WordPress 101 — is blogging still a thing?

Digital Humanities as Community, or Making Relationships

Debates over the definition of the Digital Humanities are by this point very clichéd, to the point that many people have begun arguing that we stop worrying about it altogether.  There is a building consensus that DH, however you define it, is above all a community, or if you like a social network; specifically, a community of practice that is open, public, collaborative, and welcoming.

The main thing you have to do to get involved, is to just get involved.  Express your interest by joining the community.  One of the main ways people do that is by posting, blogging and tweeting their ideas, projects, and questions publicly on various platforms. Twitter is probably the primary vehicle for this (as illustrated by the diagram below which visualizes the #DH community through a network of “co-retweets;” that is, people who like to share the same stuff).

  • Click the image below for an interactive version of this network graph
  • Hover over the nodes to see names and click to filter to those subnetworks. Click anywhere to unfilter
  • What does this tell us about DH?
  • What do the colors mean?
  • What else can we do with this?
Twitter co-retweet network viz
The DH community visualized as a Twitter co-retweet network by Jin Gao

Blogging 101

But blogs are the original twitter, and still a valuable means of long-form expression, engagement and project sharing.  In the DH world, the HASTAC community is a good example of a very large and long-standing network whose main connective activity continues to be its collaborative blog.

Carleton accepts applications for up to two HASTAC scholars a year, who contribute to the blog and otherwise build their own networks in the DH world.

To begin to join this world, you will all be reading, writing, and sharing what we do this term on this blog and your own, which we’ll set up next week.  This is not just about trying out the digital humanities.  It is also about practicing skills of writing for the public and controlling your digital identity that will serve you well beyond your college career no matter what you choose to do.  Having control over your internet presence is crucial in this day and age, and building your own website is one of the best ways to craft and maintain a public, online identity.

In Class Exercises

Your first post will be on your process and experience with SketchUp.

Posting to the Blog

For starters, you’ll register for this class site so you can comment on assignments, post to the blog and get familiar with the WordPress interface, if you aren’t already.

Follow these instructions to register for our course site and post your first comment.

Good? Once you’ve done all that…

SketchUp Post Instructions

  1. Open the Google Drive folder where you stored the exported images of your childhood home model (instructions are here if you’ve forgotten).
  2. Log in to the Hacking the Humanities class blog and make a new post sharing several 2D images of your house that you exported from SketchUp
    1. Make sure to caption the images appropriately and include Alt Text for accessibility
  3. In the accompanying text tell us about your process.
    1. How easy/hard was it?,
    2. what elements particularly bogged you down?,
    3. what compromises did you have to make?
    4. What humanistic uses can you envision for this tool in the areas of research or teaching?
  4. Make sure to also share a tip for other novice SketchUp users about the tool that you found most useful, or a technique that you wish you had figured out sooner.  Part of the digital maker philosophy is sharing the knowledge you gained, so make sure to pass it on.

Congratulations!  You have posted your first blog post and can now share your interests and knowledge with the world.

Finally, read and comment on at least one of your classmates’ SketchUp posts

We barely scratched the surface of what you can do with this platform in class, but we will get deeper into the weeds next week as you set up your own WordPress instance with complete administrative control.


Now that you’ve read more about Digital Humanities and tried your hand at making something, I want to hear your reflections on how you see your past experiences and current interests intersecting with this field.

Choose a quotation that resonated with you from one of the readings assigned for today and write a 250-300 word blog post that answers the following questions:

  • Why did this particular passage grab your attention?
  • What elements of your past experiences, current interests, or future plans did it kindle?
  • Under the large umbrella of Digital (Arts &) Humanities, which areas of inquiry, methods or techniques are you most eager to pursue this term and why?

Start your blog post with a Quote block and citation as in the example below

Digital Humanities is born of the encounter between traditional humanities and computational methods.

Burdick et al. “One: From Humanities to Digital Humanities,” in Digital_Humanities (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012), 3.

As you write, remember that blog writing is a different beast that lies somewhere between formal academic writing and casual social media or email style.  Try for a tone that is scholarly and informed but neither too stiff nor too sloppy.  It can be a tough balance to strike, but think of your intended audience and try to find a voice that works for you.


Carleton College’s own web services group has a lot of good resources for how to write for the web effectively.

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