Blog Basics 4 Total Beginners features information and instructions on blogging for those who are truly “total beginners” to blogging, and to internet use beyond simple surfing or e-mail.
The idea for the blog arose as I tried to encourage and help a local group I belong to, Penticton Writers and Publishers, to start using the internet in a variety of ways. The majority of members were seniors, with experience in the worlds of traditional publishing and self-publishing. But the internet, for many, was foreign territory. Computers, for most, were for typing manuscripts, sending emails, and perhaps surfing the internet. And that’s about it. The very thought of actively using the new media was pretty terrifying for a lot of these writers, even though that is where the world of writing and publishing is rapidly developing.
To help these writers overcome their fear, and get started in interactive use of the ‘net, I began by setting up a simple e-group on Yahoo, where we could share news, useful links, and help each other out with critiquing between our monthly meetings. About a dozen or so members “took the plunge” – it was a new experience for all of them! Next, I started producing a quarterly newsletter, the Penticton Scribe , sent out in PDF form, and now we have many subscribers ( Email to add your name to the free subscription list).
We have also been encouraging the members to set up Facebook accounts so they can join our facebook group. We now have a small but loyal – and growing – group of internet users there as well.
We’ve also been introducing the idea of authors’ blogs and/or websites, or at least personal blogs or websites where they can get their name out there and develop a following. One brave member, Bob, decided to take the plunge, and started his own blog, Lakes, Trails and Tales of the Golden Triangle, on the Blogger platform. Soon, others like Janey, with her Africa-focused site, Theresa, with her horse protection blog, Respect; and David, a writer, self-publisher, and now self-published book distributor, who well understands the use of business websites, have also set good examples with sites of their own.
However, some members were still pretty terrified. Which brought me to the idea of starting a very, very simple, basic, step-by-step introduction to blogging – and particularly, blogging for seniors who are (or want to be) writers and/or authors. Granted, there are some great step-by-step “how-to-set-up-a-blog” (and/or website) sites out there already. But what I have found, in discussing this whole issue with my fellow writers in the group, is that there is a need for a site where they are not overwhelmed by jargon they don’t understand, where reasons for blogging are carefully laid out, and where the site is set up in a fashion they are familiar with and understand.
This is the reason for some of the rather unusual aspects of Blog Basics 4 Total Beginners – a Table of Contents you would more likely expect to find in a traditional book; a Glossary of blogging, website and internet terms explained very simply (and links to the terms from within the posts); and lots of step-by-step simple involvement and interaction. The site also links the users to other sites (such as simple “how-to-set-up-a-WordPress-blog” sites) which explain various aspects better than I can!
Well-known bloggers tell new bloggers to blog as if they are speaking to, and interacting with, an audience of thousands – but at the same time to focus on one person who is clearly representative of the target audience. My target audience of thousands (or millions!) are all the seniors (and others like them) out there who need some help getting over their fear of real involvement with the internet – with a special sub-emphasis on those who are, or would like to be, writers and authors.
So – if you’re one of those terrified folks – or you know others who are, and you’d like to find someone to help them, I hope that Blog Basics 4 Total Beginners is the place for you. Of course, a great thing about blogs is their interactivity, and I’d also be happy to answer questions and give a personal helping hand where I can. Please check out the blog, introduce others to it – and let me know how I can help. You CAN blog!