When I wrote about my blogging workshop yesterday I concentrated on the audience. So today I plan to write a little about the content of the workshop.
I wasn’t sure how many people would turn up so the first question was how to lay out the room. I had already set up the equipment. My computer screen was shown up on the large overhead projector screen. Any movement I made on my computer could be seen easily across the room.
The next thing was to decide how many chairs to set up. Someone advised me once that if you put out too many chairs and hardly anybody turns up it’s not a good look. So we just set up a few rows and if we were mown down in the rush we could always set more chairs out.
I had already decided that if it was a really small turn out I would abandon the overhead screen and we would sit together around a table and work directly on my computer in a more intimate way. As it happens this wasn’t necessary as we had a good turn out. Enough to make it interesting and also small enough so that everyone in the room could have a voice.
When I made the decision to start a blog it took me weeks to actually do it. My main problem was the information overload on the web. It just sounded so complicated and the words used were strange to me. What is a widget? Isn’t a post something that holds up a fence?
Then came a stroke of luck, I met a young man who had already set up a blog and was prepared to sit down with me and lead me through it. It took less than five minutes. Eureka! So that, I decided, was the way to go with the workshop. Just set it up on the screen and go through the process a stage at a time.
I planned to use the first half of the workshop showing my own blog up on the screen and taking people behind the scenes of the blog to show how it works. I went through the process of setting up a new post, how to insert a link , the function of tags and how to manage comments. We talked about what they need to think about before they set up the blog. The main question being what to actually write about. It needs to be something you are passionate about. (Although why anyone would bother to blog about something that they weren’t passionate about escapes me.) We also talked about security and just how much information you want to disclose about yourself, your whereabouts and your family.
Forty five minutes I reckoned was just about as long as folk can sit down listening to me and looking at the screen. Time for a tea break and the chance to mingle with other bloggers or bloggers-to-be. I took this opportunity to get to know everybody.
The second half of the workshop was an opportunity to discuss what everybody wanted to get out of the session. I encouraged, and received, lots of input from the audience. It was interesting to discover so many in the room who were already writers, both electronically and on paper.
Two days later, and I still feel so grateful to the people who turned up to the workshop and threw themselves right into it. I couldn’t have met a more positive crowd. Debbie has already started two blogs and is looking at a third. I am looking forward to following this. Maria is writing it up on her blog.