I attend two different writers’ meetings a month.
One meets on the second Saturday of the month, the other on the third.
Yesterday was the California Writers Club–Orange County Branch, and I was asked to talk briefly about blogging to an audience of approximately 30 aspiring authors, and published authors.
Before the event, I proudly told Austin, my 18-year-old and Jordan, my 15-year-old, that I had been asked to participate in a tech panel on blogging.
“Mom on a tech panel,” they said snickering. “You’re joking, right?”
Aren’t teenagers the sweetest?
So much for my teenagers’ confidence on my computer skills.
I had prepared a five minute presentation, a basic introduction to test whether the audience wanted to learn more about social networking and blogging, at a future date. To my surprise, very few in the audience knew about blogs. I had to remember how overwhelmed I felt myself, just over a year ago, when I first started blogging. I came away feeling like quite the expert, and told my kids, “I know a heck of a lot more than you think.”
Here are some tips on why it’s important to have a blog if you own a business, are a consultant, an author or simply want to share your thoughts through writing on the Internet.
So what about you? Did you teach yourself how to blog? Did you figure all the gadgets yourself, linking, uploading photos, facebooking and twittering etc. on your own?
Gramma Ann says
I blog for my own entertainment. And I have had some help from other bloggers directing me how to load pictures onto my blogs and a few other things. But, I am slowly teaching myself how to do links, I just recently learned how to do links. I still have a lot to learn. I have one blog that is private and I practice on it so I don't do to much damage to the other ones.
And aren't teenagers the best?!
I am entirely self-taught – well, that's really a bit grand as WordPress makes it so easy to blog. Facebook and Twitter and FriendFeed are also intuitive so I've managed to work them all out…
I don't blog to drive more business to me.. just for fun!
All on my own!
Which is why I still use blogger and have no idea how to design my own page or use the fancy templates that you can get for free elsewhere or…
Yeah, self taught. But I'm no Lincoln.
Miss Footloose says
Sonia, Very cool that you had the chance to be an expert! Hey, you are! You've got a fun blog so you know what you are doing.
Like you, I felt overwhelmed when I first started putting 6ogether my blog (www.lifeintheexpatlane.blogspot.com)! I did test blogs first, and still have a test blog that no one can access.
I learned it all by myself. I kept thinking if I went slow enough, read the Blogging for Dummmies, and Blogger for Dummies, and kept googling my questions, I should have enough brain cells to figure it out. It did take time and patience! One of my daughters is a media artist / web designer and she was impressed that I had managed to do this. (She did my website, but I wanted to do the blog myself.)
And why do I blog? I am a published romance writer writing as Karen van der Zee (www.karenvanderzee.com), but I've branched out into writing non-fiction which is a different audience. So I started the blog posting the tales of my (mis)adventures living abroad to see if I can find that audience. Getting all cocky about my skills, I also signed up with Facebook (as Karen van der Zee). Let the teenagers laugh at us, Sonia!
So, if anyone out there is interested in seeing what I as an amateur have managed to do with this blog (constructive comments welcome!), and if you are interested in reading fun tales about life abroad, come visit me. And Sonia, my apologies for my shameless self-promotion here!
Miss Footloose says
And just after I sent off my earlier comments on blogging, I found this (in a promotional e-mail from Steve Harrison of the Bradley Communications Corp.):
<< Are you using Internet videos and social media sites to get the word out about your book,product, service or cause? >>
It goes on to say that 52% of Internet traffic is now video…
VIDEO! 52%!! I really don't want to go there… It all takes too much time. I'll feel I live my life virtually, in front of the computer!
What I want video-wise is for a (famous)filmmaker to discover my blog stories and make a really cool movie out of them that wins a couple or so Oscars. Well, I can dream. And as a writer, I have a fertile imagination…
Congrats, Sonia. You HAVE learned a lot in the last year. It's amazing to think of what we didn't know even as all that we don't yet know looms ahead–along with all the unknown new technology and challenges that will change what we think we know now! Luckily, despite what our children think, we are getting younger. 🙂 Good video.
Ballerina Girl says
Well, my friend that blogs got me into it…
I do not like Facebook or those others like that because I prefer to remain anonymous unless I choose to reveal myself. Those friends of mine from years past? Well, I am in touch with those that I want to be in touch with, and I don't want to offend anyone by saying or ignoring when they ask if I want to be their friend!!
Actually, it reminds me of such childish behavior. Do you want to be my friend?
Anyways, I love to blog and share my experiences…
I started blogging about a year ago. First reading other's blogs to get the idea + why I liked/disliked some blogs, to get the idea what not to do. Of course I've made mistakes and stupid postings but not a big deal, life goes on…
In the beginnig I read a lot of social media gurus's blogs but recently got tired of them…
I like your blog because you want to communicate with your readers!
Have a great week! 🙂
About Facebook, I agree 100% with BALLERINA GIRL!
First of all, the poem you have today on your blog by Marilyn Lott, is truly the first poem that has really had an impact on me. Thanks. Secondly, I really admire you for learning the computer skills you have. You deserve a medal of accomplishment,"The Savvy Tech Gramma."
