The First BBC Manchester Blog Workshop
- 23 Feb 07, 11:27 AM
A big thank you to the 20 people to turned up for the first BBC Manchester blogging workshop on Thursday evening.
Because it was the first session, we spent some time at the beginning introducing the project itself and explaining what both you and the BBC can expect. This was followed by a whirlwind tour of blogging tools and techniques which, we hope, gave everyone from complete beginners to experienced bloggers some useful ideas and information.
The tools we looked at included some blogging platforms that are easy to use and, where not free, at least offer you a free trial period to try them out: Blogger, Typepad and Vox. We probably should have also mentioned Live Journal, Myspace which offer some basic blogging features along with social networking. Some of the more technically minded people at the workshop also spoke about MovableType and WordPress. This isn't an exhaustive list - you may find other tools and services out there that more closely meet your requirements.
We also had a look at some bits and pieces that you can use in tandem with your blog to make your content available to a wider audience. Those included the photo sharing site flickr where you can host and "tag" photos then use the "blog this" feature to post the image to your blog. This is a good way of putting some of your blog content out where audiences are, so make sure you link back to your blog from the images you put on flickr. We also briefly mentioned NowPublic, a social news site where you can post newsie audio, video, images and stories and YouTube where you can post video - again, linking from this content back to your blog to help audiences find you.
There are lots of other bolt on services that add functionality to your blog. We pointed out StatCounter which is a useful tool for understanding more about who your visitors are and how they found you. We also briefly showed Technorati which helps bloggers track the buzz their posts generate revealing all the posts on other blogs that link to you. I also showed winksite, a service that makes it possible for people to read your blog on their mobile phone, and Last fm which tracks and displays the most recent music you've played on your computer or mp3 player.
Blogging is both the use of a blogging platform, often with lots of pieces of functionality from other services bolted on, but it's also a technique that enables you to become part of the conversation. Technorati, mentioned above, is the tool of choice for many bloggers who want to find and participate in that conversation. A lot of bloggers also use RSS feed readers to make it easier to watch lots of blogs and other news sources at once. I also finddel.icio.us useful because it allows me to bookmark and share interesting content and can also publish those links to my blog.
The first workshop was also a good opportunity for to find out a little bit more about you. It seems from the feedback that next time round we need to try to have two sessions, one targetted at beginners and that specifically helps them get registered for and start using some of the tools and techniques above, and another session targetted more at intermediate and advanced bloggers. The first session is pretty straight forward for Richard and I to plan so watch this space for details. The second session, however, is a bit more difficult for us to dream up on our own so please do drop us a line or post a comment below if you've got some ideas.
A few people have already blogged about the workshop. We'll do a wrap up post linking out to all of those in the next few days, giving people a chance to blog it if they haven't already done so. We're also looking for photos (silly us - we brought our camera and didn't take any pictres!) so if you've got some, maybe use this opportunity to post them to flickr and tag them with "bbcmanchesterblog" to make it easier for us to find them.
Finally, we'd really like for everyone who attended to post a comment below or send us an email giving us the address of their blogs so that we can put them into our RSS reader and start watching. In the coming days, we'll also send round an email with a few of our editorial guidelines so that you have a better idea of what we can and can't link to.
Many thanks again to everyone who came along and in particular to those who helped spread the word in advance. We're looking forward to hearing from you and seeing you at the next session(s).
Robin and Richard
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