101: Post #, Unconferences, Blogging, Highway, Ideas

Post # 101

According to my WordPress stats dashboard, this is post number 101 for Events Wrangling.

101Back in April, in the early days of this blog, I wrote the post “100…150…200 Consecutive Days” in which I set a goal of publishing a post on at least 200 consecutive days. Well, I’m halfway to that goal now, and it’s been fun thus far.

When I go on a road trip, four hours seems to last a long time if I’m only going on a five-hour journey. Similarly, if one has a goal of writing 120 consecutive daily posts (or 3 months worth), getting to the point of 101 consecutive posts would seem like a relatively long trudge. On the other hand, the first four hours of an eight-hour trip or four-day trip seem to fly right by. Because of that same mind-altering effect of perspective and expectations, the first 100 posts of this 200-post Journey seem to have flown right past in a flash.

Writing and publishing a post hasn’t seemed overly taxing on most days, although on the days immediately following my bout with food poisoning, it was a struggle to put together more than five or six words that made sense (to the extent that my words ever make sense), and it was even more of a struggle to proofread and publish them in a blog post.

timezonesAlso, in the early days of my Events Wrangling publishing, I didn’t realize that my WordPress account timezone was set five hours ahead. I just assumed WordPress would set the publish time for my blog the same as the clock setting on my laptop, which is generally local time where I am. But one day I noticed that WordPress was showing the same publishing date for posts that were written on two consecutive days. I couldn’t figure out what was going on at first, but then I poked around in my WordPress account and found the timezone off by five hours. That meant when I published a post after 7 PM local time, WordPress would stamp it as having been published after midnight (i.e. the next day). So I was sort of publishing in the future! 🙂 I promptly changed the timezone setting to correct that minor issue.

I’m looking forward to the next hundred posts. There are still hundreds of post topics I’d love to ramble on about, although another one of my goals is to work on writing shorter posts which still feel like they’re worth publishing. It’s challenging to cram all the thoughts about one topic zipping around my neural network into a cohesive story which is short enough that people will take time to read it…

Unconferences 101

unconference 2One of the informal goals for this blog is to be an advocate and resource for participant-driven events such as unconferences. I’m writing a series of posts about unconferences, which began with “Events Wrangling Basics For Unconferences.” There is also a separate page / tab on this blog for Unconference Resources.

[Which reminds me, I need to spend a few hours working on that page to make it more useful and complete…]

The article “How far does the Pokémon brand have to carry Pokémon Go?” examines in detail the value users can add to Pokémon Go and how user-generated value contributes to the success of gaming platforms. In today’s internet-connected world, there are many other examples of users creating tremendous value pikachuor being the driving force behind events and movements. When the users have the permission and tools for making their desires known and helping push their own agenda, that’s a great start towards making something people want.

The best way to get people to support and be involved with an activity is to convince them it was their idea to start with. Well, if an event is participant-driven, it pretty much was their idea to begin with. No convincing needed. From my perspective, “users” will add a tremendous amount of value if only the events wranglers will let them and can figure out how to effectively involve them in the design and execution of events.

If you feel there is significant value in highly-engaged meeting attendees but you don’t want to go to the hardcore unconference end of the event spectrum where every event goer is a participant and there are no attendees, check out Adrian Segar’s Conferences That WORK. His goal is to “create engaging conferences around the learning your attendees really want and need…to build meaningful, mutually beneficial connections between participants.”

Blogging 101

An intentional goal for the Events Wrangling blog is to improve my blogging and writing skills.

blogging fundamentalsYou may be thinking that’s a fitting goal and wishing me luck. And hoping that the improvement happens soon. So do I.

To assist in my quest for Bob’s Better Blogging, I enrolled in the Blogging 101 course, also know as Blogging: Fundamentals, at Automattic’s WordPress.com Blogging University. I learned a few more blogging skills and tips by completing that course, but still have a lonnnnng way to go.

I definitely need to take Blogging 102, or Blogging 201, whichever comes next after 101. In addition to Blogging: Fundamentals, WordPress.com’s Blogging U also offers the courses below, all for the nominal registration fee of zero, which happens to be my target price point.

There are also other free online courses designed to help you become a better blogger, but there are only so many hours in day, and not all of them can be spent blogging.

Highway 101

101 highwayI mentioned road trips at the start of this post. One of the roads I mentioned in “Road Trip Events, Part 2: History” was US Highway 101, which goes from Los Angeles, California, USA, to Tumwater, Washington. Of the 1540 miles of road between those two cities, my favorite miles are the ones that go through Humboldt County, California, especially the ones near Arcata. Redwood trees, almost-mountains, Pacific Ocean, mist-in-the-forest, and, at times, a two-lane road twisting and turning to avoid huge trees that have grown tall over hundreds of years. The best road trips ever happen on 101…

When Automattic hires me as an Events Wrangler, I can guarantee that at some point I’ll be on Highway 101 in Arcata while on my way to or from ahumboldt redwoodsn hours-long online session of events-focused work. I already know of at least six Arcata-area locations with reliable WiFi and an ambiance well-suited to a working Automattician. When not working, I’ll be walking through the redwoods, watching the Pacific Ocean waves roll in, or enjoying the nearby mountains. And maybe I’ll even be helping Humboldt residents organize and put on WordCamp Humboldt for people from Arcata, Eureka, McKinleyville, Fortuna, Petrolia and other far-flung parts of the county.

101 Post Ideas

I’m an engineer, so it seems useful to me to develop a list of future ideas to write about on this blog. I think I had a list of 20 topics when I wrote my first post for Events Wrangling. 100 posts later, I think that list has increased to approximately 101 ideas to write about. Some people have said they can’t think of anything to write about. I’m on the other extreme of “what should I write about?” There are so many things to write about that it’s mildly annoying not to have time to write all the posts that are struggling to be launched into cyberspace.

My Halfway-Post pretty much wrote itself. My mind is already thinking about post #201, wondering what it will say, hoping that the post quality has improved by then, and curious about whether I’ll revise my goal of 200 upward to a more ambitious goal of 365, 500, or even 1,000 consecutive daily posts.

My mind is also wondering if by the time post 200 rolls around I’ll be an Events Wrangler (upper case) working for Automattic… [By the way, they’re hiring!]

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Events Wrangler Interviews: Regular Feature

New Regular Feature On Blog

Today’s post serves two purposes:

  1. To announce to readers of this blog that “Events Wrangler Interviews” is being added as a regular feature.
  2. To force me to connect with lots of events wranglers and interview them for blog posts.

I’ve wanted to do “interview” blog posts for many years. But interviews seem like much more work than regular posts, and it will probably be challenging to find appropriate regular featurespeople willing to do an interview for an obscure blog. Since it was easier to do non-interview posts, that’s what I’ve mostly done for my blogs. (I think I’ve only done one interview post in my life.)

