Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Blogging Tips

Weaver's Guide to Weblogging
When students blog, potential employers could be watching.

You must always think about your audience, no matter how niche it may be. You should also keep ethical and legal issues in mind as well as what makes a good blog worth visiting and credible. Images, graphics and video dress it up, but it will always come back to good, solid writing. That's exactly why you should never post a first draft entry. Edit what you write. Spelling errors and typos tarnish you and your blog. I suggest writing & editing entries with a word processor, then copy and paste into the blog.

Here are more tips I offer my BC Capstone students when it comes to blogging:

Showcase Good Communication Skills

1. Invest time and research into your content.

  • Write enough to communicate meaning with the reader, but avoid overkill. Have a point and get to it.
  • Write what you know about-- concentrate on what you're passionate about and make that the focus of your blog.
  • Showcase your work. Promote your talent, skills and experience.
  • Demonstrate your knowledge and experience by correctly using the terminology of your profession.
  • Connect your entries to topical events and issues in your field.
  • Offer your own style and voice and be consistent with it.

2. Always attribute!

  • Plagiarizing, fabricating or other BS is not tolerated. Such misdeeds will often be challenged publicly and will haunt you in your professional efforts.

3. Offer Links!

  • The more links you offer the better the chances your blog could turn up in a web search.
  • Link back to your sources (this offers transparency, attribution and validity to the points you want to make).


What you post is public so be ready to stand by it.

1. Never reveal personal, private information.

  • Never blog about your personal life. Limit contact information to comment areas or postings that your blog can forward to you. Also turn on the blog features that will let you screen out e-mail scrapers, SPAMMERS, etc.

2. Never blog proprietary or privileged information. Never disclose company secrets or information shared with you in confidence. Off the record means off the record. Don't even hint about something proprietary or priviledged as it will flag the attention of corporate lawyers who are now in the business of patrolling blogs for such violations.

  • If you're blogging about internship or job-related experiences, inform your employer about your weblog.
  • Promote transparency. Invite the employer to read your blog and offer feedback.

3. Ask about restrictions or limits on what you can and cannot blog.

  • Many companies now have strict rules about employee blogs.
  • Some media savvy companies encourage blogging but have specific guidelines.
  • If the employer prohibits blogging about work experiences, then comply.

4. Be Positive- Showcase your ability to think critically and creatively.

  • Offer solutions instead of only pointing out problems.

5. Be clear when expressing opinion or comments.

  • When engaged in criticism, remain constructive.
  • Recognize opposing positions.
  • Support your points with evidence and attribution (include links).
  • Never engage in personal attacks.

6. Update entries on a regular basis.

  • Develop a routine so regular visitors can expect timely updates and will want to interact with your blog.

7. Entertain and inform your readers

  • INCLUDE PICTURES: Offer interesting and appropriate images and context.
  • Write engaging headlines.

Be Prepared- Avoid Legal Entanglements

1. Be truthful & ethical.

  • Read and understand the Blogger User Agreement.
  • Understand the impact of what you write.

2. Remember libel applies to weblogs.

  • Remember false light applies to weblogs.
  • Remember invasion of privacy applies to weblogs.

Other Tips- Read & Comment

1. Read other weblogs.

  • Routinely search for weblogs discussing topics of interest to you.
  • Bookmark weblogs you think are written well or speak to you.

2. Offer constructive feedback and comments on blogs you visit.

Some places to get started with weblogging:



Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Westminster Student-Produced Documentary Featured at Film Festival


The 2007 Iris Film Festival will showcase a short documentary produced and directed by Westminster College students.

"Who Knows What Caitlyn May Do..." was produced for the communications/sociology cluster course during the spring 2007 semester. The 13-minute film introduces the audience to three-year-old Caitlyn May Hickman, a child with Down syndrome, and her family: Lisa, Jason, and Leah Hickman. The family shares insights to remind the viewer that while life may seem rough at times, viewing from a different perspective makes one aware of all life's gifts.

Executive producers are Dr. Virginia Tomlinson, associate professor of sociology and director of the Drinko Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and Bradley Weaver, instructor of broadcast communications. Dr. Mandy Medvin, professor of psychology, was also featured in the documentary. Weaver will represent the College at the festival, Sept. 21-23, at the historic Clifton Theater in Huntingdon.

Students involved in the writing, direction and production of the documentary are:

Julie Kepins, a senior psychology major, is a daughter of James and Cindy Kepins of Murrysville and a graduate of Franklin Regional High School.

Ashley Pierson, a senior financial economics major, is a daughter of James and Kara Pierson of Wellsville, Ohio, and a graduate of Wellsville Local High School.

Andrew Polack, a senior computer science and mathematics major, is a son of Samuel and Barbara Polack of Abingdon, Md., and a graduate of Edgewood High School.

Michael Wolenski, a 2007 Westminster graduate with a degree in broadcast communications, is a son of Thomas and Maureen Wolenski of Butler and a graduate of Peters Township High School.

Visit for additional information.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Student Documentary Project ONLINE

Watch Beta Production's "The Voice of Abuse." Produced by Westminster College students using consumer available equipment. This project tells the powerful story of a domestic violence survivor.