Christmas [en]

[fr] Quelques réflexions au sujet de Noël -- des grandes fêtes de mon enfance avec tous les cousins jusqu'aux fêtes plus intimes des familles fragmentées d'aujourd'hui.

Pour une fois, je ne suis pas stressée par les cadeaux de Noël. Je m'y suis prise "à l'avance" (dès jeudi au lieu de tout le 24), et j'ai même pris plaisir à choisir du joli paper d'emballage.

Les publications frénétiques sur ce blog ne reprendront sans doute pas avant la fin des fêtes de Noël.

Joyeux Noël à tous. Prenez le temps d'être avec ceux qui vous sont chers.

As a kid, I used to like Christmas. It was a chance to get together with all my cousins, uncles and aunts, eat nice food, light the Christmas tree and distribute presents. I like to think we are a family which didn’t go overboard with presents. A CD, a book, a nice vase, a jumper, or a couple of beautiful candles — sometimes bigger presents from parents to children, obviously, but overall, I’m pretty proud of us, looking back.

As I grew older and the “next generation” of kids started arriving (and we became proper adults), the annual Christmas gathering broke up into smaller parts. I don’t see my cousins at Christmas any more. We all celebrate in our smaller, nuclear families.

Then there are break-ups, divorces, and more fragmentation.

My brother and I get two Christmas parties nowadays. One with my dad and “his” side of the family, and a similar one with my stepmum. Four-five people, smaller than the gatherings of my childhood, but cosy. Sometimes, these small family gatherings seem a better site for tensions between individuals to surface — but maybe this has more to do with me being an adult now than the size of the group. As a child, one isn’t always aware of all that is going on in the “grown-up world”.

So, overall, I like Christmas — even if over the last years there have been some parties which have not turned out as fun as we hoped.

The one thing I don’t like is shopping for Christmas presents.

I don’t like the commercial overload one is subjected to in the shops. I don’t like the fact that there are too many people. And I don’t like the fact that usually, I leave Christmas shopping until the last minute, and have to find/buy my presents in a rush on the 24th before going to the party in the evening.

This year, things are different.

I decided to start early. “Early”, for me, means that I went Christmas shopping two days ago, on Thursday. I bought a couple of presents. I went again yesterday. Bought another few presents. And today: a few more.

The result of all this is that I had a nice time walking around town, looking at things in shops (which is something I like doing!), bumping into friends (because particularly around Christmas, Lausanne is a little village), choosing presents, and even buying pretty wrapping paper and cards.

Even my sprained big toe last night at judo hasn’t managed to make me feel stressed about these pre-Christmas times.

There isn’t much blogging here these days as you’ve noticed, as I’m spending a fair amount of time away from the computer — but no fear: I still have a pile of posts to write “asap”, ideas, and energy to keep things going. Might just have to wait until after Christmas, though.

Merry Christmas everyone. Enjoy your time with those you hold dear. Remember it’s about love.

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Websites and Blogs, Where Does One Start? [en]

[fr] Petite prise de tête (j'aime bien ça!) au sujet du site pour Going Solo et l'entreprise (pas encore existante légalement) qui est derrière. Quel nom de domaine utiliser? (J'en ai enregistré toute une série autour de cette idée de conférences, ça m'a d'ailleurs coûté un saladier.) Il va me falloir une identité visuelle. Que bloguer où? Créer déjà un site pour l'entreprise? Bienvenue dans les méandres de mes questionnements.

Along the lines of [rediscovering some aspects of blogging](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/17/feeling-like-a-born-again-blogger/), I’m rediscovering some tricky online presence questions which I’m more used to hearing in the mouths of my clients than in my head.

Questions like: do I create a separate blog for my company? for my event? how? when? who will blog on them? what will we blog on them?

