LIFT'08 Workshop: Get Started With Blogging [en]

[fr] J'ai déjà parlé ici de mon projet de cours d'initiation aux blogs. J'aurai (si les participants sont assez intéressés!) l'occasion de donner ce cours sous forme de workshop à l'occasion de la conférence LIFT à Genève, le 6 février prochain.

Le workshop est gratuit, mais il faut être un participant à la conférence (je vous invite vivement à vous y inscrire si ce n'était pas encore prévu -- c'est un des meilleurs événements du genre en Europe).

This is something I’ve wanted to do [for some time now](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/17/trois-heures-pour-se-mettre-a-bloguer/), and I’m happy to kick it off at [LIFT](http://liftconference.com): provide [a crash-course in blogging for non-bloggers](http://www.liftconference.com/get-started-blogging).

I know many people attending LIFT are already seasoned bloggers like myself. Many of you (my readers) probably are. I wanted to offer something to those who are not so *immersed* in the web as us.

So, basically, this is a three-hour workshop to open a blog (from scratch, I plan to use WordPress.com), twiddle the basic settings, learn how to publish, and talk about blogging. I’m always amazed that though the media now sing “blog, blog, blog” in every publication, many people haven’t really had a chance to get near one and see how technically easy publication is.

So, if you know anybody who is going to LIFT and isn’t (yet) a blogger… send them to my workshop 😉

Quoting from the [workshop description](http://www.liftconference.com/get-started-blogging), here’s the stuff it’ll cover:

> First, on the “blogging technique” side:

> – opening your blog
– discovering the various options and settings offered by the blogging tool
– how to publish a post or a page
– linking to blog posts or websites
– organizing one’s content with tags and categories
– managing comments
– choosing a design for your blog and managing sidebar content

> Second, on the “blogging culture” side, we might talk about:

> – blogs vs. “normal websites”
– different uses of blogs (personal, corporate…)
– dealing with openness and conversation in a public space (negative comments…)
– blogging etiquette and ethics
– reading other people and how to promote one’s blog
– other “Web 2.0” tools to use in relation with your blog

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Website Pro Day 3: Results! [en]

[fr] Le Website Pro Day 3 a porté ses fruits! Mon site professionnel anglais commence à ressembler à quelque chose. On y arrive!

A quand le WPD4?

After three days of hard work (which resulted, amongst other things, in a [server move](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/28/server-move/), a [WordPress upgrade](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/29/upgrade-shmupgrade/), [plugin hacking](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/04/ridding-wordpress-plugins-of-template-tags/), [updating](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/30/basic-bilingual-03-for-multilingual-blogging/), and even [writing from scratch](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/28/bunnys-language-linker-new-wordpress-plugin/)) I finally got around to the meat: adding content to [my professional site](http://stephanie-booth.com).

I picked a temporary design ([Moo-Point theme](http://iamww.com/wordpress-theme-moo-point/) with a little help from [Carlos](http://blog.osez.ch/) for the header image) and between yesterday and today I’ve added a little bit of information to my [English-language professional site](http://stephanie-booth.com/en/). For example, check out the [speaking](http://stephanie-booth.com/en/speaking) page *(I’m still [looking for a speaking agent](http://twitter.com/stephtara/statuses/273739252))*. In the process, I’m discovering that I really suck at “information architecture” (I think I’m bastardizing the term somewhat to use it for this) — I mean what to put on which page and how to organise content.

It’s far from finished, but at least it’s starting to look like something.

When shall we organize Website Pro Day 4?

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So, What's Going Solo About? [en]

[fr] Un avant-goût du programme de Going Solo. Il ne suffit pas de "savoir faire des trucs" pour avoir du succès en tant qu'indépendant. Il y a plein d'aspects "business" au boulot d'indépendant que l'on sous-estime souvent au départ, et qu'on doit apprendre sur le tas. Going Solo, ce sera l'occasion d'apprendre des choses comme par exemple comment fixer ses tarifs, se faire connaître, effectivement décrocher des mandats (et se faire payer!), trouver des clients ou les laisser nous trouver, expliquer au monde ce que l'on fait, trouver un équilibre entre travail et "vie" (pas évident quand on a fait de sa passion son métier), ou encore gérer l'administratif qui accompagne la vie réseautée que nous vivons aujourd'hui.

