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Why blog? May 4, 2006

Posted by Paul Rees in blogging, CU06, flickr.
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At the outset I should say this is likely to be quite a rant about my feelings about blogging and my tentative steps getting into it. I've been on the net for over 10 years now. I was one of the people who joined it when Windows 95 appeared in August 1995 and made it easier to get onto the net. At that time I saw the potential of the net, but it really had very little application for me. Times have changed and I use the net for most of the activities in my life.

I currently work in IT focusing mainly on network administration and user support. Additionally, I am the “technology driver” in the not-for-profit organisation where I work.

One of the net's features that has come along in that 10 years is blogging. I've been aware of it for few years and I've looked at blogs and even thought about having a blog in the past. However it all seemed pretty geeky to me. I mean who in the hell would have any interest at all in reading my ravings. Most of the blogs I read seemed to be written by individuals who had a particular point of view to put across, which is fine, but they tended to be talking about subjects that had little or no interest to me. I guess I dismissed blogging as a geeky fad that would stay fairly underground or even disappear.

Well it seems I was wrong. Blogging is getting bigger and bigger and even mainstream, as illustrated by this article How celebrity bloggers make friends and influence people from The Age (Melbourne, Australia) yesterday.

So that brings me to today and why I am writing this a couple of things have happened recently that have lead me here. Firstly I discovered flickr (which as I understand it is a photo blog). flickr has given me something to do with my photos. I have two cameras, one just purchased, and I've always wondered what I could do with all the photos I take. Well flickr has given me an outlet. I don't really care what people think or say about the photos, but it just feels good to have them out there. Mind you, I'm not much a photographer. All of my photos are only snapshots, taken mostly on automatic settings and then fixed up in Photoshop Elements 4.0.

Secondly, I attended the ConnectingUp 06 conference in Adelaide, Australia on 1 and 2 May. Two guys Mike Seyfang and Dave Wallace gave a presentation on blogging. Well these guys were so enthusiastic! They illustrated how an individual can use blogging to have their voice heard above the din of commercial and other media.

Anyway Mike and Dave sold me on the idea. However, I still can’t see that anyone is going to want to read what I write. So this is an experiment. I will test what I can be bothered writing, how other people respond to me and I will also gain an understanding of how the “technology” around blogging works. I’m doing this for my own amusement and I’m open to experience whatever I might gain or lose from this trial. However there is a serious side to this as well. Through my testing I hope to gain a good understanding of blogging so that I can encourage other (staff, volunteers and clients) to get into it for our mutual benefit.

Having said all that do have a look a my photos. I'll probably be putting more effort into them.

Let’s see what happens.

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Comments»

1. Christopher Salazar - May 4, 2006

Hello,

I am glad to see that you are blogging. It seems like the conference you just went to was really beneficial. I would love to hear more about it, perhaps you can post some important ideas that were presented?

Keep me updated with other web conferences. I definately want to attend!

Thanks,
Chris

2. madam - May 4, 2006

Chris, I will post more about this conference. It broadly covered ICT in the not-for-profit sector in Australia. I’m going to write up a report for work, which while it will be directed to the issues concening us, I’m happy to share anything of more general interest from that report. I’ll post it here in the next few days. Actually I should be writing the report and not playing with blogging…

3. mseyfang - May 4, 2006

chris and madam – you will find lots o conference info here:
http://connectingup.cisa.asn.au/

and…

You will get more ‘conversation’ around this blog if you remove the requirement for ‘login to post comments’. Dave Wallace can help you with the associated geekery if you cannot figure it out.

Fang – Mike Seyfang – LearnDog

4. madam - May 4, 2006

Thanks Mike. I think I have removed the "login to post comments" requirement.

I have to say this to get it off my chest after a few frustrating hours spent here today; this WordPress is bloody hard to use. And that's coming from someone who can figure out the use most software fairly easily.

My advice to you if your involved in encouraging people into blogging would to be cautious about referring people with an average or below average level of computer skill to blog on this site. As someone who supports users with that kind of skill level I can say fairly confidently that they would never figure this interface out.

What blog service (I don't know the correct term for this) would you recommend for low to average skilled users? These are the type of people I will be encouraging into blogging and as I've said I think WordPress is not appropriate.

5. dave - May 5, 2006

Still not able to leave comments if not logged in.

6. madam - May 5, 2006

Thanks for the feedback. I think I’m going to have to give up with WordPress, delete this blog and go somewhere else. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to turn this off and I thought that I had worked out how to do it – I even tested when not logged in myself. If the interface is this hard to use it’s bad technology.

7. dave - May 5, 2006

Now’s we’re right! Sorry that previous one was a test.

madam, try looking at blogger.com and setting up a blog there. you might find that more appropriate for some.

WordPress can seem complicated because it’s a powerfull customisable platform – if you want it. But if you don’t you can just get on and blog. You seemed to be able to get on and start straight away. Maybe it’s when you started to try customise things how you wanted them it got complicated? I started on blogger but customisation is a pain and I soon was looking for things it doesn’t have. If I’d started on WP I just could’ve learnt those bits and pressed a few buttons. On blogger you have to hack code for anything but basics.

Dave

8. madam - May 5, 2006

Thanks Dave. I can see the advantages of WordPress, however even for someone like me who usually can figure out how to use software easily, it is a challenge. It’s just too geeky.

Anyway my experience so far has been useful, as I know now where NOT to send low-level users.

I’m setting up a blog on Blogger to get a feel for the difference http://madam-the-lab.blogspot.com/

9. gleesos - May 5, 2006

I have been using wordpress for a little while and agree it can be frustrating. One thing you might want to do is look at using “performancing” it is a firefox extension that makes posting much easier.

10. Blog for gleesos - personal » Blog Archive » Do English Blog? - August 14, 2006

[…] One of the big talking points of both conferences and I personally have had several conversations around is the use of blogging, why blog, who blogs, and of course how to blog. I must say that I am encouraged from a personal point of few that our session on blogging at connecting up has not only started conversation – but has indeed called people to action. See The Lab – flickr companion » Why blog? a new blogger inspired by to start something even though he is not sure of the value yet. […]


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