To be honest, those questions aren’t actually all that tricky. For example, of course I’m going to create a site-blog (website with a blog) for [Going Solo](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/14/announcing-going-solo/). Is it too early to create a site for the company, though? I’ve got a good mind for the moment to [hold off incorporating](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/17/advisors-boards-companies-partners-oh-my/) it until the first event is done. I mean, not to be pessimistic, but if Going Solo doesn’t work out as well as I hope, and I decide to leave the event business at that, it will have saved me the trouble and grief of setting up the company “for nothing”, right? Other opinions on the topic?

A few weeks ago, I booked a pile of domain names (my poor credit card can testify). For the company, for Going Solo, for other events I already have in mind. I got .nets, .coms, .orgs, and even .co.uks. You don’t want a porn site as a neighbour, right? And if you’re going to build a name or a brand, who knows what you might want to do with the other TLDs 3 years from now? Better have them handy. Well, this isn’t really the topic of this post, but gosh, does it add up to a pile of money.

Of course, to make things easy, one of the .coms I didn’t manage to get is going-solo.com (it’s an insulin pump, so not much to do with what I’m plotting). Which leaves me with a choice of .co.uk, .ch, .net, .org. I’d say .org is out, as this is a commercial venture. As the event is going to [take place in Switzerland](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/16/picking-a-city-for-an-event-lausanne/), .ch would make sense, but then what happens when we reproduce the event in other countries? (I’ve actually already been talking about that with a few people — and can you imagine: the first event hasn’t even happened yet that they are already showing interest…)

Leaves us with .net and .co.uk, the latter making sense if the mother company is indeed incorporated in the UK as I plan, but as it hasn’t actually happened yet, it could change. So, I guess for the moment I’d go with going-solo.net and set up a blog there, to start with.

I don’t have any visual identity yet so that means it would be pretty bland at first. (This is where I really regret not being a bit of a designer myself.) I’m half-tempted to try and recruit [Bread and Butter](http://www.bread-and-butter.ch/) (look at the [beautiful art they did for Adsclick](http://www.bread-and-butter.ch/portfolio.php?tags=adsclick)), but they’re already doing LIFT (maybe a bit of a conflict) and as they’re already nicely established, I’m a bit afraid about the price tag. My more realistic idea is to try to find a small design shop in Lausanne which could use the visibility (local and international) Going Solo will bring them, or see if anything could be set up involving [students from the ECAL](http://www.ecal.ch/).

As for the company, should I set up a website already, even if it doesn’t “legally” exist? (God, I wish I were a lawyer and understood all this stuff.) I’ll need a visual identity (at least a logo) and some content. I guess there will be a lot of cross-posting between the Going Solo blog and this one, at least at the start.

Also, languages! Oh my! Actually, no. Going Solo will be held in English, therefore the site will be in English. I’ll provide some French content for local sponsors to dig through, but I’m not going to do the whole [multilingual space](http://climbtothestars.org/focus/multilingual/) thing yet for it. Could be an idea in the long run, though… hmm.

Well, thanks for following my thought process. I’ll be setting up going-solo.net soon and cross-posting relevant content there so that we can all start linking to it! 🙂

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Hashtags For My Followees [en]

[fr] En utilisant un dièze # devant un mot dans un message Twitter, on en fait un tag (un "hashtag", pour être précis -- "hash" étant un nom du dièze). Le site hashtags.org indexe ces tags. Pour y retrouver vos tweets, suivez hashtags sur Twitter.

[Hashtags.org](http://hashtags.org/) popped up on my radar roughly a week ago, I’d say. I mentioned [hashtags](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/09/02/twitter-hashtags-a-quickie/) once already here. They’re a “user-generated” system for implementing tags into Twitter. (User-generated, here, does not mean the same as in the ugly “user-generated content (UCG)” everybody is talking about these days, but points to the fact that [hashtags were initiated by users](http://factoryjoe.com/blog/2007/08/25/groups-for-twitter-or-a-proposal-for-twitter-tag-channels/), not by the Twitter-makers — just like the @convention.)