Other Potential Regular Features

Other regularly featured post topics I considered adding to the Events Wrangling blog were:

  1. Humorous, Irreverent, Or Non-Serious Event Stuff
  2. Event Partners & Sponsors
  3. High-Impact Event Outcomes
  4. Commentary About Recent Events
  5. Event Technology

Reasons For Events Wranglers Interviews

I see value in each of the above potential regular features. At a future date, I might add one of them to this blog as another regular item. But for today I had to decide on one feature to add, and the reasons I decided to add interview posts are:

  • interview silhouetteThe interviews will add value to this blog, giving events wranglers another reason to read Events Wrangling.
  • Information in the interviews can help us improve the quality of our future events.
  • It will be interesting for me to hear ideas, opinions, and observations from other events wranglers.
  • Events wranglers are usually interested in more visibility, even on an obscure blog.
  • It’s another way for readers to get to know more events wranglers and to expand their personal networks (and mine).
  • Interview posts will expand my blog publishing comfort zone and force me to learn new skills.
  • I’ve wanted to do regular interview posts for a long time. My class assignment was a good reason to start on that now.

Here is the point where I put in the caveats, aka escape clauses. I don’t have experience with doing interview posts, and I don’t have a bunch of events wranglers lined up for the next few months. My plan is to do a monthly interview post, but early on I might miss a month here and there if I have troubles getting interviewees lined up. Also, the first few interviews may not ask the best questions — so I’ll be working to improve the Q&A quality over the first six months as I establish a routine for interviews.

Requests For Blog Readers

help wantedIn order to kick off this new feature and to make the blog more valuable to visitors, I have four requests for readers of this blog post:

  1. Events Wranglers.  If you’re an events wrangler willing to be interviewed by me, please contact me at bwaldron (at) gmail [dott] com, or leave contact info in Comments below.
  2. Friends of Events Wranglers.  If you know an events wrangler willing to be interviewed by me, please have them contact me.
  3. Interview Questions.  If you have questions you’d like me to ask events wranglers for the interviews, please email them to me.
  4. Regular Features.  If you know of regular features you’d like to see on this blog, please email me about that.

The tagline for this blog is, “connecting people, one event at a time.”

The tagline for the Events Wrangler Interviews feature is, “connecting with people, one interview at a time!” 🙂

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Day Fourteen: Create Your Own Feature

blogging universityMy virtual assignment for Day Fourteen (have I already been a Blogging U student for two weeks??) in the Blogging: Fundamentals class is:

  • Work on inspiring reader loyalty by publishing consistently and giving your readers something to look forward to! Today, develop a regular posting feature for your blog.
  • Think of the type of regular feature you can commit to — something you’ll publish weekly, biweekly, or monthly.
  • This post can be the first installment, or an announcement of what’s coming.
  • Give your post a few tags, including bloggingfundamentals, and publish it.

I actually already have a regular feature on this blog — doing a News & Views curated aggregation of recent, relevant, and meaningful post and articles from events wrangler blogs or events news sites, such as “June 11, 2016: News & Views Roundup For Events Wranglers.” But for quite a while I’ve wanted to do interview posts on a regular basis, and today’s assignment gives me a good reason to start doing them. So as of July 2016, I’m adding interview posts as a regular feature!

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Diligent Digital Homesteaders, Natural Born Bloggers, & Motivated CyberWriters

Website Content In Their DNA

WordPress Personal Digital Home, taglineIn the past couple weeks, I’ve worked a bunch on the WordPress Personal Digital Home (PDH) initiative and the Blogging: Fundamentals virtual course from Blogging University. Those two projects have caused me to think long and hard about who the ideal candidates are for launching PDHs and for starting and maintaining blogs or other websites for writers.

It seems worthwhile to develop generic profiles for three general classifications of high-potential website owners who would be good at creating website content:

  1. Diligent Digital Homesteaders
  2. Natural Born Bloggers
  3. Motivated CyberWriters

Events Wranglers & Website Owners

An events wrangler benefits in several ways from being able to understand if someone fits events wranglers & website ownersinto the above categories. Consciously figuring out whether an event goer is a diligent digital homesteader, natural born blogger or a motivated writer will be low on most wranglers’ to-do lists, but consider these three scenarios concerning an event participant who fits into one of these categories:

  1. If they don’t already have their own website, they’re likely to be thrilled if you put them on the path to establishing their site, thereby making your event a special moment for them.
  2. If they enjoyed your event, they’re probably open to publishing cyber content about the event which could help your SEO, provide a compelling story about the event, or make your event more successful by catalyzing or facilitating post-event follow-up activities.
  3. If they have or develop a highly successful site, they might be able to help you improve your own website.

As an events wrangler, you’ll have opportunities to see the websites of speakers, attendees or vendors. Be aware of how you or your event might interact with or learn from those sites. If you are conscious of the criteria for the three groups described in this post, you can probably spot five or ten people involved with each event who are perfect fits for one of the three groups. Once you’ve identified those people, whether you personally connect with them depends on your motivations and interest in exploring a mutually-beneficial relationship that begins with a focus on them as a website owner.

The three lists below are admittedly draft versions, being incomplete and inelegantly worded. Over time I’ll edit this post to improve the lists. At some future time, I also plan to write an impactful post that more effectively communicates the jumble of thoughts found in a rough form in today’s post.

Diligent Digital Homesteaders

A draft list of criteria for diligent digital homesteaders (as of June 2016).

  1. digital homesteadersEnjoys having a place online that they can call their own.
  2. Early adopters
  3. Enjoys playing the domain name game.
  4. Wants to earn money through online activity.
  5. Willing to pay money for their own domain name and hosting service.
  6. Probably has a long term cyber-viewpoint. If younger than 20 years old, probably still transitioning from short term digital thinking to a long term cyber-viewpoint.
  7. Has a strong sense of digital or online content ownership.
  8. Willing to learn the technical skills needed to create their desired online home.

Natural Born Bloggers

A draft list of criteria for natural born bloggers (as of June 2016).

  1. bloggersEnjoys having a place online that they can call their own.
  2. Probably doesn’t hate writing assignments in school, at least not when they pick the topic.
  3. Writes at least partly for their own enjoyment; doesn’t need constant feedback from others.
  4. Interested in developing a regular writing and publishing routine or schedule.
  5. Probably knows others bloggers or reads blogs occasionally.

Motivated CyberWriters

A draft list of criteria for motivated cyberwriters (as of June 2016).

