Inside the Newsroom

News, commentary, insight on local happenings and fun from the staff of The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Blogging 101 at the Saline Senior Center

Jeff Smith, our photo intern from Ann Arbor, and I headed over to the Saline Senior Center this morning to teach "Blogging 101" and instead of me teaching the seniors a thing or two, they taught me.

I must admit that I am not that knowledgeable about technology, although I hide it very well. I am on Facebook and I use Twitter, and I've been blogging for four years, but I am the type of person who sets up that stuff and I just kind of figure it out on my own, with just a basic understanding. As long as I can get done what I need to do, I am satisfied. I don't do anything really fancy or amazing. I just send out messages, and share links, photos and video.

I've been tweeting since January 2009 for The Saline Reporter, Milan News-Leader and added A2 Journal in July 2009. I've been on Facebook maybe three years and I've experimented there by uploading photos and video, and sharing links. I even expanded my horizons -- and responsibilities -- by creating a Facebook page for The Saline Reporter/The Milan News-Leader, The A2 Journal and Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary. I also upload all of the web content for The Saline Reporter, Milan News-Leader and A2 Journal on our website -- after training and following step-by-step instructions that I have since memorized.

So, it appears as if I am tech savvy, but I had to have our graphic arts department create my Twitter background and I don't know how to upload audio, although Jeff has offered to show me. Yes, an unpaid intern who is supposed to be learning from us (check out his photo blog) is going to teach me. And so that brings me back to this morning.

Luckily, I was smart enough to bring Jeff along because he really did all of the work. The eight seniors who signed up learned, for the most part, all they needed from him, and I tried to help troubleshoot, although I suspect I wasn't very good at that. I put together some blogging packets, with information from Blogger on how to create a blog, but we ended up showing them how on Word Press because Blogger wanted to confirm via a text and a lot of seniors don't have cell phones that have texting capabilities.

My initial thought was that I would end up with a group of seniors who weren't really familiar with the Internet and I would do more talking. But, boy, was I wrong. My little talk about blogging was less than five minutes and then surprise, surprise, they all wanted to set up their own blogs immediately. I thought maybe one person would want to and we would all huddle around that person as Jeff explained the process. Instead, poor Jeff, jumped from computer to computer and individual to individual helping them each set up a blog.

Evelyn Griffin was one of our students -- or rather, I should say, I was her student. We initially struggled with Blogger and then got her going on Word Press. When it was all said and done, she was showing me her Walgreens account, where she stores digital photos. She has a slide show on there and she has colorized photos. She even told me about the PowerPoint she is working on or had worked on, I can't remember which. She is way more advanced than me. I've never put together a PowerPoint. I don't even use a website to upload photos to be printed, such as Walgreens or Flickr. I usually go to Walmart and insert my storage device and place an order, and it has been at least a year, maybe two, since I've done that.

My intention in holding the class was to get senior citizens started on blogging in hopes that maybe a few of them would like to become one of our blogging partners, joining the ranks of local residents April Scarlett, Emily Wilson and Kristin Judge. While many of my "students" at the senior center created family blogs, the invitation is still out there and is good for anyone with an interest. I am looking for blogs of general interest, such as local history, local happenings, gardening advice, books/reading, the active life of a senior citizen, etc. So, if you're interested, send me an e-mail and we will set you up. Your blog will appear in our Blog Center and we will promote it in print. In turn, we ask that you add our headline widget so your blog followers may click over to our news site to read some of our stories of interest.

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