August 12, 2004

Future Promos for Class Blogs

After the last orientation, I have a definite impression of polar sympathies from SHU students on blogging. Those that love it--love it forever, those that hate it--always will, and those that are in the middle, well, they'll blog, but will villify it in public and will downplay their own role in the blogosphere.

The 2008 blog has had minimal freshman-to-freshman success, and I don't know if it is because of those promoting it (the term "bloginator" does denote a psychotic tendency) or if we haven't given it enough press within the orientation sessions. I think the latter.

This year, we tried to tell our groups what blogging is in a five minute span during the introductions/icebreaker period, but not every group had a leader familiar with blogging. The handout did help, but the newbies die under the paperwork they give on the first day; why would they want to figure out something else?

As I commented, we need a session devoted to blogging next year. With a hands-on introduction in a computer lab, the students may become more comfortable coming back to the site and posting. I do understand their insecurities; blogging is a big step--you reveal much about yourself, sometimes with the smallest phrase, but we need to let them know that blogging is not evil. We would not even have to make it an hour long like some of the other sessions--five minutes of a well-organized speech and ten minutes of log-on would be sufficient for the freshmen to get a better grasp on what blogging is.

As for past orientations and blogging press, it really hasn't been pretty. I don't want people to lie and say that they love it, but I would ask that they cast blogging in a positive light, despite their own inhibitions about the software/community/style that blogging entails. As OAs we are required to display this type of behavior, and as such, we should do it for everything that Seton Hill offers--including the blogging community.

The Class of 2008 blog can offer a positive environment for those who are really trying to meet people; I hope we don't let our personal biases interfere with great opportunities for others.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at August 12, 2004 9:52 AM

Well said. And I agree, Amanda. Honestly, when we learned about this opportunity to blog with new students, I thought -we- would be the ones giving the information in just the sort of setting that you described above. *shrug*

We're learning from our past, and I think it would be more advantageous to rally around what can be done with blogs that cannot be done in email, etc. rather than around the idea that "we're students and we love blogging and you should, too."

Posted by: Karissa at August 12, 2004 11:04 AM

Perhaps ...

Once students are on campus they will have more of a want to blog and meet other students.

I think if you promote it a little more move-in and stuff, perhaps start a list, like top 10 most annoying parts of move-in day or something, not only will students contribute, but also OAs will know what students think needs improved for next year.

Posted by: Brian at August 12, 2004 12:30 PM

*promote it a little more DURING move-in*

Sorry, I thought more words in my head than I typed. :-P

Posted by: Brian at August 12, 2004 12:31 PM

I'm with you Karissa. When we came up with the idea of the 2008 blog, I was under the impression that during the computer log-in session we would be telling the students about the blog. I know that my brother has not even looked at the 2008 blog because (as he told me) he doesn't want to deal with anything that he has to actually look back into. I don't know. All we can do is try again next year.


Posted by: Tiffany at August 15, 2004 8:22 PM

Well...for what it's worth, you got through to me. And that other person who blogged recently. Don't worry, more will follow. :-D

Posted by: Valerie Masciarelli at August 15, 2004 10:52 PM

Yes, Valerie, you have been a great addition to the blogosphere.

I suppose that what I wrote was a bit depressing, but after what happened in our session last orientation, I hope we can avoid such scenes in the future.

Posted by: Amanda at August 16, 2004 1:14 AM

Hi! You may not remember me from the August 6th orientation, but I also agree with most of what you said. Personally, I love "blogging" and online journaling, and it's a great way to express yourself, but I don't think everyone should be subject to a mandatory blogging session if they don't feel its necessary.
I think I could say I used to be one of those people who hated might have been because I didn't really think it was prudent for anyone to put their life's complaints and happenings on the internet...and I didn't think anyone would want to read about someone's gripes. That and the fact that I was lazy and forgot to post.
Now, I use blogging (Livejournal)to vent when I have nowhere to go, and have stopped caring if others don't like it.
Maybe what you could do in the future is have a meeting for those interested in learning how to use the blogs (perhaps in the first week of classes?) in a sort of after class session in one of the computer labs. You could post signs around campus and on the website. Just a thought.

Posted by: Andrea at August 16, 2004 3:40 AM

How could I forget my lunch buddy?

About your comment, we really wanted blogging to be fun; we NEVER intended for it to be a mandatory thing.

As for the class session that you mentioned, I think it should happen earlier in a short promo during the orientation computer lab sessions because during your first week at Seton Hill most students are trying to figure out where to go and when and meeting people that they don't have time or the interest to tack on anything else.

However, I do like your idea about posting it on the website. Perhaps I could speak with Dr. Jerz and the webmaster about posting a link from one of the English info. pages. Thanks for the suggestions, Andrea. I can't wait to see you again. :-D

Posted by: Amanda at August 16, 2004 8:53 AM

Amanda--YOUR lunch buddy?? *pout*

haha... We remember you, Andrea! :^D

Posted by: Karissa at August 16, 2004 4:48 PM

Brian has an excellent idea about posting more relevant content on the blog, about things that the intended readers are going through right now, rather than just throwing open the door and hoping that newcomers will feel comfortable writing. I think we all took a while before we found the blogging voice that we feel is comfortable.

I look forward to spending some time talking with the bloginators and Andrea and anyone else who'd like to comment on their experience.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at August 17, 2004 7:09 PM
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