  1. cyberwritersEnjoys having a place online that they can call their own.
  2. Has written at least a moderate amount in the past; not starting their writing career from scratch with their website.
  3. May have ambitions to be an author, journalist, poet, or other type of professional or dedicated amateur writer.
  4. Has a specific desire to benefit from some aspect of online writing or publishing.
  5. Probably doesn’t have a desire to publish their writing online on a frequent or regular basis (such as a blog).
  6. May know other people who write or publish online.

The value of developing these profiles is that they will:

  • Help the PDH initiative be more successful.
  • Help me more effectively introduce WordPress to people who are likely to enjoy it and benefit from using it.
  • Reduce the abandonment of new WordPress websites.
  • Help improve the overall quality of active websites.

If you know of criteria I should add these lists, or revisions I should make to them, please contact me at bwaldron (at) gmail [dott] com.

Democratize publishing more effectively by connecting high-potential website owners with WordPress! 🙂

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Day Thirteen: Build Your Brand

blogging universityHere’s my Blogging U class assignment for today:

  • Reinforce your blog’s image and brand by creating a custom blog icon.
  • Create an icon to represent your blog — a small photo, your initials, or a piece of your header image all work well.
  • Go to your blog’s General Settings tab by typing /wp-admin/options-general.php on the end of your blog’s address.
  • Finally, click “Choose File” under the Blog Icon tools on the right to upload your image, and follow the prompts to save it.

wrangler iconWell, even though I suspected the results would be disappointing, I tried using a small section of my header picture as my custom blog icon. The results were…disappointing. A tiny new personal goal is, therefore, to be aware of custom blog icons on other blogs I visit. I’m hoping to spot one or several custom icons that inspire me to create an icon for my blog that makes me smile. (My custom blog icon is the graphic on the left — it looks ok when it’s that size, but…)

If my virtual instructor for Blogging: Fundamentals asks — tell them I finished the assignment completely and promptly.

Developing a custom icon that truly makes me smile may have to wait until I take Custom Blog Icons 101 or until I meet a designer who wants to collaborate on little projects. Who knows. Maybe I’ll even connect with a designer who wants to consider BIG projects…

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A Storybook Day: An Events Wrangler’s Promptly Published Post

What Is A Storybook Day?

storybook dayIt’s a common goal for events wranglers:

Have this event be like a storybook day for the attendees!

That’s a mighty ambitious goal which will take a lot of work and luck to achieve. So…let’s start at the very beginning — a very good place to start…

What is a storybook day? This phrase means different things to different people, but for most of us, it will mean something special, out of the ordinary, almost magical will happen to us. An example of this is Melissa Hunter’s Instagram post, where she says:

Walking to our car after a storybook day in the English countryside, I said, “Could this be any quainter?” and a rainbow exploded into the sky.

storybook rainbow, Melissa Hunter

Wide Spectrum Of Event Types

Creating and delivering an event that makes something special and magical happen for even one attendee is an ambitious goal. Expecting and hoping for it to happen to many or most of the attendees is downright preposterous. And yet, that is the goal for many events wranglers.

A storybook day seems most likely to happen at events which involve celebrations, entertainment, and emotions, such as weddings or parties, much more so than at events like industry trade shows or a training class. But even the generally unemotional trade show or seminar can have a storybook element.

spectrumWeddings, New Year’s Eve parties, annual company picnics, plumbing industry equipment expos, unconferences, and three-day environmental regulations training classes includes such a wide spectrum of settings, attendees, and specific objectives that it seems impossible to offer general suggestions or strategies to delivery a storybook day.

Each of those different types of gatherings can present unique opportunities for something out of the ordinary for its attendees. The events wrangler in charge should already be aware of most of those event-specific opportunities or should figure out what they are.

But there IS one magical ingredient you should focus on, regardless of the type of event you’re wrangling. Personal relationships!

Create New Relationships & Celebrate Old Relationships

Every event, regardless of where it is on the spectrum, involves people coming together. And anytime people come together, new relationships can be created, interrupted relationships can be rekindled, and old relationships can be celebrated and strengthened.

The events wrangler is responsible for those relationship opportunities in three ways:

  1. Including specific event agenda items or activities focused on relationships.
  2. Working hard to enable serendipitous connections or collisions.
  3. Becoming acquainted with many of the participants and connecting a few people who seem to need a bit of help or those whom you just “know” will instantly bond with each other, spend a long time talking together, and probably stay in touch long after your event is over.

Traditional Relationship-Builders

The first item on the list involves the typical networking or icebreaker activities. These can be perfunctorily added to the agenda and just allowed to happen like they have for many years. Or you can seek out new twists on the old standbys and work hard to make the activities fun and relevant parts of the event that actually do help people connect and enjoy themselves.

Serendipitous Collisions

serendipityThe second item, enabling serendipitous collisions, will depend on your budget, imagination, and research into how serendipity works. You and the event goers need to be open to unexpected outcomes and activities which aren’t totally scripted. The serendipitous moments can be sort of like playing a game where the only rules are how to start the game, and maybe a couple rules for interacting with other players. After all, when two people meet for the first time, the only rules that should apply is that they listen to each other and that they be kind to each other. What happens after that is Life!

Personal Connector

The third item is where the events wrangler can absolutely have an impact and can work the hardest to ensure that at least two people walk away from the event with a storybook day. This item requires you to get acquainted well enough with some of the participants to know whether they have a lot in common, including personalities that are compatible enough to potentially lead to a long term relationship. Find out what people are interested in, what they’re working on, what they need help with, what they’d like to help others with.

introduce peopleIntroduce a few of these highly compatible attendees to each other, get the conversation started, then let them chat on their own. The two people may be a session presenter and an attendee at the session. You might talk with two different attendees who are passionate about the same topic. Maybe you notice two like-minded people whose situations may get in the way of them beginning a conversation, such as a big age difference, a social or financial status difference, or other personal factors. Give life a helping hand and initiate those connections you see just waiting to happen. If the people you connect do have interests in common and their personalities work well together, you may be responsible for a relationship which endures for years.

The other half of the third relationship item is connecting the attendees whom you can see need a nudge or are totally out of their environment. Figure out which other person at the event can connect well with the attendee who’s not fitting in. Turn the event from a failure and an unenjoyable experience for an attendee into an unexpected bright spot in their week. Maybe they never enjoy going to events. Maybe they have a personal issue which was preventing them from fully participating in the event. Put yourself in their shoes. Take the time to make sure someone else at the event acknowledges them as a person so they feel like more than just number 47 on the attendee list.

Storybook wineMay every event you wrangle be a storybook day for at least two of your event goers! 🙂

PS — if your event includes alcohol, you might want to include a few bottles of Storybook wine. That will help ensure your event is a storybook day for at least a few wine lovers!

