What shall we do with Weekly Blog Club?

We need a Christmassy picture here. I don’t have any decorations so can’t even take a snapshot of something festive…

First, an apology…

Sorry, I not only lacked time to do Weekly Blog Club summaries but ran out of steam a few months ago. It began to feel like so much work and there seemed to be fewer people reading the posts. I had asked how we could change things because I think we do have to evolve this. We tried just doing a weekly list and summary, rather than the individual posts during the week and then the list and summary on Sunday – but even that seemed like a lot of hard work. We seemed to be getting fewer views and a lot fewer Likes so it seemed as if fewer people were interested. When one is reading all the posts every week, most of the weeks, it can be emotionally draining because quite a few of them tackle difficult issues. I’m probably not the most resilient person when thinking a lot about difficult things, and I went through a down patch in autumn that made thinking about difficult issues a bit too much for a while, so the combination of too much work and not feeling up to doing the Weekly Blog Club things meant I let it all drop. I feel I’ve let the Weekly Blog Club contributors and readers down, and I apologise profusely for that.

What now?

We have 403 followers on WordPress, and 543 followers on Twitter (some of these followers may be bots, of course, but many are real people and organisations). Some more figures since we started:

  • There have been at least 235 contributors
  • 1,533 posts
  • 24,218 views
  • Viewed from (apparently) 45 different countries (most views are from the UK, 300+ from the US)
  • 2,338 Likes (but only 146 this year).

We haven’t won any blog awards or attracted huge numbers of followers, and whilst that’s not why I do it, I do feel the quality of the other contributors does deserve recognition.

What next?

We could just finish, end it. It’s up to you. But it is unique – not like anything else out there. After a few months of silence, I’m missing it, and at least a couple of others have indicated they’d like it to continue. I read things that I wouldn’t read elsewhere. I have learned a lot and I think that I have become a more thoughtful person as a result of reading other people’s posts.

If we continue, how do we change?

We could re-blog contributor’s posts on here (though I think we might be running out of space – but I can’t find what our limit is). We could have a magazine look – a visual one, maybe, if everyone or most had an image with their post. I wondered about setting up a mailing list – but they tend not to allow lots of links so it would still have to link at least to a summary list on here. It could be useful to send out a regular newsletter so people are more likely to see or be reminded of what’s available to read. We could set up a curated aggregator. We do have one that is rather random in what it picks up. I looked at Scoop.it but to do what we’d need it to do would cost money. I think we could do with a new look and logo (anyone want to design one?).

Over to you…

What do you think?

Janet

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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 blogging
8 comments on “What shall we do with Weekly Blog Club?
  1. Kate Bentham says:

    Great to think that WBC might have a revival, it is such a unique and supportive community. But it can be hard work, so simplifying the format if a good idea need to help make it more sustainable. I know on the occasions I hosted, it would take me on average 15 minutes to read each blog, (understand), summarise, create the individual summary post, and tweet out the link, then another 1-2 hours to write the overall summary post. If we averaged 12-15 posts a week, although some weeks there were over 20, that all adds, and it’s quite a commitment. Maybe rather than creating individual summary posts maybe we just tweet direct to the original blog and just summarise at the end of the week? Although hits and likes will decrease to the site, that could just be the payoff for making it easier to curate.

    I like the idea of a completely new format too, and if that’s less time intense it should be explored.

    Thank you Janet for all you have done so far. I’m happy to help however WBC develops in the future.

  2. Ross says:

    You certainly haven’t let anyone down Janet.

    I agree that wbc is a big miss £ would love to see it back. I like all your suggestions – I used to get the posts by email but with so many it did quickly overwhelm my inbox.

    One suggestion – maybe pick a blog of the week that you add as a post the some liks to all the others at the end? You could still RT all the contributions so none were missed.

    I look forward to hearing how it will evolve in 2015.

  3. Dan Slee says:

    From my perspective as a reader, it would be great if it came back. But I can recognise the effort that goes in to reading and collating. Those are some really impressive stats and I think Janet deserves a big pat on the back.

    How it looks needs to be shaped by the time and energy of those with time to give.

