Another five weeks have passed, and the anxiety level of my students mounts daily. I’m grading their Blogging Check-In Report #2- a chronicle of their second five weeks of blogging, tweeting, and posting on their professional Facebook pages.
Some students worked hard and are learning, growing, and developing their new media writing expertise. Others, stuck in college student apathy, have not. My reviews of their work are a tough, bitter pill for those still waiting to commit to the learning process. As with all learning experiences, this one comes with a struggle.
For those embracing the struggle, their work is beginning to blossom like a rewarding sign of beauty after a winter of sleep deprivation, research and revision. My students and I discovered the following truths from our class experience during the middle five weeks of the semester:
- Blogging is hard work
- Twitter is an amazing networking tool
- Not as many readers (in their target audiences) interact on Facebook
- Readers will follow and respond to quality content
- Connecting to the outside world through social media takes time, but is incredibly rewarding
- It takes practice to find your voice (niche) in the blogging community
- Once you determine a way to manage this crazy world, it can be addictive, awesome, and empowering
- Citizen journalism requires a great deal of critical thinking, reading, and consistent observation and awareness
Some blossoming blogging experts to honor this five weeks include:
Chuck Frate: His blog focuses on family recipes as identified by a local expert, his mother Pam. Chuck’s narrative thread of family life, traditions, and other cultural aspects offers readers a unique voice that is just beginning to show up consistently in his posts. He is finding his niche in the plethora of food related blogs on the web. I’m looking forward to reading more.
Theodore Darden: This guy is serious! A soon to be graduate of Notre Dame College, Theodore has a passion for discussing issues related to the world’s supply of fresh water. Darden is developing a refreshing mix of information, passion and entertainment to keep readers scrolling and hoping for more.
Jacob Bunner: This blossoming sports journalist knows how to engage concerned parents. His blog examines youth sports issues including a variety of sports related injuries detailed by sport, the great concussion discussion, and breaking news related to youth sports. Although he needs to work on remembering to edit and pound out tighter leads, this blogger is definitely someone to follow if you love sports and kids.
I’m only half way through the grading and hopeful to find more incredibly talented citizen journalists. Stay tuned…..