Je donne dans ce billet un plan des sujets que je désire couvrir durant la journée de conférences que sera Going Solo. Trois orateurs sont d'ores et déjà annoncés: Stowe Boyd, Suw Charman, et Martin Roell -- vous les connaissez probablement de nom. Je suis à la recherche d'autres bons orateurs, particulièrement un peu à l'extérieur de mon réseau, donc n'hésitez pas à me faire part de vos propositions!

Here we go, with the promised post. I swear I’ve been wanting to write this “tomorrow” for a few weeks now, but something always gets in the way. It’s late and I have a mighty cold, but as I promised, here I am, typing away on my chubby MacBook rather late at night (my MacBook looks chubby now because the MacBook Air has just been announced… and it’d make any laptop look overweight).

When I decided to set foot in the event business, I pretty soon had a whole bunch of ideas for conference topics. As a first, I picked the one that seemed the most exciting to me: a conference about freelancing.

As a freelancer, I’ve learnt — sometimes the hard way — that it’s not sufficient to know how to “do stuff” well to be successful in business. I think many of us freelancers are in the business because we have a passion for which there is a demand (ie, people are ready to pay for this stuff!), and we often struggle with the “business” side of being self-employed.

Going Solo is a chance to learn how to do things like set your rates, make yourself known, close deals, find clients or let them find you, explain what you do to the world, find a life-work balance, or deal with administrivia in the networked world we web people work in.

I know that the best value people usually get out of conferences is the networking and the contacts, more than the actual content of the talks. I’ve had the impression, however, that this is starting to be used as an excuse for poor content, “false advertising” of talk topics, and lousy speakers. I want none of that. Of course, I want you to come to Going Solo and meet great people, chat with colleagues, enjoy the coffee with friends, and code in the bean-bags (I want bean-bags in the lounge — anybody got any?) But I also want the content to be rich, coherent, and well-presented. After all, that is primarily what you’re paying for.

Here is an initial outline of the topics I think are important. (This doesn’t mean that these are talk titles — this is stuff I want the various talks to cover.) I’d really like to hear you if you think I’m missing stuff out or including things that are irrelevant. This is for you, after all.

  • skills a freelancer needs (doing the work, marketing and networking, contracts and cash flow)
  • fixing prices, closing deals, negotiating contracts (the hardcore businessy stuff)
  • what kind of work freelancers in the 2.0 world do (some jobs are more suitable for soloists than others)
  • marketing and taking care of one’s social capital (blogging… and being a good online citizen)
  • tools of the trade (what software/tools/methods can assist you as a freelancer?)
  • coworking and staying in touch with “colleagues” (compensating for “working alone” — we remain social animals)
  • challenges in making a passion into a job, dealing with the blurring of the life/work distinction
  • international clients, travel, different laws and tax rules, accounting
  • soloist or small business?
  • adapting to different kinds of clients (in particular, how do you deal with big corporations that you approach or who have approached you)

As you can see, there is plenty in there to keep us busy for a day!

I’m happy to announce that Suw Charman, Stowe Boyd, and Martin Roell (all three great speakers and good friends) have accepted my invitation to come and share their experience as soloists and help you benefit from what they have learned over the years. We’re still in the process of determining the exact topics they will cover in their talks, but I already wanted to let you know that they would be here in Lausanne on the 16th.

As we will have more than three speakers (four if you count me, as I’ll probably grab the microphone to say a few words ;-)), I’m open to suggestions. If you know good speakers who could cover part of the program I’m outlining above, do let me know. I’m particularly interested in bringing in people from outside my immediate network — and for that I need you.

I hope you find this first draft of the programme as exciting as I do, and I’m looking forward to reading your feedback.