So, what does hashtags.org do? Basically, it makes those hashtags visible. In September, Twitter introduced [tracking](http://blog.twitter.com/2007/09/tracking-twitter.html), which I realise now I haven’t mentioned here yet. Tracking allows you to “subscribe” to keywords. I personally chose to track “stephtara” and “@stephtara” so that any @replies would arrive directly on my phone as texts. I had the bad idea to track “fowa” during [the Future of Web Apps conference](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/10/05/my-notes-of-fowa-autumn-2007/). By break time I had 300 text messages in my inbox. Oopsie!

Hashtags.org allows you to view tweets labeled with a hashtag on a web page. Look at [#leweb3](http://hashtags.org/tag/leweb3/) for example, [#twitter](http://hashtags.org/tag/twitter/), or [#wordpress](http://hashtags.org/tag/wordpress/).

A few remarks:

– it’s not very populated yet, because you need to [follow @hashtags](http://twitter.com/hashtags) for them to track your tags; as of writing, only 132 people are — so start following!
– I’m getting 500 internal server errors when I try to look at a tag that doesn’t exist ([#lausanne](http://hashtags.org/tag/lausanne/), as of writing)
– once “everybody” starts using hashtags, it will be very useful to be able to narrow down a collection of tagged tweets to “my followees only”; imagine I’m at LeWeb3, and everybody is twittering about it: I’m not interested in getting the thousands of tweets, just those from the people I’m following
– for a long time, I’ve been a proponent of stickemtogether multi-word tags; recently, I’ve revised my ideas about them and come to realise that multi-word tags really need spaces in them, for better indexing; at the moment, you need to use “+” instead of spaces, like “#san+francisco” (unfortunately these don’t get indexed correctly, [another 500 error](http://hashtags.org/tag/san%2Bfrancisco/)); [Stowe suggests opening and closing hash](http://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2007/12/hashtagsorg.html) as an alternative, which is a bit hashy though it has its charm (“#san francisco#”).

In any case, nice to see such an initiative up and running!

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WordPress Deaf to Pings [en]

[fr] Mon installation WordPress semble refuser les pings depuis deux semaines environ. Aucune idée ce qui peut causer ça.

While I’m at it in the “technical annoyances instead of getting work done” department, with the [misbehaving plugin](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/18/nasty-problem-with-basic-bilingual-plugin/) and the [Sandbox trouble](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/18/wordpress-sandbox-theme-problems/), my WordPress installation has obviously become deaf to pings/trackbacks over the last two weeks.

I can send trackbacks fine, but not receive them. Even from my own blog. I don’t know where to start searching for the problem.

Oh, and I’ve lost the French excerpt to my post [Advisors, Boards, Companies, Partners, Oh My!](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/17/advisors-boards-companies-partners-oh-my/) so if you happen to have a cached copy, would you check it out for me, please?

Damn. This morning is not turning out the way I hoped.

**Update, 17:30:** the pings from my most recent post just came through! I’m only running Spam Karma 2 now, deactivated both Akismet and Bad Behavior. Hope to identify the culprit soon.

**Update, 17:53:** now, when I save a post, it sends one ping. If there is more than one pingable URL in the post, I need to save it multiple times. Got bug?

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Nasty Problem With Basic Bilingual Plugin [en]

[fr] Un problème avec le plugin Basic Bilingual qui fait disparaître les extraits dans "l'autre langue". Je bosse sur une solution (voir commentaires).

Heck. I just spent the last 15 minutes digging through the Google cache to retrieve “other language excerpts” which had been wiped from a good dozen of my recent posts. Not all of them, mind you — almost all of them. I haven’t yet managed to reproduce the problem, but clearly, the meta fields get reset in some circumstances.

I suspect it might be something that has to do with editing posts. Maybe related to the old [disappearing tags](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/30/basic-bilingual-03-for-multilingual-blogging/) problem?

In any case, I’m afraid [Basic Bilingual](http://www.hyperborea.org/journal/archives/2007/04/07/when-tags-vanish/) must be misbehaving. Be particularly cautious when editing posts. Let me know if you have the same problem or a path to a fix — I’m working on it now.

