Blogging Basics: Managing Information Overload: How to Find Your Blogging Community

Blogging Basics: Managing Information Overload: How to Find Your Blogging Community

This session focused on how to control your urge to be everywhere and using every tool in sight instead of strategizing about your goals. That's the key: know your goal, and you can then figure out which tools to use. Another key is to limit your time using each tool that you decide you must have in your toolbox. How about a low-tech blog-timer? We also spoke about some key tools in our bloggers toolbox.

Featuring:
Sarah Braesch
Cynthia Samuels

AND WE’RE OFF… TO THE SESSION

Many people are feeling overloaded today.

--Overloaded with building community. One women responded that the number of people out there and tools available make it overwhelming.
--Overloaded with what you need to do to build a community
--Plethora of tools
--Some have many sites and hundreds of bookmarks

FOCUS: on tools. You don’t need to duplicate tools. By the way, you can turn twitter off.

RSS feed: is there too much in your reader? You don’t have to read everything. You will never be caught up!

Read other people’s blogs once or twice a week, that’s okay.

RSS reader/feeds: you can’t read everyone everyday. Use folders to help prioritize what to read and when, or even if.

The speakers are looking to fine tune the seminar depending on interests of audience members.

TOOLS THAT CINDY AND SARAH USE AND RECOMMEND USING
1--Google (feed) Reader: use the “star” to keep the articles you want to read later.

2--Twitter: Turn off Twitter and get some sleep. Twitter: it’s instant gratification. Make a resolution to turn it off sometimes.

3--Traffic Stats: look at your blog statistics to ensure that you are not wasting your time and to make sure, too, that you are using your time /writing wisely.

4--StumbleUpon: mark your favorite posts, but if you find a post you like, you can “stumble” it. Then, your friends can find it. (Better than friendfeed.) Similar to deli.cious. This is easier to see what other people have picked. People here seem to have “facebook under control.”

5--Google Alerts: in Google, click to Alerts, and there you can put in keywords that are of interest to you and it will show you the places that are talking about that keyword. This is great if you have specific interests. You could get blog feeds and/or news feeds and this will come to your email.

Find community: find people who you can relate to. This can start with just one person. Use twitter for use. Twitter: you can follow what people are interested in, and this can help you find people too. Look at who the people you like are following; also, look at who your friends are following.

Write on a community blog, BLOGHER is great for this. Start at blogher, post there or read there, go to someone’s blog, and then find other blogs from their comments or from their blogrolls.

DCMETROMOMS is another local DC blog.

Any community blog will bring you to other bloggers writing about things you may be interested in, and this can also help you to find readers for your blog. This is a great way to grow your readership, as well as what you read.

FACEBOOK: How to keep Facebook under control. How to use it efficiently.
--One audience member keeps a schedule for when to access facebook, and even uses a timer, but tries to stick to her schedule; this women runs a group on facebook and so must be there for that.
--Another only uses for people she has met in person.
--To many facebook is a big time suck
--Key to see these tools as MARKETING TOOLS, but you do need to set aside time during the day for when you will access/use it and not go beyond that. You can separate one facebook account for business and personal purposes. 

When you update your blog do you link to twitter and facebook? The nods said yes, but this creates a problem of just self-promoting.

Passive updates from LINKEDIN and PULSE.
LINKEDIN: many are using. Business connector: like a Rolodex.

How you use these tools depends on what you need them for. Need to ask yourself what you need from each tool. Ask yourself: what do I need from all of this stuff? Once you have your own agenda, then you can take these tips and customize them to serve you best. And then, customize how you use each of these tools.

Rescuetime.com: analyzes your online internet usage per day.

IM: many use it as an office tool. Also many found that this is not disruptive.

FIREFOX as browser: an extension there to connect to different accounts in one screen, so you don’t have to go into each site separately

LEVERAGING KNOWLEDGE
How to make the best use of your knowledge. Let each person in an organization become an expert in the tool that he/she is most interested in or comfortable using.

ZOTERO.COM: good research tool, especially good for people who need to cite their sources

A few tools enable you to access all of your social media sites at one place.

What to do if the people who come to your site are not the readers you were looking for? You can learn a lot about yourself in that way. You might want to use different keywords to try to get different readers. Or to use those readers to get other readers. It takes a long time to get readers, which is especially true if you are not very specific in your niche.

Information overload from the reader perspective. What’s a non-organized blogger to do?
--Use tags and categories.

You must focus on your goal to know how best to organize your blog.

Keep posting is key not to lose your readership momentum.

Best way to have good traffic is by having great content. CONTENT IS KEY. The content is what you need to have people come back.

If you care enough about it, then you will have enough interest to continue the blog and to interest readers. Do you need to write for the readers? If it’s your personal blog, just write for yourself. If it’s a business blog, then, yes, you are writing for the readers.

Where do you go to find your community? Start at Google Blog search, and Blogher. Also, find one blog that speaks to you and go on that person’s blogroll. Recommend that everyone should have a blogroll because this truly creates a blog community. You could have it on a separate page, it does not need to be in a sidebar.

Building a community: go to one blog’s blogroll, go to those blogs, comment, read the comments, click to those commenter’s blogs

Link out. People will see who linked to them and why.

Google Groups can be a resource to get blog-related technical help.

Look at blogs that speak to you and find badges that speak to you.

DCBLOGS portal: great place for people in the DC region to sign up to.

Sign up to different blogging communities

Blog carnivals. Something to check out.

Virtual baby showers and weddings. This can be a tool to find other people who have similar interests.

RECAP
Figure out your agenda
Use Google Reader
Twitter
Stumble Upon
Blogher
Use a kitchen timer to schedule yourself
Think of these tools as marketing tools
Rescuetime.com
Firefox app to aggregate your social media
Leverage knowledge: spread out the expertise in an organization
COMMONCRAFT a good instructional site to explain tech things

Sarah Braesch
Sarah Braesch (aka Goon Squad Sarah) is all over the internet. You can find her writing at Sarah and the Goon Squad, BlogHer.com, Draft Day Suit, MamaPop, DC Metro Moms Blog, Loser Moms and many other blogs depending on the day of the week.

Sarah lives in the DC Metro Area with her husband and four year old twins. She is a freelance writer and she also works for the BlogHer Ad Network.

Cynthia (Cindy) Samuels
A blogger for over two years and veteran of three BlogHer conferences, Cynthia was an early Internet citizen, arriving just as Mozilla was released.  Beyond blogging, she has an extensive background online, in television and in print.  In four years with iVillage she designed and then supervised an education subsite called Education Central and worked extensively on Internet safety issues, later serving as iVillage's Washington editor. Earlier, she was Children's Book Editor of Amazon.com and an early site reviewer for EXCITE. 

She's also worked as a broadcast journalist at, among other places, the TODAY SHOW, where she spent nine years.  Author of It's a Free Country, a Young Person's Guide to Politics and Elections, she's now a partner in a Web and blogger consulting firm, Cobblestone Associates, LLP.  Cynthia is married and has two grown sons who were her secret weapon when she was learning how to use a computer ("you see mom, folders are like file drawers....") and now work in the computer game business.  She and her husband live in Washington, DC.  She blogs at Don't Gel Too Soon and, lately, is fighting a Twitter addiction. And fiftysomethingblogs.

Laura, blogging at www.RebelliousThoughtsofaWoman.com

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