Cross-posted on the Going Solo blog.

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20 nouvelles invitations pour Seesmic! [fr]

[en] Seesmic invites...

Le cadeau de la journée: 20 nouvelles invitations à [Seesmic](http://seesmic.com)!

– TppmJLzWLA
– d99WBXjRap
– R0iF3E6AJg
– Hh9KhuQuOr
– qOo7xCJP60
– WPi9NSGfv6
– zDRTYUGHwU
– KeklkvUbMD
– tlDr12tGnX
– 1KrSMSGJId
– 4LKZtSoyqv
– UMqjq9Jjxf
– oOK3eEdnT7
– L219NIXUZW
– e9O2YJf6x9
– 0e6BG7IcNs
– a2p69vT4KL
– Sixz4qLzP1
– Ugz9JPRgf2
– 5SdOsUUpxl

Il y a une bonne communauté francophone sur Seesmic, et on attend que vous nous rejoigniez! (Seesmic, c’est [trop bien](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/01/02/seesmic-addiction/). Faut le voir pour le croire.)

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Working For Fame Or For Cash [en]

[fr] En organisant la journée de conférences Going Solo, je me trouve directement aux prises avec mes difficultés face à l'économie du peer. J'organise un événement qui dégagera je l'espère assez de bénéfice pour que je puisse me payer, ainsi que mes partenaires. En même temps, j'espère trouver des personnes prêtes à donner de leur temps en échange de la visibilité que leur apportera leur association avec Going Solo. Mais je ne sais pas trop comment m'y prendre. Je trouve difficile de rendre les choses claires.

I’d like to introduce this reflection by quoting [Tara Hunt](http://horsepigcow.com/), who writes the following in a post titled [Please Stop Crowdsourcing Me](http://www.horsepigcow.com/2007/12/21/please-stop-crowdsourcing-me/):

> I came and I thought, hey, this is kind of neat-o and it empowered me at first. I thought, “Awesome! They want my opinion! They listen!” and I offered it and the feedback was, “Great idea!” and I watched as you implemented it, then benefitted from it and I felt good. I was great at first, but then after a while, I started to feel a little dirty…a little used…a little like cheap labor, replacing people you probably laid off or decided to save money on not hiring because you were getting so much great value out of my time. Maybe it was because it seemed that you believed you could ‘tap’ my well of ideas or ‘pick my brain’ endlessly? Maybe it was because my generosity goes so far and you overstepped your bounds? Maybe it was because you had a chance to reward my efforts, but dropped me like a wet rag as soon as I asked?

Tara Hunt, Please Stop Crowdsourcing Me

I just came upon her article a few minutes ago as I was aimlessly clicking around in my newsreader. It’s funny, because I’ve been thinking of this post I wanted to write for a few days now, and it’s right on the same topic.

I’ve already [felt uneasy about the “Peer Economy”](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/12/09/donnant-donnant/) (if I may call it like that before). About the fact that certain businesses actually get a lot of stuff for free from their enthusiastic users — stuff they would have to pay for, otherwise. The point I understood about a year ago is that the fact that people contribute voluntarily to help improve services like WordPress, GMail, Twitter, and countless others is what allows us (the community) to benefit from great tools like these free of cost or way cheaper than what they’re worth. I’m comfortable with that.

However, I agree with Tara, there is a fine line to tread. As a company, you don’t want people to feel used. And like Tara, I’ve had more of my share of people/companies who want me to “take a look” at their stuff and “tell them what I think” — picking my brain for free. And I don’t like it. If I’m [passionate](http://headrush.typepad.com/) about your product, then yes — I’ll give you feedback. You probably won’t even have to ask me. I’ll blog about it. If you’re smart, you’ll point out what I wrote, give me credit and link-love, thank me publicly. But I didn’t do it for that. I did it because I liked your product, or because talking about your product fulfilled one of my agenda, in a way. I’ve given products/companies like [WordPress](http://wordpress.org), [Dopplr](http://dopplr.com), [Twitter](http://twitter.com), [coComment](http://cocomment.com), [Seesmic](http://seesmic.com) and a bunch of others valuable feedback *because I wanted to*, because I loved their stuff.