**Update:** if somebody has the French excerpt to my post [Advisors, Boards, Companies, Partners, Oh My!](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/17/advisors-boards-companies-partners-oh-my/) in their newsreader or browser cache, could you please send it to me or copy-paste it here as a comment? Thanks a lot.

**Update, 17:30:** I think I solved the problem (see comments) and corrected the files available on my server, bumping up the version to 0.31. Please [download the latest version](/code/basic-bilingual.zip) if you’re using this plugin.

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WordPress Sandbox Theme Problems [en]

[fr] Deux problèmes avec Sandbox: les menus déroulants qui se déroulent décalés sur la droite dans IE, et l'absence de feuille de style pour l'impression. Toute aide bienvenue.

As you might have seen, [Sandbox](http://www.plaintxt.org/themes/sandbox/) is now [my theme of choice for WordPress](http://climbtothestars.org/tags/sandbox/). [Diurnal](http://www.sndbx.org/results/designs/diurnal/), here on CTTS, is built upon Sandbox, and I’m using it with a client to build a new design from scratch. It’s a nice base to work from, in a [CSS Zen Garden](http://www.csszengarden.com/) way.

However, there are problems. Here are two I’m stuck with on my client site. I posted them to the [Sandbox forums](http://www.sndbx.org/forums/), but I thought I’d mention them here in case one of you smart readers had an answer.

1. [No print stylesheet?](http://www.sndbx.org/forums/viewtopic.php?id=221): does anybody have a print stylesheet handy for use with Sandbox? If I can avoid writing one from scratch…
2. [Broken drop-down menus in IE](http://www.sndbx.org/forums/viewtopic.php?id=220): I’m far from a drop-down menu specialist, so I’m not sure where to start to fix the IE wonkiness I’ve noticed. The menus in IE do not drop right below the parent menu as [shown here](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/1998710028/), but overlap on the neighbouring menu item on the right.

Thanks for any help or pointers you can bring me.

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Advisors, Boards, Companies, Partners, Oh My! [en]

Welcome to the area where I feel I’m swimming rather than standing on firm ground. Thankfully, I have advisors for this, but I’m still the person who needs to make the decisions. Let’s dive into the swimming-pool: it’s called [Starting a Company](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/13/im-starting-a-company/), in the city of Oh-My-God-Is-It-Really-A-Good-Idea-To-Blog-All-This.

I have one event underway, [Going Solo](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/14/announcing-going-solo/). If all goes well (and I intend it to) this will be the first of many — whether they cater to the same audience or not is still something I’m thinking about. So, I want to create a company which will be behind these events. Good for branding, allows me to bring in partners, pay myself a salary, etc. (Actually, I realise now that I’m not 100% sure why it’s a good idea to create a company — I’m sure it is, but I have trouble explaining it. Enlightened comments welcome.)

This company has a board of advisors. I haven’t drawn up any contracts or anything yet, but we have verbal agreements. I do want to get things down on paper, though. In French, we say *les bons comptes font les bons amis*, meaning that keeping money/business issues clear and clean preserves friendship (or makes it, depending how you understand it).

I need to incorporate the company, too. I live in Switzerland, I’m a British-Swiss dual citizen. In Switzerland, to have an “SA” company (the equivalent of an Ltd.) you need to show up with 100K CHF on the table. Even an SàRL requires 20K. From what I hear, it costs virtually nothing to set up a company in the UK. My focus is events on the European market, so basically, I see no real reason for the company to be Swiss. I’m no specialist of these kinds of decisions, though, so I’m basically listening to what people tell me and reading up here and there.

It seems to me that the simplest thing to do is to set up the company in the UK. I could have a subsidiary (? = succursale) in Switzerland, but again, I don’t understand how this makes things easier. (This isn’t making me look good, is it?)

I’m also not sure what happens with my “independant” status in Switzerland. I’m not going to stop being “independant” because I set up the company (ie, not looking at becoming a full-time employee of my company yet), so is there a way I can preserve this — it’s particularly important from a tax point of view, for example.