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Blogging: Fundamentals, Day Eleven: Make a Prompt Personal

Today’s class assignment (on a Sunday?!!) is:

  • blogging fundamentalsLearn to work with outside inspiration so you never have to deal with blogger’s block.
  • Publish a post inspired by a writing prompt.
  • Visit our Daily Post site and check out today’s prompt — it’s in the dark blue box on the right.
  • Include a link to the prompt so that others can find your post on the prompt page.
    Give your post a few tags, including bloggingfundamentals, and publish it.

Homework done. One prompted post published promptly. What’s Next? 🙂

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A Storybook Day

Road Kit: Events Wrangler & Digital Nomad

Peace On A Plane

Today’s post takes a look at what constitutes a respectable road kit for someone who is both an events wrangler and a digital nomad.

In her recent post “The week we had,” Pam Kotke highlighted two pieces of air travel kit she bought to have a more restful plane trip from the USA to Spain.airplane big pillow

“…Saved up some Amazon gift cards and got some amazing (and eye-wateringly expensive) noise cancelling earbuds. I feel quite confident that I’m going to snooze like a baby on the airplane next week because of these as well as this travel pillow I bought. YES I DID.

I don’t care in the least how goofy this looks if it means I can get a few hours of sleep on the plane. Erica and I arrive early Friday morning, and that night we have a presentation to give. So if I don’t sleep on the plane, it could get really ugly…”

Pam’s post got me thinking about stuff I take on a plane trip, an assortment of airline accompaniments put together over years of travel.

The gear, services, and practices one person needs to have the optimal experience, or at least an acceptable journey that leaves them smiling, from the time they walk through the door of their airplane until they walk back out that door upon arrival at their destination, will vary greatly from what many of their fellow travelers need.

Seven Items For POAP

boarding, peace on a planeHere’s a general list of the Seven Items I consider extremely helpful for achieving Peace On A Plane:

  1. Preparation.
  2. Attitude.
  3. Comfortable clothes and shoes.
  4. Smartphone & glasses.
  5. Boarding pass (hardcopy or on smartphone).
  6. Red backpack that will fit in overhead compartment.
  7. Personal bag that will easily fit under seat.

Preparation is the top item on the list for me. It’s on everyone’s written or unwritten list, but each person will prepare differently. And what you actually carry through the plane door isn’t preparation — it’s the end result of your preparations for the flight and for the overall trip.

peace symbolPeace is tremendously influenced by your mental and spiritual situation, so I also listed Attitude as one of seven carry-on items you’ll need — and this item applies to every passenger and crew member. One section of a single blog post isn’t going to change anyone’s attitude, but if you’ve never looked into mindfulness meditation, consider it. I’m certainly no expert on the topic, but I think most people could benefit from it if they got acquainted with mindfulness meditation through guided sessions and regularly practiced it. You’ll be able to use it whilst waiting for the flight to board and when sitting in your less-than-perfect aircraft seating.

Comfortable clothes and shoes, smartphone, glasses, and boarding pass are all items without which I would feel slightly naked, or at least uncomfortable. And they’re sort of “worn” rather than carried onboard. No explanation needed for clothes and shoes, and everyone has a different idea of what’s best for those items. A smartphone has become indispensable for digital nomads, as well as for many non-nomads around the world who can afford one and have available cellular or WiFi networks. For me, the glasses are needed to be able to use my smartphone… 😦 The boarding pass has two functions — the gate agent seems to want to see it before letting me board, and it shows my seat number.

Items Six and Seven are the two which get physically carried aboard, although they may be over your shoulder or on your back rather than in your hand. My goal is to have only two items to handle when walking onto the plane — a backpack and a personal bag. The backpack should contain most anything I’ll need for a couple days when my checked lostbaggage gets misplaced or we get stranded on an island like in Lost, Wrecked, or Swiss Family Robinson. My personal bag has everything I might want to access whilst seat-belted in during the flight or don’t want squished and squashed in the overhead. That includes a bottle of water and a paperback, as well as a couple survival items in case my backpack goes missing in that Lost scenario…

So that’s my list of boarding essentials. In future posts, I’ll spend more time on the details for each of the Seven Items.

Digital Nomad

As a digital nomad, I’m keenly interested in having quality tools (within my budget) that make connecting to the ‘net from (pretty much) anywhere an enjoyable and effective experience. Having been a digital nomad since the early 2000s, I know that having the right gear, tools, services, and practices can have a huge impact on your digital productivity and overall cyber-experience.

digital nomad backpackI’ve seen a number of posts over the past ten years about what digital nomads carry with them. A good recent example is Matt Mullenweg’s post, “What’s in My Bag, 2016 edition.” A couple others are “What’s in my pack?” (see picture on left), “Essential Entry-Level Work Gear for Digital Nomads,” “The Ultimate Digital Nomad Packing List for Travel,” and “The Digital Nomad’s Packing List (From a Girl Who Knows).”

I’ll describe my Digital Nomad Bug Out Bag contents in a future post, then update this post with a link.

As they say at Capital 1, “What’s In Your Digital Nomad Backpack?”

Road Warrior

road warriorUsing the term “road warrior” in this post is presumptuous on my part, but since that title is one to which I aspire, I used it anyway. I did much more airline travel in the corporate world than I’ve done in the past few years. Now all travel expenses are paid for out of my own pocket, and I don’t have a company paying me to work in different cities. When my goal of becoming an Events Wrangler is realized, I’ll likely be flying here and there more often. At that point, I’ll be leveling up my road warrior skills and kit.

As Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” So this blog post and the future post wherein I will itemize my roadtrippin’ essentials are snapshots of me creating my future as a road warrior.

No links are included here for others’ posts about Road Warrior Gear because people’s needs and equipment lists vary so widely that it’s hard to find posts which relate well to my current situation and to the future I’m creating. This post will be updated with a link to my “road warrior essentials” post that I expect to publish roughly six months after being hired as an Automattic Events Wrangler…

Inspired By Neighbors

opte map of internet

Locate my neighborhoods on this Opte Project map of the internet?

As extra credit for my Blogging: Fundamentals course at WordPress.com Blogging University, I am launching an online search project to find (and get inspired by) cybercitizens in three neighborhoods — the ones inhabited by Airborne Adventurers, Digital Nomads, and Road Warriors. To help me find those neighborhoods, I’ve got Blogging U’s suggestions for finding good neighbors. Maybe it would even help to use some of the internet’s maps, like the colorful Barrett Lyon / Opte Project map mentioned by Kasperksy, or possibly xkcd’s map of internet communities (although that’s a bit dated).xkcd map of internet communities

 

It’s good to see new areas of the metaverse, meet new like-minded and complementary-minded people and stretch one’s knowledge, skills and comfort zones. Now if there were only a couple more hours in each day. Sigh…

Bon voyage! 🙂

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Blogging U Homework

Blogging: Fundamentals, Day Nine — Get Inspired by the Neighbors

  • For Day Eight, you left comments on four other blogs.
  • Write a post that builds on one of these comments, and link to the other blog.
  • Give your post a few tags, including bloggingfundamentals, and publish it.