That doesn’t mean that I’ll do it for any product or service that crosses my path. If you’re one of the lucky ones, well, good for you. If you’re not, you’ll have to pay cash ([experiential marketing](http://climbtothestars.org/focus/experiential-marketing/) is one of the ways a company can use cash to make up for lack of immediate passion on the part of this particular human being). Just like I’ll help my friends out for free and open blogs for them just because I love them, some companies out there benefit from “free intelligence”. Others need to pay for a similar service.

You get the idea, I think.

Now, here’s what I really wanted to bring up with this post.

As you know, I’m putting together an event for the month of May, [Going Solo](http://going-solo.net). (If you’re a freelancer or a small business owner, you should plan to come, by the way ;-).) This is my first event. I’m not going to be doing it alone. Thing is, I realised I’m a bit shy about asking my friends to help me out, because on the one hand, I want to keep the event expenses to a minimum, and on the other hand, I don’t want people to get the impression I’m trying to “crowdsource them” — as Tara expresses above.

This is made worse (and way more uncomfortable for me) by the fact that this is not a non-profit venture. I’m going to be investing quite a lot of time in this adventure, and I hope to be able to pay myself enough to have made it worthwhile. Ditto for my sales and logistics partners. So, yes, we’re hoping the event will make a profit (against all odds, it seems — everybody tells me that if you’re first event breaks even, you’re very lucky).

So, I know that part of the difficulty I’m facing here is my own inner workings. Despite what some people on IRC may think 😉 I’m somebody who doesn’t find it easy to ask for help/stuff. I always feel I owe people (except when I feel I’m owed, in a kind of weird back-swing dynamic).

There are certain things that I need for the conference, where I’m hoping I’ll manage to find somebody who is willing to “work for fame”. Taking care of the website is one. Design is another. Similarly, I’m hoping to strike up a partnership for the WiFi and bandwidth we need for the event.

In fact, there is some similarity between “working for fame” and being a sponsor/partner. You provide stuff for free (or almost), and in return you get visibility. So maybe I need to switch mindsets. Instead of looking for “people to help me”, I’m looking for “individual partners” for the event.

I feel like this is a thought in progress. I’m not exactly sure what I think, or what to do, or what is “right”. I’m particularly embarrassed when I start talking with friends or contacts about this or that they could do for the event, because it’s not clear from the start if we’re talking about a partnership (work for fame) or Real Work (work for cash).

Any insights appreciated. I feel like I need to step out of my mind a bit to find a way out, and you can help me out with that by sharing your thoughts.

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Adapting to Budget: "on peut tout faire avec tout" [en]

[fr] "On peut tout faire avec tout", me dit une copine designer avec qui je parle d'un mandat pour ma conférence, Going Solo. Ce qu'elle veut dire, c'est qu'il y a généralement moyen de s'adapter au budget du client.

C'est vrai pour moi aussi -- du moins dans certaines choses que je fais, comme apprendre aux gens à bloguer. On peut mettre en place un blog pour une entreprise pour 2'000CHF, mais aussi pour 50'000. Dans les deux cas le client aura un blog, mais les choses seront tout de même assez différentes:

  • Dans le premier cas, le client sera livré à lui-même pour découvrir la culture de la blogosphère et la stratégie de communication qui lui est propre. Je lui en aurai parlé, bien entendu, mais cela restera inévitablement abstrait. Il va devoir apprendre en public, perdre la face peut-être. Il fera des erreurs. Si tout va bien, il s'en sortira, à long terme. Au bout d'un an, de deux ans, il finira par réellement comprendre ce que ce nouveau média a à offrir -- s'il n'a pas abandonné, découragé.
  • Dans l'autre cas, le client sera accompagné, suivi de près, conseillé, coaché pendant six mois. Il apprendra "juste". Il fera moins d'erreurs grossières. On ménagera sa susceptibilité en ne l'obligeant pas à apprendre sans filet sous les yeux du public. Il y aura des crises également, c'est sûr -- mais il ne sera pas seul pour y faire face.

