About Them Blogs.

Here's another Wikipedia link, this one to the information we need to memorize on the history and state of blogging:


Through this site, my lectures, and your Googling, you're responsible for knowing:

- the origin of the word "blog"
- the highlights of the history of blogging
- the evolution of blogs from online diaries
- the rough # of blogs currently online
- types of blogs and their names
- how blog popularity is tracked and rated
- some of the cases where blogging has led to lawsuits, firings, and so on

Googling blogs.

I will walk you through the set-up process for your blog so that I can keep an eye on you, but the following is an overview of what we'll be doing:

1. Finding an example of the kind of blog you want to create
2. Answering a series of questions about that particular blog
3. Looking through last year's group of blogs for ideas
4. Answering a series of questions about that
5. Deciding on a focus
6. Setting up an account and a name for the blog
7. Setting up your profile
8. Posting your first entry

And here is an overview of what is required for the blog you eventually create (notice that it is slightly different from what last year was given):

- It must be focused on something other than your daily life (e.g., fashion, music, sports, photography)
- Each post must relate explicitly to that focus
- No post may contain language, links, pictures, etc that violate school rules
- You must update your blog at least once a week for the rest of the semester.

We'll discuss all of this more in class. (Sometimes you have to do more than read a computer screen; sometimes you have to listen to me.)

Using Google.

Ah, this is much better. Let's learn how to search, starting with what you almost certainly know how to do:

1. Open a separate window.
2. Type in www.google.com and hit Enter.
3. Type in your search and hit Enter again.

Easy. What you need to learn to do is to think creatively about what you type in step 3; you also need to learn to use Boolean operators to limit your search. Here's a list of a few of those:


We'll discuss what they do in class, as well as how to refine a search to find exactly what we want.

Next up: Googling blogs.

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

If you look at the post below, you'll see the beginnings of what I'd bookmarked, written down, etc, for you to learn about the Internet. I spent about 30 minutes compiling those sources into that post before I realized that I'd be here all day (still at the too-crowded Barnes & Noble, still fighting that virus). What's the problem?

The problem is that the subject of the Internet's history -- even a selective one -- is huge.

So I have a new idea. (I'm going to leave the previous post, because it may help to have those links later.) We have two things to do:

1. Learn how to search for information on the Internet
2. Decide as a class (with my veto in full force) what you should learn on your own

We'll get you interacting with the World Wide Web, and then we'll set up your blogs. I have a list of information I need you to know about the Internet, but the second item in that list above lets you decide if you want to learn a particular fact. For instance, if you're interested in how many hours people spend online per day, that's good; I have that on my list, too. If you're interested in how many people meet their future spouses through online dating sites, that's good, too; it's not on my list, but it sounds interesting.

The Internets (Part II)

Your first assignment is to gather information about the Internet. I will provide you with links below, and for each, I will explain what you must learn at that particular site. Learning this information is up to you; it will be tested at the end of our unit, and there is always the possibility of a (slightly announced) pop quiz.

Please note that we are using Wikipedia entries for some of our information-gathering; however, I will always try to give you at least one other place to visit. We will come back to Wikipedia after we have set up our blogs and hurdled the background below.

First, click here. Your first task it to learn what is meant by "the Internet" and what is meant by "the World Wide Web." You can also find this information at isoc.org, which has a brief (this is brief?) history of the Internet. Use that last link, or perhaps this one, to learn the following pieces of information:

- During what decade did the idea behind a "global network" begin to circulate?
- What was the ARPANET?
- What does "IP" stand for, and why is it important?

- When did the version of the Internet and World Wide Web we know today first come into being?

You might also find some answer by using a glossary of Internet terminology (here's one). That kind of resource will help you learn the following:

- What does "HTTP" stand for, and where is it found?
- What does "HTML" stand for, and where is it found?

Skim the rest of the history of the Internet, but be careful to note what applies most to the common user; in other words, we don't need to know what "transfer packets" are, or what it means to switch to those from traditional circuits. We need to know what allows us to see websites.

We also need to know facts and figures. Google "internet facts and figures" and you're likely to find more advertisers looking for your money than anything else; however, you might check this site (or even this clandestine one) to start learning the following kinds of information:

- Approximately how many Internet users existed in the mid-1990s?
- In the early 2000s?
- How many exist now (last two years or so)?
- How many exist in the United States?

You'll get more topics to research in class.

The Internets

For our first unit, I will be running the show myself. (Remember that each of you is ultimately responsible for signing up to lead a seminar on a particular topic.) We're beginning with the Internets this year because of its ubiquity, but also because it is remarkably useful in this class for sharing information (remarkably so for a series of tubes).

In five minutes, for example, and while writing the above paragraph, I was able to provide you with links that define a 50-cent word (not to be confused with this bit of satire), explain a ridiculous analogy, and document a famous malapropism about the Internet. See? I just did it again.

We are going to look at the history of the Internet, facts about its current status and usage, and possible trends as it moves forward. We'll examine Wikipedia, viral videos, and digital copyright infringement, all while discussing the danger of using Wikipedia to look up information on things like "viral videos." And I will stop providing links to everything you might now know, because it takes too long.

In the next post: info to study and tests to forget about.

Ah! A New Begin- *uncontrollable coughing*

Media Studies,

We are running this show a little differently in 2007 and 2008, so pay attention. First, I have left last year's entries on the site. If you'd like to, you may read through them. Second, I have left links to all of last year's blogs. You'll be using these, so more on them later.

I will be posting several new entries this afternoon (which is being otherwise spent fighting a virus while sitting in a too-crowded Barnes & Noble). Much like your blogs will, mine has a particular focus: your instructions for various assignments. For the rest of the semester, I will augment our classwork with posts full of directions, rubrics, letters, words, and other things I like about my job.

Look above for the following:

1. Instructions on studying the Internet background information begun in class
2. Directions for finding a "model" blog and previous Media Studies blog, including a link to a worksheet on both
3. Directions for setting up your own blog
4. Guidelines and grading schedules for that blog

And, of course, whatever other nonsense I can muster up.

All the best,

Mr. Eure