On Saturday, Elizabeth and I attended Blogfest – an annual event run by Mumsnet for people who have blogs. Our blog is not a “mum blog” by which I mean that we don’t really blog much about being parents. However, they still let us in (!) and it was great to spend a day thinking about blogging, listening to great speakers (including Lucy Porter, Francesca Martinez and Nick Hornby among others) and learning more about the technical side of this blogging malarkey, an area in which we are particularly challenged!
There were two things that I found useful about Saturday. We went there very focussed on learning technical stuff, and we certainly did learn lots of useful techie things, like how to make the pictures in the sliders show up properly, and that we really do need to get to grips with Google+ and boring but useful stuff like how to back up the blog so that it doesn’t all disappear in a puff of smoke one day! Thanks to Jax Blunt specifically for her help, as well as several of the speakers. We also realised that we must have learnt a little since last year as we were actually able to advise someone else about self-hosting and a lot of the information made a lot more sense than it did last year. At least now I have a better idea of what I do know and what I don’t!
The other useful thing was thinking a bit about communicating and how to communicate better. As speech and language therapists we are supposed to be experts in communication. However, ironically, I think that as a profession we sometimes have a lot to learn about explaining things clearly and also about listening. Well… I do anyway!
Blogfest falls at an interesting time of year for us, a week or so before our blogging anniversary. On Nov 18th we will have been blogging for 2 years. Two years seems like a long time, and when I think about the range of subject matter that we’ve covered, I guess it does seem like we’ve been at it for a fair while. We’ll revisit some of our most popular posts of this year over the next week or so. However, in other ways I feel like we are still novices. Like many things, it seems fairly straightforward, but once you start, you realise there is actually an awful lot to learn. But like the children I work with, (and the rest of the population) I learn best by doing and bit by bit, we’ll get there!
One of the main reasons we started all this two years ago was because we wanted a place where people could find clear information about speech and language difficulties, that was chatty and down-to-earth, practical and informative. Somewhere where parents and teachers could find ideas on how to help particular children, and somewhere where SLTs could find share ideas and other useful websites etc. There’s an awful lot of great resources and information on the internet, but it can be hard to find what you want. We couldn’t find a UK based blog doing all of these things and, inspired by the many fabulous American speech and language therapy blogs there are out there, we decided to try and create one!
We probably set ourselves an unrealistic goal, but I hope we’ve managed to be of use to at least a few people! Over the last year we have started our Facebook page and Twitter feed which we use mostly to send out useful articles and resources that we’ve found online (do follow these – there are some great links there, if I say so myself!) Here on the blog itself, we’ve continued to write our own content, aimed at giving ideas and explaining speech and language in everyday vocabulary.
There’s a lot more to do, and spending a day thinking about blogging gave us an opportunity to think about what else we need to do. Here are some things we want to do over the next year:-
- Make the archive more user-friendly so that people can actually find what they’re looking for
- Get some more guest posts (if you’re an SLT or parent and you’d like to guest post for us, we’d love to hear from you)
- Turn some of our advice posts into handouts so they’re easier to print off and give out to others or try yourself!
All in all, a useful and enjoyable day and a great time for us to be thinking more about our little blog. If you’ve got any more ideas of what you’d like to see here, do let us know!