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Tips for Blogging in SDN/BPX

How to Use the WYSIWYG Editor

When you create a new blog draft in SDN/BPX the main text of the blog can be edited using the WYSIWYG Editor (see picture). This blog expands.

Most of the buttons are self explanatory for all word users. On the top row is the classic bold, italic, underline and bullet buttons. However there are a few slightly less obvious ones that can help a beginning blogger.

In the first row:
The button picturing the tree is used to insert/edit an image
The button picturing the ladder is used to insert/edit embedded media
The button picturing the chain is used to insert/edit a link
The button picturing the anchor is used to insert/edit an anchor
In the 2nd row:
There are a few paste buttons. Familiarize yourself with the 'W' paste (Word). If you write your draft in word, copy it and then use this button to paste (and not CTRL V) then your blog formatting will be preserved.
HTML - used to edit Source Code

10 Commandments of Writing a Blog

1. Know your audience -
Who are you writing for? Many in our communities expect more than just rant, unsupported opinion, and examples unsubstantiated by experience. Using a theater model: imagine the audience's perspective and be an actor for that audience. This will help your script, your language, your tone, your substance, your use cases.
2. Use clear language -
If you are writing for a global audience (and here in SDN/BPX you are) think in words that the audience will understand and relate to.
3. Provide a clear summary -
Much thought should be given to why you are choosing the topic. Why would an audience want to listen to you? What service or value are you providing? What whitespace is being addressed in your content? The summary is the short abstract that gets picked up by RSS feeds. (for more RSS info see an RSS mini-tutorial or the O'Reilly link for a deep dive into RSS technology ) Remember: most folks spend a very small window of time reading a summary and quickly decide as to whether contents are of interest. The advantage of RSS feeds for the audience: "100% complete control over the read situation" . What that means to you? If your summary disappoints, your readership will disappear.
4. Provide a short engaging title -
o Gear your title to your audience
o Keep the title short and understandable
o Ensure the title delivers its promise
o Optionally - Make the title as provocative or "catchy" or even funny as possible (that's audience-based, of course)
5. Design and chunk information with audience in mind -
o Create clear blog content subtitles and use a small title tag (like <h5> </h5> or bold explicitly for the subcontent headers
o Be mindful of how people read/listen. An audience might not "hear" more than a few minutes worth of content without zoning out unless provided with some form of interaction for eye, mind, even ear in each segment.
o Use graphics judiciously - use them sparingly as some people have bandwidth issues and a large graphic can slow them down.
o Don't overuse "caps" as it is perceived as SCREAMING
o Don't overuse bold for the same reason
6. Engage the audience-
o Leave room for questions, conversations, and comments. Use of open-ended questions is advisable. That can be done in your writing style as well as your Tag Line.
o Avoid pontificating (this means: avoid ranting in a professional or technical blog) and preaching and "going on", as it tends to turn many in our audience "off"
Note: many of our top contributors and respected community members inhabit external blogspheres, where personal rants are appropriate, welcomed, and responded to. Do try to avoid them unless explicitly labeled "Ranting".
7. Answer comments promptly -
The last 3 are absolute "shalt nots"..
Subscribe to the blog comments you receive. Acknowledge and respond appropriately, that's just good manners.
Do not use the comment section of a blog to exchange e-mail addresses. E-mail addresses should be shared in the community member's business card and made visible to whoever wishes to contact the person in question.
8. Avoid personal attack -
This is sometimes referred to as "ad hominem" (I had to look this up on wikipedia). Remember it's an opinion you are disagreeing with not the author. The basic idea: "rudeness is always wrong, even when your premise is right." Here is where my own experience as a mother of five and a grandmother as well, comes in: a golden rule in our house is to communicate (when something isn't acceptable)"I don't like your behavior" rather than to imply "I don't like you".
9. Avoid false or deceptive statements -
Misleading contents and advertising are not welcome. Do diligence. If you are speculating, please say so. When you are mistaken, please publicly correct any misinformation you have delivered. This is a public space so take care and publish responsibly.
10. Forget plagiarizing-
If your material exists online, declare it, link to it, reference it, acknowledge it and be sure that whenever possible you have an author's consent for complete reuse or even quotation (I know many of us have been sloppy with this last one). Often online sources will have some disclaimers about the legality of reuse. If contents are copyrighted or represent intellectual property, they simply cannot be used. Your reputation suffers if you copy without crediting.

Lastly, a number of good generic blogging code of ethics can be found here:
http://www.library.cmu.edu/ethics9.html and http://blogethics2004.blogspot.com/

Become an SDN/BPX Expert Blogger

Once you have released a few blogs as a Weblogger on the site good content blogs can help promote you to Expert Blogger Status which is approved by our moderators.

Points for Blogging

Points are awarded for blogs that are posted on the site. For more details see our Contributor Recognition Program FAQ.

How many people read my blog?

You can see how many times your blog page was viewed on your author page (click into your name on the blog itself). The statistics of each blog appear below it, including page views. This information is updated daily.

*Please note that if the author redirects to their wiki profile the stats are not available.

How can I help promote good blogs?

One way is by commenting on the blog and inspiring conversation around it.

Another way is by using the social media and bookmarking links located at the bottom of each blog, before the comment section (picture below). A short description of each follows.


del.icio.us is a social bookmarking website - the primary use of del.icio.us is to store your bookmarks online, which allows you to access the same bookmarks from any computer and add bookmarks from anywhere, too. Bookmarks can be shared.
Digg is a place for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web. .. Digg surfaces the best stuff as voted on by our users.
reddit is a source for what's new and popular online. vote on links that you like or dislike and help decide what's popular, or submit your own!

My name is not showing up correctly

There are a few cases where a blog author's name can appear incorrectly, for example if it has a nordic spelling that uses a special character. The way to circumvent this is through HTML character entities. Character entities are explained below (explanatin taken from the w3schools.com site.

Some characters have a special meaning in HTML, like the less than sign (<) that defines the start of an HTML tag. If we want the browser to actually display these characters we must insert character entities in the HTML source. A character entity has three parts: an ampersand (&), an entity name or a # and an entity number, and finally a semicolon ((wink) . To display a less than sign in an HTML document we must write: < or <

The advantage of using a name instead of a number is that a name is easier to remember. The disadvantage is that not all browsers support the newest entity names, while the support for entity numbers is very good in almost all browsers. Note that the entities are case sensitive.

Therefore a blog author can correct the misspelling by using the HTML character entity equivalent. A full list can be found here.

Blogging in a language other than English

SCN blogs are written in English. However if an author wishes to post in their native language, they may do so if they add the English translation. If the native language post appears first then the first line should include a comment such as: *Please see English translation below and of course the translation must be provided.
The short description must include an English explanation so that the whole community can understand the blog content.