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Edited version (for easy sharing) of my master's capstone defense, in which I discussed how academic blogging can make a difference, and used my own blog ( and the communication …

Edited version (for easy sharing) of my master's capstone defense, in which I discussed how academic blogging can make a difference, and used my own blog ( and the communication discipline as case studies.

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  • Just like we would translate a foreign language, because this is kind of a foreign language, we must translate this for the lay public.
  • One way to engage in this dialogue is through academic blogging.
  • I’m interested in dissemination….
  • Risky ideas that may never be accepted for publication.
  • Obviously images important…
  • Transcript

    • 1. BLOGADEMIAMaking a Difference Through Digital Dissemination of Communication Knowledge Case Study: CharacteRistic Blog ( Igor Ristic Master’s Capstone Defense APRIL 9TH, 2011
    • 2. THESISCommunication scholars can make a differencethrough digital dissemination (via blogs) of theknowledge our discipline creates.
    • 3. PREVIEW• Making a Difference• Academic Blogging• Case Study: CharacteRistic -What Creates Popular Blogs• Other New Strategies• Conclusion
    • 5. Making a Difference Defined…• Positively affecting the lives of others through social institutions, by means of public policy, and addressing social problems. Scholarship for the sake of the scholar may be personally rewarding, but does not necessarily translate into meaningful change. • Seeger, 2009, p. 13
    • 6. • There are 15,000 Academic Journals• Social scientists read only 191 articles per year • Frey, 2009, p. 206
    • 7. Scholarly Articles Are…Written in esoteric manner without practicalimplications, making them inaccessible topolicy makers, practitioners, and public. -Frey, 2009, p. 206
    • 8. Make a Difference Through: Translational Scholarship1. Teaching2. Celebrities (i.e. Matt Lauer, Oprah)3. Translational Research (i.e. consulting work)4. Publicly Visible Practices (i.e. blogs) -Frey, 2009, p. 206
    • 9. “We must engage in dialogue with the worlds outside of the academy inorder to effect social change”. Ellingson, 2009, p. 178
    • 11. Blog Defined• Websites in which recent updates appear above previous updates, creating a reverse chronology of messages. Their content may be personal, political, or anything else, and their audiences may be anything from zero to millions. • Baym, 2010, p. 16
    • 12. Three Types of Academic Blogs1. Public Intellectuals – Combine expertise, theory, current events.2. Research – Record of research conducted / ideas.3. Pseudonymous – Bitching about academic life. -Walker, 2006
    • 13. They Emphasize either…1.Identity of Blogger2.Research3.Workplace Culture -Gregg, 2009
    • 14. Benefits of Digital Dissemination of Research1. Career2. Personal3. Preparation for Future4. Alternative to Scholarly Writing
    • 15. 1. Career• Help to gain foothold in your field through networking. Help to earn PhD and acquire first job (Walker, 2006).• Marketing self for job opportunities (Gregg, 2009).• Excellent research practice (Walker, 2006).
    • 16. 2. Personal• Motivation (Gregg, 2009).• Perform Identity (Kirkup, 2010).• Venting (Gregg, 2009).
    • 17. 3. Preparation for Future• New form of dissemination, where will we be in 2035? (Walker, 2006).• Blogs are future tool of academia (Saper, 2006). –Word Processing
    • 18. 4. Alternative to Scholarly Writing• Researchers can write more conversationally (Kirkup, 2010).• More freedom to explore ‘risky’ ideas (Kirkup, 2010; Saper, 2006).• More readers! (Lindgren, 2011; Mccrea; 2011) – Yale Law Journal vs. Instapundit
    • 19. Case Study: CharacteRistic• Statistics• Content – Four Pillars: Six Specific Examples• Comments• Design• Social Networking• Search Engine Optimization
    • 20. Since February 2011…
    • 21. Steady Growth 
    • 22. How Blogs Succeed • 240,000 + Leo Babauta Subscribers * Zen Habits • Top 25 Blogs / Top 50 Websites in the World **
    • 23. How Leo Became Popular• Quality Content• Comment on Other Blogs• Simple / Repetitive Website Design• Use Social Networking (SNS)• List Posts
    • 24. Content is King: Four Pillars1. Be Useful2. Write Great Headlines3. Make Post Scannable4. Write in Common-Sense Style -Babauta, 2007
    • 27. 1. Be Useful• Popular posts more useful: usefulness explicitly mentioned: – Three reasons for why it’s important to pick up a newspaper. – “Hopefully, those students (and everybody reading this) will help to make the Internet a more useful tool for our future…”
    • 28. Usefulness Continued– Incorporating other videos not useful, thus low views. • 3 of 4 lowest viewed posts incorporated a video.• Explicitly tell audience why content is useful for them.• Incorporate more current events.
    • 29. 2. Write Great Headlines• Headlines of popular posts are more assertive / concise / interesting. “Why Newspapers are Still Worthwhile” vs.“Getting a Second Opinion From News Sources”
    • 30. 3. Make Posts Scannable• Subheadings: –Popular: 17 –Favorite: 11• Most popular post is a list.• Increase use of both.
