Talking Plugins With KLCK Bloggers Network

Kilkenny Pembroke Hotel

I don’t usually go out of my way to speak at events or gatherings, social, business or otherwise. But when Keith Bohanna asked if I could fill in for him at last night’s KLCK Bloggers Network gathering in Kilkenny I figured I couldn’t say no, the event being on my doorstep and all.

I would equate the gathering last night to something akin to Open Coffee only minus the coffee and a bit more formal. The KLCK Bloggers Network was formed by Amanda Webb (of Spiderworking.com, in the running for best videocaster at this year’s Irish Web Awards) and Lorna Sixsmith of Garendenny Lane who I had met previously at Kilkenny Open Coffee (also turns out we’re both writing for a Carlow magazine). The event itself was held in the Kilkenny Pembroke Hotel who were providing one of their conference rooms complete with projector, screen, notepads, pens, all you would need to run an event like it.

While I was the second speaker on the night (which worked out a treat in terms of the content), Marie Ennis-O’Connor was first up to bat leading a great talk on driving additional traffic to your blog, from starting out as a blogger to building a community around your blog through email, comments, guest blogging and more. The audience (about 18/19 of us there) was a mix of beginner and experienced bloggers with some people simply coming in to get an understanding of what blogging is and does for people.

My own talk was quickly cobbled together yesterday on the back of what I call my WordPress toolbox – the plugins I deem essential to any WordPress installation and ones that I keep handy in a zip file whenever I’m starting a new blog either for myself or a client but I felt it went well for something that was a technical overview of additions you can make to your WordPress blog for the both the admin side of things and your theme out front. You can get the list of plugins and links here on Slideshare. The slides also feature a glimpse of the new branding I’m rolling out across the business later in the month.

Last night was the fourth monthly gathering of the network which heads to Kildare for November and should be back in Kilkenny come February or March. The name – KLCK – is an aconym for Kildare Laois Carlow and Kilkenny and they’re actively looking for topics for discussion that would benefit all in attendance, along with speakers. If the rest of the gatherings are along the lines of last night then they’ll be well worth heading along to. Having it hosted in the Pembroke created an opportunity for people to stay on for drinks and further the conversation in the bar but there’s signs there of a good group and network in the making, with everyone being able to contribute on some level from the own experiences. One thing I did note though is that for the 18 people in the room, there were only four men around the table, one of them being me as a speaker for the evening. Makes a change from the male-dominated Open Coffee mornings in Kilkenny.

That said, it’s also opened me up to the notion that I need to get to more events. Outside of Kilkenny, I think Media2020 and the Blog Awards in Galway were the only events I’ve been to for the year. Time to get back on the road, maybe as far as Kildare for the second Monday in November…

Kilkenny Open Coffee For June

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Yuki Mizuguchi

IT’S THAT time of the month again, tomorrow today is Open Coffee morning in Kilkenny (follow on Twitter).

For almost 18 months now we’ve been operating on the first Wednesday of every month and regardless of whether there’s a dozen people there or two people there, it’s a morning I very much look forward to in the month as a chance to catch up with folk, shoot the breeze over some tea, talk a little shop, sport, tech, gadgets, demos, whatever is going.

Wednesday’s meet takes place, as usual, at the rear of the Kilkenny Café in Market Cross Shopping Centre (map here) and kicks off at 11am. Free wifi and chats are available so if you’re reading this at your desk or on your phone this morning and you’ve got a half hour / hour to spare in your day or just want to pop your head in to say hello, do come along.

March Open Coffee in Kilkenny

House Blend Coffee - Weak Skinny Flat White - Auction Rooms Cafe AUD3.30
Creative Commons License photo credit: avlxyz

OPEN COFFEE in Kilkenny for the month of March takes place this Wednesday morning at 11am in the Kilkenny Cafe. If you’re living local and you’ve not had the opportunity to drop in to Open Coffee then why not join us on Wednesday morning. The crowd that usually gather are a blend of web workers, home workers, IT workers who take the time once a month to grab a cup of coffee, chat about projects people are currently working on, maybe offer up a demonstration, chat about web-related events and news.

