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Bulletin

The people, news and ideas that shape NC State University

Blog Like a Pro

by David Hunt

Tired of feeling like a techno-nobody when your 6-year-old niece starts talking about her blog? Thanks to NC State, those days are over. The university provides a free service, called WolfBlogs, that gives everyone on campus the opportunity to share their innermost thoughts on philosophy, politics, current events, or bird watching, if that's your thing.

As you probably know, unless you're out of touch with modern life or just playing dumb, a weblog is a kind of personal journal that is hosted on a website. Bloggers post periodic entries that may include wry observations, meaningless trivia and sarcastic rants – as well as audio, video and images.

This week's popular WolfBlogs include blogs devoted to Victorian love poetry, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, and instructional technology.

To get inside the head of a blogger, we contacted Steven Greene, an associate professor of political science and author of "Fully Myelinated," a blog devoted to current political issues such as the government's use of severe interrogation techniques, the 2008 presidential race, and the health care debate.

In between posts, Greene agreed to answer a few questions about the pressures and pleasures of blogging.

Who is the audience for your blog?

A primary audience is people who already know me: family, friends, and former students. I like to think that my personality comes across in many of my blog posts and think of it as "a little dose of Steve." Obviously, though, I certainly hope that as many people as possible will read my blog. I like to think of my audience as a typical NCSU political science major – someone with a decent amount of interest in politics, but who may not be aware of some of the very important issues or explanations that are not always at the front of the news. When possible, I like to also bring a political science perspective so that my readers can have a deeper understanding of current events than they will get from news reports.

I like to think that my personality comes across in my blog and think of it as 'a little dose of Steve.'

How do you come up with topics?

I consume information pretty voraciously almost every day and there are usually three to four interesting posts that I'd like to write and never do for every one that I actually write. The topics that I blog about are generally those that I feel are perhaps under-reported in mainstream news sources, just particularly unusual or interesting, or those that I feel I can definitely add a unique perspective to.

Have you incorporated the blog in your work with students?

A little bit. If we're discussing a topic, I sometimes tell my students they can check out my blog posts to learn more of my thoughts on the matter. To use my blog more directly with students, I would need to share less of my personal, political opinions, but that is really half the fun, so I'm pretty happy with the compromise.

What kind of reactions have you gotten to your posts?

A lot of the "right-on" variety.  Mostly, I just hear from people that they really enjoy reading my blog. So, I feel like I'm getting it about right.

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