    • 31. 4. Write in Common-Sense Style• This has been goal from beginning.• Start posts earlier – Time to proofread / simplify.• Write more assertively / eliminate unnecessary words / don’t apologize. “I highly recommend”, “I’m in no way condoning..”, “Dramatic words, I know”, “I am here to argue..”
    • 32. Comments• Received: 28 –Some created conversation, many did not. • Common Problem (Baym ,2009, Kirkup, 2010)• Given: 8 –Most irrelevant.
    • 33. • Nancy Baym: “I’ve written this blog for a few years now and I’ve talked to lots of bloggers. Getting people to post comments is hard. Getting conversation is harder. The majority of things I write here get no response at all” (2009).
    • 34. Comments Continued• Write more strongly opinionated content. – “Content coated in sugar coated diplomatic terms, never won any comments”.• Respond to ALL comments. – Shows audience you care. -Dholakya, 2012
    • 35. Social Networking (SNS)• Facebook and Twitter top referrals after search engines and the Bin Laden link.• FB : 994 referrals. – Create FB page for blog.• Add blog to directories. • Technorati• Experiment with other SNS
    • 36. Facebook Example
    • 37. Twitter Example
    • 38. DesignEvolution of the Headlines: – Exploring the relationship between media convergence, how we share information, and international mass news media. – Discussing international mass news media, media convergence, and other topics. – Translating academic research from the Communication discipline.
    • 39. Old Design
    • 40. New, Simpler, Design
    • 41. Extra Credit: Search Engine Optimization• Making your site and it’s individual pages visible and relevant to search engines (Boswell). – Focus on keywords for target audience and use them consistently. Avoid unusual words. – Tag smarter, not more. • Popular: 12 • Favorite: 21
    • 42. The Secret Weapon: SEO and Images• Role of images in SEO is often overlooked.• Use keyword in image name and use captions.• Example follows.
    • 43. Top Referrers
    • 44. Top Searches  
    • 45. Image Title Matches Top Searches
    • 46. But Only If Image is Named a Keyword
    • 47. Other New Strategies• Be more strategic! – Write Guest Posts • i.e. – Comment on relevant blogs – Link to other blogs, not popular sources
    • 48. CONCLUSION
    • 49. Successful Bloggers…• Are Useful• Write Great Headlines• Are Assertive and Direct in Writing• Create Simple Design / Scannable Posts• Comment, Comment, Comment• SEO• Are Always Strategic
    • 50. LIMITATIONS• Privileged Channel (Digital Divide)• No Editorial Review –No Official Incentive / Recognition• Potential Career Risks• Long-term Archiving Problem
    • 51. IMPLICATIONS / FUTURE• CMC is Not Going Away –Making a Difference in this manner IS Possible. Is NECESSARY.• Dissemination channels are always changing.• Change Reward Structures.
    • 52. Act as if what you do makes a difference, it does. -William James
    • 53. References• Babauta, L. (2007, July). The 4 pillars of writing exceptional blogs. Retrieved on April 8th, 2012, from exceptional-blogs/• Babauta, L. (Not Available). How I got to 100,000 subscribers in two years: Lessons from Zen Habits [e-book]. Men With Pens. Retrieved on April 8th, 2012, from 12211-2/• Baym, N. (2010). Personal connections in the digital age. Malden, MA: Polity Press.• Baym, N. (2009). Blogs or Twitter? It’s the interactivity. online fandom. Retrieved on April 8th, 2012 from
    • 54. • Boswell, W. (Unavailable). How to choose the right keywords and phrases for your web site. Retrieved on April 8th, 2012, from• Boswell, W. (Unavailable). How does search engine optimization work? Retrieved on April 8th, 20120, from• Dhokaiya, P. (2012). A comprehensive new age guide to increase comments on your blog – part 1. Retrieved on April 8th, 2012, from• Ellingson, L.L. (2009). Engaging crystallization in qualitative research: An introduction. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
    • 55. • Frey, L.R. (2009). What a difference more difference-making communication scholarship might make: Making a difference from and through communication research. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 37, 2 , 205-214.• Gregg, M. (2009). Banal Bohemia. Convergence: The International Journal of research into New Media Technologies, 15(4), 470-483.• Kirkup, G. (2010). Academic blogging: academic practice and academic identity. London Review of Education, 8 (1), 75-84.
    • 56. • Lindgren, J. (2006). Is blogging scholarship? Why do you want to know? Washington University Law Review, 84, 1105-1108.• Mabe, M. (2003). The growth and number of journals. Serials, 16, 191-197.• Mccrea, P. (2011). Reflections on academic blogging as a vehicle for professional development. [Information Missing].
    • 57. • Saper, C. (2006). Blogademia. Reconstruction, 6 (4), 1- 15. Retrieved on April 8th, 2012, from• Seeger, M. W., (2009). Does communication research make a difference? Reconsidering the impact of our work. Communication Monographs, 76, 1, 12-19.• Tenopir, C. (2004). Scholarly article reading [Slide]. Retrieved April 8th, 2012, from pt#306,38
    • 58. • Walker, J. (2006). Blogging from inside the ivory tower, in A. Bruns and J. Jacobs (eds) Uses of blogs. New York, NY: Peter Lang.• you_do_makes_a_difference-it_does/15219.html• ** and the data provided by was used extensively as well. **