Burning WordPress Questions Answered

WordPress has a million bells and whistles, so at least once per semester I like to see what questions my students’ have and provide answers here – since OUR questions may be YOUR questions.

1) When I post comments on other people’s blogs, how can I go back and see those. Make sure you’re on the “Reader” screen with the blue bar on top (clicking the WordPress “W” in the top left will get you there. Click “Reader” in the top navigation bar and click “Comments I Made” in the Reader on the right side of the screen.

2) How do I turn on/off the required comment approval. In your main dashboard, go under “Setting”s and select “Discussion.” One of the categories here will be “Before Comments Appear” and you can check or uncheck boxes on requiring approval.

Other questions? Other tricks you’ve found that you’re willing to share?


Plug In, Tune In & Ramp Up – Buckeyes are Back

Welcome back to campus Buckeyes – especially the students in my fall 3334 Strategic Message Design course. With the switch from quarters to semesters in 2012, we had a “short” summer. The italics are because after working for 10 years with 15 vacation days per year, two months was a glorious break for me (having a baby was the only way I saw that much time off all in a row during my time in corporate America). This summer was closer to four months and I’m a little afraid my students are going to come back and realize that they really did unplug: from current events, from constant writing and reading, from the frantic and stressful pace required by balancing classes/work/internship/relationships/athletics/fill in your activity. I’m all for some unplugged time and I’m also guilty, so we’ll work together to step it back up this fall.

Ok, now I’m talking specifically to my 3334 students. Many of you may have blogged for a class before, or on your own, but let me tell you why I think it’s important in this class. I advise the OSU chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and I’ve heard several professionals tell our members that the single best thing a comm student can do to set him/herself apart in the job hunt is BLOGGING. In case you skimmed that last bit, let me break is down: BLOGGING = JOB (well, maybe). This UNC Student Affairs article adds that blogging not only helps improve your writing skills, it deepens your industry knowledge, helps you network with professionals and learn HTML/web skills, and gives you an online portfolio and brand.

My goal in this class and in general is to prepare you for a successful job in communication and even help you get one if I can. How will I do that?

1) I’ll make you blog this quarter2) I’ll make sure you know how Twitter is being used by communicators/businesses
3) I’ll strengthen your ability to write for and format various communication vehicles
3) I’ll strongly encourage you to try out and join PRSSA  (come check it out Aug. 28 from 6-7 in Journalism 360)
4) I’ll pass along internship opportunities that I hear about

So plug in, tune in and ramp up and I’ll see you in a few days.

What can you do with six seconds?

What can you do with six seconds?.

Twitter dips its toe into video with Vine.

Wanna Add Another Bill to Your Pile? No? Then Take Caution with the Photos on Your Blog

I’ve gotten several questions from students about adding images to their blogs. Really good questions like: “is it ok to use a photo from the Internet as long as I attribute it to the source or link back to it.” In a nutshell…no, not unless you ask and get permission.

I found a wonderful and somewhat scary blog post from a casual blogger who was unknowingly using Internet photos until she was called on using a photo she didn’t own and she ultimately ended up paying the owner when she didn’t care all that much about the photo to begin with. Her post goes through what you can and can’t do and also provides sites where you can access free and cheap photos that ARE legal for you to include with your blog posts. Great read.

And of course, you can always Imageuse photos you took yourself. What does this photo have to do with my post? Not much, except it’s my son posing with a hippo at the Toledo zoo and I OWN it, so I’m not gonna get an unexpected bill from anyone until he runs a red light cam in my car and doesn’t tell me in about 11 years.


Anyone else have sites they love to use for legal photos/images to use on blogs or websites? Please share!

New to WordPress? Check out a Few Key Troubleshooting Tips

As I hear from students encountering questions with their WordPress accounts, I thought it might be helpful to post a couple tips for working with WordPress.

To make active, clickable links in WordPress (and avoid the 100-character URLs that just look ugly and take up space), find the word or phrase that best describes where the link will take your readers, highlight it with your cursor and click on the chain link icon above. In the pop-up box, you will be prompted to paste in the long ugly URL as well as “Title,” where you can enter text you want to show up when someone hovers over the link. Need more help? Check out this WordPress tutorial.

Formatting Frustrations
My first response to frustrations with formatting is: welcome to working with the web. I’ve worked with sImageeveral content management systems and even directly with HTML code and the biggest thing I’ve learned is that trial and error combined with creative thinking are sometimes your best weapon. There isn’t always an easy or rational answer to very logical questions. I am friends with many IT guys and gals and they are amazing troubleshooters, though half the time they have no idea why some technology acted the way it did or even what they ended up changing to fix it.

