Why do we have a Blog?

Topics generally related to Twin Cities Maker activities
Booka
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Why do we have a Blog?

Postby Booka » Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:17 pm

I was showing the web site to a friend yesterday, and his comment struck me. He commented it seemed that we did not have much going on there.

Now to add some context, he does SEO work and overposts his work and hobby blog with everything he does. But there is a point to this, and that is our blog is stale. I did not see any of the results for the Race posted, I do not think I have seen any one completed project make the blog in the last 6 months.

I get to most Wednesday night meetings, and several groups are talking about and doing interesting things, but no hint of those show up.

To pick on Riley a bit, he has completed several woodworking projects (all personal needs, but mostly self taught) but they are not there either, the Roller Mill would be a great topic, and while it is not done, he has had a couple tries that had results, and that would have sparked some debate. (BTW Riley is one of those folks that we need more like, he visualized something, and tried it, and then refined and tried again, that is a maker IMO)

But back to the topic, if the blog is too much to update, should we not just put information on the front page that is useful, but does not get stale or make us look like we do not have time to add a post?

I have tried to find a topic to post, but right now I am not doing anything that I would post here, and I am not saying we need more posts, I guess I am asking if we should look at our web presence and refine the first couple of spots that people see.

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Orkraider
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Re: Why do we have a Blog?

Postby Orkraider » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:44 pm

I've never blogged, but I would, happily, with much enthusiasm, and at great length even. May I, here ? And if so, how?

One of the things I've been meaning to do is to get one of my cheapo digital cameras to make the trip with me to the space so I can take pics of my stuff as I work on it, in the hopes that someone else can learn by watching how it's done when you don't know how to do it. (that's my forte')
Riley Harrison
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pyrodogg
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Re: Why do we have a Blog?

Postby pyrodogg » Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:40 pm

Here is my assumption,

It comes down to a misunderstanding of it's purpose and a case of tragedy of the commons.

I'm sure a lot of makers are proud of their works. I'm sure you guys meat up in meatspace at the Hack Factory and talk at great lengths about the cool things you're working on. But when it comes to sitting down, writing out a blog post and publishing it on a blog, really just throughing it out into the internets it think it's easy for people to feel overwhelmed.

Then, even if someone is comfortable and willing to write such things they may distract themselves with reasoning along the lines of "well, why post to the blog, i'll just post to the forum and/or chat people up in meatspace". They have lost site that the purpose of the blog isn't for members who frequently visit the space but to attract the attention of the public (preferably future members).

Finally, it's really easy for people to just think that it's "the next guy's" responsibility.

It would be really cool if you guys knew any PR hackers. If people feel like it's a chore, it might get done but it won't quite have that *shine* of awesomeness that comes out of something people just dive into.

If you think it's newsworthy and/or interesting to current members, future members, or the greater internet hackerspace collective. POST IT!

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metis
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Re: Why do we have a Blog?

Postby metis » Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:10 am

pyro nailed it in one.

oak, (or anyone) if you want to post projects on the blog go for it, we've been pretty generous with posting rights in the past.

one thing that we have tried to be careful of is over-saturation, and quality of post. a long time (over 6 months ago) there was concern that if we posted something every few hours folks would start to ignore it, and that we wanted to be posting things that were interesting to others, and reasonably well written, not necessarily finely honed literature, but not chock full of typos (as i type, even after editing) we have not however generated much content at all recently.

i'm on of the slackers on the clothesline racer rehash, and chalk it up to having spent much of the last week trying to extract my sinuses through my nose, and a generally busy week with the holiday and all.

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pyrodogg
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Re: Why do we have a Blog?

Postby pyrodogg » Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:25 am

I went and tagged a bunch of the Clothesline Race photos in our flickr pool with the tag tcmclr20101120

Photos:
http://www.flickr.com/groups/1043068@N2 ... lr20101120

Slideshow:
http://www.flickr.com/groups/1043068@N2 ... 1120/show/

Page with slideshow embed code:
http://www.flickr.com/groups/1043068@N2 ... w/?embed=1

Hopefully whomever writes up the review of the event can use this.

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jwb
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Re: Why do we have a Blog?

