Say hello, hug, say goodbye?

The Week 42 posts made me think again about Weekly Blog Club, as people move on and things quieten down.

Joseph Conaghan wrote a thought-provoking post Is Ambulance Reality TV …Insight or Voyeuristic? I can see an argument for producing such television programmes to educate people on what the emergency services do and what real emergencies are, but I avoid all these programmes because they feel voyeuristic to me. And if anyone asks, I definitely would not want to appear as a patient in any of those programmes!

Peter Olding is looking for some help from Weekly Blog Club members. He would like you to take pictures of historic churches, add a bit of information about their names and where they are, and send it to him for adding to a website he’s creating to share the pictures and information with everybody. If you’re going for walks in the countryside this week during the half-term holiday, it would be an ideal opportunity. Find out more about what Peter is doing in Update on my Historic Churches Website.

Karl Green went further back, way before history, and tackled the small issue of The Complete History and Future of the Universe (in 1,635 words) in Week 42. He considered stars, planets, black holes, what came before the Big Bang, the possibility of other universes and more besides. I remember my maths teacher explaining to me the mathematical concept of dimensions beyond the four-dimensional (length, breadth, depth, time), and that alternative universes or realities were mathematically possible. Maybe the next Doctor Who story will help us to understand…

Say hello and smile at people! Samuel-James Wilson advised this in his post about finding a job: Smile, it might just work. It depends on your type of work whether social media is more or less useful when looking for a job.* Even if your work focuses on social media, it certainly is a good idea to try to get out and meet people at events where digital media people will be, and to smile warmly at them.

On the dghealth (Dumfries and Galloway Health) blog this week, Ros Gray advocated Getting to know you, getting to know all about you… at work, starting with a smile, saying hello and introducing yourself. She pointed out just how much time you spend with colleagues and other people you meet at work, and what a difference it can make to be people-focused. Seeing people clearly and without prejudice is the best start to understanding their needs. Joanne Payne in Let’s get back to our roots….  on the Ayrshirehealth blog wrote about being involved with establishing a new Occupational Health service in Ayrshire and Arran that focuses on what the patient needs rather than preconceptions of what help they should want.

When did you last give or receive a hug? I can’t remember, but it was months ago. I rather miss visiting London where there is more of a custom of hugging people in a work as well as social context. The funny thing is when I see people from The South whom I’ve met at London events and I’m suddenly unsure whether hugging would seem too forward in the less touchy-feely North. Georgia Parker reminds us of the good things about hugging in Hugs have health benefits.

Mark Wood described his role in a very different physical activity in Change of tempo – literally. He has been photographing the BUPA Birmingham Half Marathon. I found it fascinating to read about a commercial photographer’s work at such an event. I hadn’t realised that they had to arrive so early at such things or had so little artistic control over the pictures they take.

My own modest photographic contribution was Ouseburn viaduct scaffolding, a photograph from last year when conservation work was undertaken on an early 19th century viaduct that carries the East Coast Mainline across the Ouseburn Valley in Newcastle upon Tyne. I had thought about adding Ouseburn walk October 2013, a set of snaps on Flickr but ran out of time to add words to them so they’re not officially a contribution.

Ouseburn is where I’m involved with developing online resources and communication for a community group. I’m looking for tips and pointers as to how we can do this effectively so I was particularly interested two posts from Wales relating to accessibility and building online communities. Sarah Ball wrote on the Participation Cymru blog about October regional participation networks: Accessible information and technology, with lots of useful links and details about what they did in the workshop. I really liked their very practical approach to accessibility. What is the point of communicating in a way people can’t understand? Chris Bolton wrote about the development of online communities for Good Practice Exchange at the Wales Audit Office in The Rule of 1%. Why it matters to your online community. I was interested in how low the percentage of active members of online communities is, and the example of the thriving one and the secret to it.

