Meet the Bloggers – An evening with some Handpicked friends

I have just come back from an evening with the bloggers of Handpicked Media, a blog network specialising in quality beauty, fashion, food and mums blogs amongst other topics. I was supporting a colleague who had been asked to talk about what media agencies look for in blogs and answer their questions.

Arriving at the venue (a cool cocktail bar in Broadick St, The Player) I was quite glad to find that the venue was quite dimly lit, misfortune having chosen the day I was due to meet influential fashion bloggers to jostle the lid from my pen whilst in my jeans on the way to work and spill ink all over my jeans. If I was trying to be positive I would say it gave me a ‘Just William’ naughty schoolboy quality but it probably just made me look like I had lost control of my bodily functions.

As an aspiring (although infrequent) blogger it was great to witness the camaraderie (sp.) amongst the crowd, from the first and second time attendees swapping tips on blog design, SEO for blogs, to the ‘pro’s’ bemoaning the attentions of ‘insensitive advertisers’ (not us!) offering ‘content’ and the trials of migrating to wordpress.org. Despite the obviously appealing free cocktails, it was clear that events like this are useful for both bloggers and their ‘networks’, as they are really working collaboratively, helping them increase their numbers and in turn improving their attractiveness to advertisers and profits. The night also represented the diversity of the blogosphere, with a good breadth of opinion, topic and character out there.

Working for a media agency its often easy to forget how personal this type of media can be, the polar opposite to the big publishing houses that are a much more established side of the media business. They offer us a great tool to really engage with communities and tap into expertise that can often go under the traditional media radar. For me opportunities on networks like this are what makes social media such an interesting area for advertisers and something that can be tapped in to to great effect.

The night had the added bonus of delicious wraps from Mooli on Frith Street, I will definitely be heading there soon!

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WordPress vs WordPress – A Facebook ‘like’ fail, and the battle of .org and .com

Being from a media/advertising rather than tech background I made the choice (not that actively) of using a blog provider that made it easy for me to write add images and post.
There are so many out there, from Posterous and Blogger, to TypePad and Tumblr all offering a load of usually free capability. They all purport to make the whole process easier, understanding that the hardest bit of blogging is writing the content.
Of the few I have tried I really like the functionality of both WordPress (.com) and Posterous but I am frustrated by the fact that I cannot employ the tool of the moment, the Facebook ‘like’ button. Coding has never been a strong point, even inserting pics can be a trial, but the more I try the more I realise that the self hosted blogs offer you the real opportunities to get you noticed and get your content spreading socially. Services like the ‘like’ button and TweetMeme are essential and for the moment off limits. The conclusion is that migrating to WordPress.org seems like my only option, but I wish this had all been made clear at the start!

Lesson learned: choose a blog host that matches your aspirations.

As for the ‘like’ button, its causing a storm for good reason, bringing the social functions and sharing capabilities of Facebook, to the wider web. Its a great opportunity for Facebook to build up a much more in depth profile of users tastes, all at the click of a button, not even on Facebook but on the site you are already at. Sharing your preferences with your friends but not causing you to have to leave the site you are on, ‘fishing where the fishes are’. Added to this the psychological barrier of becoming a ‘fan’ now seems prohibitive compared to the flippency of clicking a ‘like’.

Over 100,000 sites that are purported to have added ‘like’ functionality in the first three weeks of release, one of the best examples of the ‘like’ button is on the Levis website, US only at the moment!