zworeck

Goodnight and Good Luck

In Uncategorized on April 30, 2010 at 5:16 pm

   When I first proposed starting this blog for my professor, I created a detailed list of all of the dates I would turn in a post. I found out quickly that blogging on a schedule is not the best strategy. For my first blog I had decided to write about health care, but a few paragraphs into my first draft the earthquake in Haiti happened. I realized then how flexible bloggers have to be.
            My first few tries at writing that blog were rough to say the least. I found my post reading more like a news article or school report. I lacked a candid conversational feel. I had one of my friends who writes stand up comedy look over it. She definitely helped me pick up a more friendly laid-back tone.
            Finding topics for my blogs was a big part of this experience. Most of the time I relied on the news. But working in a Congressional office didn’t hurt. Being on the Hill I found out about what was going on and I had access to experts on the issues.
On top of that, being in DC was a great place to write my blog. As cheesy as it sounds, the city is incredibly inspirational. Being in the middle of everything I was writing about really added to my understanding of what I was blogging about.
            Research was a big part of my blogging process. Because I wrote about social media, I found all of my information on the internet. While blogging, I discovered a lot of great sites that I used very frequently. TweetCongress.org was a godsend. I could search for my topics in the tweet stream and see which Representatives or Senators were talking about it. I also used Digg.com and Mashable.com to find articles and blogs about my subjects. After that, all there was left to do was write!

That all being said, I have a few tips for those of you interested in starting your own blogs:

1. Write about something that interests you- I have always loved analyzing politics, so when the opportunity arose for me to write a blog, I incorporated it immediately. This has been such a fun experience because blogging about politics gave me an informal way to express my opinions.

2. Look at others blogs before you start your own- A regret of mine before starting was not to read other peoples blogs. By comparing others work, it gives you an idea about how you want to structure your posts, design your page or craft your tone.

3. Make sure your subject is writable- Before I started writing, I realized that my blog required outside information, meaning I had to make sure I could find material to write about. Social media and politics don’t come up together when you google them, so I had to sit down and search the Web to check that I would have the necessary tools to write. That’s where TweetCongress, Digg, Twitter, and Mashable (etc) came in.

4. Shop around for the blog site that best fits you- When I first started, I was using blogspot. But when a friend showed me WordPress, I knew it was a better fit. Nothing against blogspot– it’s a great site, but for me WordPress was better. To avoid switching, do a test run on each to see what you like best.

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff- Since I am not the best at grammar, spelling, etc. I really like the informal style of blogging. Now I’m not saying to put up your blog with tons of typos, but when there are little problems, its not a big deal. Just make sure all of your facts are correct!

6. Not all blogs are created equal- While my blog is for a class, not all blogs need to be as structured. Sometimes a great post can be a picture and a caption. Sometimes it can be random ponderings on life. Write what you know/like. After all, blogging is supposed to be fun!

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To Infinity and Beyond?

In Uncategorized on April 16, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Yesterday, the President traveled to Cape Canaveral, FL to the Kennedy Space Center, and announced his new outline of space exploration programs. While he allotted an extra $6 billion dollars to NASA, he also announced the Constellation Program–the 2020 mission to the moon– would be cut. What a bummer. But Obama backed up his argument noting, “We’ve already been there”. I kind of get that, but it’s not like a family vacation to Sea World, it’s ok to go to the moon a couple times.

After reading some summaries on CNN, I turned to Digg to find some other literature on the issue. While “digging” through (pun intended) I also found a blog, “Bad Astronomy” from Discover Magazine online. As a public relations major, I can say that aeronautics, physics or really science of any type is not my bag. But, this blog explained the new policy plan and what it means for the future of space exploration, travel, etc. Also noted in the blog was a result Constellation’s cancelation will be job loss. Queue disagreements in Congress…

As is the new trend, many Congressmen took to their Twitter accounts to express their disagreement/support. SHOCKING TWIST: Many Republicans oppose the new Obama plan!!! You heard it here first, folks.

Of the Republicans to express their disapproval is Texas Congressman Pete Olson. Olson tweeted and updated his Facebook page reflecting his disapproval of Obama’s new plan. He linked his post to a press release on his Web site. And he’s not alone. A number of Repubs have expressed their disapproval on their Twitters, Facebooks and Web sites.

However, only one Democrat took to social media to back the President. Senator Mark Udall tweeted just yesterday about how he believes the Orion program will in fact help jobs. He linked his tweet to his blog about why he supports Obama’s plan. A Twitter, Facebook and blog? Snaps for Senator Udall.

Outside of the donkeys v. elephants some of our country’s most famed astronauts are equally split. While Neil Armstrong calls the cancellation of Constellation “devastating” his crewmate, Buzz Aldrin supports Obama. According to CNN, Aldrin said, NASA needs to explore new frontiers, not retrace 40-year-old footsteps—Ironic considering his current gig on Dancing With The Stars!

License to Drill

In Uncategorized on April 2, 2010 at 9:17 pm

This week President Obama announced the expansion of domestic offshore drilling, especially off the East coast. This news comes with the intent of decreasing dependence on foreign oil, and simultaneously continuing to work on alternative energies. Well you can’t say we aren’t multitaskers here in the US of A.

Obviously the reactions to this announcements are mixed (how odd). Even the comments under this YouTube show some pretty strong reactions. It appears that some think this is a much-needed step in the right direction towards weaning off of foreign oil. The others, this is a terrible decision that sacrifices our coasts and threatens entire marine ecosystems.

Reactions in Congress are mixed as well. Both member of the House and the Senate have taken to Twitter to express their support/disdain. Also, these reactions differ among politicians in the same political parties. While Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) Tweeted: @Mark Warner: Pres. Obama’s offshore oil/gas exploration anncmt is good news & positive step forward for VA & will help expand domestic energy production, Frank Pallone (D-NJ) is not a happy camper.

In fact, Pallone has Tweeted a number of times to show his concern of how this drilling will affect the Jersey Shore (take that how you will). Pallone also took to his Facebook page to write: Offshore drilling on the Atlantic Coast invites an environmental catastrophe that would have severe economic consequences for New Jersey.

I was reading through the responses to this comment, but it turned into a battle royal between some Democratic and Republican constituents so I decided to move on. He did get 15 likes though.
On the Republican side of things, it’s also pretty complicated. House Republican Leader John Boehner retweeted a tweet about a comment he made: John Boehner: RT @Drudge_Report: Boehner: Decision Keeps Vast Majority of America’s Offshore Energy Resources Off Limits… http://drudge.tw/9CGSxN Other Republicans are simply saying its a step in the right direction.

@NatResourcesGOP has been a very actively tweeting about this new decision. I’ve been following them since this decision because this page has really done a good job of providing information and links. One interesting link I found through this tweet: Offshore oil drilling might make environmental sense (via @washingtonpost) http://bit.ly/9C3PWd #energy #tcot #drillgate — which discusses the possible environmental GOOD that could come from offshore drilling. They also link a tweet to a Rasmusen Report showing that 72% support drilling.

While I try not to interject my personal beliefs into this blog, I will again end with a video of one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite muppets: