When Sara Goldstein, aka the Bargain Queen, bundled up her house, her laptop and Mr BQ to take on one of the fashion capitals of the world, the Australian blogging community became a lot quieter. After all, Sara had been instrumental in bringing a wide range of disparate groups together for drinks and discussion. With her mascot pink pig in tow, we made the Arthouse Hotel in Sydney a regular home away from the keyboard — at least for a while.
But since moving to New York, Sara has been anything but idle. She has been busily laying plans for global domination. Here is the pilot for Sara’s Style Spice show for the Wardrobe Channel — I am looking forward to seeing more of this style of web based programming in the future. In the meantime, Sara is sure to be learning plenty out there on the frontier.
This week marks the six month anniversary (is there such a thing?) of the Aussie Bloggers blog and forum (congrats!). In this time, the community has gone from strength to strength — with over 700 members and a whopping 33,000 posts.
As a special gift to the thriving community, an indispensable blogging tool has been developed to help overcome those blogging-block days — the Lazy Bloggers Blog Post Generator. Here is a blog post that comes direct from the generator:
OMG! I just remembered I have not updated this since Paris Hilton was in jail… You would not believe my anguish at my misdoings. Jealous much? Don’t be, it was very painful..
I am frantic with an awfully big adventure, soaking in the tub, just generally being a Darling to the servants, my day is full to overflowing from when the nightclubs close to I run out of alcohol. I am happy with that. I need some perspective.
I solemnly swear to post at least once a month. Promise! Unless of course the pool with the cocktail bar is heated!
In the tradition of Mack Collier’s Top 25 Marketing Blogs and Ad Age’s Power 150 comes the Top 50 Australian Marketing Blogs courtesy of Julian Cole. Here is the inaugural list. Taking a leaf out of Todd And’s book, Julian has included a subjective score — the Pioneer score which measures the "blog’s ability to have pioneering thoughts about marketing".
There are some great blogs on the list — but many that are new to me — so I am excited to check them out. Hope you do too!
We all agree. Well mostly. At least in the places where I roam online. Occasionally there are some disagreements — sometimes gentle argument, but all-in-all there is little dissent. Mack Collier has been pondering the nature of this general affability in the marketing end of the blogosphere, contrasting the inclusive debates engendered by the crowd at The Daily Fix with the scrummage that occurs over at Robert Scoble’s house of rambunctious squattors.
A la Scoble, Mack succeeds in generating quite an interesting discussion (well worth checking out) — and one of the questions he asks is, how does Scoble do it? Fundamentally, I think that Scoble challenges our curiosity. He asks the questions of himself that we find we are answering. He mocks and goads his readers. He dares them and sometimes berates them. MarketingProfs is a whole different kettle of fish.
But the debate is not really about different communities and their style, it is a question of lifeblood. I don’t know about you, but at certain points in time I like to venture far and wide across the blogosphere. I like to run across those weak links. I like to mine the unexpected. It is one of the reasons that I like memes … to me they serve a special purpose in the blogosphere — they introduce new blood into the thinking systems of our social networks. These new sites, in fact, help to keep us all healthy.
This randomness is what appealed to me about the Entrecard widget that you can see at the top of my blog. I don’t have it there for advertising … I have it there for connection. For chance. And while I know that Marcus doesn’t agree, I must admit to finding it slightly useful — and have happened upon a couple of sites that I like.
MarketingFM covers a lot of topics that are obviously of interest to me.
Overall, though, I find my uncontrolled meanderings through Entrecard to be an eye-opener. This is social media in the raw. It is local and it is expansive. It is poetic and well designed. It is real people telling their own stories, making some money and finding new friends, communities and even enemies. It is the space where we live.
It all serves to remind us that our blog is just another drop in an ocean of influence.
When I first started blogging I remember reading about blog carnivals — those group writing projects based on a set topic. Carnivals are hosted by an organiser, with contributors from all over the world submitting an overview and a URL to their post. They are a great way of discovering new blogs, interesting topics and writers who share your same passions. In many ways, The Age of Conversation book was a type of carnival.