Then, advisors. I want the advisors to the company to have a (small) financial stake in it (I think that’s rather common), so I need to write up agreements for that. Do I need a lawyer (eeek)? Can I just do it myself? How do I know what to write in it? I’m a bit uncomfortable about saying who the advisors are publicly before the formalities are done — am I worrying for nothing?

Which also brings up another issue: many people around me are being very helpful by providing their advice and support. But if I bring them all onto the advisory board, as I’d be tempted to do, that means I’m going to have a (possibly) important amount of very little shareholders, which can create trouble if I want to bring partners into the company, or investors, or sell (they have to approve, don’t they?) So, can I have two kinds of advisors — advisors with a financial stake in the company, and others without?

Those of you out there who own companies with advisory boards or who are on advisory boards — would you mind telling us a bit more about how this works? And this is Europe, not the US (in case it changes anything — I suspect it does). Also, should I set up the company now, or wait until the first event is done?

Same kind of questions about partners. At the moment, there will be three of us doing the bulk of the organisation of Going Solo. We’ll be subcontracting other companies or individuals for some pieces of work, of course (any tips about where to go shopping for Wifi That Stays Up, by the way?) So, as far as Going Solo is concerned, we can draft out an agreement between the three of use to determine how much and how we get paid for our work, and what happens with any extra money we might have (ok, might be dreaming here). If this first event goes well, and we’re happy working together, it could make sense to have them enter the company, wouldn’t it? (This is where the when-how-howmuch stuff comes in, but I’m aware we’re not there yet.)

So, maybe my question is this: what are usual models for paying people who organise events? From what I’ve heard, bringing in sponsorships should earn you a cut of what you brought in, though it gets complicated when the sponsorship in question is not just cash, but covering the expenses for certain parts of the conference, or bringing in goods/services. It also gets complicated if the event doesn’t make as much money as planned, or makes a loss — should the person in charge of the sponsorships be paid while others are not? So many questions.

Also — trademarks? Do I need to trademark anything?

Any pointers, advice, or opinions that can help me see clearer here will be most welcome.

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World Wide Paperwork and Administrivia Day (WoWiPAD) and Website Pro Day (WPD) [en]

[fr] En plus du Website Pro Day, je propose de tenir début janvier le World Wide Paperwork and Administrivia Day, consacré à régler ces histoires de paperasses (j'ai des tas de quittances à trier et à envoyer à ma comptable, par exemple) une fois pour toutes. On fait ça chacun chez soi, bien entendu, mais on est solidaires et on fait ça en même temps. Ça motive!

Faites signe si vous êtes partants.

A couple of months ago, I came upon [Chris Messina](http://factoryjoe.com/blog/)’s [Finish your %#&*@ drafts](http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/295393/) day. I thought: “what a great idea!”

Well, not the drafts thing (I have drafts in my WordPress installation right now for the first time in my life), but the “get people together to do something”. It’s not a new idea, of course. I’ve actually already used it to fight procrastination, with friends:

– oh, we’re both chatting when we should do washing up and other things. Let’s go and do it and then meet up on chat again to congratulate ourselves on doing it.
– hey, can I come and do my homework at your place?
– let’s meet up do our tax declaration together.

So, when my friend [Olivier](http://b-spirit.com/blogollie/) mentioned in passing that his professional website needed some work done, I said “oh, me too! let’s do it together” and organised the [First Website Pro Day](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/10/31/une-journee-pour-bosser-sur-nos-sites-pro-website-pro-day/) (it’s bastardised gallicised English, don’t worry).

There were four of us (a fifth had to cancel at the last minute because of a sick child) and it was a great success for all those who participated. Not only did we make progress on the “professional online presence” front (I actually moved this blog over to my server back from DreamHost, a move which had been stalling all my efforts to do anything to [SB.com](http://stephanie-booth.com/)), but we also started talking about [building a local coworking community](http://b-spirit.com/blogollie/?p=2140) again.

Website Pro Day 1, Lausanne

We also decided that one day was not enough, and that we needed to organise (at least) another similar day: [Website Pro Day 2](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/14/website-pro-day-deuxieme/) is set for December 28th.

