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Monday, March 06, 2006

The power of newbie



I want to thank Anita Bezic from Slovenia for pointing out this great Wiki for Beginning Bloggers. After reading her blog (and her synopsis of last week's cool cat teacher article on Ten Blogging Habits that Win) I am struck by the power of the blogosphere to teach.

When I teach, I feel that I've accomplished something and left a legacy. Far too many people are stingy with information!

When you are a newbie, you have something that tech-experts do not have: the perspective of a new user.
Here is what you should do when you are a newbie:
  1. Keep a notepad handy and write down the steps to accomplish your task including any "glitches" or nuances. (Include commentary on what is confusing to you and what you think.)
  2. Take screen shots by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Print Scrn and copying them into your photo program. Save it as a jpeg, label it if necessary, and upload it as part of your blog post. I like people to draw me maps when I travel...screen shots are maps for online learners and should be used!
  3. Immediately blog while it is fresh on your mind. Make your target audience - "Myself just prior to attempting this" and make sure you list steps and nuances clearly.
  4. Following the Ten Blogging Habits that Win discussed last Friday when you post.
What a great resource "newbies" are to the blogosphere!

Software makers and web app creators should scour the net for such "newbie" posts concerning their software, web apps, and products. It is free market research! These companies should:
  • Read these posts carefully.
  • Post comments and feedback. (which by the way will drive traffic to your product. It also shows you care and are keeping your ear to the ground, so to speak.)
  • Read posts on the competition to determine their strengths and weakenesses (Perfect research for that old SWOT we learn in business school.)

Great job Anita and keep on blogging! I think I am going to start using a tag "newbie" when I am new to a software package, etc. If you will tag your post with that when you are new to that product, it could help us find such information more easily.

Experts are great but newbies have a lot to add to the conversation too. If the "experts that be" listen to newbies they can learn valuable information that will help answer the questions of beginners.

Blog on newbies! (I'm one too!)
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