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www.zidao.com Apprentice harmonizer, for sheer fun. Journeywoman writer, for work and pleasure. Starting point was Iowa, current stopping point on this journey is Switzerland, with frequent pauses around the world to watch and listen to the crowd, and occasionally make comments.

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Saturday, February 04, 2006

Non-bloggers speak

Two-plus days hanging around at Lift06 with creative, inventive and very hard-working people who blog left me worn out but inspired. I posted photos late last night, wrote a couple words, exchanged Flickr (the photo place) messages with people who are new contacts there. Made a list of things to do to improve my understanding of how the blogging world works. Woke up early to upload to my company web site homework for my university students. I use my site rather than the university one because I know I can manage it, even when there are problems - no big machine to deal with.

And then I raced off to a teaching staff workshop at Webster University, just a morning, twice a year, that we are expected to attend. I arrived late and left early, for which there is no excuse except this one, the blog stuff.

We reviewed, with an excellent consultant, Armelle Armstrong, Webster's new marketing program, covering nine key messages to the public. Everyone agreed that the web (redesigned site) is critical for building community. I mentioned that I am starting an online Geneva newspaper in English, using blog technology, and that should make some parts of the community-building and awareness task easier.

"Blogs? What's that? Oh, I've heard of them - diaries. You write stuff about your life. Oh, and I hear there was this teenager commiting suicide and they managed to stop him because of his blog- they found him. Oooh, I've heard that it's dangerous, teenagers are saying things about their teachers, and taking pictures...."

Down to earth. Between bloggers and non-bloggers lies an ocean, deep, wide, very blue. So if I come out of this conference with one practical thing I think it should be this: go to work - get more people blogging so they know what it is, and why they should bother.

Project begins tomorrow. It doesn't yet have a name, although a blog for us ladies over 50 does, and boy am I going to have fun there. We are, after all, possibly the most important purchasing group in the world and we've reached that great age where you don't care two hoots what anyone thinks. (A couple nice phrases there to use in my writing classes, where English is no one's first language.)

Meanwhile, Robert Scoble is already getting me on the road to learning: I could see in one day a big jump in visits to my blog, from his, where he mentioned this blog because I commented on his talk. There can't be a more practical way to show someone that blogging is about links and conversations and connectedness (Thanks, Robert, for the lesson!).

Bits and pieces of the conference talks drift back to me, and I've concluded that the newspaper should be built as a innovation laboratory project, thanks to Thomas Sevcik. We, meaning the partners, can start with a name and a blank slate and a million ideas, and we share all the ups and downs, failures and successes, with the world. We have a newspaper, and A bit scary and the bigger existing media that we need as partners might balk. But there is really nothing to lose, unless I put money I don't have into this. Even if we ultimately fail, we will have learned much, and so will the rest of the world.

If you learn, you haven't failed. If you fail, you have learned. And that is surely part of success, so there is no such thing as failure, unless I lose my shirt. I vote for thin shirts, which everybody loves anyway.

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