I've always admired your blog and all the interesting photos you have linked to your blogposts. I would say, "Where did she find such perfect photos to go with her story?"
Like you, I decided on blogger as it seemed easier to use. Plus I liked the fact I could link to the extra google "goodies."
Not only are your writing and story telling skills so professional, but I have always wondered about the photos that you display with the country and specific event. They're not always yours, am I right? So how do you succeed in finding the perfect one?
Jennifer Fink says
I shyed away from the whole blogging/social networking/Twittering thing for a long time b/c I am NOT a techie. But I knew that I couldn't afford to ignore them much longer, so I took an online blogging class (thank you, Jane Bouraw!) to get me started. From there I just started figuring stuff out on my own — and am now happy to say that I am not one of the completely lost writers at presentations such as yours.
I remember Shirley, when we first started writing on the Santa Barbara Writers Conference blog. You are an example of a lady who has stayed committed to reading and writing about 100 memoirs. Good for you.
Funny how no one from my past school has contacted me on FB. Perhaps because I've moved around too much. I haven't ever put my maiden name, so maybe that's why no one has found me.
See my response to BG above about FB. I keep it more to people I enjoy sharing "useful" tips with, who might appreciate them. Your blog also has many great photos and life stories. Your cancer surgery gave us a detailed overview of what you went through.
La Belette Rouge says
I am a total autodidact when it comes to blogging. I started blogging never having read a thing about it. I didn't know an html code from a youtube. I have come a long way from where I started. I can embed, link, or twitter with the best of them!;-)
I started blogging because my dad, an aspiring author, had a blog. I got into reading his blog and those of several on his blogroll. Problem was some of them didn't allow anonymous comments, so I started a blog. My dad helped me out quite a bit when I first got started. I have gotten "close" to a number of people I know thru blogging and I enjoy the blogs I read. I figured out facebook pretty much on my own.
Yes I thought myself all the know how be myself. It was a lot of fun and I love learning new stuff all the time.
I have started a new blog now, so that I have the freedom to speak my mind more openly.
I hope you stop by!
I think it´s great that you are speaking on blogging and hope you encouraged those writers to join the fun!
Wow, Sonia. Not only a writer but a techie. What's next? Rocket science? Brain surgery?
I've been writing for ages, so learning the style of blogging hasn't been that difficult.
My brother-in-law (professional photographer, among other things) will be visiting with family for a week, so I'll learn how to get photos from camera to computer. Computer to blog I have already mastered. So I'll get into the 52% that is visual in the blogsphere.
My theory is that I'll learn what I need when I need it. That's about the right pace for this ol' Bear.
Jungle Mom says
LOL, your kids sound a lot like mine.
My blog is actually and accident!
I was trying to comment on my daughters blog and the next thing I knew…I had created a blog!!!
Then I felt obligated to nurture it. Soon it had a life of its own and now I am only along for the ride, never sure where it might take me!
I did get a couple of sessions for free at the library, but figures more out by myself, like you.
I started teaching myself, just like you.
Funny how your dad showed you. Normally it's the kids who show the parents.
Isn't your new blog private? I thought so.
You never know where the next adventure will take me. If you sign up for Picasa.com, easy as blogger.com, you can easily figure out on your own, how to plug your camera into your computer and then Picasa, almost does the whole thing for you.
Sounds like we have a lot in common with those teenagers.
Elizabeth Bradley says
I have only been blogging for a few months, and man I've got a lot to learn. I ask my kids for help now and then. I started blogging to promote my book which is coming out soon. I don't get Facebook, but I love Twitter and use it on a daily basis.
Meredith Resnick says
Rock on Sonia…You are a power blogger and deserve the props! I've learned a lot from what you do. Thanks!
My friend blogged so I picked up a little from her and the rest from trial and error. Still trying to figure out how to make those pretty borders on the sides that everyone has.
I blog as a way to practice devotion. 🙂 Seriously. Without the audience, I tend not to write, which is too bad because I really like it.
I know. It's complicated.
Strange that I get Facebook but not Twitter and you're the reverse.
Are you sure you're talking about me? Thanks for that nice compliment.
I haven't yet figured the border thing out. I know you can purchase some.
You seem to do very well with your audience.
My Three Sons says
I learned about blogging when I ran into one of the live in mothers at Children's Mercy Hospital. Carson had several doctors appointments and there was a mother there that I met and ran into a few more times. She told me her infant daughter was upstairs and had an open heart surgery at just a few days old. It was the first blog I followed and was inspired to start one for my friends and family.
I started one just after Carson turned two and has been wonderful because I don't have to have 20 different family members call me from different states and tell them the same report on Carson's latest appts.
I self taught myself on everything from blogging to downloading pictures to adding music to my blogroll. I'm actually looking at picnik.com to start adding borders or collages to my blog. So I'm always exploring.
They were very right to choose you for that talk. Your blog is very inspiring.
And the video is great. I have to strongly agree about the blogs offering much more visibility than web sites. My web site is never nowhere to be seen, but my blog can always be found quickly in searches.