Friday, August 14, 2009

Right Online: Blogging 101 by Matt Lewis

Matt Lewis, compiler of "The Week In Blog," spoke to us bloggers (a.k.a., "Online community organizers") next. He said that we have a lot of power to influence.

He began by pointing out that each of us bloggers should "find a niche." We have expertise, so we should capitalize on it. Perhaps we can illuminate a new angle on an issue. We can bring focus to local and state issues, and hopefully use our platform to lobby and influence politicians.

"Blogging gives the MSM permission to cover something." Would the vicious rumor that Sarah Palin's baby was not actually her own have gone anywhere, if some liberal bloggers hadn't taken the fabrication and run with it? More recently, consider what happened at Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee's recent town hall meeting: Had no one gotten video of her taking a phone call during a question, would it have made the MSM? If someone had not pointed out (with e-mail correspondence screenshots to validate it) that one of the persons at her town hall lied about being a pediatric surgeon, would anyone know today?

Bloggers need to practice basic journalism. Journalists, for the most part, have abandoned the practice. Build up credibility; don't go off half-cocked; check your facts.

For impact, pictures are better than words, and videos are better than pictures. He suggested that all of us have the tools (iPhone, flip phone, etc.) to take video should a great moment happen in our presence. Learn how to get screenshots, and use them.

So you got the scoop...Now what? His first suggestion was to get on twitter (this seems to be a theme so far among the speakers, and will be a direct topic of the next session) and accumulate a following. Be active in the blog community. Reciprocate; if they follow you on twitter or they follow your blog, return the favor. Respond to comments on blogs; the left has been making great progress in mocking and demoralizing the Right when they speak up. Gather an e-mail list of media members and other bloggers whom you can contact when you uncover something of interest....ditto with other media.

You are your own PR firm. Make friends. Hook other people up. Use twitter.

Do research. For example, go to and find out who gave your Congressman money (Remember those people in the shack who gave Hillary Clinton thousands of dollars?)

Start a blog if you don't have one already. (Matt Lewis suggested Wordpress.) Buy your own name for a domain name and get your own name on twitter, if you still can.

Next great session: Twitter and Facebook, by David's about to start. And I'm still sitting on the front row.

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