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When most people hear the word blog, they think of one person writing alone. But blogging can be a joint endeavor--many friends and groups maintain community blogs.
Well, a family is a community, isn't it? Why not create a blog for your brood? If you lack the Web savvy of the iGeneration, it may sound a bit daunting. But launching a blog is easy and could turn into an ongoing, team-building activity for your family.
There are a dizzying array of blogging sites. Some are free, like Blogger or Tumblr, where you can publish text and upload photos from your recent trip to Disneyland. You can also create links to sites that your family uses, such as your local library’s online database, the Web sites of your child’s teachers, YouTube, or photo sharing sites such as Flickr or Fotki. For several dollars a month you can create multiple photo albums and blogs at Typepad. If you’re comfortable using the Web — or have a teen in the house— multimedia sites like Scrapblog or Weebly offer fun extras like audio and maps.
- Create an “editorial team.” You’ll need a writer, an editor and a designer. Everyone can write and take pictures, of course, but you’ll need to designate specific roles to build a team. Your son, who hogs the camera on vacations, could be the photographer and photo editor. Your daughter, who has a way with words and an eye for detail, could be the head content writer or copy editor. Talk about what you’d like to achieve with your blog. Will you use it to share your family’s news and ideas with others or is the blog intended to generate discussions within the family?
- Sign up for a free account at a site, like Blogger or Typepad, and build your blog together. Create a username and password accessible to all, so each member can add to or edit the blog at any time. Design your blog from pre-made layouts, colors and fonts in a way that best represents your family. Encourage your kids to express their preferences, and do the same. In the blog’s profile or “about” section, introduce yourselves and state your goals.
- Write a welcome blog. One of the beauties of blogging is the ability to post, edit, and delete content. Have each family member post an entry about that particular day or whatever comes to mind. Urge one another to peer-edit or expand each other’s posts. Swap editorial positions, if needed. The key is to experiment and cooperate to create the most effective team.
- Initiate a discussion. After some test blogs, compile a list of topics for discussion. Some prompts to consider:
- On our last family trip, we went to…
- The best day I ever had was when…
- A place I want to visit is…
- My favorite book or movie is…
- A fascinating thing I read or watched yesterday was…
- A person I’d love to meet is…
- It really bothers me when…
- I wish…
Hold regular “meetings” to plan content and design changes. Keep topics simple in the beginning to give kids room to explore. The structure of each discussion is up to you, but remember that blogging is intended to be painless and liberating. Hopefully, in time, your family shouldn’t need topics to help express ideas!
Building a blog isn't only fun and games—it will teach your children how to collaborate with others and arm them with the practical Web, writing, and visual skills they'll need in our world of multimedia and technology. You’ll learn just as much from them, too.
Below are some blogging sites to check out:www.blogger.com
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