We dove into online presence and cyberinfrastructure today, starting with an overview of WordPress and Squarespace as possibilities. WordPress has two separate paths, either wordpress.com (which is a free service, with premium features available for a fee), or wordpress.org (which is the open source engine of WordPress, where you download and host your own installation). With WordPress.org we could run the installation on a host like asmallorange.com or reclaimhosting.com With the power of the self-hosted WordPress install though, comes a lot of responsibility. In addition to choosing a theme, designing pages and posts, and uploading content, there are other things to worry about, like storage space and bandwidth. In addition, wordpress.org sites need other things, like backup and malware protection. Running your own self-hosted WordPress site can be rewarding, but it also requires a high investment of time.
Squarespace was another great solution for hosting our online presence, and domain names can be purchased there as well. Squarespace has a blogging feature, just like WordPress, but it can also be extended in many other ways, such as adding an online storefront. With Squarespace, the control panel is within the site itself, so changes can be made right in the browser with the site live on the right-hand side of the screen. WordPress has been moving in this direction as well, where sites can be redesigned live with their new Customizer feature. Squarespace also has an education discount of 50%, it’s available at: http://squarespace.com/students
Along with creating a personal/academic website, we also discussed other methods of sharing scholarly work. Some of these options were posting audio clips to SoundCloud, creating a podcast, making a short video, and participating in a three-minute dissertation contest. The competition might go by different names according to the school, UC Riverside calls it “Grad Slam.” Creating a blog about your dissertation can be really helpful for working through the project, and also for gaining an audience. However, there are many caveats for this, as dissertation committees and future book publishers can have strict rules about the process — always best to check around before starting the project. A few notable digital dissertations were Amanda Visconti’s digital dissertation: http://dr.amandavisconti.com, Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s project for Planned Obsolescence: http://mcpress.media-commons.org/plannedobsolescence/ and Dani Spinosa’s project, Generic Pronoun http://genericpronoun.com