Pondering a blog? Contact the Web manager to initiate a university-hosted blog, or if you have an off-site departmental blog, you want to alert us about it.
All the standard recommendations for other forms of social media apply with blogs:
- Use a role-based email address.
- Establish more than one administrator.
- Nothing is ever confidential on the Web, and everything lives forever, so think before you post.
- Be professional, but have personality. You are a representative of the University of Puget Sound.
- Use appropriate icons and graphics.
- Choose your blog name carefully.
But blogs, in particular, beg some additional consideration. Writing fresh blog content regularly is a much more challenging concept than putting together a few 140-character Twitter posts each week. Crafting a successful blog takes time: your time to write and post regularly AND time to grow a following.
One technique for building a dynamic blog without carrying the constant weight of crafting content yourself is to have a multiuser blog where more than one person in your department may be responsible for writing occasional posts. For example, see the Career and Employment Services blog (http://blogs.pugetsound.edu/cesblogs) or the What We Do blog (http://blogs.pugetsound.edu/whatwedo). Having more than one poster can help ensure you have more consistent fresh content without creating it yourself. However, even if your writers commit to posting regularly, expect that they won’t always do so, and you may have to spend some time sending reminders.
Consider drafting an agreement outlining your expectations of your participants and documenting the cases in which you will edit or remove their posts. If you plan on inviting students to participate in the blog, be aware that they should be approved by the dean of the student office first and consider if there are any other requirements you wish to set, such as a minimum GPA level.
An issue that is often more of a question in the realm of blogging is ownership. While conceptually, the content posted on a university blog is theoretically copyrighted by the university (though not ostensibly marked as such), it is understood that the content posted on a blog may be easily passed on via electronic means such as RSS feeds. If you have students or employees writing for your blog, they may want to provide said blog posts as writing samples. Consider outlining a guideline for blog posters at the outset and making it a part of the agreement or commitment they sign to become part of the blog. For instance, you might state that while the university and their posts copyright the blog, therefore, become the university’s intellectual property; they have the right to share the text with attribution to the university or to list it as a writing sample with similar attribution.