Producing Participatory Media
Class 1 - July 1


  • Blogging
  • RSS

  • Blogging - The act of writing a "web log" or blog

    Weblogs or Blogs are personal content management systems. Blogging rose when content management systems geared for large website management started to be developed for use on personals websites. They allowed people to publish personal content without the need to learn HTML and other related technologies. Blog technology basically allows anyone to publish online with very little cost and with only a small amount of technical know-how.

    Standard blogging software has a couple interesting technologies that encourage social behavior. Both of these things encourage social behavior as well as links between blogs creating a loose network.

    Let's look at how this is structured in our blog.

    There are a ton of blogging platforms, both self-hosted and as a hosted service. We will generally be dealing with two of more popular self-hosted platforms:

    Instructions for Setting up WordPress on ITP's Server

  • First, if you don't have a database on ITP's server, ask the ITP Helpdesk for one.
  • Second, download WordPress to your computer.
  • Third, if it didn't auto extract, you need to do that.
  • Next, open up the folder and find the wp-config-sample.php file and rename it wp-config.php.
  • Now you can edit that file in your favorite text editor (if you have a choice when you save it, do so with Unix line breaks). Here is a portion of the file with the parts that you should edit commented:
    // ** MySQL settings ** //
    define('DB_NAME', 'sve204');    // The name of the database, on ITPs server this should be your NETID
    define('DB_USER', 'sve204');     // Your MySQL username, again, this should be your NETID
    define('DB_PASSWORD', 'password'); // ...and password..  Not your NETID password, this is something Nancy would have given you separately
    define('DB_HOST', 'localhost');    // You won't need to change this value on ITPs server
    // You can have multiple installations in one database if you give each a unique prefix
    $table_prefix  = 'wp_';   // Only numbers, letters, and underscores please!    	Only change this if you have a previous WordPress install.
  • After you are done with that (remember to save the file). You can upload the entire folder to your "public_html" directory on ITPs server.
  • Also feel free to change the name of the folder so that it is something nicer and more descriptive. You won't want to have spaces in the name.
  • Next, you are ready to run the install proceedure, go to the following URL and follow the instructions:
    For my test install, the url is as follows:

  • Here are some more notes on setting up MT or WP elsewhere (not on ITPs server) from the class blog. Includes some comments from previous semesters.

    Wikipedia: Blog

    RSS - Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary

    RSS is an XML based content syndication format. It became popular due to the possibilities that it opened up in the blogging world. Currently it is in wide use throughout news sites, blogs and other regularly updated web based content sites. It has begun to replace email newsletters as it is on-demand and not susceptible to spam. There are a wide variety of RSS readers or News aggregators for a myriad of devices and plenty of add on services.

  • Open Directory Project: News Aggregators

    A couple of feeds:
  • Producing Participatory Media Class Blog Feed
  • Not Shawn's Little Output Feed
  • Feed

  • or:

  • Search, Browse or otherwise find RSS feeds
  • Technorati: Blog searching and indexing

  • You can usually find feeds by looking for a text like this: "Syndicate this site (XML)" or an image link that looks like:
    Also, many browsers now support auto-detection of RSS and display an RSS icon on the URL bar following the address. Clicking on this should bring up the feed in your aggregator (if you have one) or in your browser.

    For more information:

  • RSS - Wikipedia
  • RSS Specifications
  • RSS at Harvard (specifications)
  • My Wiki: ParsingXML - RSS with Perl
  • My Wiki: ParsingXML - RSS with Perl
  • My Wiki: ParsingRSS with PHP

  • Further Reading: Early Push technologies:

    PointCast is a company that existed during the height of the dot-coms. It pushed headlines and other items to desktop computers but for a variety of reasons never really took off (bandwidth issues were probably the biggest problem). Here is an interesting article from BusinessWeek Online: PointCast: The Rise and Fall of an Internet Star