Postby jwb » Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:50 am

Michael, speaking as a professional blogger, the idea that you could post too often is pretty much absurd.

NYC Resistor's blog should be our model: http://www.nycresistor.com/
Pumping Station: One's is great too: http://pumpingstationone.org/

Yeah, I've noticed a general lack of interesting posts on the blog. I wish I could take over the blog and run it, but I'm too busy and too poor for non-paying work, sorry guys.

My suggestions for breathing more life in the blog:

1) There should be a board-level PR person who is in charge of the blog. They could also run the Facebook page, Twitter, etc. Maybe even start harassing local papers with story ideas to get our name out there. Send post suggestions to the big DIY sites. Send out announcements on the mailing list.

2) Post every event that happens in the space including meetings and classes. Cool photos in every post.

3) We need to organize more collaborative events like the clothesline races. All-night hackathons, fundraising parties, contests, group projects. In other words, generate news so there is stuff to put on the blog.

4) When someone completes a really cool project like Mike's bathroom noisemaker, we should definitely post it. (Also, we need to keep an updated list of projects on the Wiki.)

5) And yes, someone sawing a table leg might not seem all that exciting, but you can sex it up. For instance, I'd love to see a post consisting of a video where someone goes around and asks every member present on a Wednesday night what they're working on.

Hope this is helpful...
///////// John B

Booka
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Re: Why do we have a Blog?

Postby Booka » Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:15 am

JWB hit the high notes of what I have been thinking, but again if it is not going to happen, we should change the front page.

I understand how tough it is to verbalize a project, my last two trips to the HF were to practice old skills like cutting angles uniformly, and sorting misc electronics into parts type categories.

And if I had remembered to bring a Camera, I at least could have taken a photo of the shop and posted how we have changed in the past 11 months.
(and too Rileys post, the HF should have a $50 camera around for use, but it still is on a wishlist someplace)

I think we should bring this up to membership and promote more posts or change the front page. The Blog can still exist if we do not have the group to keep it up, but just not be the first place a new / prospect member uses to decide if they should check us out.

It takes work to keep up a blog, Communicate details, update Calendars and post meeting notes, I get that, I know that I am not that person or I would take that on. But I can help, and will try to make more entries to promote what happens within TCMaker, it is a fantastic group. Anybody who stops by on a Wednesday night and witnesses the mix of people, Ideas and interests can see a value in the organization. We just need to see that when somebody looks at our web presence, they do not see a posting that shows us in a stagnant setting, we are very active, just not prolific on updating the web.

If people make their judgment about stuff in the first few seconds, load the web page and look at what you see today. The blog appears to be mostly administrative in function, acting as an announcement system. There are no opinion posts, there is not a bit of drama, intrigue or strangeness on the top 6 entries. If I was part of Chicago, Des Moines or even the Mankato make scene, I would stop looking at our site after a couple weeks. .

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otto_pjm
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Re: Why do we have a Blog?

Postby otto_pjm » Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:46 pm

I'd echo the sentiments of Booka and Pyrodogg. I have posted a few things, and have probably been missing the events / calendar updates when I posted my class. I'm doing one in a week I'll see what questions I have, or suggestions to streamline things.

Not sure if folks know this but the Blog is Word Press based, which has tools for lots of mobiles too, take a picture with the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android dev, do a quick post with picture(s) no need to even sit down and login.

My pet-peeve about the Blog is that things get stale, or an event is announced, but then not updated after the fact. (yes I'm guilty of that too)

One other update that we could really use is an updated video tour of the space, it looks nothing like the posted video tour.

Pete

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Orkraider
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Re: Why do we have a Blog?

Postby Orkraider » Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:52 pm

So I want to put something on the blog. How do I go about doing so?

I went through a signup thing of some kind, but didn't see a "Enter your new post here, Riley" button.

Let me know.

Awesome lively discussion, too, I eat that up.
Riley Harrison
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pyrodogg
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Re: Why do we have a Blog?

Postby pyrodogg » Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:12 pm

Riley, I don't know what the standard operating procedure is but I've bumped your blog acct up to author. You should be able to write your own blog posts now.


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