There’s free wifi, power points for laptops and you’ll find the group in the back of the Kilkenny Cafe (up the steps to the meeting area) in Market Cross Shopping Centre. There’s no charge, no obligation to talk, just come along and pull up a seat. The meeting time was changed recently to cater for those visiting from Waterford via train with Market Cross a ten minute walk from the train station. If you’re driving or cycling, you’ll find ample parking in the Market Cross Car Park on James’ Street (entrance via James’ Street or Parliament Street) and if you’re walking through Kilkenny you’ll find the main entrance to Market Cross on High Street with Kilkenny Cafe in the corner of the ground floor.

See KilkennyOpenCoffee.com, follow Kilkenny Open Coffee on Twitter or check the map here.

Speed Networking comes to Kilkenny

business card stack
Creative Commons License photo credit: petter palander

SPEED NETWORKING, by definition, can be described as

A method of making a potential business contact by briefly talking to people at an organized event and exchanging contact details.

We’ve all been there, we’ve all done it. Networking opportunities are available every day of the week and we’ve had and seen some great successes out of contacts made on Open Coffee mornings, BarCamps, PodCamps, BusinessCamps, CreativeCamps and more. While the bigger events usually mean a day trip away to Dublin / Cork / Galway or elsewhere, a new dedicated speed networking event has been announced a little closer to home.

Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce intend holding it’s first of four speed networking events in the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel on the 9th February 2010 from 6-8pm. There is no charge for Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce members or Kilkenny County Enterprise Board clients.

Those interested in attending the first of the speed networking nights should contact Billy O’ Neill at (056) 7752767 or email billy.oneill@kilkennychamber.ie or visit www.kilkennychamber.ie.

Of course, if you don’t want to wait until next Monday, why not join the table at Kilkenny Open Coffee this Wednesday morning at 11am in the Kilkenny Cafe at Market Cross Shopping Centre. Admittedly I’ve always preferred the informal networking opportunities presented by the likes of Open Coffees and BarCamps to those of organised networking events but with more and more people starting to go out on their own, it can pay to get out and get talking, whether formally or informally.

Open Coffee, Not Just About Wifi

Latte Art
Creative Commons License photo credit: Lucy James Photography

OPEN COFFEE. It’s not just about wifi. In fact, it’s not about wifi at all. It’s not a gathering of people around laptops, programming in the corner of a coffee shop. It’s not over elaborate demos of bandwidth-heavy project developments. At least those points are valid for Kilkenny anyway.

Open Coffee is about the people.

The people who are working for themselves. The people who are working online or in an online-connected environment. The people who want to learn or share internet experiences whether personal or professional.

Yes, the wifi helps and if it’s available it will likely get used to pull email during the morning, allow people check in to the office, push photos out to twitter etc. But at the end of the day, it’s the conversation that counts.

Barring the odd slip of an iPhone onto the table when the conversation turned to Foursquare yesterday at Kilkenny Open Coffee, there wasn’t a hint of a laptop or netbook to be seen. Mobile phone reception in our current venue is dour at the best of times, but it’s the conversation that counts. Further insights into dbTwang, technical writing for the US markets, outsourcing to South Africa, travel in Prague, location-based services, iPhone app development and more were up for discussion yesterday. All over a few pots of tea before everyone went back to their homes and offices for another month.

For me personally, I take it as a great chance to get out of the office, if just to meet up with familiar and new faces – once in a month – for a tea and a chat. Spending as long as I do in the office or working from the house (both by myself), it does good to get out and about when the opportunity presents itself.

If you’re thinking on coming along next month, we’ll likely be getting together on Wednesday February 3rd, same OCC time, same OCC channel. Details here and map here. Actually, rumour has we’ll be bringing it forward to 11am instead of 11:30am to suit those who take the train and give out free pens.

If it’s your first time going along, don’t worry about a laptop. Bring a pen and paper, or a business card, or just yourself.

One Year Of Kilkenny Open Coffee

Double espresso
Creative Commons License photo credit: Maria Keays

TOMORROW WILL mark the first anniversary of Open Coffee in Kilkenny.

The first Wednesday of every month in Kilkenny sees a gathering of local business types, entrepreneurs, homeworkers, techies, non-techies and more meet for coffee at Kilkenny Cafe in the Market Cross Shopping Centre, usually from 11:30am to about 1pm. Tomorrow, being the first Wednesday of the month, will be no different.