Il n'y a pas une méthode plus juste que l'autre, c'est ce que je suis en train de comprendre. Ça dépend du client. Est-il prêt à être livré à lui-même, quitte à échouer misérablement ou à se décourager? A quel point tient-il à apprendre à maîtriser ce média? Son budget est-il limité? Je m'adapte.

Last week, I recontacted a girl I used to do judo with, who is now a designer (not a “graphic designer” per se — an object designer). We talked about her work and what she did, and ended up trying to see if there was anything we could do together for Going Solo.

I met her to discuss this — it was a very strange experience for me to be “the client” and to feel totally lost about what she was going to do for me. And also, to be wondering how much this kind of thing would cost me. I had more than a few thoughts for my clients, who sometimes turn green when I tell them the price tag for what we’ve discussed.

What I’d like to talk about here is something she said: “on peut tout faire avec tout”, meaning “you can get anything for anything”. Not very clear out of context, I’ll admit. We were talking about budget. Basically, what she meant is **”tell me how much you have for this, and I’ll figure out a way to give you something for that price”**.

As the client in this story, I personally found that much more comfortable than to have to wait for her to come up with a quote (which would probably make my heart sink) and then get into painful discussions to see how we could reduce the cost.

My needs here aren’t very specific. I want a logo, a “look”, banners, some printed material, etc. And it makes sense: I can probably get that for 2000 CHF, and I could also get it for 8000. What I’d get would be different, of course — but basically, it would fulfill the basic need.

I liked what she said, because it resonated with some background thought process of mine which never quite made it to the surface. In my “industry” (let’s think of social media here, like corporate blogging), you can also “get anything for anything”. **Want a corporate blog? Well, we can do it for 2000, but also for 20’000** — or even more.

Let me explain a little. This is something that’s been bothering me for a few months, and I’m glad I’ve finally figured it out.

When I quit my day job (or was about to do so), I set up blogs for some clients. It was very **lightweight**: evangelize, install WordPress, show somebody how it worked, adapt a design to a WordPress theme, give some strategic advice (not always received) — and there we go. Sometimes, I didn’t even go through all that. It was “talk a couple of hours, open a [WordPress.com](http://wordpress.com) account, done”.

*But I wasn’t that happy with the results.* People often didn’t really “get” it. I felt they were under-using their blogs, that they could be doing so much more with them. Sometimes, people “didn’t get it” to the point that they actually didn’t really use the blog we’d set up.

So, I changed my way of working. Over the weeks and months, I came to understand just how vital training was when it came to understanding social media. Not just the technical aspects, but as I’ve written [again](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/09/24/how-blogging-brings-dialogue-to-corporate-communications/) and [again](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/07/blogs-en-entreprise-un-peu-en-vrac/) (and probably elsewhere), the cultural and strategic aspects of it. So, I started to include that in my discussions with clients.

“Setting up a blog and learning how to publish a post is just the beginning. The big job is understanding the blogging culture, and figuring out how blogging fits into or changes (in most cases!) your communication strategy.”

*I didn’t want my clients to be disappointed in their blogs, or to “fail”, or to mess up too much.* It brought me to quoting healthy 5-figure prices for “we’d like a corporate blog” type of requests.

Not surprisingly, they thought it was a tad expensive. “Isn’t the whole point of this social media stuff the fact that it’s supposed to be *cheap*?” So, I didn’t get the gigs in question, and I wasn’t very happy either. The corporations I’ve been in touch with seem quite ready to be evangelized about social media, but not really ready to bet money on it.

(I know a lot of what I’m saying is old news, so forgive me if I seem to be stating the obvious to some of you.)

About a week ago I had a chat with one of my old clients, who told me that after about a year of having a rather non-bloggy blog things were slowly starting to change. Nothing very notable, but **they were loosening up**. They brought in somebody to help for the website who was more of a “web” person, and that had a positive influence on how lively the publication was becoming.