Now, obviously, this kind of gathering is local. But wouldn’t it be great of other freelancers or small business owners, in other cities, also got together to work on their professional online presence on the same day? All you need is two people to begin with. Announce it, put it [on Facebook](http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=6369349379) or [upcoming](http://upcoming.yahoo.com/), whatever catches your fancy. I’ll mention it here, too.

Being a freelancer is cool, but it can sometimes be a bit lonely. That’s why ideas like [coworking](http://blog.coworking.info/) and [barcamp](http://barcamp.org/) are very important to us: it’s a chance to get together with “colleagues”. Well, it can also be done in a slightly less formal way, too. Just grab a few “colleagues”, and meet to get something done.

So, another of these “get-together” initiatives I’m launching is the **World Wide Paperwork and Administrivia Day**, which we’ll call WoWiPAD from now on. Unless you’re super-organised or are already a [GTD black belt](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getting_Things_Done), you probably have piles of receipts to sort, papers to file, expenses to invoice, forms to fill in, and various administrative things that just pile up and don’t get done, because, let’s face it, it’s way more fun to be earning $$ doing exciting stuff with clients than spending the day drowning in stuffy papers alone at one’s desk.

Obviously, we can’t really gather in one physical space for the WoWiPAD. No, you are not welcome to come to my place with your drawers, piles of papers, stapler — in short, your whole office. But what we can do, though, is decide on a date to do things together. Yes, just knowing that we’re not in this “alone” can be very supportive.

Whether you’re a freelancer, a small business owner, or just a somebody with stacks of paperwork to deal with on your desk, leave a comment here or [sign up on Facebook](http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=7437407283) if you’d like to participate in the WoWiPAD.

I’m going to suggest two dates, which I know are quite nearby — because I’m going to have to do this paperwork stuff soon anyway, or it’ll sprout legs and start running all over the place. The cat is enough trouble by itself, I have no need for paper pets.

As far as I’m concerned, Wednesday January 2nd would be good, as would Thursday 3rd (and even Friday 4th).

What about you?

**Update, Dec. 26th:** Date is officially Jan. 2nd, and the event has been rechristened WoWiPAD (much more pronounceable) — thanks to Greg for the suggestion.

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Feeling Like a Born-Again Blogger [en]

[fr] Depuis quelques jours, je blogue à donf, comme on dit -- et j'ai l'impression de redécouvrir ce média. Oui, ça marche vraiment de mettre par écrit ses idées, ses doutes, ses problèmes stratégiques ou organisationnels. La communauté est une précieuse alliée. Continuez à laisser vos commentaires, je les apprécie beaucoup!

I feel like a born-again blogger.

Over the last days, I’ve been blogging like a madwoman about [Going Solo](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/14/announcing-going-solo/) (and other things), and I feel like I’m rediscovering blogging. All this stuff that I tell my clients about, I’m in it now:

– blog about the process, the ideas — you’ll get great feedback
– blog about your doubts or problems — your readers are smarter than you are
– blog about stuff you want to get out there — once it’s online, it’s ready to spread.

Funnily, I find myself faced with the same kind of doubts that my clients often express (though, I’m happy to say, they’re fading fast):

– can I really blog about this when it hasn’t been set in stone yet?
– what if people steal my ideas?
– should I mention this or that, or is it best kept under wraps for the moment?
– how much should I tell people?
– do I make a separate blog for my event/company, or keep it all on mine?
– how do I get my partners to blog?

So far, the responses I’ve got to my blogging and talking about my project (online, offline, in public, or in private) have been overwhelmingly supportive, positive, and constructive. It’s very encouraging. Keep it coming. Reaching out to the community really *does* work — I knew it, but now I’m experimenting it again.

Thanks to everybody.

