Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Thing 2: Write Your First Blog Post

Your first task as part of your Rudai 23 journey is to create a Blog and write a blog post. Hopefully the post you craft will be just the first of many of such pieces on your very own librarian's blog.

Last week’s post was a practical guide to setting up a blog of your very own. What follows here, to help you get started, is a simple introduction to blogging that will provide some encouragement, and show you, again hopefully, how ‘easy’ blogging actually can be and is.

What is Blogging?

So, for those of you new to blogging what is a blog? What is blogging?

I always find etymology a good place to start learning about something and with this in mind the word Blog is a contraction of two words Web (as in world wide web) and Log (as in regular record of incidents.) So, in essence a Blog is like a web journal. It is a place, a public space to write and record your opinions, your reflections and thoughts on a particular subject. It is a space for you to spread your word to the world (wide web)

Why Blog? 

Why do people blog as individuals? (As opposed to blogging as institutional account which usually aims to promote an institution)

A recent article from the New Review of Academic Librarianship offers some reasons why Librarians blog. A number are below (But first – Shameless, or should that be shameful, plug now - a preprint of the article Many voices: Building a biblioblogosphere in Ireland is available at UCC’s very own repository, CORA)
  • To share and communicate ideas, knowledge best practice with other librarians and the library profession in general
  • To connect and engage with other librarians
  • To advocate for the profession outside the profession
  • Another reason could be to practice writing in a safe collegial atmosphere. 
  • And finally – because it is actually enjoyable

How to Blog 

First step, actually set up your blog.

Most people use Blogger or Wordpress – but you can also use Tumbler or Medium amongst others For more detailed information please read Thing 1 if you haven't already.

Whichever one you use you use you shouldn’t be overly concerned with or worried about the template. Follow the KISS Principle

Choose a template that allows your writing to shine. You want the content to be the important thing, not how it looks. You should be aiming for substance not style. Ultimately your readers will go that’s an interesting argument – not I like their choice of theme.

Importantly - Give yourself time to write the blog. Take time out. When writing try to avoid distractions like your social media accounts. Distractions , well they distract, and make completing the post and making a coherent argument more difficult.

Read other librarians blogs. See what works for them. See what you like and enjoy. And see if you can apply how they blog to your blog.

What to write about and related…

Write about what you know, things that you’ve done in your daily work and your opinions on these things. Reflect on the work and write down these reflections.

If you read something interesting, write a blog post on it.

If you read something you vehemently oppose and think is utter £&$%&* - write a post and argue with it. 

Write a book review.

It is your blog. You can write about whatever you want to write about.

Don’t worry about length of blog post. And I know I might be going against the orthodoxy here which says keep posts to under a thousand word. My most read post on Libfocus was over 4,000 words. Likewise, the most read posts on Sir Henrys and Blackpool Sentinel were over 3,000 words. If the post is interesting enough and written coherently people will stick with irrespective of the word-count.

Check your spelling and your grammar. Make this perfect. It just looks bad to have typos, spelling mistakes etc. And can take away from the pleasure for your reader.

Encourage Feedback and engage with the feedback – if somebody comments, reply.

Link your blog into your social media accounts and share your post across these platforms. Don’t be shy to promote your post – you have done the hard parts, actually writing it and putting it out there.

Do try to post regularly. Posting regularly builds momentum and helps to keep your blog in the eyes of people.

If you feel that keeping up your own blog takes too much time and effort why not consider contributing guest blogs to a blog, and thinking local here, like Libfocus or Slip Ireland


And to finish up – a bit of advice that I have to keep repeating to myself when I am finding it difficult to get a blog post or an article started, or more importantly finished. As a particular sports brand motto goes – Just do it. Every written piece in history has started with one word, get that word down, and keep going. Don’t worry about how it reads – you will have to redraft and redraft. NEVER publish a first draft – of anything. Just get writing, and rewriting etc.

And enjoy it. It will be fun. But most importantly Just do it!

Your task for this Thing is:

Write a blog post on any topic of your choice and publish it on your blog. Please ensure to put 'Thing 2' in the title of your blog post to make it easily identifiable to our moderators later. 

Further reading: 

This article by Michael Stephens encapsulates a lot of the reasons why we think that sharing the work we do on social  media and through blogs is so important. He gives some useful advice about best practice when blogging  and is definitely worth reading for inspiration.  

Today's post was written by Martin O'Connor. Martin is a member of the Collection Development & Management team at University College Cork Library. He has published and presented in the areas of library promotion & marketing, collaboration, social media, library exchanges and user engagement.

He is a long time member of the Libfocus blogging team. He runs the Irish music blog, The Blackpool Sentinel. He is also part of the Shush: Sounds from UCC Library team and co-manages their blog. And finally, as far as blogging goes, he also managed the Sir Henrys 2014 blog an exhibition run by UCC Library in 2014


The Calendar of Things