Blogging: Fundamentals, Day Ten: Build a Better Blogroll

  • Use a widget to create a blogroll, a list of links you love that you want to share with your readers.
  • Decide what kind of widget you want to use: the Blogs I Follow widget, or a Text widget.
  • Open the Customizer, then select Widgets, and add the widget you want to use.
  • Customize the widget’s settings and/or add your text, then click Save & Publish.

blogging fundamentalsYesterday’s post just didn’t lend itself to Day Nine’s assignment, so I combined Nine and Ten for today’s post. The Blogging U instructor said that was ok, and gave me ten points of extra credit for using my discretion rather than blindly following the course assignments…

A minor issue regarding the blogs listed in the blogroll text widget I added to Events Wrangling today is that I haven’t truly developed a list of cyberneighbor blogs that I want to advertise as “These Are My Favorite Blogs On The Internets.” What I put in the widget are #bloggingfundamentalsassignment blogs and a couple #eventswranglers blogs on which I’ve seen good posts. Six months from now, I’ll feel more comfortable about highlighting blogs which should be checked out by Events Wrangling readers.

Caveat: Publishing this post completes the Day Nine Assignment. I still have to create the blogroll text widget for Day Ten, which I’ll do after I publish today’s post and then figure out a couple blogs to list in the widget.

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WordPress Personal Digital Home & Meeting The Neighbors

New Home, New Neighbors

welcome to neighborhoodMeeting the neighbors is a good idea when you move into a new home.

Even if it doesn’t require industrial-strength events wrangler skills, meeting the neighbors qualifies as a type of event. It can be fun and worthwhile to meet new neighbors, but it can also be a bit intimidating and easy to put off until “later.” For most people, it’s easiest to get to know those neighbors if someone helps you out or gives you a gentle nudge to get you started.

My WordPress.com Blogging University class gave me a gentle nudge today — my assignment was to meet my cyber-neighbors by leaving comments on a few blogs.

When someone creates their WordPress Personal Digital Home (PDH), there will be virtual neighbors they should meet, so today’s Blogging University class assignment is highly relevant to the PDH initiative.

Blogging: Fundamentals — Day Eight

blogging fundamentalsThe virtual assignment for Blogging: Fundamentals, Day Eight — Introduce Yourself To The Neighbors is:

  1. Browse the blogs and topics you already follow.
  2. Check the Recommendations and Discover tabs to find great posts we think you’ll love, or browse the bloggingfundamentals tag to see posts from other new bloggers.
  3. Leave comments on four of the posts you read.

Today’s assignment is one I find both straight-forward and of high interest. The part which is moderately challenging is writing comments to be of high interest to the blog author and to initiate a meaningful conversation. Writing that type of comment will take a non-trivial amount of effort, and it may generate replies of equal or higher quality only 20% or 30% of the time. But finding even a small number of simpatico souls is well worth the time and effort you put into writing your comments.

I haven’t completed the three steps above yet, but I’ll finish today’s assignment as soon as I publish this post.

WordPress PDH & Virtual Neighbors

WordPress Personal Digital Home, taglineThe WordPress PDH concept is essentially One Site To Rule Them All, your data storage shed, control panel and cyberspace digital presence. A PDH website is intended to give you more control and make you more effective at interacting with all things digital. It is also intended to democratize publishing by helping you write and publish things of interest to you on your digital “home.” A significant part of the value and purpose of what you publish is helping you connect with like-minded and complementary-minded virtual neighbors.

One step in connecting with your virtual neighbors is looking amongst the millions and billions online to find compatible cyber citizens. You don’t need to locate a clone or near-clone of yourself, but it does make sense to find people who have one or several interests in common with you, people with whom you can have a fun, respectful, and mutually-satisfying conversation.

The Blogging: Fundamentals, Day Three assignment helped with finding compatible neighbors by having the virtual students use the WordPress.com Reader to locate other blogs of interest to them. Today’s assignment extends the compatible-neighbor finding skills by having the student use the Recommendations and Discover tabs for locating more neighbors they might like to get to know better.

neighbor nametagOnce you’ve located neighbors you might have something in common with, leaving comments on their blogs is the best way to get to know them. In addition to the excellent Day Eight lesson suggestions for writing comments, the lesson also pointed to the post “Making Conversation: How to Think Up Good Comments.”

If you write posts in line with the lesson suggestions and with the Making Conversation post, I guarantee the blog author will be thrilled. High quality comments will help start real conversations with the type of neighbors who are interested in building meaningful relationships with like-minded or complementary-minded people.

Blog authors who participate in an engaging conversation with you are the type of neighbors new owners of a WordPress PDH want to meet. During beta testing as the WordPress PDH is developed, the early users will be encouraged to go through the Blogging: Fundamentals class, with extra emphasis on Days Three and Eight to help get to know their virtual neighbors.

Tomorrow I’ll take a look at one real-world event which can have several purposes, one of which is meeting the neighbors.

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920_Sec: NE Wisconsin InfoSec Meetup, July 13, 2016

InfoSec Meetup For NE Wisconsin Launches

meetupThe first meeting of 920_Sec, a Meetup.com group for NE Wisconsin people interested in infosec, is scheduled for Wednesday, July 13, 2016, at The Bar Holmgren Way in Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA. More details are below.

I’m planning to go to the meetup wearing two hats — the Stetson of an events wrangler and the 1950s detective hat of a tech person highly interested in security.

Events Wrangler Hat

stetsonThe person who scheduled this event and took the time to organize a Meetup.com group had reasons for doing so. If there’s an opportunity, I’ll talk with the founder of 920_Sec to find out what their reasons were for organizing the event.

Also from an event standpoint, I plan to keep track of various details that make this event successful or that could be improved on for future inaugural Meetup.com situations I attend or help organize. It’s hard for me to go to an event and not observe those types of things…

InfoSec Hat

blackhat hatFrom a security aspect, I’m going to this meetup as a generalist tech person who’s very interested in digital and information security, but I am definitely not an InfoSec Professional or ninja coder. I’m so far from being either of those that I don’t even know when it’s preferred to use, or not use, various terms such as infosec, InfoSec, information security, cybersecurity, spy vs spy hatsecurity, NSA, Snowden, and hacker. I couldn’t even decide which infosec hat seemed most appropriate, the Black Hat detective type or the Spy vs Spy hat.

However, even though I’m not a security pro, I’m deeply interested in infosec for three reasons.

