Carnegie Mellon University / Introduction to the Electronic Media Studio (60110-A)

Unit 10

by Golan @ 10:11 am 18 August 2009

Basic Web Publishing

Working towards: a blog, which will become your primary tool for recording your thoughts, submitting your assignments in various media, and participating as a self-publishing creative person in today’s online culture.
Learning Outcomes: To demonstrate an understanding of the basic skills of Internet publishing.
Tools: WordPress, RSS, YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, Twitter, Delicious, Wikipedia; HTML, basic video capture and uploading.

Assignments 1x. All are DUE Wednesday, SEPTEMBER 2.

Assignment 10.
Objectives: To create your Blog, make simple customizations to it, and publish your first post.

In this assignment, you will create your blog. We’ll be using WordPress; if you’d like to understand why, feel free to check out this comparison. (One of the major reasons we’re using WordPress is that there’s not a lot of clutter or advertisements.) If you already have a blog elsewhere, with a service such as or, creating another blog may not be necessary. Alternatively, you may wish to start a new blog just for the purposes of this class.

  • Go to and create your blog: Create an account at:; then follow the instructions. There are two simple pages to fill out.
  • After you finish registering, you will receive an email, asking you to click a special link. You will also receive an email informing you of your username, which you already know anyway. Once you click this link, your blog will be set up.
  • Your blog can now be found online, at a location similar to Now it’s time to log in. Near the bottom right of the page you will see a link called “Log in”. (…/wp-login.php) Follow this and log into your site with your username and password.
  • Having logged in, you are now at your blog’s Dashboard. You can now adjust all sorts of properties of your blog using the links in the column at the left. For example: Click on Appearance→Themes to select a new theme for your blog, or click on Settings→General to change your blog’s tagline (“Just another WordPress Blog”). Surf around your dashboard and become comfortable with the options located there.
  • Click on Posts→Edit to modify (or delete) the “Hello World” post which comes with your blog.
  • Click on Posts→AddNew to create a new post of your own.
  • When you’re editing a post, you’ll notice that there is a “Visual” (what-you-see-is-what-you-get, or WYSIWYG) editor, and an “HTML” editor. Most of the time, we’ll use the visual editor. But have a look at the HTML editor version as well. Occasionally, we’ll need to use that, such as when we embed video or images from an external source.
  • Email me (golan at andrew dot cmu dot edu) your blog URL.

Assignment 11.
To enroll as a publisher in various outlets for digital culture.

For this part of the assignment, you will sign up for user accounts at various “Web2.0” sites for sharing images, video, links, and other media. Try, if possible, to use the same username for all of the sites. If you already have an account, good; no need to make double accounts.

  • Obtain a user account at a video-sharing site like YouTube or Vimeo. There are good reasons to go with either service (I, myself, use both). YouTube reaches a larger and more general audience, and usually has poorer video quality; Vimeo is targeted specifically for artists and other creative communities, and has higher video quality.
  • Obtain a user account at a photo-sharing site. I strongly recommend Flickr. If you’re already heavily invested in another photo-hosting service, such as Picasa or DeviantART, that’s OK I guess; their image embedding is not as nice as Flickr’s in my opinion.
  • The first part of Assignment 12 will ask you to prove that you have done the above, by providing your Blog with links to your video-sharing and image-sharing services.
  • Optional. Obtain a user account at Twitter. Carefully select a dozen people whom you find interesting, to “follow”. Select a mixture of friends, heroes, news sources, and other people whose opinions you respect. (There are lists of people you might want to follow, such as the most popular (mostly celebs and news sources), notable technology commentators, notable software developers, notable bands, etcetera. You’re also welcome to check my Twitter feed, or the feeds of the people I follow.)
  • Optional. Obtain a user account at Delicious. Post some of your favorite links to it. Tag them.
  • Optional. Obtain an account to some other service, such as Scribd (which is used for sharing PDFs and books), LibraryThing (which is useful for sharing book collections or bibliographies), etcetera etcetera….

Assignment 12.
To demonstrate your ability to embed various media formats into your blog. For this assignment, you will add some important links to your Blogroll, and you will embed 4 different kinds of media into different blog posts: A video from Youtube; a video from Vimeo; an image from Flickr; and a Google Map.

  • Use your blog’s “Links” feature to create links which list your new accounts at YouTube, Flickr, etcetera, and link to them. You can create a category called “My Feeds” if you want to keep these links separate from your Blogroll.
  • Find a favorite video on YouTube embed it into a new blog post. Here are directions:
    • To embed YouTube videos, go into your post editor and select “HTML” editing mode (instead of “Visual” editing mode).
    • Then paste the following text into the HTML editor, including the [ ] rectangular brackets:
      (This is a specific example video):
    • Replace the URL text inside the [ ] rectangular brackets with the URL of your preferred YouTube video.
    • Additionally, please write a sentence or two about why you find this particular video interesting.
  • Find an interesting video on Vimeo and embed it into a new blog post. Here are directions:
    • Please note that the exact code for embedding Vimeo videos is slightly different than YouTube. This is a quirk due to unique scripts being run by your blog host (
    • In the HTML editor of your blog, paste in the following code, verbatim, including the [ ] brackets.
      (This is a specific example video):
    • Change the URL code inside the [ ] brackets to the exact URL of your preferred Vimeo video.
    • Additionally, please write a sentence or two about why you find this particular video interesting.
  • Take a photo of something which has caught your eye since you arrived here in Pittsburgh, and upload your photo to your Flickr account. Now embed your photo in a blog post. To do this, you’ll need to copy and paste the appropriate HTML code from Flickr. Here are directions:
    • In Flickr, navigate to your photo; click on the “All Sizes” button;
    • then scroll down to where it says “Copy and paste this HTML into your webpage”.
    • Make sure you’re editing your Blog in HTML mode when you paste in the embedding code for the photo.
    • Please write a sentence or two that discusses your interest in the photograph.
  • Make a blog post which contains an embedded Google map of your favorite place in the whole world. For an example of what I’m talking about, see this blog post of mine. To understand how to do this, follow the instructions here: (Use the “quick” method). In your blog post, write a sentence or two about why you wanted to share this particular location — why it’s an interesting place, or why it’s important to you.

Assignment 13.
Objectives: To demonstrate resourcefulness, and the most elementary possible familiarity with video.

  • Create a short video which introduces yourself to the world.
    • Don’t think too hard about this. Make it no longer than 30 seconds.
    • To keep things technologically simple, avoid video editing and special effects — see if you can just make your video in a single continuous shot.
    • Upload your video to your YouTube or Vimeo account, and embed it in a new blog post. To keep things really simple, use a tapeless video camera (such as your digital still camera, if it records video.) Another easy option is to use the webcam built into the iMacs in the Wean Mac Cluster (in Wean hall, 5201/5203). You could also borrow a Flip camera from the School of Art, but this is only recommended if you have your own laptop, as there are still some driver issues being ironed out in the public computer cluster.
    • In your blog post, write a sentence about your experience making the video.

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