Term 4 workshops 2017: Pinterest, Mailchimp and preparing for 2018

It’s exciting for my social media and blogging workshops to be back in North Beach in the lovely new Flowspace venue. (Extra handy for northern suburbs Perth people but not too far for anyone really – and it’s by the beach, great for summer!)

Coming up over November, I’ve got three workshops planned, and broadly speaking they’re about Pinterest, newsletters and Mailchimp, and getting your small business social media and blog ready for 2018. More details below, and email me any time with questions. Continue reading “Term 4 workshops 2017: Pinterest, Mailchimp and preparing for 2018”

Blogging and social media workshops in Perth for August – November 2016

Calling all Perth people: ready to learn some new stuff?? I’m ready to teach it! The new program of social media and blogging workshops for the rest of 2016 is now here. If you took part in my annual survey by email you’ll notice a bunch of the workshops you wanted to see are included below, hopefully ready to solve some of the problems you’ve been having with promoting your blog or business on social media, as well as just simply getting your blog up and running regularly. Continue reading “Blogging and social media workshops in Perth for August – November 2016”

Bloggers’ Workshops for 2015 – all the details to keep your blog on track and network with fellow bloggers in Perth

This one’s for all my Perth (and near Perth) bloggers, because due to popular demand I’ve set up a series of Bloggers’ Workshops for 2015 so that you can all learn (or refresh) some important skills, meet new blogging friends (or see old ones again), and keep getting regular doses of input and inspiration so that your blogging goals stay well on track this year. Many of you who attended the “Get Your Blog Ready for 2015” workshop last year were asking for an opportunity like this, and of course, ask, and you will receive! (Well, sometimes, anyway!)

How will the Bloggers’ Workshops work?

Workshops will run on Thursday mornings in North Beach, Perth. I have planned out 11 different workshops (see all the topics below) and each session will run for an hour and a half. Approximately the first 45 minutes will cover training for the particular topic, and the second half will run like a mini-mastermind format where bloggers can get help and advice about both the topic we’ve talked about and any struggles they’re having with their blog.

You can sign up to individual workshops for $39 (via the Eventbrite links below), or you can buy a “five-pack” for $160 or a “ten-pack” for $300 – you can choose which five/ten sessions you want to attend (email me and I’ll invoice you then send a link to pick your sessions).

Everyone who joins any of the sessions will have access to my new Bloggers’ Workshop Facebook group where you’ll be able to stay in touch with your fellow bloggers (and me) for support and advice throughout the year. Maximum group size for each session will be 10 bloggers – 12 was a couple too many at our Beach Boardroom (North Beach) workshops last year.

What are the Bloggers’ Workshops topics and dates?

All the links here will take you through to the booking pages if you want to book an individual workshop or two – if you want to use the ten-pack option for $300, or the five-pack for $160, email me and I’ll invoice you, then send you a link to pick your 10 (or 5) workshops.

Workshop 1: Big picture social media strategy for your blog

Thursday 5th March (9.30-11am)

Everyone knows that using social media effectively is essential for promotion these days, but have you stopped, stepped back, and tried to create a big picture strategy for how it can work for you and your blog (without leaving you no time to blog, eat or sleep!)?

In the training half of this meet-up, we will cover:

  • A quick overview of which social media platform works best for what (including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram)
  • An audit of what social media you’re using now, and what would actually work best for your audience
  • Setting sensible goals for your social media use and figuring out your over-arching strategy
  • Planning out your social media promotion for the next month

Workshop 2: Making the most of Facebook for your blog (pages and profiles)

Thursday 19th March (9.30-11am)

Facebook is THE social media platform because it has well over a billion users – chances are very high that your target readers are on Facebook. It’s true that Facebook pages have faced some challenges in recent times but it’s still possible to reach your readers if you’ve got a good strategy and great content.

In the training half of this meet-up, we will cover:

  • The pros and cons of both Facebook profiles and Facebook pages
  • How to set up your own Facebook page, in brief
  • Using your Facebook page insights to improve your reach
  • Identifying what kind of content works best (for you) on Facebook
  • Developing the best plan of attack for promoting your blog on Facebook

Workshop 3: Reader avatars, surveying your readers and building community

Thursday 23rd April (9.30-11am)

Every blogger wants to have more readers. But do you know who your current readers really are, and what kind of future readers you’re trying to attract?

In the training half of this meet-up, we will cover:

  • Ways to find out who your current readers are
  • Developing reader avatars – a profile of exactly who your readers are, or who you want them to be
  • Targeting your blog posts to your readers
  • How to turn individual readers into a community of readers

Workshop 4: Optimising images for your blog posts

Thursday 7th May (9.30-11am)

Gone are the days when beautiful words were enough to attract readers – today’s internet readers expect beautiful pictures as well. Images are also very useful for promoting your blog post on social media, as well as breaking up the text and making your blog post more readable.

In the training half of this meet-up, we will cover:

  • What kind of images would work well for your blog
  • Sources of images
  • How to use tools like Canva to create great images
  • Different strokes: tips on images for different social media platforms (especially Pinterest!)

Workshop 5: Sponsorship and advertising for your blog

Thursday 28th May 2015 (9.30-11am)

If your blog is more than a hobby, you’ve probably dabbled in sponsorship or advertising, or at least thought that you’d like to get some income for the many, many hours you’ve spent working on your blog. Fortunately, more and more brands are noticing just how influential bloggers can be, so the potential is really there.

In the training half of this meet-up, we will cover:

  • What forms of sponsorship, advertising or working with brands could work for your blog
  • Putting together a media kit (and making sure you’re keeping track of the right numbers)
  • Ways to approach a brand or company to work with your blog
  • How to be professional and successful on brand work

Workshop 6: Promoting old posts successfully – what’s old is new again

Thursday 11th June 2015 (9.30-11am)

Whether you’ve been blogging for just a year, or for ten years, you will have some old posts that didn’t get the attention they deserved at the time. Many bloggers don’t realise that these posts still have plenty of potential.

In the training half of this meet-up, we will cover

  • How to identify past posts that deserve a second chance
  • Options for reincarnating old posts – editing, adding images, republishing
  • Using social media to revive old posts (including scheduling – this will touch on tools such as Hootsuite)

Workshop 7: Writing better blog posts

Thursday 30th July 2015 (9.30-11am)

Writing for a blog is different from any other kind of writing, and since blogs are relatively new, a lot of bloggers struggle to find ways to write their posts so that their readers are clamouring to see them.

In the training half of this meet-up, we will cover:

  • The characteristics of a well-written blog post
  • Formatting issues – why good blog post writing includes headings and images 
  • How to find your blogging voice
  • Tips for writing a post that your readers will want to share

Workshop 8: LinkedIn for bloggers

Thursday 20th August 2015 (9.30-11am)

A lot of bloggers think LinkedIn is only useful if they’re looking for a new job. Not true! Making all kinds of connections on LinkedIn, promoting your blog, perhaps even blogging on the LinkedIn platform are all legitimate ways to help your blog grow.

In the training half of this meet-up, we will cover:

  • The basics a blogger should include on their LinkedIn profile
  • How to connect with the right people: readers, potential sponsors, guests and interviewees, and more
  • Using LinkedIn to promote your blog posts effectively
  • What LinkedIn’s native publishing platform is all about

Workshop 9: Using Twitter with your blog

Thursday 17th September 2015 (9.30-11am)

Twitter can be mystifying. It can also be fascinating! What’s more, you can definitely use Twitter to bring a multitude of benefits to your blog.

In the training half of this meet-up, we will cover

  • The basics of Twitter and some demystification
  • Using Twitter for networking and making contacts
  • Taking part in Twitter chats
  • Promoting your blog posts on Twitter

Workshop 10: Newsletters for your blog

Thursday 22nd October 2015 (9.30-11am)

Social media platforms are fabulous but things can change on them at any time. Getting the email addresses of your readers and being able to get an email right into their inbox is something you are more in control of. I’ll focus on using Mailchimp in this workshop but the principles apply to any mailing list platform.

In the training half of this meet-up, we will cover

  • The pros and pros of having a mailing list
  • How to get subscribers to your mailing list
  • Developing a calendar of content for your newsletters
  • Creating regular newsletters without giving up sleep

Workshop 11: Make 2016 your blog’s biggest year

Thursday 3rd December 2015 (9.30-11am) OR Saturday 5th December 2015 (10-11.30am)
Your blog won’t write itself … or promote itself, or get its own sponsors … it’s all up to you, the blogger! And the best way to make sure that 2016 is your blog’s biggest year ever is to have a really good think about how you can do that before the year hits.

In the training half of this meet-up, we will cover

  • Analysing how your blog performed in 2015
  • Using user audits to check the design and functionality of your blog
  • Setting some key goals for your blog for 2016
  • Brainstorming some completely new ideas and directions for your blog
  • Putting together a plan for 2016


What kind of bloggers are these workshops suited to?
From beginners to intermediate bloggers, using WordPress, Blogger or something else, and blogging on any topic.

Do I need a laptop computer?
Ideally, yes. We can use the Wifi at the Beach Boardroom venue and there will be sections at each workshop where you’ll have a chance to do something hands on. It will often be the case that what we do works better on a laptop than on an iPad/tablet. If you want to borrow a laptop (PC), let me know as a I have a couple of spares.

Can I get a refund if I can’t get to the course?
Full refunds are available up to two weeks before the date of the course, but not after that, I’m afraid, due to venue booking restrictions. Refunds for the ten-pack will generally not be given but I’ll look at them on a case-by-case basis.

Got another question? Let me know and I’ll add the answer to the FAQ.

Social media for parents and teenagers

Social media workshops with parents and teens

I used to run a course on social media for parents at UWA Extension. It used to really bug me that there was always someone in the workshop who would ask, very early on in the day, if I could teach them how to spy on their kids on Facebook.

Obviously, my answer was NO! My approach to this was, still is, and even when my son reaches his teenage years, will still be, that parents and children/teenagers have to work together on this stuff. My course was largely focused on teaching the parents how to use the main social media sites themselves so that they could talk with their kids about them with a degree of understanding.

What social media platforms are teens using?

This week I’m running a parents and teens workshop again and as it’s been over a year since I last did, I’ve been diving back into the current research and thoughts to see what’s changed. There are definitely a few new risks around, like “disappearing” message apps like Snapchat which give teens the feeling that their messages and pictures aren’t permanent, but of course anything you send to anyone can be copied (in that case, screenshots taken) and sent anywhere. Facebook is being used less, but not non-existently – a teacher friend of mine told me at the high school she works at, pretty much every kid there is active on Facebook, yet at another school down the road nearly nobody does – it might be a matter of following what your friends are on. This infographic from Bright House gives a great overview:

Staying safe on social media

Using social media safely is a combination of common sense and making sure you have the appropriate knowledge and skills. To be honest, in previous parents and teens workshops I’ve run, it is often the teens who know the right privacy settings to use and have to teach their parents all about it. Of course, I’d prefer if everybody knew it! My main rules for playing the social media game safely (no matter what your age) are:

  1. Think before you post. This is the most important one. Be aware that anything you post on social media (or any message you send a friend or even just any photo you take) could end up public. You never know what someone you trust could do with it. So – think! There’s so much in our lives we can share without risking sharing something that could be embarrassing to us, to others, or create conflict.
    Would you say this out loud to someone?
    Would you show your mother or father this?
    What if my future employer saw this? 
    Think before you post!
  2. Don’t post personal information. This includes your email address, your phone number, your home address, and so on – if somebody needs this, send them a private message (and then only if you really trust them). You also need to consider what other kinds of information you make public: for example, when I’m travelling away from home and I know my home will be empty, I don’t post about this until I’m back – I feel like I’m giving burglars an open invitation! I haven’t posted my address online, of course, but who knows who will read what I’ve posted and what they’ll do with that information – it just takes a computer left open somewhere or someone using a public computer not to log out of Facebook or something.
  3. Turn off location services as a default. Make sure you disable location services on your smartphone and only enable it for apps that are strictly necessary (if you’re using a map app, for example, to find your way somewhere). There are some social media apps which are location-based and people you don’t know can find where you’re physically located – these can be easily abused so be hyper-aware of these!
  4. Don’t share your password (except with your parents). To me, this sounds obvious, but I’ve heard of kids and teens “selling” their password for $5, or performing a dare to get access to their friend’s social media.
  5. Consider the privacy settings. A platform like Facebook has pretty decent privacy settings (but you should still be wary about what you post). Other platforms are totally public – remember that when you use them. And parents – be aware that your kids might be communicating with others on something you don’t consider to be social media – such as messaging via the Minecraft game.
  6. Be wary about meeting online friends in real life. Nobody (sensible) is going to tell you to never meet someone you’ve met online in real life. I’ve done it any number of times – and made some amazing new friends in the process. But remember that it’s easy to pretend to be someone else online. And that some people are really good at pretending. Make sure that you tell someone you trust about where and when you’re meeting that someone – or take someone with you when you do – and be sure to meet them in a public place where there’ll be other people around. If your online friend doesn’t understand why you want to do that, they aren’t someone you want to be friends with.
  7. Report/block/tell someone. If someone sends you messages that aren’t OK, or take it as far as cyber-bullying, figure out what your first step is basedon the platform you’re using – nearly all social media platforms these days have good mechanisms for reporting abusive messages, and for blocking people so that you never have to hear from them again. Tell your parents or someone you trust as well so they can help you make sure you’re covering all bases. Head to the Cybersmart Teens page to get more help and info.
  8. Parents: set up rules at home. You have to figure out what works for your family but it’s common for parents to limit device usage to the living room or at least to “public” areas of the house; others will turn off the WiFi after a certain time in the evening. 

And for the infographic addicts (oh yes … that’s me!) this one from the British Council gives a good summary of the basics:

Having fun on social media

I worry that all this talk of safety on social media turns it into a negative thing. Yet there are so many amazingly positive things that can come out of using social media. While people tend to worry that those who spend a lot of time on social media are “dumbing down” their face-to-face social skills, research has shown it’s the opposite – teens who spend more time on social media are more likely to have close “real life” relationships and more social opportunities. I can say from my own experience it’s the same for adults!

Social media also gives teens the chance to connect with people who share common interests (no matter how obscure) and can give them another “tribe” to belong to where they can really be themselves. That can’t be a bad thing, right?

More reading on safe social media use for kids and teens

There’s so much more sensible and useful information out there these days – there’s really no excuse for parents not to get a handle on social media and help their kids to use it well! Here are a few especially useful links:

Why my Perth blogging courses make my own blog better

It has been a very bloggy fortnight.
(And yes, bloggy is too a word.)

In the last two weeks I’ve run the Becoming a Blogger beginner course AND the Better Blogging advanced course at UWA Extension and what with seeing so many of my old blogging students at the Perth Problogger Event as well, it has been blogs and bloggers galore here.

And I’m a tad exhausted, and have been rather busy, but guess what? I have been working harder on my own blogs than ever before! There are several reasons for this and it’s an interesting study in motivation, I think.

Checking my blogs practice what I preach

When I’m about to teach a blogging course, I double check that my blogs – which I’ll inevitably use to demonstrate stuff – are up to scratch. In the past I have had those terrible moments when I’ve been going on and on about the importance of your About page, giving lists of what should be on it, only to click over to mine and see – oops – my About page is in desperate need of an update.

Similarly, I make sure that my blogs have several recent posts on them before I confront a room full of blogging students. I can hardly answer their (inevitable) question “How often should I blog?” correctly if they can see very obviously that my blog has been inactive for a few weeks.

Getting inspiration for my blogging

During the courses, I get so inspired by ideas from my students, and often make notes about what I will write about on my blog after hearing what they have in mind. (And not in the plagiaristic way that sounds like, I promise!) The lunch break when we get to chat about how blogging fits into our lives, while enjoying this rather inspiring view, also helps.

The view from our favourite blogging course lunchtime spot, Perth


Immersed in blogs, working on my blog

Teaching my students “best practice” for running a blog reminds me of what I am actually striving for. I am a bit hit and miss, for example, on having an editorial calendar, even though I know that using one always makes me blog absolutely regularly, and spreads my content out across the right topics, and all kinds of other advantages which I rattle off to my students. Late on Saturday evening, after teaching the advanced blogging course all day, I finally got a properly-planned editorial calendar together again for both my blogs, and just a couple of days later I can report I am already a couple of weeks ahead on my blog plans. Perfect!

So yes, I might be a bit sleep-deprived, and I might have a head swimming with ideas to help a dozen different bloggers in all industries and niches, and I might even feel that I missed out on having a weekend, but all in all, spending a day with bloggers is always inspiring and invigorating, and that’s why I do it.

Why do you do what you do?

Oh Instagram, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways …

There are oh so many ways I’m loving Instagram at the moment but here are two: my so-much-fun Hands-On Instagram workshop, held on the weekend, and my upcoming #bizgram launch to get people like me using Instagram more for great images to help their business.

Our first Hands-On Instagram workshop

I love it when one of those bright shiny ideas I have (usually in the shower) turns into something real and this workshop was one of those. I had the idea that, although Instagram is pretty easy to learn to use, it would be great to get a group of people together, tell them all the little tips and tricks that might otherwise take them months to pick up, talk about how to optimise their use of Instagram and then go out and do it. A kind of a combination of networking plus learning.

And on Saturday, that’s exactly what we did. I had six women come along (a sell-out!) with a variety of different backgrounds and reasons for learning more about Instagram but they all hit it off famously and we had a fabulous day. We had about two hours of learning (and eating cake) first, and I was really pleased to see that even the more experienced Instagram users in the group learnt lots of new stuff (and some were beginners and learnt even more!).

From there we went down to Hillarys Boat Harbour and three pairs of participants each had to work on some practice tasks (you can see some of the results by hopping on Instagram and looking for the #amandasworkshop hashtag).

Of course what I hadn’t counted on was that to practice they’d all start taking photos of me but fortunately the magic of Instagram made them look not too bad. I was glad to escape down to Hillarys though where there were a lot more photogenic subjects!

Big thanks and shout out to Jo of Wildfire Social Marketing, Vida of Just ImproviseKath MazzellaAggie Lim, Rae of I Opened My Mouth and our lovely “other” Jo for making our workshop so much fun.

I haven’t set a date for the next Hands-On Instagram workshop but if you’re interested do email me and let me know.

#bizgram starts next week (2 September)

Speaking of bright shiny ideas: my idea to get lots of small business people using Instagram effectively (and to have fun with it at the same time), #bizgram, starts next Monday, 2 September 2013. There’ll be a prompt each weekday in September which will inspire a photo you can take and share on Instagram, related to your work, that will both help you build a community on Instagram as well as be a great source of images you can share on other social media like Facebook and Twitter. To join in you just need to follow me on Instagram (@amandakendle) and use the hashtag #bizgram when you’re posting. The prompts will be shown on Instagram too but here’s the first look – the September prompts for #bizgram – get thinking! If you want to get the prompts in a reminder email each month you can sign up to the #bizgram mailing list.

Farewell 2012 and let’s bring on 2013 for some blogging and social media fun!

It’s not quite the end of 2012, but as far as my business is concerned, I’ve been nearly on holidays since last week. “Nearly on holidays” is as good as it’s going to get because this holiday season is actually a great time to fit in some preparation for 2013, having an extra babysitter at home for a fortnight! And that’s fine by me, since I actually love what I do – having a bit of time to do some work is quite a pleasure, and I can always interrupt it by going out for a splash in the pool if my office gets too hot. Or just indulge on the chocolate gifts I hope Santa is bringing me (I promise I’ve been good).

For the first time, I’ve been trying to do some more serious reflection on the business year that was, and think harder about the business year ahead. Given that my business kind of started itself back in 2010, and that since then I’ve been juggling two lives as the mother of a toddler and a small business owner, I’ve never really stopped to think about these things and it’s been a really valuable exercise. Especially in an area like social media which changes just SO rapidly, it’s probably important to do it even more than once a year.

I’ve had lots of favourite bits of 2012, but some of the highlights were probably being asked to speak at the Media140 conference (especially because the venue, outdoors at the Northbridge Piazza, was pretty cool!), starting up my Kitchen Table Social Media workshops and having all the courses fill up quickly (thanks gang!), and continuing to meet new bunches of beginner bloggers at my UWA Extension Becoming a Blogger courses (and I’m very proud that each of these sold out. Go blogging!!).

So, what’s in store for 2013?

If I knew the exact answer to this I’d be a squillionaire but I figure a bit of daydreaming doesn’t hurt (and I dare my clients to do it too – go on!).

One of the things that I know is happening that I’m really excited about is almost more back in my freelancer days but is still definitely in the training field and that’s the Globejotting: Learn to travel write course that I’m teaching from January. Also at UWA Extension I’ll be running my regular Becoming a Blogger courses, some social media for business, and my advanced blogging course will get an outing too (one of my favourites!).

I’ve been thinking about how to focus my business on the parts of it that I love the most, and face-to-face training keeps coming to mind and because of that I’ll definitely be running some more Kitchen Table workshops. Particularly since it’s another great excuse to eat cake (see a new possibility for workshop cake below – I trialled it today and my not-particularly-cake-mad mother asked for a second piece!). My absolute favourite of these courses so far was “Writing Better Blog Posts” because I got to combine my love of blogging and social media with my love of writing, so I’m going to look at some more of these kinds of workshops in the future too.

What else? Well, since I’m heading to Europe for a month (yay!!) I’m going to need to figure out some more “location independent” ways to operate my business and taking off on a trip gives me excellent motivation to do this. And yes, there’s a contradiction there in wanting to do lots of face-to-face training and then be location independent to travel but I figure it’s all just a continuation of the juggling act of life.

Thanks and see you in 2013!

So, to all readers, clients, friends and anyone who’s stumbled across this blog post hoping to learn more about social media or cake or both, I wish you all the best for the festive season and most importantly a fabulous 2013. Who knows what changes in social media await us in the coming year? Watch this space!

Kitchen Table Social Media workshops: Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and chocolate cake?

It all started with a sudden urge to bake more chocolate cake.

Okay, that’s not quite true. My Kitchen Table Social Media Workshops started when some of my previous blogging and social media students and clients started asking me if I did workshops on topic X or subject Y; and in particular when Jenny from A Taste of Travel sent me a wish list of courses she’d like me to run!

I had a think about my favourite way to run workshops and realised that I do love small, hands-on events, and even more than that I like a pause for cake where everyone can relax and chat! I wanted to run a series of workshops on quite specific topics that were both affordable and fun, but still financially worthwhile for me (although not so healthy … I seem to be eating a lot more cake these days).

My very first Kitchen Table workshop was on Social Media Strategising and Scheduling – held with three very lovely Western Australian travel bloggers. I could tell you all about it but one of them, Jo from Zigazag, has written up a fantastic post about the workshop so hop over to “5 Tips for Social Media Strategising” and take a look (go on, I’ll wait for you!).

Thanks to Jo/Zigazag for the pic!

Just as I’d hoped, the four of us could fit comfortably around (literally) my kitchen table, we could all hook up our laptops to the WiFi and we even managed to get through all of the workshop content I’d devised despite having three somewhat talkative women as my participants! And nobody complained that the chocolate cake was terrible.

Since then, my Kitchen Table has hosted a couple more workshops and has two more coming up for the year, a sold out one (Writing Better Blog Posts – probably my favourite because at heart, above everything else, I’m a writer) and one with two places remaining: LinkedIn for Bloggers and Small Business – I’ll add the description below for a bit of marketing! High on my to-do list now is to plot out the workshops I’ll be offering during 2013; I have several more topics that have already been requested and, just like a friendly radio DJ, I’m still taking requests – leave a note in the comments if there’s a topic you want to learn about. In the meantime, I’m off to defrost the last piece of chocolate cake for my afternoon tea.

