The Grim Reaper




At first I thought that the Radiolab “Dead Reckoning” would be somewhat of a stretch in relation to my topic, aside from the striking similarity of the topic of dying - discussed in the Radiolab, viewed in many medical dramas. However,…

Wow—a really thoughtful connection from a Radiolab episode to this student’s blog.  I particularly like how the student didn’t just limit her critical engagement to agreement or disagreement, liking or not liking, or what was good/bad about the show, but explored very specific connections to the show and questions she had been engaging in her blog.  She reflected that, at least for one example in the show, reality was more far-fetched than TV!

When Worlds Collide



E. H. Smith argues that a person’s race/nationality decides if they are treated like an expatriate or an immigrant. There is definitely a nicer connotation with the term expatriate than there is with the word immigrant. Smith supports his claim by saying that he himself, a Caucasian…

This is an excellent post for a few reasons.  First, it bravely tackles an uncomfortable and tricky subject: race and immigration.  This student’s blog is on European trends, but she had the guts to go outside of her comfort zone and see this really unfortunate but complex stereotype as another “trend” she could expose.  Second, this post deals with this difficult situation in a complex and sensitive way.  It would have been easy to take one side or the other, or even not to deal with the issue at all and say “that’s too bad” but she shows understanding for all sides of this complex issue, while not shying away from asserting her own voice and interpretation.  THIS is scholarly work. 

The “best” posts

I’ve been skimming through your simple argument using “best” posts and I’ve noticed that quite a few are missing standardizations.  Make sure you include this at the bottom of your post (and not in the comments, or I won’t see it) so that you receive full credit for this post.


Ever wonder how blogs get noticed, and attract comments?  Do you wonder what that strange “pound” symbol is at the end of tweets or other social media? Have you ever wanted to be “Tumblr famous”?  

Hashtags are your answer.

Underneath your blog post text box (where you type or paste in your post) there is a little box that has a small tag symbol that looks a bit like this:



In this box, you can type keywords that would allow Tumblr readers to find your post by subject.  For example, in a post talking about how the Radiolab podcast on “Bliss” relates to the NBA, you might have the hashtags #NBAbliss #NPR #NBA #basketball #happiness #radiolab. These keywords or phrases should generally be short so your reader can search for these words easily.  

When you put your hashtags in the box, don’t type the # sign—Tumblr will put it in automatically.  Separate the hashtags with commas.  

In future posts, try to include hashtags, and you might find that your post is seen and commented on by a greater audience.

Double Wild Card Rule Unfair



After the 2012 season, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig announced a new rule that would allow two wild card teams from each league (instead of just one) to play a one game playoff where the winner would advance to the actual postseason. This rule was instituted last season. As much as it seems like…

This is an excellent brief post on how the MLB recently incorporated a new rule which would allow another wild card team into the playoffs.  The author does an excellent job of laying out how this new rule has potential harm for the game—not merely how he doesn’t like it.  The author addresses possible reasons for the rule, and how those reasons fall short, which sets up a logical and credible position that convinces me of his side of the argument because it really seems like he understands the opposition. 

Trigger Warnings?

So, there’s a recent article in the New Republic called “Trigger Happy.”  The author argues that the rash of “trigger warnings” on blogs have gotten out of control—they’ve spread from blogs to news media and even college classes!  What do you think?  Has this trend gotten out of control?  Or is this sensitivity warranted in some cases?  As a blogger, are there any subjects that you would include trigger warnings for?  Any subjects that you would feel limitations on your freedom of speech if I said you had to include a trigger warning for?

Blogging Tips and Tricks: Liking Posts and Following

I’m loving all the new avatars!  This week, I’m focusing on “liking” posts. 

On your dashboard, you should be seeing your classmates’ posts as they write them.  At least once a week, I skim over the posts, and often I see amazing stuff.  If a post catches my eye, I will read it through more carefully.  I love learning new things from students, appreciating a well-written passage, and seeing all the creativity!  

So, when a post impresses me, I “like” it, or press the heart button next to the post.  This shows the author some support and appreciation for his or her hard work. 

I want you to do this too!  When you see a post you think is awesome, “like” it to show your classmate support.

Also, at this point in the semester, you can “follow” more than just ten blogs if you wish to—you aren’t stuck with following just the ten you picked on the first day.  Maybe you heard about a really great blog from a friend, or saw it reblogged here—you can follow these compelling blogs as well.

Blogging Tips and Tricks: Adding an Avatar

I’ve noticed that some of you have a rather boring avatar, or profile picture:


An avatar represents your character as a blog writer, and can build or take away from your ethos.  A blank avatar actually takes away from your ethos—it shows a lack of care in your design.

So, how do you add an avatar?

First, consider the character you want to portray.  Do you want to be seen as academic, cute, quirky, professional, serious?  How can you establish yourself as someone worth listening to on your subject?

I suggest picking a picture you own for your avatar—one that you or a friend has taken, or one that you’ve created.  Your avatar can be a photo, digital art, words…an image of you or something else.

Please do not choose a copyrighted image like Mickey Mouse because using a picture as an avatar actually does not fit the fair use guidelines, AND there’s nowhere for you to cite your picture.

Also, choose a picture that looks good even if it’s tiny—your avatar shows up in the tab on your webpage.

Once you’ve chosen an image, click on the “settings” icon in your dashboard.  It looks like a cog wheel and is next to the log out button.  In “settings” you click on your page title on the left side, and look at the avatar picture upload button.  Use that blank to find the image file on your computer.

I look forward to seeing some interesting, captivating, beautiful, and serious avatars soon!

Blog Tips and Tricks! Short Paragraphs

Occasionally, I’ll post a few tips and tricks on Tumblr to give you guys some ideas on how to improve your blog.  

Today’s tip is to write with short paragraphs, rather than big chunks on text.  Shorter paragraphs make your blog easy to read for people who are reading on tiny screens, and for people who are reading quickly for content rather than in-depth analysis (i.e. the typical Internet reader).

Writing in short paragraphs means that you have to be very conscious of what sentences you want to stand out, because if they are VERY short, or if they are fragments sentences, they draw attention to themselves.  You only want very important concepts to…

stand alone.


Writing in shorter paragraphs is a sign of lighter, more casual reading, but not necessarily less important or critical writing, and, for a blog, this is perfect.  However, judge according to your audience and purpose, AND don’t make the mistake of putting each and every separate sentence into a separate paragraph (this just looks silly).  If your subject merits it, and it would fit your audience and your purpose, go for it and write in those shorter paragraphs.

A Whole New World


New York City, NY. Times Square. Bright lights. Fashion. Beauty. Glitz. Glam.

A bit overwhelming for a 13 year old girl from a small, suburban neighborhood in Delaware. My family and I visit New York City almost every year, even a few times a year. But still, no matter how many times I’ve been…

This is a small an excellent narrative post on a blog about make-up.  What I love about this post is the author’s storytelling pacing.  She begins with short, punchy fragment sentences, as if this were a movie and these were flashing scenes that capture the overwhelmed feeling of the viewer.  Then, she slows down to give us context and placement—she puts us there with her.  She doesn’t waste words, though, and transitions right into the store scene with just enough of a shiny picture to imagine her point of view. 

But what is so smart about this post is that it is a story with a purpose—the author explains the origin of her interest in beauty and make-up in a much more interesting and vivid way than just telling us reasons why she likes it, or what particularly she likes about it.  Beautifully written.