My week guest-hosting #WeeklyBlogClub

A duckling paddling in the River Itchen in Hampshire

My own attempt at blogging started in 2012

Something new arrived in January 2012: Weekly Blog Club. It’s a club, for bloggers, who try to post something every week.

Weekly Blog Club is aimed at – but isn’t  limited to – people who work in the public sector, charities, or voluntary organisations. There are very few rules, and most of them are flexible.*

Some – like myself – are people who  started blogging recently. Others have been blogging for years.

Janet Davis is the driving force behind the club. I’ve long admired Janet, who set up the web site and Twitter account, wrote the posting guidance, and is normally the ‘voice’ of WeeklyBlog Club.

A while ago Janet mentioned that she never intended to ‘be’ @WeeklyBlogClub week-in-week-out. This provoked a flurry of activity amongst the regulars to ensure that Janet got a break every now and then. Kate Bentham and Louise Brown have each taken a turn – both doing a brilliant job – and I was one of several others including Phil Jewitt and Sasha Taylor who also offered to help out.

I was aware of the hand over between Janet and guest hosts, and I did notice the change in writing-style for the weekly write-up, but otherwise everything seemed to tick along as normal.

Comments on hosting

After my initial nervousness about ‘breaking something’, and a couple of basic mistakes,*** I found I was able to adapt my routine quite easily. This is basically what I did:

  • I set some reminders in my diary in case I forgot to check for tweets mentioning @weeklyblogclub or using the #weeklyblogclub hashtag
  • When contributors added new posts, I tried to create corresponding promotional posts on the web site as soon as I could. This meant reading new items as soon as I spotted them, instead of leaving it until the weekend as I often do
  • As soon as I’d created a new post on the web site, I tweeted the link
  • I went for a longish walk on Saturday. Before I left I looked through the list of posts and used my free-wheeling time to think a bit about what some of the themes and links between them might be
  • I set a chunk of time aside on Sunday morning to write the summary. In the event I started a bit late and it took me a little longer to do than I’d envisaged. I ended up sending the summary out mid-afternoon. I was pleased to note that the world didn’t end because it was a bit late.

I tend to tweet from ipad and ‘phone, and rarely use the Twitter desktop app. I use the Echofon app which makes it easy to switch between Twitter profiles. I set up different alerts so I could easily tell when @weeklyblogclub was mentioned on Twitter and I would consciously switch to that account to read / tweet and then switch back to my usual account. Janet said that she uses two different browsers to keep the accounts separate, but I chose not to do that, thinking that (for me) it might be more hassle than switching accounts.

The write-up

I found I rather enjoyed trying to find connections between all the different posts, although I was rather fortunate to have picked a week when the optional theme ‘songs’ was popular, and six people blogged their song choices. There were also several with an Olympic theme. Some weeks Janet has quite a challenge as subjects can be extremely diverse. It makes me think of a cryptic crossword puzzle (which I hasten to add, I’m no good at).

Conclusion

Duck and ducklings on the River Itchen in Hampshire

Duck and ducklings on the River Itchen in Hampshire

WeeklyBlog Club is still going strong after eight months, and now has lots of contributors. It’s absolutely brilliant that the club continues to attract new contributors. There are so many people with so many fascinating things to say and share.

If you’re thinking about guest hosting weekly blog club, please go for it. It’s great fun. There’s guidance for hosts on the weekly blog club web site.

Notes

  • ‘Squidgy’ is the technical term, which applies primarily to the weekly deadline which is  normally midday on Thursday, but frequently gets extended. There are several degrees of squidginess:
  • Squidgy (mid-afternoon on Thursday)
  • Very Squidgy (Thursday evening)
  • Extremely Squidgy (Friday morning)
  • Most Squidgy** (Friday lunchtime)

**These terms are subject to change and are themselves, squidgy.

***My basic mistakes were:

  • I tweeted the wrong week number several times early on
  • I consistently forgot to add my initials at the end of tweets sent from @weeklyblogclub

Bit of an aside

A project I’m working on at the moment is looking at options for a local information system (also sometimes called intelligence system, or data observatory). I’ll blog about that separately, but as part of that work I’m looking at a variety of (preferably free or low cost tools to help present data and information in different ways.

When I was thinking about possible themes and links for Week 33 I had a quick play with a free tool called Mindmeister. I thought it might be interesting to represent the week’s posts visually and try and see if and how posts connect. It’s a hasty, totally unscientific, and unfinished effort, but here it is anyway.

Create your own mind maps at MindMeister

About markbraggins

I’m interested in lots of things, in no particular order: society, politics, public services, open data, technology (and what you can do with it), wildlife, photography, the countryside, and long distance walking.
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10 Responses to My week guest-hosting #WeeklyBlogClub

  1. Thank you very much, Mark 🙂 It is interesting to read a post about how you went about it, and seeing the mind map. I liked the duckling pics too! I sometimes get the week wrong myself & I totally forget to put my initials (we may have to just abandon the initials)!

    • markbraggins says:

      Thanks for leaving a comment, Janet. Yes, I think initials might not be necessary if we’re doing whole weeks at a time. Might be more confusing if it’s split over one or two days. (I’ve been looking for an excuse to include a duckling pic in a post!)

  2. Kate Bentham says:

    Great post Mark, and great guest hosting week – I am sure your summary will help other guest hosts come forward. I LOVE the mind map – and will certainly be looking into that software, looks like a useful tools when managing an information service.

  3. It raining outside, great reason to sit with a cuppa and read markbraggins blog. As a recent followers/contributor to weeklyblogclub your step through process (and Janet’s extensive instructions) are great. I’m half way through writing a post about the ayrshirehealth blog, so the your blog is really helpful. I use several different mind mapping tools Mindgenius (it’s free) and Simplemind+ (because it’s coloured) – very technical reasons. I’ve got Mindmanager on on my work laptop, but don’t use quite as often – now off to discover debategraph, I like learning new things. Keep up the excellent work, and I course your fellow, editors. Derek

    • markbraggins says:

      Thanks very much Derek. I enjoy ayrshireheath blog, which is a great example of a professional blog which is interesting to read as well as being informative and written by ‘real people’. I haven’t tried either Mindgenius or Simplemind+ before, so will have a look at those. Cheers, mark

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  5. What a great experience Mark! Great job everybody! Loved the routine plan and mind map! It’s pity I’m not so good at writing… I’m enough good at reading though 😉 Meantime I’ll let my friends know about weekly blog club, may be some of them are interested to join 🙂

    Have a good work
    Tatiana

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