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Jane Has a Busy Boot Camp Weekend

We can hardly believe it's Monday morning. Jane is still winding down from a flurry of amazing activity over the weekend, which included the arrival of a new friend who travelled all the way to Jane's from Boston!--a dear woman met through blogging; then, our 3rd Business Blogging Boot Camp (watch the boot camp blog for more info later today) all day Saturday; and the arrival, late in the day on Sunday, of puppies at our sister's house!

We are still trying to catch our collective breaths!

Let's begin with an announcement sent to us from our friend AJ at the White Rabbit Inn, in MI. AJ felt that Jane, and you also, dear reader, should be aware of a report from AOL that says,

Men Open Their Wallets Online

In the report, AOL says that "even though women now represent the majority of Web shoppers, men plan to spend nearly 15 percent more online this holiday season--$326 for men against $284 for women."

Futher on, the report quotes a "theory" "posited by Chuck Moran, BURST! Media's market research manager," that "women are less decisive when it comes to online shopping." Moran says, "Women tend to hesitate, and go looking for more input from friends and family, while a guy is more likely to comparison shop online and impulsively pull the trigger."

Jane would like to put this fallacy to rest. OUR report which we discuss at length in our book, unscientific though it was, and our continued study of men's and women's online shopping habits, shows that WOMEN continue to dominate the online shopping arena. WHO is doing the holiday shopping at YOUR house, dear reader? More than 50% of the time, it's Mom, or her equivalent. Dad sometimes even lets HER pick out and buy HER own gift!

Not only that...our research revealed to us that women DO NOT consult with family and friends as much as we thought. In our little study, more than 70% of the women said they make their own decisions and choices and seldom ask other's opinions.

Trust us. We get our results from YOU-- our readers-- who write and confide their shopping habits, and interviewees who admit that shopping onine is a convenience they enjoy. If you look back over our interviews, you will see that our Smart Men Online invariably tell us that it's their wives or girl friends who do the shopping online, and that what they, themselves, buy would barely fill up one brown, paper grocery bag!

This leads us into the marvelous weekend activities. Friday, our newest best friend, Jill Fallon of The Business of Life, drove up to our little suburb in Rochester, NY from her home in Boston. While anxiously awaiting her arrival, Jane and her partner, Tom, busily worked on the final touches to their presentation for the Saturday Business Blogging Boot Camp.

When Jill arrived, just in time for homemade chicken soup (one of the few things Jane knows how to make from scratch), the day was just drifting beyond evening into night, with a slight drizzle, though no bite to the darkness. Earlier, we had been flooded with monsoon rains, but when Jill finally turned the bend and pulled into our little driveway (with a little coaching over the phone), there was little left of the bad weather, save plenty of deep puddles to wet shoes and socks in.

The evening was filled with warmth, good conversation, and three people getting to know each other, even as they all felt they had known each other for years. In truth, we had not even talked on the phone--prior to Jill's needing last minute directions to find her way through the cul-de-sac we live in! One of Jill's comments struck us square in the medula of our brains, "It's just so nice to be able to talk about these things (blogs, blogging, knowledge management, information design) with people who relate."

We laughed. Indeed, we agreed, it was nice to have a comrade in arms.

Which leads us to the Business Blogging Boot Camp, which was held at a local training center from 8:30-4:00, on Saturday. It was well-attended, there wasn't a free seat to be had--which means there were 10 people there. This is a hands-on course, designed to discuss the strategy of blogging in the morning, in an exchange with the recruits to understand what THEY want to accomplish via their blogs, and to help them understand how to do that.

In the afternoon, Jane and her partner, Tom, from Knowledge Aforethought, scampered to and fro, from one boot camp recruit to the other, helping set-up blogs, upload logos, consult on their first post, prepare at least one typelist, and lead them through the maze that Typepad presents. Our BB Boot Camp Training Manual, which each recruit gets a copy of, now comes with a Site Map of Typepad. We found it very helpful at this session and will make sure all previous recruits get their copy of it.

(Jane and Tom and two other expert bloggers are putting together a Complete Business Blogging Boot Camp Training Manual, which we will announce for sale in the near future.  This book will be a much more in depth look at business blogging, and will include more information on how to use Typepad effectively. Watch this space!)

At each blogging session, we learn something new. This session taught us that while many businesses are aware of blogging, there is still a certain 'mystery' to it. Much like the confusion and raised eyebrows small businesses brought to the world of website building back one understood the web. Today, they have an inkling of what blogging is and what it MIGHT be able to do for them, but it's still magic --hocus-pocus-- technology they are afraid they will not understand.

Here are the questions we get asked most often:

  • What is it? (no, not a journal or a diary)
  • Why do it? (to personally connect with your customers and clients)
  • How many times do I have to post? (often...Jane says more than once a week. Tom says maybe once a week is enough.)
  • Where do I get links? (everywhere...when you take our boot camp, you GET many links, and we introduce your you have an immediate link structure to begin with)
  • What about spam? (much more easy to handle than spam in email)

This boot camp was no different in asking all those questions. But, these recruits were more serious than some of our previous recruits. They had done some homework, were blog readers already, and (as we instructed them to) had brought CDs with graphics and content, to make their new blogs as ready-to-go as possible. At the end of the day, Tom and Jane were exhausted. But, the feedback forms gave the boot camp glowing reports-- and excellent suggestions on how we can improve.

The blogosphere has, today, these new blogs (and more to come in the near future): Where Gerry Murak is requesting personal stories about Our Fathers Who Art in Heaven. Where life coach Jim Jones will be offering inspiration and support to everyone who reads his words. Not a new blog, but an important one. This is our friend Jill's 'other' blog...where she writes on Legacy Matters, a topic that each and every one of us should be intimately-- yes, intimately-- aware of. Both of Jill's blogs are Moveable Type, not Typepad. Can you tell the difference? If not, we need to talk!

The other boot camp recruits have not made their blogs public, yet! When they do, we will announce them, and encourage you, dear readers, to look them over. We continue to be amazed at the talent we see emerging in each of our recruits, and at their willingness to at least give the collective blogosphere a try.

You will hear more on this in later posts. As a "word" person, Jane is truly excited to be a part of something so big...something that promises to change the way people communicate...something that gives a voice to every individual, regardless of race, creed, age, or gender.

Yes, we also know there is a responsibility that comes with this ability to add a voice to the world community online, Jane is confident the majority of bloggers will embrace the same ethical, moral standards media in general requires of its writers. Those who do not, will be shouting in the wind.

Jane would like to leave our readers with this thought, taken from our Quotable Quotes book, "Everything we say about other people is really about ourselves." Merrit Malloy.Bear_friendship2

Like it or not, it's true.


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I can now say from personal experience with my new comrades in arms that Yvonne and Tom talk their walk in their Business Blogging Boot Camp and walk their talk in their blogs. Yvonne who outpaces Tom 5:1 in volume of posts is the bigger, faster walker. Tom though has more and prettier pictures.

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