That being said, one issue with WordPress is changes to formatting when you paste from Word or other word processing programs. This may differ between Mac and PC, but this article notes there are two “paste” options in WordPress and using the correct one could eliminate some of your problems. (NOTE: if you don’t see the icons they refer to, click on the icon labeled “Show/Hide Kitchen Sink” and they will show up.)

What other questions or tips do you have for conquering WordPress?


Teaching the Teacher: Tips from Students Past and Present

I really am passionate about communications, and so I really love when students forward me articles or information on the PR/comm world that they think is interesting or relevant. I appreciate the new info, but really the best part is seeing how much they care about this line of work and knowing that the comm field will be in good hands for many years to come. Wanna know what great tidbits my former and current students have been sharing recently?

Comm Humor
Only comm junkies search for typos in every printed word they read and laugh at jokes related to style and grammar. A former student sent me an article from the Onion on the Chicago Manual and AP Style “gang violence.” Funny for comm people, meaningless for the other 95% of the population.

Reminders of Things I Should Already Know
A student thchalkboardis week watched a webinar from Hootsuite on conducting a social media audit and was struck by  info on using Twitter @mentions. Did you know that if you use an @mention as the first word in your post, only people who follow both you and that person can see it? I feel like I SHOULD have known that but I didn’t. And sure enough, it’s the truth (and the reason you sometimes see a period before an @mention if it starts a post). Here’s a longer explanation if you want to learn more.

Hope From the Professional World
I was working in the PR world less than two years ago and I maintain many contacts so I don’t feel cut off, but it’s still reassuring to hear from students and professionals that the field of marketing/PR in general (and the things I’m teaching) are still relevant in the current environment. A student let me know that her boss at her internship shared an article with her on 3 Reasons You Should Hire a Marketing Intern. Hooray when people (especially bosses) appreciate the expertise and skill set that we bring to companies.

Blogging Your Way to a Job

Welcome Spring 2013 COMM 3334 students! OSU’s chapter of PRSSA had a great speaker last year who told students that blogging is the single most important thing a comm student can do to set him or herself apart in the job hunt. In other words, blogging can help you GET A JOB. (Sidenote: I am adviser of OSU’s chapter of PRSSA so you’ll hear me mention it quite a bit.) So if you’re a blogging veteran, great, and if you’ve never tried, come on in. I’m looking forward to a good quarter of great blogging.

Shameless plug: PRSSA meets Wednesdays from 6-7, Journalism 360. It’s free and there’s food. Nuf said.

Adding Images, Videos to Posts

If anyone is struggling to add images or video to their posts, here are a few tips.

When you add a new post, you’ll see the Upload/Insert note right above your text box. Click on that and go grab and image you want (of course keeping in mind copyright infringement and other legal protection of images). Once it uploads, scroll down and it will appear and you can select whether you want the image to be centered, left justified, tagged, linked to a URL and other fun things. Here’s the kicker – there’s a tiny button at the bottom of these options that says Insert into Post. This is what will actually make your image appear. View a help doc from WordPress for more details on all the alterations you can make after uploading.

If you want videos to appear in the body of a post, just copy the URL of the video you want and paste it into the post as a separate line. When you publish, it should appear as the clickable mini-video.

Simple Advice to Supercharge your Blog

Ragan does it again – I’m loving their latest “9 Writing Tricks to Supercharge Your Blog.” None of it is rocket science (the best advice rarely is), but if I think about the blogs I really like, they sure enough use these tricks to the max. Some of the tricks are fingernails on the chalkboard of my journalism training: use “you,” “I” and contractions. But these tips help my staunch AP style-following side soften up enough to blog with a little personality. My readers thank you Ragan.

The Thin Line Between Sharing and Stealing

A tweet caught my interest last week and I found myself fighting my iPhone keyboard to sign up for Social Media Month Columbus this May. They promised 150 social media ideas for my “business,” which is teaching at Ohio State and being up on current social media trends. I just received me welcome email today and I’m excited to see what brilliant insights local companies and experts have to share (and I’m also wondering if I know any of the experts:) This level of sharing among the local business community should be lauded. I know sometimes we’re competing to come up with a new application for social media or the best ways to use it, but I think we can share great ideas and then build on that further with our own creativity to create something new – the best of both worlds! So I encourage you to check out Social Media Month to steal some ideas that are being offered freely. Hope the content lives up to the hype.