Blogging at the end of the earth

Blogging, or web logging, can be a powerful tool to bring a human face to enterprise, become published and build networks, according to Richard Giles who is organising a "blognite" in Perth later this month.

Giles, who manages Sun Microsystems's partner accounts, thinks Australia is usually disadvantaged by its geographical isolation and has the most to gain by blogging as a way of staying interconnected.

"If we apply this technology more assiduously than others, our culture and our economy may well jump ahead," he said.

The event grew from a group of three Perth based bloggers, including Giles, who met on meetup.com, a site which helps people to form web logger groups in their local area.

"It grew from frustration, because we would always see blogging events held in New York, but you would never see anything in Perth. We are at the end of the earth here. Even Sydney is a long way to get to for many," he said.

Giles is putting his feelers out, hoping that a larger scale conference may grow from the event, possibly in conjunction with the East Coast.

In addition to appealing to bloggers, Giles hopes the event will appeal to all those interested in the trends and developments in communication and social software, including business people, educators, bureaucrats and journalists.

The event will comprise eight bloggers talking about blogging's social impact, where the technology is heading, and (blogging) opportunities arising in the future.

Giles (www.richardgiles.net/blog) will be speaking about business blogging. He anticipates that other industry sectors will follow Sun and Microsoft in using blogging as a new way of connecting with customers and suppliers, and also as an internal communication tool, all the way up to the CEO.

"Although it is hard to measure the effectiveness of blogging to your business, it really does help you keep in touch with the community and with staff, and the communication is so much more honest and 'real' than when it has been filtered through Public Relations," he said.

"Sun Microsystems' president Jonathan Schwartz can say things on his blog which will generate press and then have a direct effect on Wall Street."

Giles is also experimenting with commercialising blogs. He is encouraging advertisers to his gadget lounge blog (http://www.gadgetlounge.net/), but said it was only early days in terms of determining its success.

Other speakers will include Warren Duff (www.waz77.blogspot.com), senior business development officer for ineedhits.com, who will speak about the commercial reality of blogs and how they can be used to generate money.

Associate lecturer from University of WA Tama Leaver (http://ponderance.blogspot.com) will be talking about the benefits and problems associated with using blogging in tertiary education.

Leaver believes blogging is under-utilised in Australian universities.

"As far as I am aware, I am the only person to utilise blogs as part of a course at the University of Western Australia," he said.

"Blogging, in effect, forces students to be concerned with their public voices in a more immediate way, which means that when they are writing or interacting online, they will, I hope, carry that critical awareness about potential readers, and the power of their online voices, into other contexts."

Leaver is excited about where blogging is heading in the future, as it becomes more widespread.

"I think it will hybridise with other media forms and become less recognisable as 'just' blogging."

As an example, Leaver pointed out that blogging began as text only and then included pictures. Now there is audio blogging and video blogging (vlogging) and mobile phone blogging (moblogging), where a series of photos is posted using a wireless-connected mobile.

"Blogging certainly has a role to play in terms of both culture and the future of technology," he said.

Other bloggers speaking will be Chris Clark (www.decaffeinated.org), Anthony Georgeff (www.spiceblog.blogspot.com), Robert Corr (www.robertcorr.net/blog), Veronica Bowden (http://ochweidnit.diaryland.com) and Bret Treasure (www.notthewest.blogspot.com).

The blognite is free. It will be held at Curtin University Wednesday October 27. For information and registration see www.perthblogs.org

More about Curtin UniversityMicrosoftSun MicrosystemsUniversity of WAUniversity of Western AustraliaWall Street

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