  1. Desire to learn about and achieve better personal digital security.
  2. Opportunity to meet infosec people who might collaborate on future projects, especially the Personal Digital Home and the NE Wisconsin cybersecurity initiative.
  3. Opportunity to expand and connect the region’s TIME community (Tech, Innovators, Makers, Entrepreneurs).

Details From Meetup Organizer

As of noon today, there were eleven people signed up for the group and four people RSVP’d to attend the July 13 event. Below is what the launch email for this group said, along with a few details from the group’s page on Meetup.com.

920_Sec strives to be the Green Bay and Fox Valley Information Security Meetup Network for Info-Sec Professionals, IT professionals interested in learning more about security related topics, Researchers, Hackers, and all things in-between! Unlike other meetings, there are no “dues”, nothing to join, and no exploits to present! We’ll be at the tables in front of the pool tables right when you walk in. Don’t worry about being late, people will begin to roll in after work.

This first meetup happens on Wednesday, July 13, 2016, starting at 5:30 PM, at The Bar Holmgren Way, 2001 Holmgren Way, Green Bay, Wisconsin. Click here for a Google Map showing the meetup location.”

If you live in NE Wisconsin and are interested in infosec, I hope to see you on July 13! 🙂

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Blogging U, Blogging: Fundamentals, Day 7– Start Personalizing Your Site

Today’s virtual class assignment was:blogging university

  • Add a custom header image or background (or both).

Well, that was pretty easy. I’ve already uploaded and been using a custom header image, so I can check the box for that WordPress skill.

In order to learn something new for Day 7 in my class, I went to the tools & tips for this assignment, and read today’s section. I read about different ways to personalize my blog’s appearance, but carefully avoided adding to my lengthy To-Do list. I did find three relevant posts mentioned that I’ll be reading later today:

Create an Awesome (Free) Header in Ten Minutes
The Web is Your Oyster: Where to Find Free-to-Use Images
Two Free Tools for Non-Designers: Canva and Pablo

Yay — homework done for today! 🙂

[But I’ll be doing extra credit work later this afternoon…]

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Day-After Report: June 20 Coder Cooperative, IndieWeb & PDH

Event Summary

appleton makerspace coder cooperativeThis is an event day-after report for yesterday’s Appleton Makerspace Coder Cooperative meetup to discuss IndieWeb and the Personal Digital Home (PDH) initiative.

See yesterday’s post for the meeting’s talking points.

It was a small group, but we had an encouraging discussion. Everyone at the meeting felt there’s a need for something like IndieWeb or PDH. Below is a list of questions and comments from the June 20, 2016 event.

  • IndieWebCampInfosec needs to be the foundation of PDH and IndieWeb-for-consumers, build other stuff on top of it.
    • Infosec foundation means we need to get infosec people involved in PDH early on.
    • OWASP involvement (Open Web Application Security Project)?
  • PDH is intended for 80% of internet users, so it must be simple to use, have plug-n-play operation.
  • Remote access and mobile device interaction need to be high priority design criteria.
  • WordPress Personal Digital Home, taglineFor PDH sites, can other webdev tools than just WordPress be used?
    • Yes, per principle of plurality, aka diversity or experimentation. But a PDH-Secure certified stack is envisioned, probably incorporating philosophy aspects of Debian Linux project and Google flagship Nexus Android phones.
  • Use proprietary webdev framework (like svnO) because site more difficult to attack than open source platform like WordPress?
  • How will increasing use of virtual reality affect the PDH concept and implementation?
  • Gravatar — good example of a publish once, syndicate everywhere.
  • MSPW (make stuff people want) — “yeah, I can make a website, but what would I want to do with it?”
    • Figure out highly-engaging “starter uses” for the consumer who takes the time to create their own PDH website.
    • If they have a compelling reason to start using PDH, young people will find plenty of unexpected ways to use it.
    • One potential starter use example is the Minecraft-Raspberry Pi neighborhood friends’ network.
    • PDH is envisioned as an umbrella site for personal residual revenue streams and ventures.
  • OYD server (OwnYourData) could be the next phase for consumer network hardware after home wireless routers.
    • Update OYD software like Chromebook, helping democratize consumer servers.
    • Incorporate traffic shaping or limiting so individual OYD servers are highly resistant to slashdotting if original content on that server goes viral.
    • Personal “Google Drive,” “Dropbox,” or file server.
  • Many BSD Unix community members have IndieWeb ethos — build own stuff, run own services.
  • Target early adopters and trend starters
    • Young people
    • Create beta tester student network
    • 3 levels of target demographics for beta testing and early users
      • 13-14 year olds
      • High school juniors
      • College juniors

Next Steps

  1. Schedule another event to discuss PDH and IndieWeb; maybe another Coder Cooperative session, maybe a different setting.
  2. Revise talking points and create 10-slide presentation. PDH pitch still in early stages of development — very rough, too much information, needs to be much smoother, more concise and impactful.
  3. Develop 100-word summary and one-page proposal for PDH initiative.
  4. Identify PDH concept basic principles.
  5. Identify several recommended options for registering a domain name, hosting a WordPress PDH website, and backing up all website data. Write up details regarding registration, hosting, and backup,including set-up costs and annual fees.

Keep an eye on this blog for announcement and details about the next meetup to discuss the PDH initiative and IndieWeb. Tentative timeframe for that meetup is August 2016. If you have questions about the discussion points or Next Steps, please contact me at bwaldron (at) gmail [dott] com.

Hope to see you at the next PDH event! 🙂

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Posts-As-Meeting-Resource Experiment

The two posts from yesterday and today, along with the six posts written earlier about the PDH and IndieWeb are pretty much a complete information package regarding last night’s event at the Appleton Makerspace. I was satisfied with the experiment of using the “Events Wrangling” blog that way as an event resource.

I need to dig into event themes for WordPress.com sites to see what others have developed into more formal event tools or platforms. When I’m the events wrangler for a future event, it’s likely I’ll try a slightly different WordPress website approach than what I used this time.

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Blogging: Fundamentals, Day 6 — An Irresistible About Page

blogging university[Good feeling about Blogging U and Blogging: Fundamentals class today. Not trying to figure out where classroom is, where my email for today’s assignment is, or whether I’m going to get my assignment done! Nothing but blue skies…]

Blogging 101, Day 6 assignment is:

  1. Create an About page on your blog.
  2. Write the content for your About page — use your Day One post for inspiration if you’d like — and click Publish.
  3. Go to My Sites > Customize, then select the Widgets tab. Add a Text Widget with a one- or two-sentence version of your story, and click Save and Publish.

Steps 1 and 2 of the assignment were pretty easy since I already had an About page with lots of content. Step 2 was good from the standpoint of causing me to take a fresh look at what my About page said. I made a few minor changes and decided I need to refocus the content to make it more relevant to my “ideal reader,” the subject of my June 19 post. Step 3 appears easy, and I will do that as soon as I publish this post.

