January 17, 2010

How to engage your blog’s community

supporters

This is part of the series 31 Day Challenge To Optimize Your Blog With Social Media.

Guest post by Danny Brown
DannyBrown.me

There has been much written about what makes a good blog community. So I’m not going to talk about that today.

Instead, I’d like to offer some ideas on how you can best engage your blog community once you’ve started to grow one. The great news is, with social media it’s never been easier to really connect with your readers and visitors. And since I’m a big believer that even just one single regular reader or subscriber is a community, then even if you’re a new blogger this should help.

It doesn’t end with the comments

One of the most immediate ways for any blogger to engage his or her community is via the comments section. After all, this is where you should be spending the majority of your blogging time — yes, much more than the actual blog writing itself. Continue reading

October 26, 2009

Global Voices: Lifting up the powerless & voiceless

Giving international bloggers a global voice from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

International bloggers network offers alternative perspectives on events around the world

JD LasicaSince 2005, the international bloggers network Global Voices has been one of the shining success stories in citizen media: a community of more than 200 bloggers around the world who offer perspectives frequently not heard in the traditional media.

Founded by former CNN Beijing and Tokyo Bureau Chief Rebecca MacKinnon and technologist and Africa expert Ethan Zuckerman while they were both fellows at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University (both are friends), the nonprofit organization with no physical offices offers reports and translations from blogs and citizen media everywhere.

“Where are the most interesting Middle Eastern and African bloggers and what are they talking about? What are Chinese bloggers saying?”
– Rebecca MacKinnon

I caught up with Rebecca several months ago to get an overview of the organization’s efforts. Global Voices’ importance and reach have grown even more pronounced during 2009 with the street demonstrations in Iran. Regular followers of Global Voices have been able to get a first-hand glimpse of events in all corners of the globe, from Africa and Southeast Asia to Oceana and South America. See their Special Coverage section and Top 10 video posts of 2009.

Rebecca, who also teaches journalism at the University of Hong Kong, describes Global Voices as a site where the editors curate the best of what bloggers are saying outside the Western blogosphere. “Where are the most interesting Middle Eastern and African bloggers and what are they talking about? What are Chinese bloggers saying?” The site’s bottom-line goal is to curate the most interesting conversations that will give you a different perspective on what’s happening around the world. Continue reading

September 11, 2009

Matt Mullenweg on the state of WordPress

Matt Mullenweg on the state of WordPress from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaAt WordCamp San Francisco a few weeks ago, I managed to get a few minutes alone with Matt Mullwenweg, co-founder, chief coder and “Head of Bug Creation” for WordPress. (I self-host Socialbrite and Socialmedia.biz with code from WordPress.org; others use WordPress.com to host their blog.)

In this 5 1/2-minute video interview, Matt discusses the state of WordPress, its astonishing growth here and abroad, the vibrancy of the consumer open source movement and his estimate that about  8,000 coders are contributing code and themes to WordPress today. The recent release of WordPress 2.8.4 (fixing a security hole) makes WordPress, in my view, the best blogging software on the planet (with apologies to newcomer Posterous).

A few highlights from our conversation:

• Matt: “Some people think blogging is slowing down, but from everything we’ve seen, it seems blogging is accelerating just as fast as ever. ”

• Matt: “There’s no real killer feature in software anymore. There are 50 killer features, and everyone has a different 50.”

• WordPress fits into the consumer wave of open source tools. the first wave was purely development tools, the second was infrastructure and the third is consumer” applications like Firefox and Azureus. Continue reading

August 10, 2009

How to automatically feed your blog posts into Facebook

A video tutorial that takes ‘manual’ out of the process

John HaydonI recently spoke with a non-profit client who I’m working with on social web strategies. At the end of our call, she complained “We’ve been so busy recently. I can barely remember to paste our blog posts onto our Facebook Page.”

When I told her that she could automate the feed, she almost jumped through the phone with joy. I promised her that I’d make this video.

If you don’t have a Facebook Page yet, go watch How to create a Facebook Page in less than four minutes. I’ll wait right here.