LinkedIn for Bloggers and Small Business
13th December 2012, 9.30am-12 noon – TWO PLACES AVAILABLE
LinkedIn used to just be for recruiters and job-hunters. The game has changed!
This 2.5 hour workshop will cover:
  • Optimising your LinkedIn profile
  • Strategies for connecting with others
  • Content to share on LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn company pages – setting up if needed
  • Developing a schedule and strategy for your LinkedIn interaction

You’ll leave with the best possible LinkedIn profile and a list of actions and goals to continue to utilise LinkedIn in the future. You may also have a belly full of chocolate cake.

Maximum of 3 participants.
Cost: $100pp, payable in advance to secure your place
You’ll get the most out of this course if you’re able to bring a laptop with you, plus your LinkedIn username and passwords – if you don’t have an account, set up the bare basics before you come. WiFi is available.

New bloggers and new blogs on a sunny October day

One of my favourite ways to spend a Saturday, I have to admit, is running my one-day blogging course for UWA Extension. I know, it’s not exactly cool to love working on the weekend but it is honestly just heaps of fun to meet a dozen or more bloggers-to-be and turn them into published bloggers by the end of the day.

New bloggers working hard

So as you might guess, today was another one of those days. I was trying to count how often I’ve run this course in the past two and a half years and this might have been the tenth time, I’m not sure! I feel like we should have had cake! Of course, we did have some chocolate to keep us going, although of all the bloggers I’ve met, these ones liked chocolate the least. Which is not such a terrible thing because it means I have a couple left over to munch on while I write this post.

Every group of new bloggers is different – last time, for example, a big proportion of them were planning to blog for very specific business-related reasons. This time was different again and we had a number of aspiring novelists, people with passions to share and a couple of business bloggers with some fun ideas. It was also interesting that we had lots of bloggers come in pairs – two sisters, an aunt and nephew and an aunt and niece – I love the idea of keeping blogging in the family!

View from lunch

What impressed me even more was that as well as not wasting precious minutes eating chocolate, this group were by far the most conscientious I’ve ever had. Despite enjoying this amazing view over lunch, they all raced back as soon as their last mouthful was done and got straight back onto their blogs again, writing their About pages or fiddling with their design. I have a good feeling that a large number of today’s new bloggers will still be blogging in a few months’ time.

Without further ado, let me introduce some of our brave new bloggers:

Social media is evolving. Fast!

Every month or two on a Saturday morning I get to take a lovely drive along the river to get to the Futuresphere at Christchurch Grammar School here in Perth – it’s the venue for all my computer lab-based courses for UWA Extension. Without fail I pass by large bunches of cyclists enjoying the relatively quiet roads and the scenic route along the Swan and it always puts me in just the right frame of mind to meet and teach a new group. It’s become quite a nice routine over the last couple of years!

Part of my driving view – thanks to borkazoid

This morning I headed off in beautiful sunny weather (yes, slightly jealous of those who could enjoy one of the first warm days here) and taught a half-day course called “Facebook, Twitter and more”. It’s basically an introductory course to Facebook and Twitter with a little preview of other social media thrown in (this time, that included Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+).

Anyway, what struck me about this course on my drive home (not so scenic – I drive a more direct way then, keen to get home to my family) is how much it and its audience has changed over the last couple of years. Sure, Facebook specifically and social media in general have both changed a lot since I started teaching this classes but what’s changed more is what people know about them. They really know a lot.

(Computer lab pic from FailedImitator – not the same computer lab that I teach in!)

Back when this class began it was called “Safe social networking” and it was squarely aimed at parents of teenagers. It sold out for the first three or four runs. Then the parents stopped needing to come. They were all on Facebook already, I think! So we rejigged the course a little and it became a social media introduction (and Facebook in particular) for pretty much anyone. This kind of worked, but this morning at least half the class already had some experience of Facebook and Twitter and even more surprisingly (for me), they didn’t need it for personal use, but they wanted to learn how to use Facebook and other social media to help promote their businesses. I was pretty amazed – this is a huge shift in knowledge in probably less than eighteen months. But it does make me feel like I’m in the right business 😉 As long as I can keep up with all the changes!