That teens might care to blog and share their views in more than 140 characters might surprise some parents, as I was when my 17-year-old announced she had started a blog. After all, blogging — writing and posting online commentaries, short or long, on any topic from fashion to politics or life in general — requires more effort and consistency than just updating a Facebook status, sharing snaps or tweeting.
And it’s not often that teens already burdened with writing assignments for school would want to write for pleasure. But teens who dare to venture into the blog world can find encouragement from social media expert Helen Todd. “Write, publish and share,” says the co-founder and CEO of Sociality Squared, an agency advising individuals and companies on social media strategies. “Blogs can be incredibly rewarding — don't be scared to write. You have a unique viewpoint,” she tells teens.
Todd offers a few guidelines for teens planning to start their own blog or who are already blogging:
1. “Make sure you have your parents permission to launch a blog.”
2. “Keep in mind that everything you blog will live on the Internet for basically eternity — while you may not be thinking about college or future jobs now, your blogging footprint will still exist when you are. Nothing is really private on the Internet between screenshots and other ways to share content.”
3. Use platforms such as Tumblr, WordPress or Medium.
4. Use images paired with text for content.
Port Washington Schreiber High School principal Ira Pernick advises students to choose a topic they are really interested in. “The greater their interest, the more likely it is that they will have more to write.” Also, he adds, concentrate “on writing interesting pieces that provoke thought in others.” They also “need to know who they are writing the blog for,” Pernick said.
For parents concerned teens might overshare, Todd says, “Like any online activity, parents should ensure that their children and teenagers understand privacy, security and how content lives online and go over what's appropriate and what's not.
“Make sure you know what platforms your kids are blogging on," Todd says. He suggests reading the blog, "but don't like or comment on them" as you may "embarrass your teen. There should be a rule that you know what platforms your teen is blogging/participating on."