Guidelines for Bloggers

Who writes for this blog?
Writing educators and professionals working within the State University of New York and beyond, as part of the broader higher education learning community.

What issues and types of writing are included?
Anything about teaching writing will do, including any issues that are relevant to the profession. The entries can contain teaching tips and methods; current issues and debates; thoughts about teaching writing or writing practices in other disciplines and professions; reflections about research, scholarship, and first hand experiences in the classroom; discussions about teaching with technology, theoretical discourse about writing and rhetoric, etc, etc, etc!

How long should entries be?
They should be within the range of 500 to 1,500 words, unless the topic justifies otherwise.

How can I contribute a post for this blog?
Please send your draft to Amy Beth Wright, who facilitates the publication of this blog,  by email.

Are there any “genre features” of blogging that I should keep in mind?
Depending on what you are writing about and how you want to write an entry, the following notes may be worth considering.

  • Blogs are more of a mode of conversation–especially a form of “social action”–than a genre of writing. But there are certain features that tend to characterize the nature of writing on blogging platforms.
  • Bloggers tend to share their thoughts while still exploring them–an informal, even casual, tone suits blogging well. Blogs are successful when they generate rich follow-up conversations in the comments section.
  • Blogs are typically maintained by individuals who share their expertise/perspectives, using their own idiosyncratic styles. But even in collaborative blogs (like this one), contributors write in unique voices of their own (i.e., no need for a standard style!).
  • Due to the quick turnaround, readers understand when blog entries are less polished, both in content and writing).
  • Short paragraphs and plenty of space make reading on the screen easier. Varying paragraph length is a good idea when writing about more complex issues.
  • Due to decreased quality and span of attention on the screen, readers prefer paragraphs where key points are foregrounded as well as stated explicitly (especially in the beginning of entries).
  • Jargon, long sentences, and abstractions are also minimized. Although blogs have become a “social” phenomenon, they have the provenance and ethos of personal “logs” or journals.
  • Online sources are hyperlinked (bloggers also “trackback” by commenting from their own blogs in order to connect conversations). As with other types of writing, sufficient detail is provided about key external sources so that readers don’t have to leave the site. Citations of offline sources are minimized.
  • Subheadings are used in longer entries, and bullet points are used for drawing attention to important details.
  • Images are captioned using key details; they are also linked to their sources and/or credited within their captions.
  • Bold and italic fonts are used for highlighting key points.

Who will read what I write?
Though anyone on the web may read contents of this blog (in the context of this site), members of the SUNY writing community can be envisioned as the primary audience. If we share our blog or individual entries on social networks, writing professionals beyond SUNY may find our writing interesting and useful as well. Comments on the entries will be moderated for preventing spam and maintaining decorum. 

How can I help promote the blog and further the conversation?
Please share the blog or specific entries on your social/professional networks (Facebook, Twitter, any listserv, etc). Please leave comments on any posts that you find interesting. Even simply “liking” posts will encourage writers. Share and like links are placed at the end of every entry.

Finally, please consider contributing an entry for future weeks!