This seemed to bring me an answer to something I’d been uneasy about: lately, I’d caught myself explaining how blogging, as a tool, creates a certain kind of culture and communication strategy — but in the same breath, kind of negating that by insisting that throwing blogs at people doesn’t make bloggers out of them. I still think I’m correct about this, but it’s more complex than I make it sound. If you give somebody a blog, and they use it long enough, sooner or later they’ll start to “get it”. The catch is that there are high chances they will give up before they get there. And also, there is no knowing how long they’ll take to “get it”.

So, what do I do with this? **On the one hand, it is possible to keep blogging “cheap”. On the other hand, I do believe it makes sense (particularly for corporations) to invest a hefty chunk of time and money in learning to get it right.** (Corporations don’t hesitate much about spending lots of $$ — or even €€ or ££! — on software solutions… put that money you’ll save on the software in training and strategic consulting when it comes to social media.)

I realised that the key was *compromise*.

**Say your budget for opening a corporate blog is 2K.** We’ll open a WordPress.com account or install WordPress on a server somewhere, get you a domain name, maybe a cheaply customised theme with your logo in it. I’ll show you how to use the tool’s basic functions. I’ll give you some advice (blogger’s survival kit), recommend some other tools to try, and that’s about it. You’re on your own.

You’ll scrape your knees. It might take you a year or more to figure out for yourself that blogging isn’t about reproducing your “print” or “old marketing” content in a light CMS called a blogging tool. You might give up, or decide that this blogging thing is not all it’s hyped to be — it’s too hard, it doesn’t work, it’s just a fad. On the other hand, if you do hang on in there, feel your way through the crises, engage with your readers, learn to be part of the community, mess up and apologize… There is a lot of value in there for you.

**If your budget is 50K, we’ll do things differently.** I’ll follow and train your team over 6 months. I’ll walk you through the crises. I’ll help you prevent some. I’ll hold your hand while you learn. Talk with you when your communication strategy feels rattled by this alien blogging thing you’re doing. Help you see clearly so you understand what’s at stake more clearly when you have decisions to make. Spend time convincing the sceptics that what you’re doing really has value. Teach you to write better, as a blogger. Show you how blogging is part of this Bigger Thing that’s been happening online over the last years. When we’re done, I’ll have taught you almost as much as I know, and you’ll be autonomous.

In both cases, I’m compromising. The client is compromising. Blogging *is* about learning in the open, messing up in public, and getting scalded by the heat of real relationships and real people and real conversations. It’s about being human.

**Where exactly is the compromise?**

In the first scenario (the “cheap” one), the client isn’t really ready to invest much time and money in understanding blogging, or doesn’t have the means to do so. If he’s not committed or not passionate enough, the whole thing will **fail**. Remember that **many people start blogging, and then stop**. They’re just not around to tell us about it. All we see are the *natural bloggers*, those who have it in their blood, so to speak. Those who have a personality that fits well with the medium. On the flip side, the client gets the “real deal” right away. No training wheels.

In the second scenario (the “expensive” one), the compromise is in **saving the client’s face**. It spares the client the indignity of learning through making lots of mistakes, and in public. By investing time and money, and hiring competent people, you can avoid making gross mistakes, and appear to “get it” faster than if you jump in and half drown before you figure out how to float. We’re compromising here by preventing the client from looking too bad while he gets to grip with the new medium. Ultimately, the client will have to learn to lose face every now and again — nobody can prevent the business from messing up now and again. But it won’t be due to being uncomfortable with an unfamiliar medium.

**I don’t think there is *one right way* to get into blogging. Just like there is not a “best” way to learn, between taking classes and learning all by yourself. Both of these scenarios are good — and all those in between. It will depend on the client:**

– is the client ready to scrape his knees in public, a lot — or is he still happy with a rather controlled communication strategy, which he wants to ease out of gently?
– is the client willing to see his attempt to get into blogging fail (for a variety of reasons) — or does he want to put all the chances on his side to make sure he sticks with it?
– is the client on a budget — or is money not an issue?