The last twelve months have seen mornings of 2-3 people through to double figures. There’s nothing strict about the gathering – you don’t have to be involved in a technology startup, you don’t have to be a web designer or web worker, you don’t even have to be from Kilkenny. People drop in, people drop out, some people come along for a half hour, some people stay for the morning and beyond but whoever is there on the day, the conversation is always good with the ideas and chats in plentiful supply.

Of course, the majority of us that go along to the morning would drive, so weather-pending, we’ll have a nice turnout for tomorrow morning.

If you’re in the neighbourhood, have a story to tell, a business idea to plug, want to get out of the house or office and grab a cup of tea or coffee with people working (quite possibly) in a similar space to yourself, then drop along to the Kilkenny Cafe in Market Cross any time from 11:30am to 1pm. We’re usually found up in the meeting area at the back, in on the right. There’s free wifi, usually a few offers on tea, scones, lunches or whatever you’re into food and beverage-wise.

For those driving, there’s parking available in the Market Cross car park with entrances off James’ Street or Parliament Street, while for those walking you can enter Market Cross via James’ Street or High Street with the Kilkenny Cafe located on the ground floor in the corner, next to Penney’s.

See here for a map or visit KilkennyOpenCoffee.com to find out what’s been happening at the last few meetups.

Kilkenny Open Coffee Wednesday August 5th

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Creative Commons License photo credit: jwalsh

The August outing of Kilkenny Open Coffee takes place tomorrow morning (Wednesday August 5th) at 11:30pm and we’re back in the Kilkenny Cafe at Market Cross for tomorrow’s gathering.

Last month we had a nice sized meetup in the Kilkenny Rivercourt Hotel but given recent unreliable twists in the weather, we’re taking to The Meeting Room at the rear of the Kilkenny Cafe.

For those of you traveling from outside Kilkenny City, check here for a map.

You can now follow Kilkenny Open Coffee on Twitter.

Kilkenny Open Coffee For June, Today

152/365 Death is the sound of distant thunder at a picnic
Creative Commons License photo credit: Mykl Roventine

The next Kilkenny Open Coffee takes place in Kilkenny City today at 11:30am at the rear of the Kilkenny Cafe, Market Cross Shopping Centre, Kilkenny. Unless a super cool open-air coffee venue appears on the map between now and 11:30am, that’s where we’ll be (the weather in Kilkenny has been hitting 26/27 degrees).

Maybe we could change it to Open Picnic instead?

For more on dates, maps and to find out who’ll be there, you can check the Open Coffee Ning group here, or by visit IGOpeople.com.

5th Kilkenny Open Coffee This Morning

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Creative Commons License photo credit: reality-check

The fifth Kilkenny Open Coffee gathering takes place later this morning. Myself, John Keyes, Keith Bohanna, Frank Bradley and Katherine Nolan have become the regulars there and hopefully will all be there again this morning. Each meeting to date has thrown up a few new faces, people using it as a chance to get out of the house or the office and meet people in a likeminded space, see what others are up to. If you’re in Kilkenny, working from home, working in a web / tech / business background and want to get out of the house or the office and introduce yourself to people in a similar space, do drop down, either today or at any of the Open Coffee mornings down the line.

We haven’t set a structure on the gathering i.e. no specific themes or guest speakers or anything like that but each morning has thrown up some great topics of conversation and thoughts to get your own moving.

This morning’s Open Coffee takes place in the Kilkenny Café at Market Cross Shopping Centre (map here) on High Street. For those driving, MCSC has a large multistorey car park, with parking also available in the nearby Dunnes Stores car park. The meet is on at the back of the café where you’ll also find free wifi.

To keep up to date, check the IGOpeople group here.

Kilkenny Open Coffee, Tuesday March 3rd

Kilkenny Cafe

We’re down a few regulars (regulars being those who were at the first two gatherings) but Kilkenny’s third open coffee is set for tomorrow, Tuesday March 3rd at 11:30am.

The venue, as on previous days, will be the Kilkenny Cafe at Market Cross Shopping Centre, High Street, Kilkenny. Check IGOpeople.com for more.

Each of the previous mornings have seen new faces introduced and hopefully tomorrow will bring more of the same. If you’re involved in the tech / web / a startup or want to come along and meet people working in those spaces then join us tomorrow morning from 11:30am.