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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Today’s Event: First Day Of Classes At WordPress.com Blogging University

Events. Freshman At Blogging U.

This blog is written from the viewpoint of an events wrangler, covering these topics:

  • Events and events wrangling, all aspects.
  • Automattic and WordPress.
  • blogging universityTIME Community Building (Tech, Innovators, Makers, Entrepreneurs).
  • WordPress Personal Digital Home.
  • Occasional random topic.

Today’s event is my First Day of Classes at the WordPress.com Blogging University!

Since I’m a freshman at Blogging U and not quite sure what this university is like yet, I’ll be a good student and complete the homework assigned for today, which was:

Publish a “who I am and why I’m here” post.

Who I Am

[Having written blog posts since 2004, or maybe earlier, I might not do all my assignments if law of two feetI’m not learning or contributing something of value in the class. As I learn more about what the class is like, I’ll probably follow the unconference Law of Two Feet, which is, “If at any time during our time together you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet, go someplace else.”]

The above italicized aside is part of explaining who I am.

wisconsin and UP with starI am also Bob Waldron, a digital nomad who is currently a resident of Appleton, Wisconsin, USA. By education, I’m a chemical engineer, but over the past 10+ years I’ve gotten involved in a wide variety of activities in addition to engineering. With respect to this blog especially, I am an events wrangler working to become an Events Wrangler. The upper case E and W indicate my goal to do events wrangling as an Automattic employee. I hesitate to write that — but I figure if saying that out loud hurts my chances at getting the job, I probably wouldn’t enjoy working at Automattic. And everything I’ve read and heard indicates I will enjoy it tremendously! So I won’t hide the fact that I want to be an Automattic Events Wrangler.

The About page on this blog explains more of the mundane details of who I am, for those few who may be interested…

Why I’m Here

why I'm hereTo me, “Why I’m Here” refers to what I hope to achieve by publishing this blog. The goals of this blog that come to mind at this moment in time are:

  1. Share and learn information and insights about events wrangling (a modified Law of Two Virtual Feet, applied to blogging instead of unconferences).
  2. Transition from events wrangler to Events Wrangler.
  3. Improve my writing and blogging skills.
  4. Expand my personal networks.
  5. Increase serendipity in my life.

As you can see, I have very modest objectives for this blog. After I achieve all the above goals, I’ll set new ones.  🙂

Blog Post Tags

Today’s assignment for Blogging U includes learning about blog post tags and using them. This assignment will help me with Goal #3 from the above list — “Improve my writing and blogging skills.” It will also help me improve the WP TIPS & TRICKS page on this blog, as described in the post “WordPress.com Tips &Tricks.”

Many years ago, I experimented with tags on blog posts but quit using them because it didn’t feel like it was worth the extra effort. It’s good to be open to new things and to periodically re-examine your position on most matters. You change. The world changes. It might be good for both of you if your opinion changes.

So I’ll take another look at blog post tags to decide if they’re likely to help me achieve my blogging goals. The most challenging part of today’s assignment is deciding what tags (and Categories) to use.

Retrospective: First Day at Blogging U

students at universityFeels odd to be back in class at a university. I haven’t seen any other students. Or instructors. Or classrooms. Makes me wonder what the first day at Blogging U will be like ten years from now when virtual, augmented and mixed reality are much more developed and commonplace. Maybe students in the 2026 freshman class at BU will see other students, instructors and classrooms.

Yay! Done with my homework! 🙂

Time to find where the other students are hanging out. BU Student Union? Playing frisbee on the lawn? Coffee shop? Bars? Maybe I’ll go organize an event for BU freshmen…

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