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Back to the Blog – An “Almost Local” Event on Blogging with 5 Takeaway Messages — Triad Biotech Alliance

Back to the Blog – An “Almost Local” Event on Blogging with 5 Takeaway Messages

by Jennifer on October 16, 2012

Last Saturday I spent the morning at Duke’s law building so that I could participate in the Back to the Blog conference. It was hosted by Anton Zuiker (@mistersugar) and Cara Rousseau (@cararousseau)  and supported by Duke University’s Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations.  The “Blog Father” Bora Zivkovic (@BoraZ) was also there, as well as 30-40 other people. The agenda for the conference was to discuss Style and Design and Comments and discussions of blogs.

Although I’ve been blogging for multiple years now, I’ve never been responsible for the technical side of a blog, so I thought I’d learn some tips. The attendees ranged from really high end pro bloggers through people who hadn’t started blogging yet, but wanted to. The conference didn’t include a lot of “hands on” blogging help – it would have been difficult with that range of experience level – but it was really cool & gave me a lot to think about. People’s descriptions of their blogging goals and approaches were really interesting, and all over the place. Anton began with a brief history of blogging, which progressed from “What’s New” posts through filtering (recommendations) and linking to journaling. Then David B. Thomas (@DavidBThomas, perhaps suffering from a bit too much caffeine)  spoke and let Jeffrey L. Cohen (@jeffreylcohen) drive a fast-paced web presentation that followed his talk through: the importance of understanding the goals of your blog; the power of including a number in your post title (note above title of this post); that RSS feeds may be loosing their importance; and that blog content is great for Google searches while Facebook posts are good for connecting with friends. Although I do link to certain blog posts that I use as information sources, I hadn’t ever verbalized it quite so bluntly & clearly as it was in this session: Blog posts are a lasting resource while Facebook updates go out-of-date. Then there was a discussion that if you spent more than a few minutes on writing an email longer than a paragraph or two, you should think about writing a blog post instead so that you could send an unlimited number of people to a permanent resource for the information – that made a lot of sense to me.

Anton talked again, as did Bora and Paul Jones (@smalljones), who no longer uses email. You can see a Storify curation of the event here, thanks to Cara. The discussion flowed through blog software (branch.com) and themes (WooThemes) as well as the importance of blogs being able to be presented clearly on various devises, not just a computer screen (WPtouch). People requested a list of participants & maybe it will include software mentioned – I’m not sure my hand written notes includes them all. Henry Copland (@hc) of http://web.blogads.com/ pointed us to Google trends where you can type in a keyword & see a graph of how often it comes up in searches – we tried blogger, twitter, pinterest & more. We then discussed comments on blogs – I was interested to hear that all of the pros felt that rulings on free speech DID not apply to specific blogs, only to the intranet as a whole. I had heard from a lawyer a few years back in a #scio session that by monitoring your commenters you were liable, but by allowing all comments you were not. General consensus from the #Back2Blog gang was that management of comments was both allowable and advisable, if comments were allowed at all.

There was a lot of discussion of resources – blogging tools, blogging tips, etc – & where to find them. These days available information seems to be about infinite, but the problem is filtering through it to find the resources that are truly useful to your needs. The topic of resources is another reason why I wanted to attend Back to the Blog. I hear about such cool resources for the social media/science communications community that Anton and Bora have organized, both through their tweets and at ScienceOnline conferences. Although RTP isn’t that far away, I’d like to find a similar community here in the Triad. I did meet David Arneke (@AggieResearch), the Director of Research Communications at NC A & T, which was great. He gave me some ideas of triad groups and websites to check out. I’m not necessarily the most natural social media person, but I do firmly believe in community. In the small town where I grew up people who lived on the same street knew each other & exchanged baked goods on Christmas eve. As old fashioned as it sounds, if someone on the street was having problems, their neighbors chipped in to try & help. I heard that same sort of community-based help at the blog conference as Bora described how Henry advised him on blogging. In thinking about it, I guess a sense of community is one reason that I blog for the Triad Biotech Alliance. If you have NC Triad community suggestions – tweeps to follow, events to attend, or things you’d like to see the Triad Biotech Alliance try – please leave your comments below. I’ll be monitoring them! 🙂

PS: the 5 takeaways are in brown & should guarantee me lots of hits to this post, right?!  🙂

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