I think that the engagement with Weekly Blog Club has lessened over the past few months. There seems to be less interaction on Twitter and less response to the weekly summaries. I have asked before whether you want to end it. I’m wondering again if we should end the blog at the end of this year? Is it time to say goodbye at the end of 2 years? Although I would miss the community we have developed, I wonder whether too many people are too busy doing other things now to be actively involved regularly.

Another option that I have considered before is possibly finding some sponsorship, turning this blog into more of a magazine, get a WeeklyBlogClub domain, inviting people to contribute directly or give permission for their posts to be re-blogged in the WeeklyBlogClub magazine, possibly with a summary going out as a newsletter with pictures. I had hesitated about such an option because it would be a very different way of doing things. There was also indication that the forthcoming press charter would affect all online magazines which would make it necessary to have insurance, I think, and add a lot of complications.

I will leave those ideas with you to think about, discuss if you wish, put forward alternative ideas.

Thank you very much to everyone who contributed this week. If you want to contribute to Week 43, our About page tells you everything you probably need to know. If you would like to help look after Weekly Blog Club, there’s the Admin info page to tell you about what’s involved. If you want inspiration, how about storms, or Lou Reed, or half-term holidays as [entirely optional] themes for this week?

Hope you and yours survive the storms safely!

Janet

Janet E Davis.

*(Incidentally, I’m still looking for paid work, should anyone be wondering…)

Summary of Week 42 posts

Smile, it might just work by Samuel-James Wilson.

The Complete History and Future of the Universe (in 1,635 words) by Karl S Green.

Change of tempo – literally by Mark Wood.

October regional participation networks: Accessible information and technology by Sarah Ball at @PartCymru.

Let’s get back to our roots….  by Joanne Payne on the Ayrshirehealth blog.

The Rule of 1%. Why it matters to your online community by Chris Bolton on the Good Practice Exchange at the Wales Audit Office blog.

Update on my Historic Churches Website by Peter Olding.

Hugs have health benefits by Georgia Parker.

Ouseburn viaduct scaffolding by Janet E Davis.

Is Ambulance Reality TV …Insight or Voyeuristic? by Joseph Conaghan.

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you… by Ros Gray on the  dghealth (Dumfries and Galloway Health) blog.

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Weekly Blog Club was set up in early January 2012 to encourage people to blog regularly, and especially to encourage those working in and with the public sector, charities and voluntary organisations in the UK to find their own 'voice' through writing.

Posted in #WeeklyBlogClub summary, astronomy, blogging, buildings conservation, communicating, communities, cultural heritage, customer service, emergency services, health, health services, historic buildings and sites, history, languages, learning, marathon, music, natural environment, patient care, photography, physics, public sector, social media, therapy, training, working practices
9 comments on “Say hello, hug, say goodbye?
  1. I also echo the comments that I would miss the weeklyblogclub if it was to stop. I’ve met some nice people because of it. Must say that I’m initially taken aback by your comments. We have 184 people who are listed as being contributors to the weeklyblog club, so having 11 blogs this week may look like a small number. I’ve picked some random weeks in the past and the highest number I found was 22 blogs. Most were in the teens. So is it a reduction? I must say that I see some names on the contributors list that I know do blog regularly but don’t do weeklyblogclub blogs. I wonder why. Have they fallen out with us or have they got their own agenda!!!

    You say that there is less talk on twitter. I must admit that I’ve not been on twitter as much as I used to. I used to access it via twhirl but I had problems with that software. Then I went on to tweetdeck. This is fine for a while but again I started having issues. I now log in directly to twitter.com. It’s not ideal but it gets me connected. Also I’ve just been through a really busy time at work and I must admit my twitter usage has suffered. So I really cannot comment on the lack of weekly blog club chat as I haven’t been around myself.

    I would love for weeklyblogclub to continue. I love reading the diverse blogs we have and most importantly I love the fact that I’ve met some really nice and interesting people along the way.