Because carnivals are focused around a topic, they draw writers across a range of categories. This allows participating writers to be introduced to a readership that is outside of their normal stomping ground. This is important as it allows you to be influenced by ideas outside of your own sphere of influence but also opens the door for you to grow your readership.
For example, when I participated in a carnival a long time ago, I met Julia Dorofeeva who writes a dating blog. At first I couldn’t see the connection, but Julia’s thoughtful comments and analysis soon changed that.
So, how do you get started with carnivals? Sue Bride has a great post listing all the blog carnivals that you can participate in. If you are new to blogging, or want to immerse yourself in a whole new world of content, check out Sue’s list and get writing.
Hypertext is a great pleasure. First up, there is the anticipation of the click … the clean blue link colour of an unvisited site stands out against the white screen, beckoning. It is unmistakeable. Sometimes I can pause for a moment while at other times I launch right in.
Then, as my digital request is sent across thousands of kilometres of cable, I wait to see what is returned. In this moment I am curiosity unbound. Expectation hangs on my every breath. And then, the screen clears … for a split second I am in a magical in-between world. Everything is white … I scan for messages, forgotten code fragments or something hidden.
And then the site comes to life. If I am lucky (can you believe it, there are still way too many sites that fail to make it this far).
Now my true investigation begins. I scan the navigation and the header. My mind, racing, begins to enforce meaning, to make connections between the visual and the text. I am digesting the domain name and the tag line, picking up fragments, text and visuals. Already judgements are being made — quality, content and style.
Every so often, my hypertext randomness strikes gold … and I will happen across a site that captures my imagination. Often I forget how it happens, or the series of links and clicks becomes confused in the interplay of web applications, sites and emails that makes my every day. But this site, Our Great Southern Land, is one of my new favourites — and I found it courtesy of the Aussie Bloggers forum. The blog contains a huge range of fascinating Australian historical trivia, ghost stories and anecdotes. A quick glance through the daily updates sheds a great deal of insight into the makeup of the Australian psyche. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
For many, blogging can be a lonely exercise … at least at first. It takes time to learn the ropes — figuring out which blogging system to use, how to promote your blog and how to grow an audience or community around your site. When I first started I can remember being excited the day that I received 10+ visitors — reaching double digits took weeks, maybe even months.
And I remember reading that one of the important things about starting a blog is reading OTHER blogs. So off I went into the blogosphere, searching for other blogs to read … and I was disappointed to find hardly any Australian blogs. Well there was Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger, but that was a whole different kettle of fish … really I was looking for beginners like myself, or someone who could help out, answer questions and so on.
You know what? I never found it. But things have changed!
Over the past couple of weeks, a small group of dedicated Australian bloggers have taken on the challenge to setup a forum whose aims include “empowering, encouraging, supporting and promoting Aussie Bloggers and the Australian blogosphere in general”.
The founders, Snoskred, Andrew Boyd and Meg Tsiamis have been busily setting up and sorting out Aussie Bloggers. They are supported by a group of moderators who also come with years of practical blogging and online experience. The "establishment team" are:
Snoskred from Life in the Country
Meg from Dipping into the Blogpond
Andrew from On Blogging Australia
Christine from Semfire Search Engine Marketing
Karen from Miscellaneous Adventures of an Aussie Mum
Gavin from Servant of Chaos
Lani from Blogging Personal (launching in January 2008)
Jen from Semantically Driven
Lightening from Lightening Online
Sue from Blogging Sueblimely
Squadron from SEO Blog
Kelley from Magneto Bold Too
John from Disassociated
Cellobella from SultanaBlog
Martin from Small Office Australia
Steve from AcidLabs
Stephen from More Than Scratch the Surface
Colin from Adelaide Green Porridge Cafe
I am proud to be part of this group and look forward to watching this forum and community grow. So make sure you visit the blog … and REGISTER for the forum. There is a wealth of great material already available. If only it was around a few years ago!