Blogher Day One – Gigs of Information and Social Awkwardness

Video Blogging Workshop

It’s a funny thing about me – you could have put me in front of a microphone on stage to address all 400 people at Blogher today and I would have stunned you with my articulate genius. I commented freely and confidently in all the sessions I attended. But I couldn’t even manage to introduce myself to the gal I sat next to at lunch today.

Strange, but true. I am an awkward social networker.

Sadly, after said lunch mate turned out to be the session leader for the Ten Types of Web Writing session I attended, I realized I missed out on conversation with a truly hilarious and witty woman.

Oh well, I DID talk to a stranger at the airport, so there is progress in my social networking awkwardness.

On another note, there are two things I would never want to be perceived as. One, is a tourist – I will go to great lengths to look like a local when traveling.

Two, is a fan-girl. I’m not really into celebrity. I’d much rather chase fire engines for excitement. But when I saw Heather Armstrong across the room – in real life – my reflexes kicked in and my arm shot out in front of me with camera in hand. The picture nearly snapped itself.

This is me photo stalking Heather Armstrong

It was an exciting, information-filled day, and I’m very grateful to be here. I will get a decent night’s sleep and try to be less awkward tomorrow!

Live Blogher Blogging – Ten Types of Web Writing

[live blogging – please excuse typos, grammar, and lack of links]

10 Types of Web Writing: And how to execute them professionally. Lisa Stone and Lynne D. Johnson walk you through everything from short-form sign post blogging to long-form essay blogging.

Lynn Johnson editor

Lisa Stone
Hard print writer & editor

– – – – engaging readers in conversation, dialogue

“I write because I want to, I can, and I must”

Ten types of web writing

1. readers
2. presentation
3. word choice
4. conversations
5. headines
6. attribution
7. link blogging
8. essay blogging
9. question and answer
10. reviews and how-tos

First four most change in mindset from print – when a reader picks up a magazine, they know what to expect. When they find your blog, they don’t know who you are or what you’re about.

The words we write today have more impact than ever before because of internet media.

Is wrting for the web an art or a science? BOTH

Are… our words are our identity online


How effective a writer are you? Ask someone in your audience.

How does it look on the page?
How connecting with the reader visually?
Down drown your blog in text!!!

WORD CHOICE – even in headlines
“funny ha-ha or funny peculiar?” –betsy devine
Profanity – to swear or not to swear?

Do you want to have one or not?
How important are the conversations to you?
Open comments or closed comments?
Closed comments isn’t really a blog, it’s publishing, or content-provider
… or is it? Much discussion.
Exchange of ideas


Some do not have comments, use more as a publishing tool
Story arc


Lots of white space

Use of celebrity names, subtle, not contrived

Live Blogher Blogging – Building an Audience

[Live Blogging – please excuse typos, grammar, and lack of linking]

Audience Building
Elise Bauer talks traffic: how to build it, how to understand your site statistics, how to optimize your site to build search engine traffic, how to use syndication and subscriptions to build recurring traffic…the works!

– – –

These are the opinions of Elise Bauer, and things that have worked for her, not ‘shoulds.’

3 Major pillars for building traffic
– content

CONTENT should be…
Useful (most important)
… or all three.

Usability gives your site legs – makes it an asset

Think about where your skills are, and how they can be used

Tips on content…
Focus on a topic so a community can develop around that shared interest

Post frequently, but not at the expense of quality. Must be compelling, interesting, well written.

Use images & photos – helps break up monotony of text on a page

Write well – concise. Long rambling posts hard to follow. Short paragraphs, short posts, etc.

Headlines – witty and entertaining, or use good google search terms

Be excellent at what you do/know.

Must be passionate about your topic, so that it compels you to do/be well


Link out to other bloggers – blog rolls, in posts. Connect with others who share your interests.

Leave comments on other blogs – participate in community. We all love comments!

Plan/join online events. (i.e. blog carnivals)

Contribute to the community

How to find your blog?
1. from someone else’s website
2. search engine
3. bookmarks from repeat visitors (update url changes or you’ll lose these)
4. newsfeeds (bloglines, etc)
5., technorati, or other tagging tool
6. press
7. someone forwarded your url to someone else (can build that in to each post through wordpress)

PAGE RANK – what contributes

1. links from other sites
2. text based content (not flash or images)
3. links from high page ranked sites
4. use of keywords in title or text
5. good html structure (header tags, etc) – better to put something in a header tag than a bold tag

what detracts?
1. links to link-farms, spam sites, or pages with spam in it anywhere.
2. 404 errors – links that go to pages that don’t exist

Image size (under 15.5k)
Page length and size (under 100k – including images)
Readable font size on many different platforms and browsers
Reduce clutter
Avoid colored backgrounds – black print on white ideal
Eye-tracking study (focus on upper left corner)
Search bars so people can find content – don’t assume people are only interested in the front page.
Categories – make content easy to find
Screen resolution – 800 x 600
Make it easy for dial-up users!

