Friday, May 19, 2006

Successful Format for Blogging Workshop

Our workshop on blogging at the New York County Lawyers' Association was very successful. It was sold out. AttorneyKaiser Wahab and I made a pretty good team and I think provided pretty good perspectives on how to create and use a blog. Nuchine Nobari, NYCLA's head librarian, was very thoughtful in giving ideas on what people needed to know, in configuring the space, and in helping us generally. I'm throwing out some thoughts for anyone considering organizing a similar workshop.

It was important to show how to register a domain name. We registered the domain name www.thenewyorkcountylawyer.com for Nuchine by going through Network Solutions. Participants also were not familiar with the WHOIS search, so we showed that. If you go to networksolutions.com, and click on WHOIS, you can find information on who owns a particular website. We advised to reserve a domain name that will correspond with your blog name. It's not necessary, but it's nice. For example, I own www.smallfirmlife.com. When I get fancy, I will connect this blog to that domain name. Stay tuned.

To launch the blogging portion of the NYCLA workshop, we oversaw Nuchine as she created a blog on Blogger.com. There was almost no introduction to the topic, aside from a welcome from Ron Katter, the Chair of the NYCLA Committee on Solo and Small Practice. We had a digital projector showing how she did it. Then, on the 14 library computer stations, we walked around and helped everyone create a blog on Blogger and make a post. Since the library had a wireless connection, people could have worked from laptops. Once a laptop has logged into Blogger, Blogger will recognize the user. So I couldn't access Blogger through Kaiser's laptop. We had to disconnect and reconnect to my laptop to show my blog from the laptop. An important point for future presenters who may count on sharing a laptop: bring your own just in case.

We found that no partipants brought laptops. Also, none had started blogs. I was a little surprised at both, I thought that we might have attracted at least one current blogger.

After setting up Nuchine's blog and helping all participants set up their own blogs, both Kaiser and I gave guided tours our respective blogs, showing the range of capabilities of blogs and their purpose. I showed a few of my Small Firm Life posts demonstrating various blogging tricks like inserting links and photographs. I demonstrated the utility of Sitemeter and how Feedburner works. Kaiser showed how a Yahoo RSS reader works and how to subscribe and change the hierarchy of subscriptions.

Participating attorneys were smart, quick and practical. They put together an interesting range of creative blogs in a matter of minutes. Lots of great questions.

I think the decision to have people create blogs and then talk about them was a good one. Everyone was very psyched and completely experienced the medium's capabilities before we downloaded all of the fancy things on them. I had fun, learned a few things, met some great people and would definitely do it again. My advice to anyone putting on a similar event is to show, rather than telling. People wanted to know HOW, not WHY.

Special thanks to Olivera Medenica, C0-Chair of NYCLA's EMIPS (Entertainment Media Intellectual Property and Sports Law Section) for co-sponsoring the event, promoting it and helping to organize.

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