While working on Step 2, however, I made the mistake of reading the two linked resources for writing About page content; “About Page 101: Making Them Care” and “About Page 201: The Meat Grinder.” Big Mistake. With capital letters, as you can see.

The reason it was a mistake is that my About page doesn’t feel even close to “making them care.” It will require several hours of writing down thoughts and sentences, trying a few on, seeing if any fit well enough to replace what’s already on the About page. Getting the words on that page to the point of Making Them Care will require the gracious but merciless assistance of a few wise and worldly wordsmith friends.

So, add About-improvement item to my To-Do list, which gets longer with every new Blogging U assignment. Blogging U is a probably-fantastic resource for a WordPress blogger. But, like everything worthwhile, there’s a price to pay. In this case, Price = Time. (Right now it’s almost 11 PM, and I usually go to bed by 10 PM.)

My virtual assignments for the Blogging: Fundamentals class seem to have three outcomes — I was really only looking for the first one…

  1. Straightforward Learning. Learn something, apply what I learned, complete that part of assignment easily.
  2. Complex Learning. Learn required skill, but also learn about many things related to required skill. Apply required skill and complete assignment. But — spend more time reading about related skills and capabilities, and make mental or written list of additional work needed on website or in future blog posts.
  3. Challenging Learning. The challenging stuff is like today’s assignment to create an irresistible About page, or the previous lesson that asked me to figure out what the ideal reader for my blog will actually spend their precious time reading.

I’m glad I clicked the Sign Up button for this Blogging U class. I just wish I would have clicked it ten years ago.

[I know — Blogging U and that button weren’t there ten years ago. Which makes me wonder: What do I wish Automattic offered now that they’ll probably have ten years from now???]

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Other posts related to IndieWeb and Personal Digital Home

WordPress: Default Personal Digital Home (PDH)
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 2: In The Year 2036
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 3: Pick A Problem
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 4: Baby Steps
IndieWeb Summit 2017 & WordPress PDH
Coder Cooperative June 20th Meetup: IndieWeb And Personal Digital Home
IndieWeb and PDH: Talking Points For Coder Cooperative June 20 Meetup
Day-After Report: June 20 Coder Cooperative, IndieWeb & PDH” — today’s post

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IndieWeb and PDH: Talking Points For Coder Cooperative June 20 Meetup

WordPress Blog Post As Tech Meetup Tool

Today’s post is an events wrangler’s experiment in using a WordPress blog post as a primary tool and information resource for a two hour tech meetup.appleton makerspace coder cooperative

Rather than having a separate presentation like Prezi, SlideShare, KeyNote or PowerPoint, this post has the talking points and many of the relevant links for the Appleton Makerspace Coder Cooperative meetup to discuss IndieWeb and the Personal Digital Home (PDH) on June 20, 2016 from 7 to 9 PM, at the Appleton Makerspace, 121R B North Douglas St, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

Using this blog post as the my “presentation” for the June 20 Coder Cooperative meetup is essentially “seven at one blow,” because the post:

  1. Outlines the event talking points, aka agenda.
  2. Is a repository of links relevant to the event.
  3. Helps with pre-event marketing and promotion.
  4. Can be easily shared with people who want to remotely participate in the meetup.
  5. Can be easily updated with relevant content after the event.
  6. May provide “meeting topic” SEO, which a standalone presentation might not.
  7. Means no special software or software expertise needed for a blog author to create this event resource.

Talking Points For June 20 Meetup

  • Overview of IndieWeb
  • Overview of PDH
  • Differences And Similarities Between IndieWeb and PDH
  • Non-coder Questions About PDH
  • Coder Issues Re IndieWeb And PDH
  • Questions From Bob W For June 20 Meetup Participants
  • Miscellaneous IndieWeb And PDH Links
  • Events Wrangling Posts About IndieWeb And PDH

IndieWeb

PDH

  • Tagline:  “the starting point for your digital lifeWordPress Personal Digital Home, tagline
  • Short description:  My PDH concept is essentially One Site To Rule Them All. A PDH website is intended to give you more control and make you more effective at interacting with all things digital. The first step for each person who wants a PDH will be to create their own website. This may sound overly ambitious, but people of all ages create websites with WordPress.com every day. And the Mozilla Webmaker initiative was designed to help millions of people at all levels move from using the web to making the web.
  • Main link:  https://eventswrangling.wordpress.com/2016/06/06/wordpress-default-personal-digital-home-pdh/
  • Only a concept as of June 20, 2016, but I’m looking for one or several cofounders to transform PDH into an active initiative.

Concept Similarities And Differences — IndieWeb And PDH

  1. More control over personal data.
  2. Personal website.
  3. Make digital life easier.
  4. WordPress applicability.
  5. Emerging trends.

“Non-coder” Questions About IndieWeb And PDH From June 20, 2016 Meetup Participants

  • *** fill in bullet points with questions raised at the June 20 meetup ***

Coder Issues Re IndieWeb And PDH

  1. Interesting challenge, especially selfdogfooding and building your own tools.
  2. Tantek Çelik’s site http://tantek.com/.
  3. Aaron Parecki’s IRC approach https://aaronparecki.com/2015/08/29/8/why-i-live-in-irc.
  4. InfoSec
  5. OYD server (OwnYourData) — integral to (my version of) both concepts.
  6. Coder issues of interest to participants in June 20 meetup:
    1. *** fill in bullet points with questions raised at the June 20 meetup ***

Questions From Bob W For June 20 Meetup Participants

  1. Are you interested enough in IndieWeb or PDH to discuss more at a future meetup?
  2. Are you interested enough in IndieWeb to consider getting involved at some level with the initiative?
  3. Do you feel IndieWeb or PDH are important enough that someone definitely should be working on one or both initiatives?
  4. What do you think the PDH MVP (minimum viable product) might look like for the general population?
  5. Does anyone at this meetup want to do a road trip to the IndieWeb Summit 2017 (~June 2017, http://2016.indieweb.org/) or XOXO 2016 (September 8 – 11, 2016, https://2016.xoxofest.com/)?