  2. Thank you, Peter. I think that the diversity is a good thing, and I certainly value greatly getting to know some wonderful people through it. Part of the reason for the drop off is undoubtedly that people are even busier at work (I can instantly think of at least 2 previously regular contributors who are obviously busy), but the number of readers each month almost halved in June and has stayed around that level, lower than all but one of the month’s last year.

  3. Phil Jewitt says:

    Hi Janet, it’s down to weeklyblog club (predominantly via yourself and some other regulars) that I got into blogging. I’m therefore really grateful for what you have done for me and for others who I see have also taken the stabilisers off and are now tootling along the blogging highway.

    Some weeks, I see your tweets when your computer has been playing up or your hands aren’t great and I think I’m not going to submit this week. Firstly, I didn’t think it was fair for you to read and summarise my post when you either have pc issues or you are not well. Secondly, as I’m not in a position to commit to being blog club host (as I may have to back out at short notice and that’s not something I would want to do), I don’t feel I can submit posts as regularly as I did.

    I did enjoy the two weeks I hosted and I, and no doubt others, appreciate the support that Kate and Louise have contributed.

    Re the club’s future;

    To continue, as the name says, it needs to be sustainable and weekly in order to keep it reliable and to manage expectations of those thinking of submitting or expecting to read a summary. Let’s be fair, if you didn’t do it, would it continue in it’s current form or even at all? Probably not.

    I’ll put my cards on the table; I can’t commit to helping, so I therfore don’t expect anyone else to and maybe it has run its term.

    Re the more commercial route, then my view is that it would take the existing simplicity away from it and probably create more work when I think perhaps it is less that is required….especially if more blog hosts are required to help out.

    If it should continue then what if it becomes more a list of weekly posts and reduce the admin side for the host in not having to read all the posts and then summarise them. Whilst the summary is nice to have and a good read in itself, is it really necessary?

    Whatever you decide, it will be the right choice and people will support the decision.

    • Thanks, Phil! I am delighted to see that you and others gained confidence in blogging through the Weekly Blog Club – which was one of the aims in setting it up.
      I had always hoped particularly that bloggers who work in the public sector would feel confident enough to use blogging (and social media generally) in their work.
      I did wonder if simply a list of posts would work, and had tried summaries without individual posts first. The main reason for doing both was to increase chances of posts being seen.
      Please never hesitate to contribute a post, Phil! You’re always a very welcome contributor even if you don’t have time to host.
      Thanks very much for your thoughts and suggestions.

  4. It would definitely be a shame were the Weekly Blog Club to fold, I’ve discovered lots of really interesting blogs here and also lots of really interesting people too.

    I think your point about sustainability is key. I’m happy to contribute as much as I can, but having said that I know it’s not as much as I’d like to. Like Phil, I think whatever you decide is the right decision.

    Thanks for all your help and to the Weekly Blog Club in general – just want you to know it really is appreciated!

    – Dyfrig

  5. Oh gosh. I can only refer you to the honourable gentlemens’ previous answers. I feel I have been remiss in contributing lately: as you guess, work plus a mixture of voluntary and family stuff. And now NaNoWriMo. I love Weekly Blog Club in some many ways, as I say, that Peter and Phil and Dyfrig have gone into. I also feel bad for not having yet offered to host as it’s very dog in the manger of me to want this lovely site and not contribute to its upkeep. I’m also going to echo them again and say that Janet should be the voice of decision , given all her stunning work and dedication. I’ve no doubt there will still be contributors but I think it’s the hosting that holds it all together so well x

    • Thanks very much for adding your views, Karen! I know you’re usually very busy – as are most people – and I’m grateful to anyone who does make time to look after Weekly Blog Club but I realise that it’s a lot to do. It was also the reduction of apparent interest in terms of posts, visitors and tweets that made me wonder if most people had had enough and it would be time to end the blog at the end of the year.

  6. […] am still thinking about how we take things forward in 2014 – see my Week 42 summary Say hello, hug, say goodbye? and also Um… half our space is used up… – and very interested to hear in ideas from […]

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