Aspiring storytellers gather in Humboldt Park
Blog and blogging are relatively new terms in our lexicon. It wasn’t until 1997 that the original term, weblog was coined, and 1999 when it was shortened to blog. In its early years, the term had negative connotations. Back then, the term blogger conjured up an image of someone sitting in their basement in front of a computer, ranting and raving about the world. Fast foward a few short years and it seems that everyone is blogging and many of those people are making a living as bloggers.
Why is everyone blogging?
There are as many reasons to why everyone is blogging as there are types of blogs. Some are about sharing a talent of skill–photography, cooking, crafts–some are about marketing expertise and thought leadership in their given field, and many others are simply about the acts of writing and storytelling for their own sake.
Why did perception shift?
With an ever-growing mistrust of media, people are looking for alternative and/or additional sources to stay informed. Often, bloggers fill those information gaps. They tell the stories that often aren’t being told and there isn’t a topic out there that a blogger isn’t writing about.
In communities that often get a bad rap because the stories highlighted by the media tend to skew towards the negative, empowering individuals with the skills to to tell its stories through blogging/writing is imperative.
These efforts began in 2010 when, with the launch of this Portal, community members were provided a platform on which they could share community stories in the form of events, news and information. Less than four years later, and with a 782% increase in unique visitors per quarter, we are now focused on teaching Portal users and other community members how to tell those stories.
Through the Smart Communities program, Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation facilitated a writing workshop for 20 participants at Open Space, which is located in the 2nd floor conference room at Nellie’s Restaurant.
The workshop, Blogging for Beginners: The Art of Storytelling, covered just some of these basic tenets of why and how to write for a web audience:
- Why communities need bloggers
- What makes a good topic
- How to maintain focus and flow
- How to write engaging headlines
- How to use and find compelling images
- Why proofreading and editing are important
Participants also had the opportunity to put some of these skills to work during an in-workshop writing assignment, where, interspersed during different points of the training, were 15 minutes of topical writing; 5 minutes of title/headline creation, and time for the braver souls to share their work with the group.
The consensus from the group seemed to be that it was a great start, but they want more. From wanting to learn more about writing for business, starting a blog, and how to engage an audience, the desire to share knowledge and stories is there.
Those needs and wants will be looked at as a wider variety of workshops are scheduled throughout the coming year. In the meantime, the next Blogging for Beginners: The Art of Storytelling workshops are scheduled for Tuesday, March 18th and Wednesday, April 23rd. The workshops are free, but registration is required.
To stay updated on workshop opportunities in the Humboldt Park community, sign up to receive the Portal’s e-newsletter and stay in touch on social media.
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