- The blog world is varied, if you haven’t noticed – and it’s only a subset on the online universe. Our goal however is to approach China from the perspective of economics. So here are loose guidelines.
- Regurgitating a news story does not a good blog post make.
A news story is a sensible starting point for a blog post. You need to add value – which requires at perhaps twice as many words as the news itself. Why is the story important? – it could highlight an issue in economics, or it can highlight an issue in China, or a combination thereof. What does the story leave out? – of course you should draw in the missing elements, or at least sketch them. If it limns a policy area, outline a couple policy responses, or shade in or highlight strengths and weaknesses.
- Think visual. At first glance, people see the page. Graphs are apropos. Pictures can help.
Given data, you should know enough of excel to generate a graph. Under “media” in WordPress you will find examples of photos used in existing posts. I have a little HTML Guide to allow you to format your output for better visual impact. Not every post lends itself to specific visuals; put in a generic photo, surely you can find one that ties in loosely. [You will be writing papers, where the visual impact is not central.]
I will not police copyrights on images, but if you use one that you’ve culled from another site, at least use the link to the photo or graph rather than downloading/uploading. Even better, provide attribution at the end of your post, in a small font.
- Think “above the fold.”
It’s hard to read lengthy material on screen. When I scan the onliine news, I in fact print out anything that might be more than one standard 250-word-or-so page. You need to set up and convey your main point succinctly. A few lines suggests you’ve not much to say; a full screen’s worth is a basic target. Material that might require scrolling is fine, but if you find you’ve written 1,000 words, then a single blog post is not a good medium to convey your thinking. Try to break it into 3 pieces…
- Take comments seriously.
This blog is part of the work and learning for this term. You should read all comments on your posts, and respond! Similarly, you should comment on a subset of the posts of others on a regular basis, and if you’re not the first one to comment, then make sure you add value and don’t repeat what others say.
- Do your own thing.
Some news stories garner attention. That does not make them worthy of five posts on this blog – though with a small class five is hyperbole. Read what is already there before posting. If I see one that duplicates earlier posts, I will delete it (and it won’t count towards your grade). Sometimes that will not be your fault, and merely mean you didn’t high “publish” first. Tough – better luck next time.
- Make sense.
Not everything you read in the news does; advertisements often don’t, as in this photo. Your posts need to.
Photo by MSmitka