Which brings me back to where I started. Translating what my friend says to my own business: if you want to get into blogging and your budget is set, it’s possible (within reason, of course). In all cases, you’ll get “blogging”, but you’ll get different flavours and intensities of it.

You *just* have to trust the professional you hire for this to be giving you your money’s worth.

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Website Pro Day 3: mercredi! [fr]

[en] The third Website Pro Day will take place on January 16th (the day after tomorrow!) -- in Lausanne, but maybe in your town too?

An Afternoon in San Francisco 85 On avait [déjà fixé la date](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/01/04/two-successes-wpd2-and-wowipad1/), donc j’ai un peu traîné pour battre le rappel. Le Website Pro Day 3 aura bel et bien lieu [mercredi 16 janvier](http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=22033902952) (après-demain!) — toujours [chez Julien](http://julienhenzelin.typepad.com/), qui a la grande gentillesse de nous accueillir avec nos ordinateurs de compagnie.

Si vous n’avez pas de compte Facebook, vous pouvez toujours vous inscrire dans les commentaires! Faites passer le mot!

Et bien sûr, vous êtes toujours invité à organiser des événements similaires dans votre ville.

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BlogTalk 2008: Rejection [en]

[fr] Ma proposition de conférence pour BlogTalk 2008 a été rejetée. Du coup, il est possible que je n'aille pas en Irlande, pour finir.

So, bummer. My [talk proposal for BlogTalk 2008](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/07/blogtalk-2008-proposal-being-multilingual-blogging-in-more-than-one-language/) was rejected. As it is a peer-reviewed process, I got the detail of the reasons for being rejected.

Here’s what the first reviewer said, rating me 1 (weak accept):

> The proposal touches on an interesting issue influencing individual blogging practices as well as structural aspects of blogospheres (linguistic boundaries).

I have no beef with that. Reviewer number two, however, rates me 0 (borderline paper) with the following comment:

> This appears to be an interesting topic .. however I cant find anyone
actually doing this on a large scale with respect to blogging. Its
implementation would be complex for bloggers(and probably expensive).
More importantly, there is an attempt now towards localization as
opposed to translation i.e. there is a move toward local social
networking as opposed to trnslating one experinece in many languages.

What bothers me here is the person reviewing my proposal doesn’t seem to have understood what it was about. “Multilingual blogging”, in the sense I’m interested in, has nothing to do with “translation” — quite the opposite. Granted, “nothing to do” is maybe a little strong, but I don’t view multilingual blogging as “translation blogging”.

I’ll admit I’m disappointed. Colour me naive, but I honestly didn’t expect a rejection. Did [the fact I didn’t provide an academic-like 2-page proposal](http://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2007/11/proposal-for-bl.html) have an influence, here? If it did, I think it’s a shame. Blogtalk aims to bridge the academic and social media worlds (at least, this is my understanding after some discussions with the organisers about the proposal format). It seems to me to be pretty skewed towards the academic.

Following the rejection of my talk, I’m actually wondering how much sense it makes for me to take the trip to Blogtalk. Not in a spirit of retaliation, of course, but from a basic business point of view. It’s an expensive trip for me (compute flights, bed-and-breakfast or hotel for 4 nights, eating out, registration fees). If I’m not talking, I don’t gain much in terms of exposure. I was looking forward to seeing a couple of friends there, but it turns out they won’t be coming. I signed up to give a presentation at the social network portability workshop — but really, this is turning out to be a really expensive investment to go and give a talk at a workshop. (And this, even though I really do care about the topic and welcome the opportunity to express myself on it.)

Now, I’ve got a couple of hours to decide if I’m going to Cork or not, finally. Ironically, the e-mail announcing that my talk was rejected came in literally minutes after I’d finally managed to secure the long-suffering booking for my Cork-Texas flight. Damn.

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