For this week’s blog, I’d like to take a look at the idea of using the blog as notebook. This notion is one that I have found effective in the past and will continue to use in the future. After reading about scholarly blogging in the first two chapters of Uses of Blogs Part 3, I could imagine how scholars researching anything.
I feel it is a good way for any minds interested in one thing to come together and brainstorm as a group. Being able to publish gives those looking to get their foot in the door an outlet to do just that and gives the people established in a field a place to write any thoughts they may want to remember or come back to out in the open for future expansion.
Jill Walker wrote that readers are intrigued by the process of the research, not always just the results. Using the blog as a public notebook is a good example of this because one can see exactly how ideas develop. Being open about the process could even draw in people who aren’t as passionate about the subject to the discussion.
The way I see this is similar to the way I see HBO 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic. In this case, the show acts as a blog. Anyone can read a box score and see how the Capitals losing streak continued, but when you show what goes on behind the scenes and how they tried to fix it, it becomes more interesting than a 7-0 hockey game.
I would also like to take a look at how my profession utilizes blogs as notebooks.
After moving from a large athletic communications department at Minnesota to a three-man office at Bemidji State, it has been tougher to provide content in notebook form this year than it was last year.
Minutes after every game last year, I would write an instant analysis with notes and observations. This would give the fans something to chew on while they waited for more content to appear on our site. The media could also recycle my notes and use them in game stories or preview for a game the following night. We tried it out in hockey last year and the idea spread into other sports.
Another example of how we used our blog as a notebook was for media availability. Once a week, we’d gather the media and the players and coaches to give the writers quotes and information to use in their stories (whether TV, newspaper, or anything else). There, I’d record quotes and post them before anyone else (getting in front of the story, as we learned in the PR section of the book). This proved to be a good way to interact with our fans because we would post the blog links on Facebook and the responses showed a lot of engagement with the team.
If we were at a big event, like the Frozen Four, we’d update the fans with daily blogs and notes on what the team was doing.
With the evolution of blogs, more sportswriters are beginning to make notebooks with shorter notes on updates about their teams (example here), like Minnesota Wild beat writer Michael Russo. You can only write so much in a newspaper each day and you can only get something in print via newspaper once a day. You also can’t use links in a paper.
Others, such as Puck Daddy, collect links from beat writers and bloggers of other teams and make clippings sections on their blogs to help readers catch up with every team. The reader can decide what he/she wants to read and the links all give the reader more of a first-person view than if one blog tried to cover every team.
Links are powerful, and (though shorter) notes can be powerful as well. There’s less of a filter on these notebooks, so you’ll see less formal writing with more spelling and grammar mistakes, but they give sportswriters to go more in-depth than they could in a tweet and get the information out quickly.
I don’t read many blogs that aren’t about sports, but as you can see in my blog posts from earlier this week, I like to use them for class, too. I even tried to keep the individual thoughts within this post a bit shorter than usual to resemble some kind of notebook.