It was very interesting even though mine and fellow speaker Lorrie's audience as very small (half were male) as the people in the audience all had some interest in transport & the Tube. Some had read my blog, one had even read Mecca's One Stop Short of Barking, others were thinking of running transport related blogs, one was doing research into a creative project involving the Tube.
I talked about all sorts of stuff which might be interesting to people thinking of starting their own blog. The importance of primarily writing for yourself so that ideally your enthusiasm shows through. What starts to happen once you get an audience and how people may or may not treat your blog differently. How do you deal with comments and particularly comments you don't agree with or find offensive.
They were fairly shocked to hear that I've had a persistent racist guy commenting on my blog since 2005. He is banned and knows that he is banned but still comes back using different IP addresses and makes posts at 2am or 4am in the morning as he hopes that at least some people will read his views before I get the chance to delete them. I'm not going to name him as that will give him the attention he craves. I will tell him & anyone else who's reading this, that I delete all of his posts and don't even read them, so I have absolutely no idea what he is saying to me. I treat him in exactly the same way that he treats Black, Asian, Jewish and basically any "non-white" people who he's maligned over the past three years. With complete disrespect. If that makes me a fascist - so be it. But I refuse to let him or anyone else try to use my blog as a mouthpiece for spreading racial hatred. It simply ain't going to happen.
The only good thing I can say about him is that, so far, he doesn't appear to be sexist. But I'm sure that will come in a comment made at 3am in the morning - so look out for it!
Back to other tips for new bloggers. Bloggers on the whole are very collaborative and share a lot. They usually acknowledge other bloggers stories and read and comment on other people's blogs. I love Flickr and spend the first half hour of most mornings having a look at my friends pictures to see what they've been up to and commenting on stuff.
The time went by very quickly and it was a shame the discussions couldn't continue as we also discussed copyright & legal issues, responsibility of blogging and dealing with sexism in blog comments.