Monday

Thing 1. Set Up Your Blog

Now that you have a better idea of what 23 Things On a Stick is all about, it’s time to set up your very own blog to begin recording your progress and thoughts on the 23 Things On a Stick. There are several free online blog hosting services including Wordpress & Typepad, but we recommend Blogger, a Google product.

This is a very important Thing. You will record your progress in your blog & others will be reading your blog. Read through all of the instructions!

Set up your blog by following these steps:

1. Create an account in Blogger

  • Go to Blogger.com
  • Click on the long orange arrow that says Create Your Blog Now. Follow the 3 step instructions.
  • You will need a Google Account. Follow the directions to set up a Google Account if you do not have one. You can use any email address—it does not need to be a Gmail address. Your email becomes your Username. Your Display Name is how your posts are signed--you can use your real name, initials, or a nickname.
  • Create a password for your account. (The first of many usernames/passwords you will create for 23 Things On a Stick. Think now how you will remember them all. Or use the same one or similar ones for every Web 2.0 tool.)
  • Remember to write down your Username and Password.
2. Name your blog This is the hard part! You will create a both a blog title and a URL for your blog.
  • The blog title is the name that will appear on the banner at the top of your blog. The blog title does not need to be unique--nor will you be able to tell if it is unique. There are probably hundreds of blogs with relatively generic names--BobBlog or Musings, for example. That is OK. However, we do recommend that you not name your blog 23 Things On a Stick, 23things, or similar names just to avoid some confusion. Add an identifier--Bob's 23 Things or 23things on the Prairie. Browse the list of Round 1 blog names for ideas. Be sure that the blog name appears in the masthead of your blog. If it does not, go to the Settings tab and enter your blog name in the Title box. Click Save.
  • The URL is the unique Web address of your blog. This URL is how you will find your blog or tell others how to find it. We recommend a short, easy to remember URL. You must be sure that no one else has registered the URL you want on Blogger! Blogger will tell you if the URL you want is available--click Check Availability. (Note: This is where some Round 1 23ers caused a lot of confusion--they just picked a URL and registered it with us without first setting up their Blogger blog and checking URL availability. Some of those URLs took us to highly unusual places!)
Remember that the whole web world can see your blog title and blog address. Create a name that reflects the 23 Things On a Stick program, but is uniquely yours. Here are some names of other people’s 23 Things blogs:
  • In Blogger, the URL format is blogname.blogspot.com There is no www in the address when using Blogger.com software.
  • The URL for your blog will look like these examples
  • http://minnonastick.blogspot.com/
  • http://23thingsonastick.blogspot.com/
Please remember your URL address and/or bookmark it.

Blogger Settings
Be sure that you have enabled comments. We want to comment on your posts, as do others.
1. Under the Settings Tab, click the Comments link. We recommend the second choice under Who Can Comment? Registered Users.
2. If you want to moderate comments (review all comments before they are published) scroll down and turn moderation on.
3. If you want others (up to 10 people) to know when you receive a comment, you can enter their email addresses in the box near the bottom of that page.
Click Save Settings once you are done.
3. Select your template.
  • The fun part--Blogger has several templates so choose one that fits you. The first Choose Template screen has only a few; choose one. If you want to experiment with other Templates after your blog is set-up, go to Layout and choose Pick New Template. You will see many more choices. Try some; it is easy to see how your blog will look in the different choices.
Hints
  • If you run into problems, check out Blogger's Help file and Tutorial or here’s a MINITEX Blog Tutorial . Another tutorial is here. You can ask us, too.
  • Be sure to enable comments under Settings on Blogger.
  • Be sure your blog title appears on the masthead of your blog. Go to settings and enter it in the Title box if it does not appear.
  • Spend some time exploring the features of Blogger—spell check, how to upload photos or video, font choices, text size and color, and more.
4. Create an avatar.
  • An avatar is an online representation of yourself. Go to http://avatars.yahoo.com/ to design an avatar. There are many choices for appearance, accessories, pets, etc. (You will have to set up an account if you don't use Yahoo!) You can make an avatar that resembles the "real you" or create an entirely new you (If only it were so easy!)
  • Save your avatar and export to your blog.
Here's how to export your Yahoo! avatar to your blog.
  1. When you are on your Avatars.Yahoo.com page, go to "Home" tab and look at the right column. One of the options is: "EXPORT: Use your avatar in web pages and blogs and more." Click there.
  2. In the Center of the page, one option is your avatar's HTML code. Copy (Control C) the code, go to your blog. Sign in. On Blogger Dashboard there is an option to add a Manage posts, settings, or layout; Go to "LAYOUT." You will see various page elements.
  3. Click Add Page Element from the page. From the pop-up box that opens, choose the item marked "HTML/Java Script
  4. Paste (Control V) the HTML code into the Content box. Add a title in the title box if you wish.
  5. Click Save Changes.
  6. Back on the Layout page, you can drag and drop that PAGE ELEMENT to wherever you want your avatar to appear on your blog.
After you have completed Steps 1-4, you are ready to register for 23 Things On a Stick. Register one blog per person.

5. Register your blog.

Here's how to register:
  • Click here to register your blog. Once you have clicked the Register button, you are registered. You will not receive a confirmation email. SurveyMonkey, the tool we use for registration is very reliable; we will get the registration. Don't know your region? Click here for a map.
  • We will add you to the 23 Things on a Stick blog lists according to your region. We will not list your name; only your blog's name. Remember, it may take a week or so to get your blog on the mother blog. Don't panic (and don't re-register!)--it will get there as soon as we can get it up.
You’re ready to start posting!
Whenever you complete a Thing, write a post reflecting your experience with the Thing you accomplished. Please clearly label each entry in your blog in with Thing number and the subject. We just need to be able to see which Thing you are doing. Read and comment on other 23 Things bloggers’ posts, too. That’s part of being part of this library learning community. And everyone, likes feedback.

Each of your posts should provide insights into what you’ve discovered and learned. Share what worked for you, what didn’t, what you’ve shared with your colleagues, any surprises, frustrations, and eureka moments. We will offer some blog prompts to get you thinking, but don’t feel limited by those—splash out and share!
You are joining many, many librarians who blog. The Bloggers Among Us is a recent survey of library bloggers. And if you need inspiration for your blogging, glance through the blogs of these Top 25 Library Bloggers.
Remember, each participant must have her/his own blog to record progress.
NOTE: It may take a up to a week for your blog to appear on the Participants' Blogs lists. We must enter the info manually. If your blog does not appear a week after you register, email minn23@gmail.com with your name, blog name, and blog URL. Check the FAQs for more info.
Challenge (optional)
1. Add features from Blogger's selections on Layout and Settings pages. Add a blog roll of blogs of your fellow participants or of other interesting blogs you've found. Add photos or video. How about a poll?
2. Already have a Blogger blog? Explore other blogging software and compare and contrast features. Which ones have great features? Which one would you recommend?
3. Add third party features to your blog--visitor counts, email subscriptions and more. Feedburner and Sitemeter are two sources of additional features.
4. Be sure to blog about your experience with the other blogging software and/or third party features. Any features you think all blogs should have?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've seen questions about this on other places on this blog...is there some kind of turn-around time before your blog appears? I thought I registered mine this morning, and it's still not showing up in participants' blogs.

Thanks!

Donovan said...

There is a short delay before the registered blog makes it onto the list. It's a manual process; the time varies depending on when the admin has a moment to update the list.

marylibrary said...

I've been trying to register for the past week using my Mac computer. Today I'm using a PAC and hopefully my registration information will be entered.