed the face of news, delivering on the promise of the democratized media that emerged in the 1990s dot-com boom. Blogs provide an excellent opportunity for young writers and journalists to express themselves independently, but the blogosphere can be an insular and sometimes mystifying universe. This course offers an insider's look at the world of blogs -- including their history, how to start your own, and how to make money from it -- and students examine critical journalistic ethics issues unique to the world of blogs. Receive extensive instruction in how to create and market your own blog, which is critiqued by the instructor and class. Students will create their own blogs (if they don't already have one) and begin writing for them. Blogs will be critiqued by the instructor and class.

  • An overview of the history of blogs
  • Guest lectures from leading bloggers
  • Hands on instructions and tips about how start, market and make money your own blog
  • Create your own blog
  • Extensive instruction on blog style and format
  • Blogging ethics and standards
  • Blogs go mainstream. How the mainstream news media's embrace of blogs is changing the way news is disseminated.

Organized through NYU's Design, Digital Arts, and Film department, the course will run 10 sessions between May 16 and July 25, 2007.

If you're interested in participating, please sign up!