Reflections on BlogIndiana

I started this post on Day 2 of Blog Indiana.  I saved the draft and meant to finish then publish it later that day.  But, then after lunch, I started to feel ill and went home. Ended up being sick for another couple of days, and when I got to feeling better, I had to catch up at work…Anyway, I’m finally getting back to it.

Since several days have passed, I have had time to reflect on my experience at the conference. So, in the post below, the comments in italics are those I’ve added today.

First, a link to more pics from the conference was tweeted:  http://dunesblog.jonathanwthomas.net/

One thing that this conference has made me do is really reflect of what the purpose of my blog is.  I heard several people say yesterday and again today that the basic purpose for blogging is to get noticed (or to be a celebrity as one speaker put it).

However, I think I have to disagree in my case.  I don’t really care who, if anyone, reads or comments on my blog.  I’ve been blogging for about 5 years.  For the first 3, my blog was about my weight-loss journey as I lost over 100 pounds.  Then, I started grad school while continuing to work full time and found that blogging was a requirement of several classes.  So, I didn’t have time for the weight loss blog anymore.  After my first semester, the number of required blogs decreased, so I decided to start blogging for myself again.

But, since the focus of my life was (and is) HCI and usability, and since several of my instructors and classmates preached the virtues of being reflective about the field through blogging, and since I really do want to become a better IxDesigner and usability analyst, and since I knew I only had time for one personal blog, I figured that HCI would be the better topic.

With both of my personal blogs, I started and wrote in them for my own benefit.  By tracking the difficulties and victories that come with losing a lot of weight, I was successful at losing weight.  And, by being reflective about issues in HCI, I believe I can become a successful HCI professional.

I will still write and be reflective, even if no one is reading my posts.  I consider my blog to be my personal journal or diary…though it’s focused only on one topic.

Right.  So why do I post links to my blog in Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, my online portfolio and on my Jabber status, then?  Hmmmm….is it because I’m immersed in a technology field and it seems somehow expected of me to blog?  Or, am I kidding myself and I really do want to be a celebrity?  I honestly do not know!

So, it seems that a lot of the advice at this conference was about how to increase readership.  But, that’s not my goal.  However, I did glean some good tips that I think will be useful to me and my blog.  Here are some of the things I think I’ll do:

  • Add disclaimer – Haven’t done yet, but still want to
  • Add the ability for others to subscribe to a feed – I did this, but afterwards began questioning my motives: if I don’t care that others are reading this blog, why should I make it easy for them? LOL
  • Use Analytics, like those from Google – Again, if I don’t care that others are reading this blog, why should I care about traffic? Not sure if I’ll do this or not.
  • Change my profile picture to be one of me and not the Star Trek alien – I did this in all of my online personalities.
  • Post more regularly – We’ll see about this one.  Classes start in a week and a half, so my free time will be practically nil. But, I already have a draft of my next post started.

The last thing I’ll say about BlogIndiana for now is that I had six pages of notes from the sessions that I attended, and I thought about making them available for download to anyone who reads this blog.  But, then I saw via Twitter that BlogIndiana created a Wiki that contains most of the speaker’s notes.  So, instead, I’ll just provide a link to that.  It’s always better coming from the source!

http://wiki.blogindiana.com/index.php/Blog_Indiana_2008

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One response to this post.

  1. An excellent synopsis. Thanks for sharing, and for attending.

    I’m with you on the motivation for blogging. The focus of many of the speaker at both this past conference and the first “unconference” event by Smaller Indiana last April is marketing. For most bloggers and would-be bloggers, I think that is a misplaced agenda. First and foremost, you write for yourself. You get surprised by who finds you and what topics attract attention, but if you write strictly to get more readers, I think you may be doing something other than blogging—you’re publishing.

    That said, there is a great WordPress plug-in that is HIGHLY recommended called All-in-One SEO. It gives you control over the title, description and keywords that search engines will see, and I have to admit that it has proven effective in getting my own pages more visible. One of my backburner projects is to go back through our 1000+ posts and add that information for our archives.

    Our blog violates a lot of the “rules” that many of the speakers at BlogIndiana probably put forth. We are eclectic and write about what interests us, from multiple voices with distinctly different social networks. We (meaning me) can get long-winded and don’t often close with inviting questions. I adopt a very transparent philosophy about my identity, yet I like to use some quirky avatar for my profile rather than a picture. In short, we make our own rules because that is what keeps it interesting and relevant. It is much more important to find personal motivation to write and take steps to lower the barrier rather than doing the “right” things from a marketing perspective and make it feel like work.

    Share. Share. Share some more. And enjoy doing so.

    Reply

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