Irish Blog Week? It’s A Busy One

The first week of March is being considered “Irish Blog Week”. Though unofficial by nature, the scheduling of some of the country’s biggest web and technology events for bloggers and podcasters alike have created one very busy week for the start of March.

Kicking things off on the first of March is the third annual Irish Blog Awards. Damien Mulley is in the driving seat again on this year’s awards show to be held in the Alexander Hotel in Dublin. The Alexander was a great venue for the awards last year and whether you’re nominated for a category or not, it makes for a great social and networking occasion. Let the hair down, have a few drinks and mark a date in the calendar that recognises the quality of bloggers of all genres in the country.

Also on the day there’s a “Ladies Tea Party” being organised by Sabrina Dent and Ina O’Murchu. This takes place in The Market Bar, about a 12 minute walk from the Alexander and is an open invite to all female bloggers in Ireland to have a gathering pre-awards show. Drop in for a few hours from 4:30pm on March 1st.

Not only is there a tea party on the day, but Red Mum is organising a meetup for photo bloggers as well, something I might try and get along to, depending on how early I can get out of Kilkenny.

On Sunday March 2nd you’ve got the third WebCamp event, to be held in Cork at the Kingsley Hotel. With talks in the morning and breakout sessions in the afternoon, the topic for the day is social network portability. Workshop fee is €50 for early bird registrations and €60 at regular cost. Full details can be found here.

If you’re hanging around Dublin after the Blog Awards then you might be interested in a gourmet brunch being organised by Deborah a.k.a. The Humble Housewife. Starting from 1pm in the Ely Wine Bar on Custom House Quay, the event is for food bloggers, fans and readers of food blogs and friends. RSVP by February 1st to lay claim to a place at the brunch.

The week continues over Monday and Tuesday as BlogTalk 2008 hits Cork, the fifth international conference on social software. Speakers include John Breslin, Gabriela Avram, Anna Rogozinska, David Cushman, Salim Ismail, Rashmi Sinha and many more.

Forward to the end of the week (Saturday March 8th) and CreativeCamp takes place in Kilkenny. Following the success of PodCamp in Kilkenny last September, it’s nice to see another event on my home soil, and another event I’m directly involved in organising alongside Keith Bohanna and Tom Corcoran. Two of the talks on the day have been confirmed so far and registration is open. You can sign up to attend here (free) and sign up to talk here (we’d love to hear you).

There’s also rumour of a bloggers’ dinner taking place in Kilkenny on Friday 7th, more on this as and when it is revealed.

Track it on Jaiku or keep up with all the links above!

Mark All As Read

My Google Reader feeds

I’m gearing up for a Christmas period without internet use. Podcasts will wait, blogs will wait and the world will keep on spinning.

So, over lunch today, I pressed the lovely ‘mark all as read’ button in Google Reader. Sure, I went through all my Irish blog subscriptions, skipping daily links, browsing over the meaty posts and at the end I abandoned every one of my tech blogs, podcast blogs, football blogs, music blogs by pressing that nice grey button at the top of Google Reader.

At least now maybe I’ve a chance to catch up with stuff, or keep abreast of new blog posts. I’ve been swamped in the last fortnight, flat out busy in all directions. I’ve started blogging about Euro 2008, I moved and revamped Liverpool Access (which got re-ranked on request) and behind the scenes I’ve been working more with some local bands and putting spare time into getting a plan of attack together for Devious Theatre next year.

And all the time, the unread messages count in Google Reader keeps climbing, and climbing.

It is likely that the same will happen over Christmas, a week’s worth of activity from some daily news sources can mount up. Not finding the time to pour over all my subscriptions of late I’ve been using Google Alerts, while keeping a daily eye on activity in the land of Jaiku (where I can filter subscriptions people publish).

I’m sure the mobile text alerts will keep me going over the holiday period. While I’m telling myself I’ll nip into town over Christmas for some coffees and an hour or two on the laptop, I’ll likely be more inclined to spend some time on the lake with my new kayak (arriving this Saturday) or spending time in the pub catching up with the McGuire clan.

Mark all as read – just a good a feeling as cleaning your desk before leaving the office for Christmas.

And The Blog Turned Two

The Blog Turns Two

I’m marking two years of kenmc.com as a blog. That in itself means I’m blogging around the two year mark overall, or actively blogging, whether through kenmc.com or any number of the other blogs I have run / am running at present.

I’ve met some terrific people over the past two years due to blogging and interaction with the blogging community in Ireland and I’ve had my eyes opened to many an experience, service, thought or otherwise as a result. I’ve been to BarCamp (Waterford), PodCamp (Kilkenny) – mind you I’ve yet to make it to an OpenCoffee – but these events I wouldn’t have heard about or become involved with if it wasn’t for blogging.