This tutorial on how to import your blog posts into your Facebook Page covers the following steps:

  • Adding the notes application to your Facebook Page
  • Adding your blog’s RSS feed to the application
  • Confirming and importing your blog posts

Did I miss anything? Add a comment below.

May 9, 2009

Seven blogging tools reviewed

A detailed look at the top blogging software platforms

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, businesses, individuals

Guest post by TechSoup

While often regarded as a platform for people to share their personal stories, a blog can also be used to tell the story of an organization. Whether showcasing your work, offering behind-the-scenes glimpse into your nonprofit, highlighting the people you serve, or advocating a particular point of view, a blog can be a powerful — and influential — communication and public-relations tool for your organization.

So how do you create a blog? Let’s say that you’ve already spent time reading other blogs and articles on how to successfully maintain and promote your blog. (More Resources at the end of this article will help you get started.) You’ve defined your goals, your target audience, and the type of content you’ll provide. Your next challenge is to pick the blogging tool that offers the right features for you.

There are a number of good blogging tools, but choosing among them can be confusing. In this report, we’ll take a detailed look at the top blogging tools out there and outline key considerations for selecting a blogging platform, including the skills required to set it up; the ease with which you can post to it; whether you can upload images, video, or audio to it; its ability to moderate comments and prevent spam; how closely you can tailor its design to match the look and feel of your organization’s Web site and other collateral; and tools you can use to track who’s reading it.

The seven blogging platforms we’ve chosen to review are Blogger, LiveJournal, Typepad, Movable Type, WordPress, ExpressionEngine, and TextPattern. We chose these tools because they are the ones most commonly used to create a typical nonprofit blog — by a long shot. 77 percent of all the bloggers included in the Nonprofit Blog Exchange and 81 percent of respondents in a survey of serious bloggers conducted by ProBlogger used one of these seven tools.

That said, these seven tools certainly don’t meet all possible needs. This report doesn’t include the more sophisticated tools you might use to build a complex multi-blogger community, or blogging software that provides deep Web site integration. You’ll want to look beyond this report if you need a posting workflow, where, for instance, an editor can approve posts from many different blog authors; a closed community in which only specific people can see, post, and comment; complex integration with other Web site content such as forums; or if you’re building a Web site that includes a blog built from scratch. For example, Drupal and Joomla! — both free, open source, content management systems — were among the top ten tools most commonly used blogging tools in the Blog Market Analysis. These tools, and a number of other powerful and sophisticated blog and community tools, are well worth a look if your blogging needs are more complex

But for the rest of us — whether we’re with a big nonprofit that wants a highly branded, tailored blog with multiple authors, or a tiny organization looking for something easy to set up and use — one of the seven tools covered here will work just fine. We’ll help you ask the right questions to determine which blog is right for your organization and provide reviews of the most popular nonprofit blogging platforms.

Continue reading

March 31, 2009

WordPress and TypePad compared

Both services are versatile, but WP has pulled ahead

Matt Mullenweg, CC photo by Robert Scoble

Matt Mullenweg, CC photo by Robert Scoble

JD LasicaPeople still ask us all the time which blogging platform they should use. (Micro-answer: It depends on what’s important to you.) During the first few months of 2009, we decided to launch two new ventures — Socialmedia.biz and Socialbrite.org — on WordPress.org platform. Let me explain why.

I’ve been blogging since May 2001, first at Dave Winer’s Manila platform and since 2003 on Six Apart’s TypePad. I was content for a long while, but over the past couple of years a revolution was brewing at WordPress — and finally reached the point where I could no longer ignore its pull. In WordPress.org, Matt Mullenweg (pictured above) offered a free, open source platform that thousands of developers were coding for. (We opted for self-hosting rather than the hosted wordpress.com version.) Somewhere between 2007 and 2008, WP became not only comparable to TypePad, but better. Not because of Matt’s coding prowess, but because of the power of crowdsourced development. I now find myself attending WordPress Camps, alongside BarCamps, Social Media Camps and other open media efforts born of my involvement with Ourmedia.org.

Continue reading