Blog training course discussion area

Paul O’Mahony is one of the people sitting in on the Blog Training Course I am running for it@cork. Paul has been blogging for a while now and I first met him at the Irish Blog Awards earlier this year.

Paul made a suggestion in the comments on his own blog that I put up:

something up on your blog about the course, so that people on the course can have a place where they could comment. I’m thinking that I may not be the only person on the course who would like to keep track of how I’m getting on with loading RSS for example. If there was one central place where we could put reports on progress, we could thereby learn from each other. I don’t mean set you up in a Q&A situation – that would be outside the remit of the course – but give everyone an opportunity to experience social networking

Initially I thought a wiki might be more suitable for this purpose but as this is a blog training course, let’s do it through the comments of this post. So, as Paul suggests, if you are on the course and want to share thoughts, suggestions, criticisms, whatever about the course, use the comments of this post to do so.

9 thoughts on “Blog training course discussion area”

  1. Thanks Tom. I’m going to use this place as a post-it board: where I can jot down how I learn as we go along.

    1. Found myself looking at the notes I’d jotted down during the first session. Thankfully I’d written a lot but it was the technical stuff I had least of. I’d noted stuff which amounted to a strategic appreciation of how blogging worked, its potential.

    2. After a few days, I twigged that if I didn’t do something, I wouldn’t get much from the course. So I began to look for an RSS. I preferred the proper name to the acronym because ‘really simple…’ hooked me. I put “netnewswire” into Google.

    3 “Netnewswire” gave me stuff that I couldn’t fathom so I quickly moved on to “netvibes”, another RSS. That was better and clearer and I downloaded it.

    4. “Netvibes” was easy to set up though I kept thinking ‘Tom prefers netnewswire… When he showed them to us on the course, I too prefered the look of “netnewswire” but I can’t remember much of what he said about their respective functionalities.

    5. It was very satisfying to see my page on Netvibes being populated by the first few blogs chosen from my blogroll. It was as if I was creating my own special world where blogs would talk to me saying things like ‘I’ve just published a new piece. Here it is for you. I know you are interested in me…’

    6. But, and this is now a big but, I don’t know how to keep track of comments I leave on blogs. The blog post title is there; when I hover over it, the text appears and that’s useful because it is a v quick way to see the gist of what’s been written. But how do I follow the comments? I succeeded in finding the right way to track one set of comments on one blog, but that was an accident: I don’t know how I managed to do it. After you’ve copied a link location (where the blog is) and put that into the place on ‘netvibes’, and clicked the RSS button, several options come up most times: two types of RSS feeds and another type of set whose name I can’t remember. All I did was guess which one to click but I didn’t have the time or patience to go experimenting to see what would happen if I clicked each of the others. Quicker to ask Tom next session…

    7. An exciting start but now I’m frustrated at my inability to drive forward. This is like a lesson on how to drive a car. Great, I now know the gears exist and where to find the brake, but how on earth do I drive off at a reasonable pace. Oh, I want someone downstairs in the kitchen whom I could call up when I wanted them. And a week is a long time to wait. At least this place gives me space within which to reflect and let off steam. Roll on Wednesday morning…

  2. Paul,

    NetNewsWire is a desktop application, not an online site like Netvibes. Netnewswire runs on Macs. If you have a Mac, it is great, if not, it is not for you!

    Google Reader is another fantastic online RSS Reader (like Netvibes), and Microsoft’s is another.

    My personal favourite of the online RSS readers is Google Reader though as it best mimics my NetNewsWire view.

    On the commenting front there is a site called CoComment which allows you to track your comments!

  3. Thanks Tom.

    I’ve loaded up Google Reader. So far I’ve gone browsing and found the way to load up collections of RSS feeds: I picked ‘News’ & ‘Photography’.

    From one of the photography sites, I was able to link a photo to my blog and for the first time I’ve been able to put up a photo (admittedly, a link to a photo someone else took, bit it’s a start).

    So now, I have two RSS readers in use : ‘netvibes’ & ‘google reader’. I think they do the same thing but I’m not sure and I certainly don’t know how to migrate from two to one.

    I suppose it would be silly to have two: better surely to have one and treat it like a one-stop shop?

    I’ll write more about the second training session soon. But thank you v much. Travel well.

  4. (1) I haven’t written about the second session and now the third is on top of me.

    (2) But I got to set up a new blog on which I’m going to collaborate with my son. We are just starting and we haven’t yet mapped out the accords. So I won’t put up the link yet, until we’ve agreed all our work will be done in public.

    (3) I used Tom’s recommended and I found it easy to get started

    – even though I don’t like the textual appearance.

    (4) I’m still wondering how long it will be before one of my fellow course attendees makes a comment on here?

  5. (5) And having used Google Reader once, I’ve ignored it all week. It is too hard to look at two one-stop-shops.

    I must ask Tom again what the key difference between “Netvibes” and “Google Reader” is?

  6. Now I understand “Netvibes” and “Google Reader” are two on-line feeds: I need to be on line to access my world via either of them

    I’ve successfully transfered all my feeds from Netvibes to Google Reader, so I’m no longer bothered by that (no.5).

    I must write up the third session: thankfully there is no course next week – I need the time to catch up with trying out all the stuff I learned last week.

    I’m still wondering whether anyone else on the course will bother to visit here…?

  7. I’ve come back here still hoping there might be some traffic from others who were on the course.

    For me its a real disappointment that this idea never took off. I guess I’m the kind of person who learns best while engaging with other learners and there was little time for such engagement during the course: people went off afterwards; there was little dialogue. Of course, I’ve clocked a few faces of people I might see around Cork in future and that’s no bad thing.

    But maybe I was expecting too much from such a taster training course?

    Maybe I’m out of tune with the culture of Cork, Ireland even. Irish people have a reputation abroad for open conversation. My personal experience is that there isn’t all that much openness in practice. Increasingly I find Irish people ‘shy’ but disguising it through various means. I’m saying that maybe the reason there hasn’t been any exchange of learning on here is that Irish people wouldn’t do that for fear of showing themselves up in public.

    I found out that some people on the course had read the few comments on here, but not left a comment of their own. The vibrant marketplace for ideas and experience swapping that I’d imagined and hoped would happen is probably miles away from what anyone else would bother doing in this culture.

    But am I going to continue using this place to put down what I’ve learned on the course?

    Maybe… I’ve hardly scratched the surface. I have pages of notes and I’ve tried out some of Tom’s tips. One of them which involved me tampering with the controls behind my blog resulted in me cutting off all comments. I didn’t mean to do that. I meant the opposite. Thank goodness I posted a piece about how lonely it felt writing the blog and getting absolutely no comments. A few minutes later I had a email telling me I’d done something to disable the comment function. Easily fixed and the unexpected bonus was a heightened awareness of how vital the comments function is to social networking.

    The longer the post, the harder it will be for me to come back and find what I thought about any particular aspect. In future, short snappy comments.

  8. Tom,

    I’ve just clicked on to your statistics. I see that your blog has leapt exponentially in the amount of traffic in 2007 compared with 2006 & 2005. Not just a significant increase but a humungous transformation… I thought I’d done well on my blog to have exceeded the 2006 traffic by June 2007 but I’m in awe of your’s.

    What’s the secret? I know the whole course was really about how you could have a blog which connected with lots of people, but would you mind giving me a short summary of the five key actions you took which resulted in such growth, please.

  9. Paul,

    there’s no secret. If you look at the monthly statistics, you will note that I have only been using Statcounter fulltime this year since mid-march and before that I used it extremely patchily last year and the year before!

    So, the only stats to look at are those from mid-march this year onwards.


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