As a result of PodCamp I’m now back producing the Playlist Mix podcast, the sixth episode of which went out earlier this week. That in itself, reviving the podcast, has provided more opportunities and contacts for me musically.

To everyone who reads the blog (past and present), to new readers and to the entire Irish blogging community – thanks for continuing to inspire me to blog, to try, to test and to enjoy letting go in one of the most creative and easily accessible means of communication there is!

Now, I’m off to get a can of coke with my breakfast, do something a little different for the morning.

I’m 91% Addicted To Blogging

I answered 14 questions on Mingle2.com and it looks like I’m 91% addicted to blogging. When I look at it, its possibly a fair assumption. Found via Life Without Toast.

If its not blogging about something, its thinking about blogging about something, helping someone put together a blog or just having a general discussion about them – including last night pre gig in Paris Texas (I’m now playing music every Wednesday night in Paris Texas in Kilkenny if anyone is around for the summer) though last night’s discussion was more about the blogging future and development of KilkennyMusic.com as a music news / PR source, but that’s something for another Saturday discussion to be had.

91%…. Take the test for yourself

Marking One Year Sports Blogging

One year ago today I launched LiverpoolAccess.com. Certainly my biggest earner in terms of ad revenue, Liverpool Access marks its first birthday today and I’m delighted to see it get to the year mark. There was one point I reached where I thought “this is too much” but enjoy blogging about the club I’ve supported since a wee lad.

Liverpool Access
was born out of World Cup Access, my first soccer-related blog which covered the 2006 World Cup in Germany last summer, live blogging every single game. Once the World Cup was finished I needed something to jump into and so launched Liverpool Access in its place, World Cup Access having closed its doors completely in recent weeks following months of no activity.

Thus far on Liverpool Access I’ve managed to average just over a post a day, I’ve live blogged games, shared videos and over the course of the year been able to refine my blogging approach from more of a news-based style to personal opinion-based style which I feel is working better for me. My thanks to those who continute to read LiverpoolAccess.com on a daily basis and if you’re a Liverpool fan and not already familiar with the blog then give it a look, let me know what you think.

Intermissions This Week (I’m Away)

The blogging this week is a little stop-start. For those of you reading via RSS and who haven’t seen the note running at the top of kenmc.com or been tracking my tweets from during the week, I’m on stage every night this week with The Devious Theatre Company for our second run of Heart Shaped Vinyl in as many years.

Its been going great so far – the last two nights (public) sold out and tonight’s show is also sold out also leaving some tickets for Saturday’s run. I cut myself off from the internet around 4pm to get down to the theatre. I’ve also taken the mad step of deleting the internet profiles on my phone so I’m not tempted to check in, send emails, all of that kind of thing. Coupled with the RSS diet I started a while back its affording me some nice time to switch off! You’d sometimes forget just how much work there is in running a theatre production!

Fired For Blogging? UK Bloggers At Risk, Are You?

Checking in with the Beeb it looks like a third of bloggers in the UK are at risk of getting fired from their workplace. In a recent survey of 2,000 bloggers it was revealed that 39% of people made “harmful comments” that could be grounds for gross misconduct. That’s a fairly high percentage wouldn’t you think? This gives rise to a post I’ve been keeping in the drafts…

In the Irish blog o’sphere there is a good element of transparency and a great sense of community. We’re not afraid of saying who we work for, who we represent, what our interests are commercially or personally – nice transparency. What I’ve yet to come across – and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong – are people stepping out and bad mouthing who they work for online. Sure enough, you might hate your boss or management and you might talk around the water cooler about it or yap in the pub about it but you don’t go blogging about it!

I worked with AOL for some time a few years back, before I had any interest in blogging (but not too long before) so email was the big thing. So was professional misconduct and the two went hand in hand – you don’t bitch about staff or insider details in email, you don’t (or try not to) make personal mails from your company account, forward emails from your company account, anything that has the potential to bring the name of the organisation into disrepute.

Whether its an organisation you’re working for employing hundreds of people, a small company with fifteen of you there or a small startup (my situation in 2005), it pays to have a little professional courtesy and a little common sense.

From the report –

If there is a negative impact on the organisation’s corporate image which is so serious that it breaches the implied term of mutual trust and confidence, the employee could be dismissed for gross misconduct

And I think thats what it is, common sense. You bite at the hand that feeds you enough and it will eventually bite you back. But blogging isn’t a “new thing” any more and neither is getting fired for it. The term ‘Dooced‘ was pretty much coined by Heather Armstrong who was fired for references made about her employers on her blog back in 2002, just a year after running the blog; ‘Queen Of The Sky’ Ellen Simonetti was fired from her job at Delta Airlines because of events on her blog ‘Diary of a Flight Attendant‘; staff at Wells Fargo and Friendster have been fired in the past for blogging
. More recently there was the case with Sam Sethi getting the flick from Techcrunch UK before Christmas.

