Some think that in this age of social networking blogging has become a thing of the past.
Why bother writing a blog? Can we not just publish our thoughts via tweets? Do people not prefer these quick, straight to the point status updates?
Well, in response to this, I don’t think so. Blogs should be used as a visual aid. They allow us to add images and videos directly to the post. This way, others can view them instantly on one page. Blogs also allow us to go into depth and express ourselves in full, rather than being restricted to 140 characters.
Although Twitter is an extremely popular way to share thoughts and opinions, blogs still allow a further extension of this. Using Twitter does offer the advantage of being able to easily reach an audience. I guess that’s why so many people use Twitter to promote their blogs, because it does allow one access to more potential viewers.
But Twitter alone restricts a writer’s creativity and does not offer you the opportunity to express yourself in full. So don’t underestimate blogging in modern society. I don’t think we’ve had enough of reading others’ ramblings just yet.
When it came to starting my PR blog I was torn between using Blogger or WordPress. Both seemed equally popular and both seemed to offer everything I needed. However, there are differences between the two that may sway your decision.
Many first first year students follow Timothy Curtis in preferring Blogger.
Before coming to university I had already started a blog on Blogger, as it was recommended by a friend.
I started it in order to track and record my progress through my A-level results and also to voice my opinions on particular stories. I needed a site that would allow me to make quick posts in my spare time, almost like public diary entries.
When first looking at the Blogger site, I was immediately impressed by how easy it was to start my blog. Literally at the click of a button I was redirected to enter my details. Once this was complete I was then led to a home page, where I could easily manage my blog on a well-navigated account page.
It was relatively simple to make new posts, and within those posts I was able to add images from files and other media. It was important for me to be able to add images to illustrate what I was saying in the posts, as I understand how overwhelming a long paragraph of words can be.
However, as my blog progressed, I realised that there wasn’t much else I could do with my blog other than make posts, which were then listed down the side.
Although it was straightforward and easy to grasp the basics of posting on the blog I was unable to find a way to make a menu for my posts so they were easier to access, and was also unimpressed with way my blog was looking visually.
The themes seemed to be childish and basic, and often the way in which my blog posts would appear in the “preview” would not be how they then appeared once published on the blog.
I also found that adding HTML was difficult and rarely worked. Although it was easy to use at first, I found myself spending lots of time tweaking codes and fonts in order to make the blog look the way I wanted it to.
Clare Siobhan Callery is a good example of a student choosing WordPress for her blog.
“It has to be WordPress all the way,” Clare told me.
“It has a fantastic interface and just looks so much more professional!”
When I thought about starting another blog to focus on my PR experiences, I decided to have a look at using WordPress.
At first I found the website was presented in a format that made it hard to create a blog quickly and easily.
However once I had got my head around it, and spent some time with it, I was all set up with a new blog.
The thing that really caught my eye was the choice of themes and the appearance of these themes. I tried some out and all of them looked equally professional and smart, as apposed to the childish and often disappointing themes offered on Blogger. These more formal options helped make the blog look somewhat industry standard and in turn I believed it would be taken more seriously.
Admittedly, it was slightly harder to get used to making blog posts with WordPress. There were more options and different processes that you had to go through before, which had me pretty confused. However after playing around on it for half an hour I got used to the format and was blogging away.
The best factor in favour of WordPress is its overall functionality. Navigation within the blogs is much easier and, best of all, you are given the option to separate posts into categories to make them more easily accessible. This was a huge advantage over the Blogger site because it allowed me to create separate pages using the “appearance” page in the “edit my profile” section.
I was much more happy with the overall appearance of my WordPress blog than the blog I had previously created using Blogger.
When both blogs were published, the feedback confirmed what I had already suspected.
Almost everyone preferred the WordPress blog because it “looked better” and was “easier to read”, in my opinion the two most important and vital factors of any blog.
So in terms of the overall outcome and producing results, WordPress would be my personal preference for creating a student blog.