RSS – personalized google
Adding tool for people to add your feed
Feed readers
**Feedburner – can publish your feed, offers statistics of what content people are clicking on
**Feedblitz – allow you to publish feed as an email, for less technical savvy people who would rather get an email.

Add buttons: google, yahoo, bloglines, etc
Tags: technorati,, flickr
**claim your blog in technorati and start using tags


Page views
Search engine bots represent 5-15% of your numbers

What stats to care about?
# subscribers
# visitors
Page views
Who is linking to you?

Live Blogher Blogging – Workshop #1

Session 1

[Live Blogging – Please excuse type and grammar errors and lack of links!]

Day One: So, you have this crazy idea…

You want to start a community-based blog site, but aren’t sure where to start. Melanie Morgan, Nancy White, Susannah Gardner & Lauren Gelman are among those who will help you examine what’s out there, define what you can do differently, and create a plan to develop content, promote your efforts and watch your back.

Nancy the chocoholic: Brought chocolate to share – Community is giving to others without expecting anything in return!

Only one person in the room didn’t have a blog

How many people involved in community through blogs?

Laurn Gelmen – community blog re women’s issues within male-dominated law school
Starting a community blog: focus the site – i.e. is somebody else already doing it or are you providing a unique voice? For instance, many women’s issues blogs, but are there any community blogs for women in law school? This is more specific.

Discussed how they can leverage their blog to make a difference for women within the law profession.

Melanie Morgan – New Media Collective
Social network for people of color in digital media marketing – SPECIFIC ISSUE

Susannah Gardner
Constantly renewing community because people come in to connect, get what they need, then they move on.
Networking and facilitating connections.

Nancy White
March of Dimes – Share your story: families with babies in neonatal intensive care
Largely non-bloggers who started to blog through this community
Had to learn and become internet savvy – i.e. not a good idea to post cute pictures of your naked toddler

Patterns in blog communities
1. One blog/one blogger – through allowing comments, these bloggers often are the bridge for others to find their voice and begin their own blogs
2. Boundaried Community – inviting in other voices
3. Central Connecting topic/group – intersection of blogs

What is the social interaction? Who controls the tools? That person/group holds the power.

Topics – of small groups
1. Getting the crazy idea – how do I develop a community?
2. Tools, tracking, marketing, creating the platform
3. Feeding your community over time
4. keep yourself out of trouble – legal issues
Assignment: capture the best idea you hear to share

Small Group #1:

Community blog ideas:
People with illnesses to connect
– for the individual
– for the community

“My blog is a way to get crap off my chest in a public way – I have to own it” – cathy

Blogging vs message board
– Forums, you can pop in and out with comments / less about the individual’s identity, more about the community
– Blogging needs to be sustained / more about identity

Talk to the potential community about what THEY want
Purpose may change over time

Being responsive to each other is the value that drives the community – comments important

Use of surveys – Masterful question writers can get good survey results – need to know how to ask the right questions

Ideas: Skype-casts first Friday of the month for community participants

Meme’s draw community in, like “day in the life” from

– – –

[updated for second group]

Small Group #4

concerns for sites with other people publishing on it –
– copywrite – make someone on your site in charge of copywrite violation information (i.e. an email to send information re the infringement so it can be investigated)
– porn
– libel

What is your site? More like a newspaper (liable for content), or like Yahoo (not liable for content)

Key words for libel (when you write) /slander (when you speak)
-say something that can be proven factually inaccurate = libel (saying joe is gay (libel), vs joe is an asshole (not libel))
– must prove that what is said is false
– possible okay phrases “in my opinion” “I think” – but you can still get in trouble if you say, “I think joe is gay.”
– different test for a public figure: not only prove it was a false statement, but that you KNEW it was a false statement and that it harmed them.

Regarding a grassroots rally for a cause to make change (i.e. pressuring insurance companies to change policy) – posting an email address or business address for sending correspondence is okay, as long as you are not encouraging assault or libel.