The three of us in the office including myself, Aidan and John blog on several different fronts and as a business trying to develop itself and its clients the last thing we need to do is go pissing people off. It might be different in our case as we wouldn’t be blogging about hating our own business, but you’d still not see us naming and shaming clients, buyers or suppliers. However, if it was me in a position over 20 other people and one disgruntled employee decides to take things to the web and bad mouth the business or but the business in a bad light thanks to his remarks online I don’t think I’d have any hesitation in taking action – its just something you don’t do. Even if you’re freelance, why would you want to go bad mouthing or showing up a previous source of work if you’re actively looking for others. Things that get published to the web have a tendency on sticking around….

Late night rant aside, CNN.com published an article while I was finishing up in college just over two years ago and its final points as as important now as they were two years ago.

  1. Know where your employer stands on blogging
  2. Blog on your own time
  3. Practice safe blogging (like not giving away business secrets)
  4. Don’t hide your blog from your boss – be open
  5. Use good judgement – don’t use your blog to talk about things you’d never say in real life
  6. Others will disagree with you – be aware

I’ve had people approach me this year asking “should I tell the manager if I end up telling a funny story from work” (or something along those lines) – I say you better. Be honest and upfront about it. Take from it what you will but for those people getting into blogging, open your eyes when your blogging. People are reading, people are visiting, search engines are keeping track of your posts and you can be held accountable at the end of the day.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a code-of-conduct type thing, its just common sense in relation to your employer and your own job security. If you value your job, don’t put yourself in the firing line.

How Does Google Rank Your Blog?

Catching up on a little weekend reading (lack of any reasonable internet connection over the past four days) and Steve Rubel makes an interesting post on how Google ranks your blog. Being away for the weekend I had a little time to reflect (but a lot less time to put the reflection into action) on my own blog but this post matches some of my weekend thoughts, the sum of which should generate a change or two around kenmc.com :)

See Google BlogRank by Steve Rubel and the original post here.

End Of The Road For Mobileblogr.com

I’m more keen on starting up blogs than winding them down but I’m pulling the plug on mobileblogr.com as a dedicated blog. Simply put, I haven’t been putting as much time as I want into it due to concentrating on other blogging adventures and so have decided to call it a day.

The blog itself has been running since a few months but it fell into the blogging trap of a good hive of activity in the opening stages and serious lack of activity – to the point where it hasn’t seen a post in three weeks and I’d rather it was a daily or bi-daily blog.

So, thanks to the import/export featured of WordPress 2.1x I’ve pulled all the mobileblogr.com blog posts in here (just need to review their categories) so as not to lose them as they’re all relevant when it comes to technology.

I’ve no further plans for the domain (current PR3) if anyone is interested and will be pulling the hosting plug on it tonight. Rather pull the whole thing now than just let it drag on and on and on…. :)

It doesn’t mean the end of mobile tech coverage, just means the posts will end up in a new home on kenmc.com. Thanks to those who read the blog and passed comments over the few months but I reckon it has to be done. Now, on with the day…

See also: Post on mobileblogr.com

Blogs On Matt Cooper Yesterday, Using Google, Specialised Blogging

Listening to the Last Word podcast (feed link here) from yesterday (6pm hour), looking at blogging, the web, tips for getting noticed and Google and more with Gerry McGovern. There’s a phone-in Mick Fealty of Slugger O’Toole as well.

Gerry’s three tips for Google:

  • Use words (as keywords) that people will genuinely use to search for. e.g. Who searches for ‘low fares’ when people want ‘cheap flights’?
  • Get links! Google counts your links (incoming links) as votes, so get links from other sites and get yourself seen.
  • Use a good ‘title’ meta tag. No explanation for the non-techies other than if you’re a manager, get whoever looks after your website to make sure there’s a good ‘title’ meta tag in there. For the uninitiated, a ‘title’ meta tag contains the text displayed in the title bar at the top of your browser window and is used by search engines when returning results from your page. e.g. mine starts with ‘Ken McGuire :: Creative Imagination’ followed by the blog post’s name.

Mick goes on to talk a little about Slugger O’Toole and how specialised blogging earns you a specialised audience which can potentially give you power in the market place.

Makes for a good listen. The segment runs for a quarter of an hour or so from just after the news to the 21 minute mark in the podcast.