Blogging Tips

The MIIS Summer in the Field blog is a place for students to share summer experiences. Whether you’re working in Monterey at one of the many development and sustainability organizations, mapping marine protected areas in Equador, or doing PCMI in Uganda, we want to see, read and hear about what you’re doing!

Why should you blog, other than the fact that it’s wicked awesome?!

Participating in the Summer in the Field blog will help you generate multimedia content you can package into a multimedia reflective piece in the fall. Creating online content about your professional experiences is a great way to document your summer and stand out to potential employers.

You can stay in touch with friends and family at the same time! Use the facebook ‘like’ button on the blogs page to add your posts to your facebook newsfeed.

FAQs

How do I join the Summer in the Field blog?

That’s an excellent question, and you are probably MENSA-level genius for having this stupendous idea. It’s easy! Log in to the blogging community at http://sites.miis.edu, using your email server user name and password. Once you’re logged in, email Rebecca (rwalters@miis.edu) to have your name added to the categories. To attribute a blog post to yourself, check the box next to your name in the “Category” field. We’ll be adding programs and additional tags as the summer unfolds.

Once I’m part of the awesomeness, how should I participate?

• As soon as you arrive at your destination, please send us a photo of yourself in the field. We encourage you to post this photo on the blog as your first weekly blog post.

  • Try to blog weekly from the field. Blogging should only take ten minutes to an hour each time. Posts can consist of a photo & caption, video, short reflection piece, or something more. If you have rough cuts of interviews, post that as well.
  • The blog is a collaborative space for reflection and feedback. For guidance on what makes a good blog, check out this post.
  • Never forget the Golden Rule of Blogging: Don’t create posts that you wouldn’t read, or content you wouldn’t consume.
  • REMEMBER: You are representing yourself, the Monterey Institute, and the organization you’re working for. Before blogging, touch base with your supervisor and be sure to have the organization’s permission to write about your work experiences. Keep in mind that you may have access to privileged information that the organization does not want online quite yet.  Almost all institutions have social media policies and some may have a social media nondisclosure clause. The internet is forever, so be respectful and professional. Also, please keep in mind that the content you post may be featured in the Monterey Institute or Center for Blue Economy websites.

What should I blog about?

  •  What does your organization do that could interest a wider audience? It could be something you had no previous experience with or knowledge about – that’s great! If you’re in Monterey, write about awesome events you attend and people you meet.
  • Interview people, ask questions, reveal insights we could never guess. What story are you telling, and how do you want to tell it? Is it happy, sad, funny, hopeful, technical (i.e. could implement data visualization?). Here’s the Monterey Institute media release form for permission to use multimedia content (audio, video, and photos) from your interviewee.

What if I’d like to create a multimedia project or digital story

We want to see photos you’re taking, rough cuts of video, and hear project ideas you have as you develop them. Editing while you’re still in the field is great because you can circle back for any missing story elements (once you’re back in Monterey, you have to work with what you have).

Uploading videos to the blog: post them to youtube then use the wordpress plugin (just type [ youtube unique ID ] without the spaces between brackets…). DMCers can give feedback on your blog, or you can use it as a place to post your process.

Projects should be finalized the first two weeks of fall semester. The DMC is open all summer, so if you want help or feedback, email miisdmc@gmail.com for an appointment, or if you’re in town drop by during open hours.

What’s in a story?

A good story has a clear focus, conveys a message, and has an emotional impact. What story are you telling? Who are the characters, what is the narrative arc? What’s inspiring about the people you’re working with, the place you’re in, what you’re doing? That’s your story.

  • One option is filming a reflective interview when you’re back in Monterey, where you ruminate on your summer contributions, and create a narrated piece using footage from the field. OR
  • Figure out the narrative arc, and then film people and places that fit your story’s needs. It would be ideal to interview people documentary-style, without a planned story line, but you don’t have that much time or manpower. Instead, finding an authentic story that you want to learn more about, and using multimedia to explore it, is probably your best option.

Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, would say: tell your story with “clarity and emotion.” And it doesn’t hurt to break out in song.

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