Julie Opstael from Skynet presents a number of social interest cases, she works as a product manager of ‘Blogs’ (yes they have a product category for it) at Skynet, one of the leading blog platforms in Belgium.
She presented a lot of human stories, to illustrate that behind a lot of blogs, real people with real stories live their daily lives and are willing to share it. It’s not always about the high traffic numbers, but very often about ‘what’ is written and for whom. A lot of people write for a small audience and love that, they don’t feel the need to become famous. They do meet in small blogger events, and they love to socialize, but most of all, they love to blog.
The funny remark here is that Skynet started with an ‘everything about skynet blogs’ blog and that shortly after that their ‘top blogger’ started with a mirror blog which is called ‘bloggers about skynet blogs’. Every official announcement the Skynet team launches on their blog gets an instant feedback on that blog, and it’s most of the time razorblade sharp. A nice example of how blogging works.
Jesse Wynants from i-merge and Gunther Boutsen from Fishtank are talking about the conversation that ‘happens’ when people use blogs. About opinions everyone has and everyone’s dying to share with the rest of the world.
People blog to become an authority, to be invited to speak at events, to connect with others (clients). People want to meet other people, bloggers want to meet other bloggers. Companies want to create transparency and want to share their ideas, their thoughts. Companies want to share knowledge, engage in conversations. CEOs blog to share their vision.
This presentation is really interesting and in fact goes a little too fast to live-blog. For every reason of blogging, they give an example. They give tips to blog like: create a style, send lots of linklove, set up a schedule, blog every day and keep up the frequency, write original content and don’t copy-paste too much. Personalize your blogposts and blog so that people can identify theirselves with you and your life. Try to organise a battle, start a debate and invite people to participate.
One of the best links I just discoverd is the IKEA hacker site, the perfect example of what ‘anti-consumerism’ means. This blog tells you everything you can do with the stuff from IKEA when you don’t want to follow the papered how-to guidelines. Sweeeet :)
You can also use technology to make it more easy to blog. You can use tools like Flickr, and blog those pictures. With tools like LiveWriter you can create posts offline in an editor that looks and feels like Office Word. You can use Media (audio and video) to make your content more catchy, or aggregate content from other bloggers or users or from yourself (del.icio.us, podcast feeds, video feeds). You can use widgets to make your blog look more ‘alive’ and to discover new things you weren’t aware of yourself. If you start moblogging and send pictures from your mobile phone to your laptop, the spontaneity increases and gives your blog a more ‘human’ face.
If you use metadata, you can strengthen your content and give it date/time/location tags, so the content has more context.
Then Jesse talked about degrees of participation. First degree is just the IP’s, the readers who come by and don’t interact. Next you have the Subscribers, the fans, those who keep coming back and are dedicated readers. Lastly there’s the groupies, the user group who interacts. These are the most valuable people, the ones who drive your community. These are the ones you need to love and praise.