Session Outline
2:45-4:00 PM (75 minutes)

1. Introduction (15 minutes)

Enough about me, read my blog

Key Takeaways
-Understand why building a blogging community is important
-How shift from information anxiety to information coping skills
-Some tips for listening, reading, tracking, and commenting on other blogs that will help you build your blogging community

Pointer to the Wiki - Relax you don't need memorize everything - just write down the wiki url

Quick Poll

Reading Blogs
-How many of you read blogs almost every day?
-How many use RSS readers?
-How many do you read? (potentially: have people stand and then sit as you ask them #of blogs read)

-How many have blogs?
-How many thinking about starting a blog?

-How many get comments on your blog posts?
-How many of you comment on other blogs?

Let's walk the line - based on the self-assessment - line up according to degree of information overload. [Jack: does this fit here?]

  • How does information overload make you feel? What is contributing to your information overload?
  • What works or what doesn't in terms of controlling the symptoms of information overload?

2. Mindset: From Information Overload to Information Coping Skills (15 minutes)

There are a number of tips and techniques that you can put into practice for building a community on your blog. It does take some time and some practice to make them a habit, but the biggest hurdle is getting past some initial feelings of information overload.

Let me define the term "information overload." Yes, too much information or rather too much un-categorized information, but that isn't what necessarily causes all our information anxiety. In some cases, it is more about managing our stress and time better -- skills and techniques we can learn and make them a habit. The first step is change your mindset -there are some psychological or ways that we think of web information that makes stresses us out.

You'll never be "caught up" and that's okay

Do not feel bad about not reading the digital avalanche of email, blog posts, or web content. Get what you can get in the amount of time you can spend, don't worry about the rest. The important bits will rise to the top. Don't feel guilty about mark all read or the delete button can be your best friend.

You don't have read every word of every blog in the universe to successfully build a community

Scanning and pattern recognition is a really important skill to have been you need to look at a lot of information. Don't feel that you have to read every blog post of the blogs you're tracking. It helps if you identify what you need to know before drinking from the fire hydrant.

Don't live at the post office, on Twitter, or your blog software

Or in Twitter, your blog or RSS reader. Set a frequency for your work flow - answering comments via email, doing outreach, writing posts. Set the time of day to check-in and a time limit - this is called time boxing. Stick to it; ignore your blog, email, or twitter until those magic times.

The only time you're offline should NOT be when your are sleeping or in the bathroom. Although some people admit to twittering from the bathroom on their mobile phones and I'm sure there are others who have taken their laptops into the bathroom if the Internet reception is good. The idea is that you don't have to check your email or respond to Twitter or blog posts in real time. No one is going to die if you don't respond within 3 minutes. Remember what is urgent and what is not.

Know when to turn the damn computer off and take a walk

It is important to carve out patches of time to allow yourself for understanding and processing the information you have consumed. This might mean disconnecting electronically on purpose. A scary thought to some but yes, power down, log off and turn off the phone and go for a walk.

If you feel you have lost your concentration and productivity, it may be the stress that you give yourself by staring a monitor for too long. It is a good idea to stretch every 15-20 minutes. Even better to get up and take a walk. Drinking lots of water will not only help force you to get up from your desk, but also keep you hydrated.

3. Why Is Building A Community Around Your Blog Important? (10 minutes)

-Ask participants to give some reasons
-Then show slides
Generating conversation in your comments provides many valuable returns

  • Get ideas for blog posts
  • Get a different perspective or additional information related to the topic of your post - and gasp! corrections
  • Helps generate word of mouth marketing - and traffic/visitors/subscribers to your blog
  • Helps you establish authority in your content niche and your "personal brand"

4. Tips for Building Community on Your Blog (20 minutes)

  • Define Your Beat
  • Identify key bloggers and read their blogs
  • Use RSS Reader
  • Monitor your "ego" and "keyword" feeds from Technorati and Twitter using RSS
  • Become the Queen of Commenting
  • Have a Good System for Tracking Your Comments
  • Write posts that link to other bloggers, encourage conversation

Remember, that's it will take you more time to set it up and make it habit, but once you have it takes less time.

5. Questions (15 minutes)