Advice For Anyone Who Wants to Start A Blog

A few days ago, a friend of mine mentioned that she had begun PR school and asked for advice about what to do for the blog she was obligated to do for one of her classes. If you're one of those die-hard BlogCampaigning fans, you probably already know my thoughts on adding another PR blog to the over-saturated sea of PR blogs.

Back then, my advice to my young friend would have been that she should start a blog about something she cares about.

Now, my advice would be that they avoid starting a blog altogether.

Instead, she should start a Facebook Page.

Right at the start, she can populate this Facebook Page with information about herself (or her project) and what the page is about.

Since I'm pretty sure students in these PR classes are encouraged to read each others' blogs, she can then ask her follow students to 'Like' the page (a much easier task than subscribing via RSS).

Instead of daily blog posts, she can write daily status updates for the page. Facebook's newish tagging ability makes it easier to link to other pages, and isn't really that different than the traditional HTML links you'd include in a blog post. These tags have the added ability of ensuring your post is visible on the page that you tagged, potentially increasing your audience. Interactions on these pages (Likes, Comments) will be spread across the social network of her and her friends, encouraging further interaction and becoming much more visible than if these same interactions were made on a blog.

If she does all this, she'll have the framework for a 'blog' that has the potential to be more popular than any of her classmates. She'll also learn a lot about an increasingly relevant tool in the communicators' kit.

She'll still have to ensure her posts are interesting, resonate with her audience and encourage interaction. A supporting website with basic contact information and direction to 'Like' the Facebook page couldn't hurt, either.

What do you think? Is this good advice for a PR/communications student? If you're a teacher, would you give a passing grade to a student who did this instead of starting a traditional blog?


The Future of Education

A few weeks ago there was an excellent article in the Globe and Mail called "The Class of 2012: Mr. Google's Children" that followed a group of students in Toronto as they moved towards their high-school graduation last spring to where they are now (I'd link to it, but you know the way that newspaper and I feel about each other). One of the quotes from the article that stuck with me was from Julien Hernandez who said:

"I'm learning to play the guitar right now off of YouTube. I can look up anything and in a few minutes know more about any subject than my teacher does. Why should I listen to them?"

Similarly, The Wired Campus reports that students who are listening to recorded university and college lectures online are speeding them up so that they can get through the material faster (found via Smart Mobs).

While I chose to major in English at University, I could have majored in anything and written my papers on anything. What matters was that I was learning to write and think critically.I also learned how to absorb new information, and use it accordingly.

I like to think that Julian Hernandez and the students fast-forwarding through lectures are ahead of the game, in that they have learned to learn more efficiently. I also hope that the teachers of today are teaching students to not just go to Google for answers, but to actually think about what those answers are and question them.

Someone once suggested having a student (of almost any age) unofficially monitor and look after a Wikipedia page. Not only will they learn about the way people interact and create content online, but they'll learn about a specific subject area and will learn to research information that has been added to the page and ensure that it is correct.