Last night I was the opening act of a sexy little conference about how people might use weblogs that Alastair Shrimpton of the UK branch of Six Apart was hosting at the Polish club near Imperial College. I was a fairly late addition to the schedule, but I don’t think I roamed too far off the point. Suw Charman wrote some insanely intense and accurate notes about the whole thing over on Strange Attractor, including this near-perfect transcript of a part of my talk:
If you want to use blogs for what they’re most naturally useful for, if you’re trying to exploit what makes them brilliant, keep the individual at the heart of it. Knowledge management, or community building, or publishing Wonkette style, keep the individual at the core, be conversational. Even Fleshbot has an editorial tone, not that I’ve ever been, and neither have you, and nor should you.
It was a very interesting evening all things considered, although I sometimes get the impression that I look like I’m having too much fun or am misbehaving when I do these things. Hopefully I didn’t say anything too out on a limb. I’ll probably stick up my notes at some point.
I think the best speaker of the evening was John Dale who has been putting to gether Warwick Blogs for Warwick University (which look like a pretty stunning implementation of the weblog concept inside an academic context). I think the part of his talk that surprised me most was that of everyone I’ve ever seen trying to market and publicise weblogs they seem to have done it best. They had a whole series of pretty stunning stickers and posters and fridge magnets that they distributed all over the campus. I’ve never understood why weblogging companies don’t explicitly target these venues – surely if you get them when they’re young, imaginative and have a lot of free time then they’re likely to stick with you for years. Here’s a lifted image from the Warwick blogs site to give you a sense of the way they branded the thing:
Checking out his site, I see John was at ETech too. It’s a shame we didn’t meet each other in that context too. That could have been fun.