Author: drcjgerendas

Assistant Professor Communication, Texas Wesleyan University

Key Trends in Blogging from Dylan Kissane

blog-2Dylan Kissane, writing for in January 2016, discusses the “5 most important trends in blogging for 2016,”  where he notes that blogs began in the late 1990s and after nearly twenty years have continued to evolve and inform the world of marketing [and public relations] today. Blogs also continue to be used for personal purposes like online diaries or platforms for specific topic discussions [sometimes called filter-blogs] but less so than in the past.  In fact, Kissane states that in 2006, blogging might have appeared on a resume under “Hobbies and Interests” but today in some cases, blogging is “a legitimate career choice for talented content creators” and might now appear on a resume under “Work Experience.”

So, as blogging becomes more professional and integral to marketing, journalism, and public relations, here are five trends identified by Kissane that, I believe, our journalism and public relation students should consider:

  1. Bloggers are “influencers”–Kissane notes, “Bloggers today . . . draw together text, images, online video, knowledge of pop culture and trends, business savvy, powerful and extensive social networks, and the skills to bring all of this to bear in a dynamic zeitgeist to deliver value for their audience, advertisers, and themselves.”  In other words, today’s blogger is technologically and culturally savvy, while writing with clarity and understanding what appeals to his/her audience.
  2. “Size matters”–Kissane quotes a survey (data, key findings, analysis) of “1000 leading bloggers” from Orbit Media Studios noting that the size of blog posts are increasing and finding that in 2015 the average post length was “900 words.”  Further, Kissane believes that to be successful in an “over-saturated content world” professionals will need to “constantly write . . . content with depth . . . that  people find useful and inspired.”
  3. “The end of comments”–Kissane describes how high-profile bloggers now turn off the comment feature and encourage readers to use social media  for their comments.  This eliminates bloggers having to manage their readers’ comments, and moves the discussion to Twitter or FB, where commenters will include the URL of the blog post as well as reach a wider audience.
  4. “Great Graphics”–Kissane argues that bloggers/influencers will “use text less and graphical elements more” including “infographics, design elements and icon sets, and images designed for sharing on social networks.”  He believes that now and in the future images will be a key component of the blog post and not just an add-on.
  5. “The Era of Engagement”–Kissane states that traffic analytics related to blogs will shift from number of clicks to engagement rates (the amount of time readers stay on the site and whether a post creates “dozens of discussion on social media”).

Kissane concludes his article by arguing that blogging is here to stay and “will continue to evolve in its role as one of the most important content creations, publication, and distribution strategies for businesses and individuals online.”

Blogging as Teaching Tool

As my students are doing this semester, I will be using this space to explore blogging as a method of in-depth issue exploration, analysis, and data synthesis.  I’m scared to go public with my thoughts and ideas–but since I’m asking my students to go public–!! My exploration seeks to uncover some significant teaching affordances related to blogging, particularly as a method for research, remembrance, reflection, and renewal.  My colleague, Dr. Stacia Dunn Campbell, suggested I explore how blogs provide a place of transferability and sustainability, and I agree with her that blogs do allow for those affordances, so they, too, will be part of my exploratory journey.

Students will use their blogs as sites of creation and reflection.  Not only will they analyze their research and publish their thoughts about course reading assignments, they will also undertake a thoughtful exploration of issues that interest them.  They will seek other bloggers and micro-bloggers who are writing about specific issues and learn how to join a community of experts and scholars seeking to shed light on the important problems of our day.

This is our beginning . . .

Text Messages. Use Punctuation!

A recent podcast , ( “You Should Watch the Way You Punctuate Your Text Messages–Period”), on NPR’s “All  Tech Considered” [Dec 20, 2015] discusses how text messages are more like “conversations” and, therefore, are interpreted differently than a handwritten note.  Based on a study by researchers at Binghamton University, readers’ interpretations of sincerity in text messages vary, even to the difference between using “periods” (full stops) versus “exclamation points.”  This study gives us something interesting to consider about the power of punctuation as we try to interpret often cryptic and compact text communications from friends and colleagues!

Finding a Blog State-of-Mind

ToriandCarolFor someone who is very private, blogging seems like a high-risk activity.  The public nature of blogging scares me–writing has mostly been a personal activity for me.  Twitter is a great tool because the text is short and has a ephemeral feel to it. Tweets fly by.  But blogging, with its preference for 1200-1500 words, creates in the writer a pressure for thoughtful, well-researched posts, or, at the very least, for posts with interesting descriptions of personal experiences (along with photos).  I find my students’ to be fearless blog writers with a willingness to share their ideas and an endless store of creativity.  I’m following their lead, learning to be fearless, to share, and to unleash my creativity.  Thank you, MCO 2342 students, both present and past!

Selecting Topics and Researching: “The Historical, Literary, Pyschological, and Physical”

When writing about an issue, do your research.  Most issues can be approached from numerous perspectives. The new media writer can explore the historical context of an issue both in text and as visual representations.  A writer can explore literary depictions of an issue, such as the guest blog post “Abortion in Literature” ( where Sarah Flint Erdreich (4/28/11) identifies six novels in which the issue of abortion is portrayed. Also, a writer can explore the psychological and/or physical aspect of an issue, examining the impact of a person or an event on individuals, a cultural group, a city, or a nation.  Do not limit yourself to definition and description–seek out unique perspectives from which to examine an issue–and your audience will be compelled to read it.  (For further information read Chapter 7 in The New Media Writer–our MCO 2342 textbook.)

Academic Convocation Fall 2015

Academic convocation is an assembly that officially opens the scholastic year, in this case, at Texas Wesleyan University.  I hope many of you take the opportunity to come to convocation today (Tuesday, August 25, 2015) and join me in thinking about how wonderful and exciting our experiences will be over the course of the upcoming 2015/2016 year.  See you there!

Fall 2015’s MCO 2342 Rhetoric & Communication Course

I’m excitedly working on Fall 2015’s MCO Rhetoric and Communication course.  I’m using a new textbook (The New Media Writer, 2014, Sean Morey) this semester and hope to explore with all of you various ways to critically analyze and create new media writing.  Join me on this journey as we learn how to use classical and contemporary rhetorical concepts to interpret visual, aural, and textual elements in new media writing.