Social media: Blogging
For this video guide, Chris Unitt of Meshed Media talks to Charlotte Frost about different blog platforms, getting the most from a blog, and some of the creative and innovative blogs around.
Contributor: Chris Unitt runs Meshed Media, an agency that helps artists and arts organisations to use social media for communication, creativity and collaboration.
Meshed Media offers training, ideas, strategy and implementation. Their work is rooted in a passion for the arts, a working knowledge of the opportunities offered by technology and a personal approach to working with online communities. They work with those who are just starting to make use of social media, all the way up to partnering on innovative digital projects.
Unitt has worked with International Dance Festival Birmingham, DanceXchange, sampad, Apples & Snakes, Rhubarb Rhubarb, Fierce, Rosie Kay Dance Company and Birmingham Hippodrome. He also sits on the board of The Other Way Works, a theatre company focussing on site specific work. He is the editor of Created in Birmingham (an award-winning arts and culture blog) and is responsible for Film Dash (an annual 48-hour film competition) and the Birmingham Social Media Cafe events.
Chris Unitt discusses some more examples of creative blogging:
Tiny Art Director (tinyartdirector.blogspot.com) is the daughter of an illustrator who's used an interesting conceit for getting his work seen - his young daughter sets the brief then offers criticism. It's funny but it's also landed him a book deal. It shows how it only takes a small sidestep to find a fresh and engaging angle.
Clusta (www.clusta.com) are an agency that do a lot of great commercial design, branding and web work but, quite often, can't disclose their clients. They get around that by blogging their influences and inspirations at clusta.blogspot.com.
Someone Once Told Me (www.someoneoncetoldme.com) Mario is a photographer who carries around a pad, a marker pen and his camera. He asks people to write down something they'd once been told and he takes their photo. He puts up one post a day.
5 Players (five-players.com) - another group blog, with five individuals taking a day each to blog. There's safety and solidarity in numbers. You might want to think about how working as a group could work for you
Ultra Culture (www.ultraculture.co.uk) - bills itself as 'The UK's greatest movie blog' and shows the value of irreverence, bravura and having an opinion
Wine Library TV (tv.winelibrary.com) - Gary Vaynerchuck saw the potential of blogging but was no writer so he let it pass him by. Then video blogging came along and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands. There are lessons here about using the platform and approach that suits your style
Digbeth is Good (digbeth.org/) - a blog that is a flag bearer for the 'hyperlocal' movement, showing how a blog can be utterly rooted in it's immediate environment whilst not taking itself too seriously
Spitalfields Life (spitalfieldslife.com) - another blog that focusses on a very specific area. This is known for its beautiful storytelling and great use of images. The construction of 'the gentle author' who remains anonymous is interesting too
Stan's Cafe (www.stanscafe.co.uk) - an innovative theatre company who use their blog excellently - talking (and doing something) about issues relevant to them, promoting other shows and giving a glimpse behind the scenes of their productions. They're also very good at keeping brief and to the point
The 99 Percent (the99percent.com) - chock full of links to articles about creativity and productivity. It's an example of how curating content around a subject can be as useful to a reader as creating content in the first place - why say again what's already been said?
Creating Cinderella (www.creatingcinderella.com) - a great example of how to provide context for the development of a piece of work. David Bintley at Birmingham Royal Ballet has bought into the process by giving access to all parts and by being remarkably candid. Documentation like come to be valuable resources
OKtrends (blog.okcupid.com) - the blog of the dating website. It's really more of a blog about statistics, using the reams of data they collect as part of the service. It happens to be hugely popular in its own right too, showing that the incidental can be fascinating if treated right
Problogger (www.problogger.net) - ok, so too many of the articles are overlong waffle and the tone might be a bit too rampantly commercial for your liking, but there are enough gems on here to help you with your blogging to make it worthwhile and some of the lessons will cross over. For example, it's interesting to see how Darren Rowse has structured the design of the blog itself - nothing is left to chance.
First published: a-n.co.uk January 2011
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