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Qui prendrait des "cours de blog"? [fr]

Tout d’abord, merci à tous pour vos commentaires sur mon projet de [cours d’initiation aux blogs](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/17/trois-heures-pour-se-mettre-a-bloguer/). Ils me sont très utiles, donc continuez à me dire ce que vous pensez! Je me rends compte que je n’ai pas du tout défini assez clairement *à qui* s’adresserait ce cours et *pourquoi*. Je vais essayer de remédier ici à ce manquement.

Tout d’abord, il s’agit d’un cours d’initiation au **blog personnel**. Comme je l’explique dans [les conférences que je donne au sujet des blogs en entreprise](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/07/blogs-en-entreprise-un-peu-en-vrac/), le blog est à la fois un outil (technologique), une culture, et une stratégie de communication.

Dès qu’on commence à parler de **blog en entreprise** (même TPE ou pour un indépendant), en milieu associatif, ou politique, on ne peut échapper à la discussion sur le blog-comme-stratégie-de-communication. Et croyez-moi, ce n’est pas une mince affaire. On se retrouve très vite à faire ce que j’appelle du “Cluetrain 101”, c’est-à-dire expliquer les transformations en profondeur qu’internet (et les blogs, qui sont une manifestation visible et médiatisée d’un bouleversement plus fondamental) a amené dans la façon de concevoir la communication. Ça prend vite des heures, voire des jours. On parle de transparence, d’authenticité, de comment écrire comme un être humain au lieu d’une brochure marketing, de quoi on va parler, comment on va réagir aux commentaires négatifs, de lire d’autres blogs et y réagir. Il y a des peurs, des réticences, des soucis plus ou moins justifiés. C’est une opération qui peut transformer en profondeur la façon dont on communique, et même dont fonctionne l’entreprise à l’interne. “Ouvrir un blog”, c’est la pointe de l’iceberg.

Pour ce genre de service, il faut compter des journées entières de consulting et de formation, avec un suivi qui peut durer des mois. (Si on veut faire les choses bien, il va de soi.) C’est un service personnalisé qui dépend de l’entreprise ou de l’association en question, des personnes impliquées, et qu’il est impossible à packager en une demi-journée. Le [cours sur deux journées](http://formationblogs.wordpress.com/) qu'[Anne Dominique](http://annedominique.wordpress.com/) et moi-même avons mis sur pied représente un premier pas dans ce processus, une initiation.

**Il s’agit donc ici de faire quelque chose de tout à fait différent.**

Je désire donner un cours de blog-outil. On n’abordera pas la stratégie de communication, juste l’outil et un peu de la culture. Quand on approche les choses ainsi en entreprise, c’est en général la recette pour avoir un blog qui ne fonctionne pas. Pour l’individu, le particulier, par contre, c’est parfait.

Le blog est un très chouette outil d’expression personnelle. Si on a le désir de raconter des choses, de partager une passion, de pousser des coups de gueule, de rentrer en contact avec des personnes partageant des intérêts similaires aux siens, franchement, cela vaut la peine d’avoir un blog: un petit espace à soi sur internet, que l’on peut alimenter à sa convenance, qui ne coûte rien, et ne demande pas beaucoup plus de maîtrise technique que celle requise pour envoyer un e-mail avec hotmail ou bluewin.

Mais, me direz-vous (et on me le dit!) — bloguer, c’est tellement facile que y’a pas besoin de cours!

Erreur.

Ceux qui disent cela sont des personnes que j’appelle des “blogueurs naturels”. Des gens comme moi, ou comme vous qui avez déjà un blog. Vous avez ça dans le sang, si on peut dire. On est assez à l’aise avec notre ordinateur pour aller s’inscrire sur WordPress et se lancer tout seul. Tenez, [je vous explique même comment faire ça dans mon blog](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/07/20/bloguer-avec-wordpress-cest-facile/). Allez-y. Ouvrez votre blog. Lancez-vous à l’eau. Si ces quelques indications vous suffisent, alors vous n’avez pas besoin de [mon cours d’initiation pour apprendre à bloguer](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/17/trois-heures-pour-se-mettre-a-bloguer/).

