Introducing blogging for everyone at Wayne State

We are proud to announce Wayne State Blogs! We are opening the ability for everyone on campus to create and maintain their own blog about any topic that interests them.

We introduced this service a few months ago and quietly asked a few people on campus to try it out. Currently we are at 72 active blogs with 170 authors. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and we are making changes every day based on suggestions.

Everyone has something interesting to say

When we say we are letting anyone with an AccessID blo,g we mean it. Every single day we are amazed at the talent coming from students, faculty and departments and we knew we needed to give them a platform to talk about it.

So far we have seen some passionate bloggers talking about Cavalcade of Food, Light and Dark Matters, TEDx, Ghana: Explorations in Medical Anthropology, and mca. We also have a complete list of blogs for everyone to look through. The list is growing every day, so check back often.

Let’s talk templates

Currently we are offering two different templates. A basic one for text posts and another for more visual photo posts. We are planning to expand the template options every semester. Both are completely customizable from a placement standpoint. The right column can be configured in any way desired with the use of WordPress widgets.

Let’s talk about plugins

We choose WordPress as our blog platform because of the extensive network of plugins available. Currently we are adding plugins that everyone can take advantage of. For security reasons we are limiting the installation of plugins to the Web team only. We are not against installing additional plugins as long as they have more than a single use.

The current plugins we have installed are:

  • Blackbird Pie
  • Onswipe
  • WordPress Video Plugin
  • Embedly
  • Lightbox 2
  • SexyBookmarks
  • Subscribe2
  • Subscribe To Comments
  • WordPress Gravatars
  • WP-Syntax
  • WPtouch
We feel this is a good mix of plugins to get everyone started and give the visitor a positive experience.

Some tips

  • Break topics up with headers (h2’s)
  • Everyone loves photos
  • Customize your right column “widgets”
  • Update often. It doesn’t have to be every day, but try to keep it consistant.
  • Proofread your posts
  • Schedule posts to publish in the future
  • Add tags and categories to describe your posts and make them discoverable
  • Spread your blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+
  • Post comments on other blogs and respond to comments posted on yours
  • If you have any questions feel free to email us! web@wayne.edu

Spreading blog posts

In addition to your posts being published on blogs.wayne.edu, they will also feed into the daily Today@Wayne newsletter. This will give everyone an equal opportunity to get their content noticed and spread throughout campus and beyond.

Claim your blog now: http://blogs.wayne.edu/

Upgrade to WordPress 2.5

WordPress 2.5 was released today and we decided to do an upgrade to see how the upgrade process worked. WordPress is used by thousands of people online and with its simplicity and straightforwardness we assumed the upgrade process would be the same.

We were right, upgrade was a snap, backup, disable plugins, upload, run script, enable plugins and back to normal, took about 10 minutes. Agile software without all the clunky overhead. Fully extendable, customizable and powerful yet free and light.

After reviewing RFP’s from software companies trying to sell old school software to the university it is easy to tell what companies have adapted to the new development styles and which ones are holding tight to their old school software griping it for every dime they can.

Small teams creating the least amout of code to create the most amount of impact. With limited resources we have to adopt these principles or die. Every peice of code we create is part of a larger master plan, it has to be forward thinking and be useful to most of the unit around campus.

Great work WordPress and Happy Cog for the interface.