Why a blog?
EMTS already uses an email listserv as a collaborative communication tool. Members typically save EMTS emails to their computers, manually building an archive that is rudimentarily searchable. Social networking software, such as blogs and wikis, do not require client programs, just access to the Internet. Discussions are automatically archived and threaded, and newcomers can easily browse or search back through these archives.
Blogs facilitate community discussions. Information is initially shared as a blog post, and users are allowed to post follow-up comments. Wikis function as knowledge repositories. The information in a wiki can be collaboratively edited, and the focus is less on a discussion and more on consensus.
An additional feature of blogs, separating them from email listservs and wikis, is that members can subscribe using an RSS reader. Instead of navigating to the ten or so blogs that one reads, an RSS reader consolidates the information, receiving updates to the individual blogs as they occur. The result is a sort of personalized newspaper. If a member uses a web-based reader, such as Google Reader, this aggregated information can be accessed from any device with a Web browser.
The advantage of a blog, then, over the current EMTS communication tool is that it is not tied to a single computer, is self-archiving, facilitates ongoing discussions, and can be integrated into the current information-delivery trend of the RSS reader.
Scope of EMTS Blog
Primarily, topics should be related to educational media and technology. Topics can include personal opinions and general questions to EMTS members. However, job postings and generic FYI announcements should not be considered for the blog (those items can be posted to the email listserv). The goal of the blog is to provide a forum for discussion.
Content can include links to news items on other sites and blogs. Links should be annotated in some way so as to stimulate group discussion and tie the information back to EMTS.
General technology trends may be discussed, but blog posts should include some focus on education and instruction. Personal opinions and statements about topics that are not related to technology, education or instruction are not appropriate for the blog.
Posting to the EMTS Blog
All EMTS officers may post directly to the blog, and will have WordPress editor privileges. This means that they can write blog posts, moderate comments, and edit or delete other blog posts and comments. The blog editor (the one person with admin access to WordPress) will gather a group of interested EMTS members to act as frequent blog posters. These blog posters will have WordPress author privileges, allowing publishing and editing of posts, but no moderation of comments. This is to ensure a flow of information, and it is easier to manage than opening the blog to the entire EMTS membership. Any EMTS member is allowed to post to the blog, but that member must first be added as a frequent poster. The blog is not provided for general one-off announcements.
Commenting on EMTS Blog posts
Any EMTS member may anonymously post a comment on any ETMS Blog post. The comments may be moderated simply to avoid spam, not to edit content. If comments become dramatically off-topic, the blog editor will privately inform the commenter of the scope of the EMTS Blog. If there is no way to contact an anonymous commenter, the off-topic comment will be removed. Inappropriate comments will be removed immediately.
Both blog posts and comments should follow the MLA Task Force on Social Networking Software Guidelines for Bloggers:
EMTS Blog Editor
The blog editor is responsible for installing and maintaining the blog software, along with monitoring posts and comments.