    Personally, if it was a single blog post with a list of links and the first par, that would work for me. It wouldn’t be as extensive as before but if it was easier to manage then that’s fine with me.

    But as I say, I’d love to see whatever the solution was.

  4. Thank you very much, Dan, Kate & Ross for your comments. The idea of having individual posts for each contributing post was to:
    1) increase the chances of each post being seen and shared;
    2) to add categories and tags that also could increase the chances of a post being found;
    3) to add the facility of likes for those who didn’t have that on their blogs to encourage readers to express appreciation;
    4) add the facility of comments for those who didn’t or couldn’t have comments on their own blogs.
    It’s looking as if the addition of a simple newsletter with the summary & a link to the page with list of that week’s blogs might work better for some. Retweeting links rather than blogging them seems sensible. I’ve also enjoyed it when people have done audio or Pinterest summaries.
    The start of 2015 seemed the best time to do whatever we decide to do since we started it at a New Year.
    I look forward to more views on this.

  5. I’m considering changing to the 2014 theme http://theme.wordpress.com/themes/twentyfourteen/ to change the look of this blog. I think it might work for Weekly Blog Club & could encourage people to share videos and images. Do say if you think there’s a better (free) theme.

  6. dtbarron says:

    Janet

    I don’t think you let anyone down, and I’m in awe you kept it going for so long.

    I’ve been pondering on the question you raised about ‘what next’ with weekly blog club.

    Three is no doubt there was added value in what the blog did, the sharing of blogs reached audiences that our blogs on their own wouldn’t ordinarily have done so. Also, I read blogs that I wouldn’t have thought about going to look for and read.

    However, I recognise the massive investment in time and effort to curate the blogs into a single cohesive blog ready for sharing. It is only when you’ve tried to do this, or even organise a weekly blog such as Ayrshirehealth (or DGHealth) that you appreciate the time involved in doing it. As i said, I am in awe of you managing to keep the blog going for so long – even when Kate et al stepped in.

    Since you posted your thoughts I have tried to look for an alternative methods of curation, one which isn’t as time consuming and, importantly, one which is free to run. To be honest I couldn’t find one that closely replicates the outputs of Weeklyblogclub.

    Before replying to your post I did try Storifying all the Scottish Healthcare blogs for December 2014 ( https://storify.com/dtbarron/december-healthcare-blog ), however, while this brought them into one place it wasn’t true curation as I didn’t added value as I didn’t comment on them. It was however one way of the blog club continuing to exists without the enormous work that it involved?

    Just some thoughts, hope it helps your deliberations.

    I’d love to see Weeklyblogclub back, but you also need to balance hour own wellbeing with your digital leadership.

    Derek

  7. Hi Janet

    I agree with all the above posts, that you certainly haven’t let anyone down. Many thanks for all your hard work, it’s helped me learn so much about different people and organisations and to share our work too.

    The thing that I think most of the above ideas have in common is that it needs to be a way of aggregating the submitted posts quickly. I like Derek’s idea – we use Storify all the time and I’m a big fan, it’s a shame that you can’t embed Storify in WordPress.com posts at the moment.

    If people did have images with their blogs, a Pinterest board with a tiny bit of narrative might work? Perhaps something like Ross is suggesting with a post of the week and a list of other submissions?

    Happy to help out however we can with wjatever the agreed format us.

    Cheers again for all your hard work and Blwyddyn Newydd Dda (Happy New Year)!

    Dyfrig

  8. Phil Jewitt says:

    Hi Janet. You did a great job and gave confidence for a lot of people to dip their toe in the blogging water. No worries that you let anyone down, you didn’t.

    I think this is about managing expectations of what is doable and sustainable. As most folk have said, the important thing is to be able to link to submissions without creating too much work.

    I’m not sure a summary review is needed as folk interpret others posts in their own way and, as Kate says, that is the time consuming bit.

    As the title suggests the cycle works best when completed within a week. So I think simplify to meet that objective.

    Perhaps still continue to offer a theme to encourage folk to try writing about different topics.

    Hope this helps.

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