Je pense à toutes les autres personnes, celles qui ne lisent pas ce blog, ou celles qui le lisent mais ne sont pas assez sûres d’elles sur un ordinateur ou internet pour faire le pas sans assistance. Tout le monde (ou presque) est capable de tenir un blog, mais encore faut-il le croire. Si vous avez des doutes, ou si simplement vous trouvez plus confortable de faire ça accompagné, je suis là pour vous.

Durant ces dernières années, je suis régulièrement approchée par des personnes (de mon entourage ou d’ailleurs) qui veulent que je leur apprenne à bloguer, ce que je fais volontiers. Ces personnes existent donc. Il y a un besoin. J’ai aussi compris, avec le temps, que toutes ces choses qui nous semblent évidentes, à nous les blogueurs naturels, ne vont pas forcément de soi pour le commun des mortels. Il est normal de devoir passer par une phase d’apprentissage ou d’apprivoisement pour se mettre à quelque chose de nouveau. On prend des cours de sport, de peinture, de poterie, de massage, d’informatique, ou d’anglais. On peut aussi apprendre à utiliser internet, et les blogs en particuliers.

En plus des amis et des membres de ma famille que j’ai accompagné lors de leurs premiers pas dans la blogosphère, j’ai appris à bloguer à toutes sortes de personnes, que ce soit lors de séances particulières ou de cours en groupe: indépendants, enseignants, hommes politiques, camarades de chant, employés d’entreprises petites et grandes, journalistes… Oui, il y a un besoin pour ce genre de formation. (Je l’ai déjà dit… je me répète?)

Donc, les particuliers. Pourquoi paieraient-ils pour quelque chose que “n’importe qui” peut leur montrer comment faire? Ben justement, parce que “n’importe qui” ne pourra pas le faire aussi bien que moi (ouh là là, elle est gonflée, non mais, vous avez vu ça?). En fait, c’est la vieille rengaine: suffit pas de savoir faire quelque chose pour être capable de l’enseigner — et j’aime à penser que c’est une chose que je ne fais pas trop mal. Aussi, (je fais ma pub, attention!) apprendre avec moi, c’est tout de même une garantie qu’on partira dans le droit chemin, et que je serai en mesure de répondre à toutes les questions qui risquent de se poser. Je dis pas qu’il n’y a pas dans le coin d’autres personnes aussi capables, hein, mais c’est tout de même autre chose que la nièce de Gérard qui a un [Skyblog](http://www.skyrock.com/m/blog/)…

Un autre avantage dans le fait de prendre un cours c’est qu’on bloque le temps nécessaire. Souvent, on a envie de faire des choses (“ah ouais, ce serait cool d’avoir un blog, j’en ouvrirais bien un un de ces quatre, mais bon je suis pas tout à faire sûr comment faire, on verra ça…”) mais on ne s’y met pas. Le cours d’initiation, c’est l’occasion de donner le coup d’envoi, avec de nouveau (la satanée garantie) qu’on va pas y passer la soirée pour se retrouver avec rien entre les mains à la fin parce que ça aura foiré.

Bon, trève de plaisanteries, je récapitule. **Voici à qui s’adresse mon cours:**

– des personnes qui ont envie d’avoir un blog, ou un espace à elles pour partager sur internet des pensées, une passion, des textes, des critiques de films… peu importe — mais a priori, quelque chose de non-professionnel (“qu’est-ce qui vous intéresse dans la vie?”)
– des personnes qui ne sont pas des cracks d’informatique, mais qui savent envoyer un e-mail
– des personnes qui veulent un blog mais ont besoin d’un petit coup de pouce (rassurant ou organisationel) pour donner le coup d’envoi
– bref, n’importe qui ayant le désir d’avoir un blog personnel, mais n’ayant pas toutes les cartes en main pour se lancer sans aide.

Donc:

– où annoncer mon cours pour toucher ces gens? (sur mon blog, clairement, c’est pas le meilleur endroit)
– comment présenter le cours pour qu’ils sentent que c’est à eux que je m’adresse?

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