I think I said this at least once during my Blogging 101 session during Podcamp Pittsburgh 4 — Do as I say, not as I do.
Yep. The guy who stood in that room and talked about the importance of posting regularly is just now getting around to writing about Podcamp.
Hey. I think I also told you that this stuff can be hard.
My own little teeny portion of Podcamp went pretty well, although I started very slowly. Lots of excellent questions from a room full of people helped; having Justin standing in the doorway to help answer questions about business blogging helped even more. We were able to convince Bob to start up a blog on the spot, and at least one other person — Danielle, whose name I hope I’m spelling correctly — started two others just days after Podcamp wrapped up.
In terms of organization, my session was kind of a mess, so let me summarize just a few things I wanted those attending to take away:
- Do it. Setting up a blog isn’t hard; if you have an idea, there’s no reason not to give it a try.
- Post regularly. Even if regularly means once a week.
- There are no rules. There are some loose best practices, but I manage to break nearly all of them all the time. If you’re making yourself happy, the readers will notice.
The three blogs I know that started as a result of the Blogging 101 session:
Comics and Beer. Bob agreed to be the guinea pig of the class. He’ll also be starting blogs for his journalism school students at WVU; naturally, I’m very curious to see how those go.
Crazy Love, Crazy Life. Danielle said in class she had three blogs ready to go, but hadn’t pulled the trigger on any of them. I was immensely pleased to see that this one, about her life as a newlywed, went live right after Podcamp.
Confessions of a Serial Life Changer. Danielle’s other blog that appeared right after Podcamp ended. This one will be a little tougher, as she’s dealing with some potentially deep, personal stuff. Harder to write, sure; it also has the potential to be much more rewarding.
If you were in the class, my offer still stands: Let me know when you get your blog up and running. I will read. I will comment. I will link to you. And I will try to answer any questions you may have.
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Outside of that session, my own Podcamp experience was the best yet. The schedule was truly overwhelming, and I missed as many good sessions as I attended. The ones that stood out for me?
An excellent discussion about intellectual property, a debate that leaves me in conflict — I’d like to think that the output of my professional life has some kind of value, particularly if that value means I can continued to be employed in whatever form journalism takes in the next 20 years. But I also see — and support — the notion that information should be freely accessible, particularly as it pertains to the musical world. You all know that the bands I listen to permit taping and unrestricted distribution of those tapes, in part because they see the greater value of spreading their music around.
Henry Bingaman’s excellent session on the specifics of writing and designing for the web had a ton of great tips. And although his session was tailored more towards marketing folks, I think there is some stuff that will apply to my professional life as it exists on the web.
Cindy Closkey’s Sunday session on revitalizing a blog gave me a couple tips for trying to determine the focus and value of a blog. As I reach one of my periodic slumps, that information will become very helpful.
And although I didn’t attend his session, Norm Huelsman mentioned Uncle Crappy (the site) in his talk on design basics, apparently for my use of the old Bloomfield sign photo in the page header. I guess I’m not doing everything wrong…
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As we wrapped up on Sunday, I did the best I could to stop each of the organizers and thank them for the tremendous job they did this year. We had more sponsors, more sessions, more people and, by far, the best experience we’ve had in four shots at running a Podcamp. If I missed you on Sunday, please accept this as my thanks — you guys freaking rocked this year. And I’m looking forward to trying to top in 2010.