Tricks, Tips and Tidbits from Peer Mentors

Now that the peer mentors are blogging, of course they already have some great ideas to share.  After reviewing their blogs yesterday, here are some blogging tips I culled from what they are already doing, along with some exemplary links.

(1) Use videos and images

I was blown away by all of the images and video included in the peer mentors’ posts, and the really made the reading experience fun and interactive.  Check out the video Polina made about buying textbooks.

(2) Curate

“Curate” seems to be the key verb of the 21st century, as the internet makes it so easy to share links to other sites, articles or just about anything.  For peer mentors, sharing links to interesting articles they’ve found or read in other classes gives readers a more specific idea about their passions and interests. Sharing articles about first year topics also allows them to skip over saying stuff that is already available elsewhere and focus on their own personal experiences, which should be the focus of their blogs.

(3) Share your life

Readers come to your blog to get something they can’t get anywhere else — your unique opinions and experiences.  Often we know what we should be doing (i.e. checking our John Jay email regularly) but the more people say it, the more numb we get and the less likely we are to actually do it.  A well-timed blog post about how someone missed out on an opportunity because she didn’t check her email can do more to make someone change their mind than a million decontextualized reminders.

(4) Variety is the spice of life

Some blogs work great with a very specific focus (like MaryBeth’s blog focused on scheduling and time management), but for the peer mentor blogs, it’s great to include different types of posts, since the goal is to provide support for all aspects of new students’ first semesters.  Michelle’s blog is a great example of including personal anecdotes, advice, details about her campus involvement, and interesting sites and information around the internet.

(5) Make it readable

I think the ideal blog post is between 250-300 words, but length can vary depending on content.  However, it helps in longer posts, to break up the reading experience with paragraphs or bullets, as well as video or images.  Very short posts are fine for quick reminders/information, for example, posting events happening around campus.  More importantly, always PROOFREAD your posts and use standard written English (not text speak).  Not only is your blog a professional forum that could be viewed by prospective employers, you want to respect your readers by making it as easy to enjoy as possible.

Check out the peer mentor blogs by clicking the links on the left.  I, for one, can’t wait to see what else they have to say.


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