Should You Only Blog if You Have Something "Original" to Say?
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For Blogging Beginners: Evolution of a Blog Post

As someone who's been blogging for awhile now, one of the things I've realized is that skills and thinking that are second nature to me are not so visible to new bloggers. What I've been trying to do lately is to think about ways I can be more transparent in my processes, talking through decisions I've made, how I go about accomplishing various tasks, etc. This is also helpful to me because it forces me to take on more of a "beginner's mind" and think about the kinds of questions newbies may have about social media so I can get better at anticipating and answering those. Especially for those of us working in the technology space, this is critical for us to effectively work with those who are less skilled and comfortable with the technology.

In this video, what I wanted to do was trace the evolution of a blog post, from me reading an article in my feed reader, through me posting my own response to the article and the interactions that took place in comments at my blog and at the original post. I tried to be as explicit as possible in my decision-making process and discussing how I manage posts, comments, etc. This video also shows how I used Google Alerts to see how the original conversation was extended to another blog. My hope is that this more explicitly shows how reading, posting, and commenting all interact to extend knowledge about a topic and to expand the network of interactions.

For further reference, these are the articles I mention in the video:

One technical note--This is my first attempt at using Camtasia (which I love, BTW) and I was a little disappointed in the quality of the screencapture. I suspect that it's something I'm missing in the original recording or maybe in converting for use on YouTube. Despite this, I think you can see enough to get the main points--you just can't read the fine print.

I'd love your feedback--was this helpful or not? What questions should I have answered that I didn't? What questions could I have answered better?


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Hi Michele -- following your advice in the video and letting you know that I have looking into your technical issues with the video to create a post of quick tips for improving screencasts ( You did a really good job with screencasting because creating videos can be really frustrating. I spend a lot of time fiddling with file format etc to optimise my videos and Camtasia Studio isn't necessarily the easiest application to learn.

As Beth Kanter is far more experienced with screencasting than me hopefully she will share some of her tips.

I should also say that I enjoyed watching your video on your evolution of blog posts. If I had to expand on it I would show how I manage my comments on other people's posts and explain how important commenting on others posts is.

As always, Sue--thanks for your help. I see that I screwed up both in recording the whole screen and in converting to .avi, instead of to the .mov format. Also, thanks for the comments on the screencast itself. I think that I may do something separately on managing comments, including managing comments on other blogs. I'm trying to chunk as much as possible so I'm not overwhelming people, which I'm often very good at doing. :-)

Thanks again for your help!

That is okay Michelle. Region probably more of the issue. avi. format is fine because it is uncompressed so you are not losing any quality. Will be interesting to learn how you manage comments compared to me.

You did a great job!

Here's the issue. You captured the whole screen, but when you put on youtube, the size of the screen is reduced - so it becomes not so legible.

A couple of tricks .. as Sue so beautifully illustrated - use fixed screen and set it to 640x480. That takes a bit of planning though in terms of what you are showing.

Another way to do it -- capture the window szie, not the desktop -- but use the zoom and pan in editing to zoom in on the part you're talking about. It does tend to make the file bigger. It is easier to do it editing versus capture - or at least I found that.

A couple of other things -- if you are really concerned about quality - you can pay for hosting at and it will host a larger viewing size -800-x600 - so you don't have problems with the quality. I do this, but I'm also using splash media and the larger viewer.

See here:

Thanks for the help Sue and Beth! This is one of the reasons I love the blogosphere!

Sue--re: commenting. . . right now I'm not managing very well. I'm so behind on feeds and just barely keeping my head above water on trying to keep up with posts.


Just wanted to tell you about a program, also by TechSmith, called Jing ( . It is really neat. I have used it a couple times on my blog and the good thing about it is that you don't have to capture the whole screen, you can capture smaller parts. So instead of capturing your whole browser, it will only capture the window. They host your files for free at (which Sue mentioned). It is a slick little program, and I am excited when I find new ways to use it.

Thanks, Jethro--I actually have Jing, but hadn't used it yet. Now between you, Sue and Beth, I think I'm going to have to. Thanks for the suggestion!

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