The Big Blog Boot Camp

I’ve just spent the last two days with The Big Blog Company helping with their boot camps for journalists. The idea is to gather small groups of between two and four journalists at tBBC headquarters in Chelsea, set them up with a blog and an aggregator, then let them loose on the blogosphere. We explain not just the nuts and bolts of how to blog, but also examine the implications blogging has for their profession.

Adriana Lukas-Cronin did the first boot camp on the 17th Dec which unfortunately I couldn’t get to, but I was delighted to be able to help out this week.

The advantage of having such small groups is that we can work in a very ad hoc manner, tailoring the discussions for the needs of each blogger. Some people want to understand the technology because although they have heard of blogs they don’t know which software to use or what RSS is or how to use an aggregator. Some people want to understand how they can use blogging to help their own careers develop and whether they can ‘monetize’ their blog (quick answer: no, you won’t make money from your blog, but you might make money because of your blog). Some are more interested in how blogging will affect them personally, or how they can find their own niche and their own voice, than how the technology works.

If we had large groups, we wouldn’t be able to give them the individual attention that they need, and it’s important to us that participants come away from the session feeling not just that they have a better grasp of the blog phenomenon, but also that it is something that they can go on to explore on their own afterwards. We give them a taster and hope that they like it – if they keep their blogs going, then so much the better.

These mini-events are free – they’re our way of helping journalists understand the blogging medium, a goal which has benefits not just for them, but for us and everyone else working with blogs. We are trying to shatter the diary myth before it makes it into print, and to stimulate more informed commentary. (Contrary to many people’s assumptions, it is easier to understand blogging if you are a blogger – the experience can’t be fully comprehended from the outside.)

The bootcamps have been both enjoyable and successful with good feedback from the journalists who took part, including David Tebbutt, who seems to have taken to blogging like a duck to water.

If you are interested in coming to future boot camps, the next one will be on 30th December then 10th January looks like the next possible date, so drop Adriana a line for details.

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