Tuesday, August 26, 2008

About This Blog

The UUA's Best Practices for Unitarian Universalist Blogging report suggests that UU bloggers consider several questions. Here are the questions, along with my own responses.

1. Why do you blog? What goals do you have for your blog?
I've started blogging because I see it as one way to keep in touch with my congregation, to respond to issues that are of interest to UUs that are not appropriate for a full sermon for any reason, and to share thoughts and opinions with a wider audience.

2. Who is your intended audience?
Unitarian Universalists, particularly members of my congregation, but also members of other congregations, colleagues, and UUA staff.

3. Who owns your blog? Does it belong to you as individual or to your congregation
or other organization?

I see blogging as a service to the congregation, but owned by me. Similarly, our church has agreed that I have ownership of my sermons.

4. How frequently do you post?
My goal is to post once to twice a week.

5. What is the tone of your blog?
Discussion-oriented.

6. What steps do you take to make sure that your blog is a safe space, both for you
and for other participants? Do you have a code of conduct?

I do not yet have a code of conduct, but I screen all replies before posting them, and I reserve the right to not post any comment for any reason, be it offensive language, unsubstantiated gossip, or even a harshly negative tone.

7. What kinds of boundaries do you observe around confidentiality?
I don't print anything personally that I believe to be confidential, and I don't post anonymously. Anonymous comments are likely to be screened if there seems to be a reason to the anonymity other than a poster forgetting to write a name.

8. How do you respond to comments and e-mail from readers?
I don't respond to every comment or e-mail, but I try to respond when appropriate.

9. What are the most challenging aspects of blogging in your experience?
I'm new, so it would have to be getting started, getting my blog's name out there, and adhering to the discipline of posting that I've set for myself.

10. What are the most rewarding aspects of blogging in your experience?
I'm enjoying that it's another way to have conversations with people, particularly people I don't see very often.

11. What advice would you give to Unitarian Universalists who are new to blogging
and want to get started?

Play around with a sample blog first to get used to it, and then just go ahead and do it! My first attempt at blogging was at http://uurev.livejournal.com/, and then I moved over here when I was more ready to go public.

12. How do you evaluate the success of your blog? What have been your most
successful blog posts or series?

I evaluate success by whether or not I live up to my goals, but also, of course, how much response I get, which is, so far, not much!

13. What do you wish you had done differently in your blogging?
Started it earlier!

14. What other online tools do you use to promote your blog? (i.e. social networking
sites, Twitter, social bookmarking tools, etc.)

So far, I'm still learning about these.

15. Do you use a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed? How many subscribers do
you have?

I think blogspot does this automatically, but I'm still learning about it. I don't think I have any subscribers so far, but I don't know.

16. Do you track site traffic? How many unique visitors do you have per day (on
average)?

No, and I don't know.

17. Do you find Unitarian Universalist Association resources helpful to you as a
blogger? What additional resources could we provide to Unitarian Universalist
bloggers?

Yes, the UUA is helpful. A more direct route to letting the UUA and UU World know about new UU blogs would be helpful.

18. Please write any additional comments or suggestions.
I expected to find both a "how to" and a "don't do this" section in this document, but it didn't really do either. But it has been helpful to consider these questions for now.

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