Saturday, 28 April 2012

BlogCamp


Last Saturday saw me head off to Birmingham where I spent a day at 'BlogCamp'. You may well ask what 'BlogCamp' is. Much to my relief it did not involve canvas of any description. Some hundred plus bloggers from all over the country were gathered under one roof, to attend a one day free workshop for independent bloggers designed to hone our blogging skills. BlogCamp is run by journalist Sally Whittle and the team that runs Tots 100, the largest community of active parent bloggers in the country. Fortunately it is not a prerequisite to have your own tot to be able to attend. There were other sections of the blogging community there including crafters and foodies, although gardeners were perhaps thin on the ground. It was a pleasure to catch up with 'Michelle from 'Vegplotting' again and to briefly meet Emma Cooper. The venue for the day'The Studio' was central, less than a five minute walk from New Street Station and a most comfortable learning environment. The day started with registration and a welcome hot drink plus croissants for those who had not breakfasted. After a lively introductory session from Muireann who blogs at 'Bangs and a Bun', there were three workshops to attend from the menu on offer, a break to enjoy lunch in between, before we all got together again for a plenary session. It was difficult to choose the workshops but after some wavering I attended the following sessions :

Setting Up Your Own Self - Hosted Wordpress Blog - this session covered buying a new domain, setting up hosting, installing a theme and everything else you need to know about this topic. It covered both the pros and possible cons of doing this. I came away with the impression that the process was neither as expensive or as complicated as I thought it might be. It was well delivered by Phil Szomszor in non - teccie language. You can see the slide presentation we saw and some explanatory notes over at Phil's blog 'The Red Rocket'. Whether I will go self- hosted at some stage in the future remains to be decided.


E courses - photographer and writer Susannah Conway shared with us her experiences of developing e - courses. I must admit that from what I had read about the session beforehand I thought it was going to be aimed at people wanting to write e - books but this turned out not to be the case. Still Susannah's experiences were fascinating to listen to and she was generous with the information she shared.

Using photo editing software - up to now I've not done much in the way of editing photos than the odd bit of cropping but this is one area that I would like to develop skills in. I would especially like to learn to use colour palettes to frame and compliment photos as so exquisitely done by Rosie over at 'Leaves N'Bloom' and Liz at 'Gwirrel's Garden'. The session was delivered with humour by professional photographer and lecturer  John Arnold who had stood in at short notice as the original speaker was ill. John's session covered 'Picmonkey' the free photo editor which replaced 'Picnik' earlier this month. Like 'Picnik', 'PicMonkey' can do all photo editing jobs including rotate, crop, edit, apply effects, adjust light, colours, add frames, text, objects, watermarks, etc, etc. I had used 'Picnik' once or twice in the dim and distant past so it it was most useful to be reminded of 'Picmonkey's' similar features and to see practical demonstrations of these features applied to photos generously shared on the day by other attendees.

'Picmonkey' is still in the developmental stage and there are other features waiting in the wings to come online soon such as collages. Since getting home to my own computer I've had fun playing with photos and hope to put some of what I learned into regular practice so watch this space. What is frustrating though unless I have missed the obvious, is that I seem to be unable to save my altered images in 'Iphoto' and also that there does not seem to a simple one step method of uploading them directly to 'Blogger'. I do not think that 'Picmonkey' will be enable me to introduce colour palettes so that is something that requires further research. 


Write ups of these sessions as well as the others are due to appear here soon. Topics included how to be a snark (not sure what one of those is), creating video blogs using Windows Movie Maker and a beginner's guide to search engine optimization to increase your blog traffic. I will be keeping a look out for these write ups as I'm sure I missed a lot of useful information.


There are more blogcamps at other venues in the pipeline for later this year. If you are not already on the mailing list you can get yourself on it here and you will receive information about new BlogCamp dates as soon as they are firmed up. As far as I am concerned the day turned out to be a pleasant learning experience, which took place in a most friendly atmosphere. Although I didn't partake of the cake on offer at the last coffee break of the day, it certainly looked delicious - just wish that I had remembered to slip my camera into my bag to take photos for you. Thanks to Sally and team for such an enjoyable day. 

4 comments:

  1. Hi Anna, Sounds like a really interesting day and a lot I could learn about. Although it feels like there aren't enough hours in the day at the moment so might have to postpone delving deeper into blogging to a later date. Will definitely make a note though of some of those blogs. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Sounds like a great day out, and one where you can learn lots too.

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  3. It was great to see you again Anna and catch up. I thought the venue was a good one and the sessions good, even though the e-books one was the one I'd especially wanted to find out about, you never know when the e-courses tips might come in handy.

    NB There's a blog roundup over at the Tots100 site with lots of reports + hints and tips from the sessions we didn't attend. Well worth a read, especially if the weather continues to be awful!

    Looking forward to seeing the results of your photo playing :)

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  4. Oo sounds like you had a good learning experience and enjoyed the day - looking forward to hearing more about it.

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.