Miscellaneous IndieWeb And PDH Links

  1. https://chrishardie.com/2015/09/digital-homes/
  2. https://chrishardie.com/2016/01/getting-started-digital-home/
  3. https://2016.dayton.wordcamp.org/files/2016/03/wcdayton-wphome.pdf
  4. https://indiewebcamp.com/events
  5. http://tantek.com/2010/231/b1/bringing-back-the-blog
  6. http://slack.indiewebcamp.com/
  7. http://www.ouvre-boite.com/new-browsers/
  8. https://calumryan.com/blog/taking-part-in-the-indieweb/
  9. https://dangillmor.com/2014/03/08/learning-about-and-deploying-indieweb-tools/
  10. https://indiewebcamp.com/IRC
  11. https://aaronparecki.com/presentations?tag=indieweb
  12. http://tantek.pbworks.com/w/page/19402872/CassisProject
  13. http://sebastiangreger.net/2014/01/own-your-data-part-1-bookmarks/
  14. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/02/18/remember_wordpress_pingbacks_the_w3c_wants_us_to_use_them_across_the_whole_web/
  15. https://gigaom.com/2014/09/11/indieweb-advocates-launch-known-so-bloggers-can-be-social-and-still-control-their-content/
  16. http://www.newsweek.com/building-first-amendment-web-and-other-hopes-internets-future-468597
  17. https://gigaom.com/2014/11/30/being-connected-is-more-of-a-good-thing-than-it-is-a-bad-thing/
  18. https://gigaom.com/2014/09/03/dont-like-facebook-owning-and-controlling-your-content-use-tools-that-support-the-open-web/
  19. https://gigaom.com/2014/02/27/designing-for-freedom-meet-the-people-putting-user-experience-at-the-heart-of-online-privacy/

Events Wrangling Posts About IndieWeb And PDH

WordPress: Default Personal Digital Home (PDH)
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 2: In The Year 2036
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 3: Pick A Problem
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 4: Baby Steps
IndieWeb Summit 2017 & WordPress PDH
Coder Cooperative June 20th Meetup: IndieWeb And Personal Digital Home

This post will be updated after tonight’s Coder Cooperative meetup, and a post later this week on “Events Wrangling” will cover highlights of the event. Assuming there are participants and highlights at tonight’s meetup. Short notice about the event and my attack of food poisoning means many fewer people have heard about the event than I originally envisioned…

If you have questions or want to discuss IndieWeb or the PDH concept, please contact me at bwaldron (at) gmail [dott] com.

—   End of “Coder Cooperative” section of this post   —

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Blogging U: Day 4 & 5 (3)

[I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I am working to get on-schedule in my Blogging U virtual class. Cross your fingers — I hope today’s post brings me up to date with the virtual schedule… And by the way, no, I’m not worried that my “Day 4 & 5 (3)” post heading will confuse anyone other than June 20 meetup participants. Even they are unlikely to read this far in today’s post, so they are likewise in little danger of suffering from PHCS (Post Heading Confusion Syndrome).]

blogging universityIn an effort to “catch up” in my WordPress.com Blogging University class, today’s post is also addressing the topics of Blogging 101, Day Three: Using WordPress.com Reader AND Day Five: Love Your Theme. I somehow lost or didn’t get my email regarding Day Three’s assignment, so I poked around in the class “syllabus” and found that the WordPress.com Reader was what the missing email would have covered. It looks like the Day Three primary assignment was:

  1. Read about WP.com Reader and get an initial understanding of what, why and how.
  2. Add several tags to my WP.com Reader and browse those tags.
  3. Follow five new blogs that I come across while browsing tags in Reader.

For the three items above for Day Three’s assignment, check, check, and mate! 🙂

I’m not listing in this post the five blogs I’m following because the Blogging 101 syllabus said “following a blog is a guilt-free activity.” If I list the blog titles here, I’d feel more guilt if I unfollow them.

Day Five’s assignment email arrived in my inbox as I was almost done with this post!

Arghhh.  😦 Thought I was done writing the post. Well, a bit of additional work, THEN I’ll be all caught up. Day Five’s assignment consists of:

  1. Visit the Theme Showcase.
  2. Scroll through the options, and click Preview on at least three themes, then click Try & Customize to see the theme in action with your posts.
  3. Save and activate a new theme, or close the Customizer to keep your original.

So I (probably too quickly) went to the Theme Showcase, looked at theme options, previewed three themes “in action” with my posts, then closed the Customizer to keep my current theme. I fiddled with different themes when I established “Events Wrangling” and have specific reasons for choosing my current theme.

I’m not against all changes, and sometimes change is even good just for the sake of change. But I need to have more time to evaluate a theme change, and I’ll only change it when I can clearly understand at least one significant benefit to making the change. Can’t tell I’m an engineer, can you…  🙂

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Blogging U, Day 3 (4): Ideal Reader, Media & Laughter

[You might not believe this, but I really am going to get this Blogging U class schedule figured out. Soon. I hope. For me, this is Day 3, but the class email from Blogging U said Day 4! I looked through my Trash folder, Spam folder, archived folder, Inbox, did searches for Day Three — couldn’t find that Day 3 class email anywhere. Better find out what the instructor assigned for Day 3 so I don’t get a zero on that assignment…]

Day 3 (4) Assignment

Today’s assignment was a harsh dose of reality because it included:

  1. Define the ideal reader of my blog, “Events Wrangling.”
  2. What do they want to spend their (very) limited spare time and attention reading?
  3. What do I want to tell them if they do read one or more of my posts?
  4. Put in a media element you haven’t previously used.
  5. Give the post a few tags, including bloggingfundamentals.

The challenging part of today’s assignment was trying to figure out what the ideal reader(s) of my blog would find worth spending their precious and limited time and attention on. And I haven’t come up with a satisfying answer yet. So I’m going to spend next couple days thinking about and writing down who my ideal reader is and various topics, ideas, opinions, and information that might be of interest to them.

After I develop the list of their potential interests, I’ll start working on titles or descriptions of posts I can write addressing some of those interests.

This approach to today’s assignment means I can fulfill the letter of the law (assignment) today, but I won’t have the spirit of this assignment really done for a few more days. And fully addressing the issue will take many days.

It makes a lot of sense, though. Why write posts that your ideal reader won’t read, even if you do the unlikely thing with the long tail of the internet and somehow your ideal reader does happen to see your post. Once you’re writing content that people of interest to you will read, then you can work on promoting the blog and increasing its visibility. Until you write something people want to read, though, getting visibility doesn’t accomplish much.

TED Video: Laughter

Inserting a new media element was easy. I decided to embed a TED video using the WordPress short code. The TED video “Why We Laugh” is a 17 minute video looking at the science of laughter. It’s a bit of a long watch, but it has a couple good lessons for events wranglers, including:

  • You’re 30 times more likely to laugh if you’re with somebody else than if you’re alone.
  • If people are honestly laughing with each other, it can help make stressful moments much less stressful.

The reason those two lessons are important to me is because they relate to relationship building at events. If you get to know one or several people well enough at an event that you’re enjoying carefree and honest laughter with them, those relationships are likely to last much longer than a strictly business or information-based relationship. The more events wranglers can do to create connections which result in laughter, the better job they’ll do with all their events!

Well, the first phase of today’s assignment is done. The real work comes over the next few days as I struggle with what the ideal reader would be willing to take the time to read…

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