This week we are studying blogging: what it is, it’s history, the different topics discussed in them, and what characteristics make them successful.
Differences Between my Instructor’s and My Blog Pics
The differences between the five blogs (In the Library With the Lead Pipe, Librarian’s Commute, The Distance Librarian, Librarian by Day, and David Lee King) from out instructor and the three I picked (The Bamboo Project Blog, SarahGlassmeyer(dot)com, and The Medium is the Message) are mostly subtle.
There are more similarities with them than differences, since most of them all have a wide range of posts. From Ebooks, reference questions, and goals for social media sites to temporary employee issues, digital literacy portfolios, and technology in general it is all there. In addition, there are various types of librarians blogging on these sites; librarians at public libraries, academic librarians, and free-lance consultants.
The one major difference I noticed was the length of the blog posts between our instructor’s and the ones I chose, our instructor’s blogs had much shorter, more to the point posts, with the exception of the In the Library with the Lead Pipe blog. Some were even a short statement with a list or a list of links for additional information. This made them more scannable and easier to read. Another difference I found was that the instructor’s five blogs used more images and videos to supplement their posts than in the three I chose.
The Kinds of Blogs That Hold my Interest
The posts I found most appealing between the eight blogs were the ones discussing technology, patron interactions as the reference desk, and the short synopses of projects and collaborative efforts. Technology is always exciting and I feel that it is how libraries embrace and use it to their advantage which will dictate the future of libraries. Plus technology is fun and can be taken apart and repurposed according to a library’s needs. I work at the reference desk of a large academic library and am constantly keeping my ear to the ground about different and new ways of assisting patrons with their research, such as tiered reference services or different approaches to the reference interview. I find librarian and patron interactions fascinating, because of all the underlying factors that are at work during the reference interview. Finally, I greatly enjoy working in a team that has the same vision for the end result of the team’s work and hearing people’s creative ideas.
The 3 Blogs I Chose
Here is a short synopsis of the three library blogs I subscribed to:
1) The Bamboo Project Blog: As the blog’s banner says it is primarily a blog for “career development, technology, and learning strategies for lifelong personal and professional growth.” This blog’s author is Michelle Martin, an information professional consultant, and she covers a large range of topics including blogging, wikis, knowledge sharing, and professional development.
2) SarahGlassmeyer(dot)com: This blog has a unique format that uses a table to display the titles of each post with a different background color for each. Sarah Glassmeyer is the sole author of the blog and she is a law librarian. This blog covers a wide range of topics from open-access and digital legal information to Facebook and mobile.
3) The Medium is the Message: This blog was the one with the most straight forward message and consistent topics covered. It is authored by Eric Schnell, an academic librarian at the Ohio State University Libraries. There are many posts regarding technology and how it relates to libraries, the author discusses technology trends as well.
Based on the blogs I chose, there are certain factors that make a library blog successful. Blog success can be measured by looking are readership, trackbacks, and the amount of comments left by readers for an individual post. This shows community and that there is a discussion developing around the topic being blogged. Also, keeping blog posts succinct and to the point so that they do not seem long and deter readers from actually reading the post is key. Additionally, using hypertext links the post adds depth to the content and is one way to cite sources, which gives the post more credibility.
Other factors that help a blog achieve success with regard to appearance and organization are also important. Using pictures and videos helps supplement the content of the blog post. Having the broad topics that are covered in the banner of the blog is extremely helpful as well and allows readers to decide almost immediately if they want to read blog or if they should continue looking. All of these factors contribute to the likelihood of a reader returning to a blog again in the future and the blog’s success.