Sunday, July 3, 2011

#blogjune Boroondara challenge

We set ourselves another challenge at the City of Boroondara during the month of June, and that was to complete #blogjune for our library blogs. Well, when I say WE set ourselves the challenge I really mean that @tapsister set us the challenge to do #blogjune for the City of Boroondara Library Service by one or other of us doing a Boroondara blog-post a day.

We have four library blogs: Library News which covers general stuff, Bookends which is devoted to adult books and reading, About the books which has a youth focus and Telling Tales which is our family and local history blog. Having set us all the challenge, Tapsister did a beautiful colour co-ordinated roster for blogging during the month of June and we were away! I am not going to comment on how the Boroondara challenge worked generally as that is Tapsister's prerogative. I just want to focus on the posts that I aka Polyxena did for Boroondara during that time.

Apart from a couple of posts I did as normal business during June (and I don't think I even tagged as #blogjune), Telling Tales was my baby and we were rostered by Tapsister to do seven blogposts. Bookwoman did four of them focusing on our current celebrations on 150 years of public library service in Boroondara. They were on Camberwell Library, Camberwell Library and the Bookmobile, Camberwell Central Library and Balwyn Library. As we were about the celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Camberwell Central Library there were no surprises there.

Polyxena was rostered to do three. I moved away from the history of the library service for mine. My first was on the 1988 Kew Urban Conservation Study and the usefulness it has for family and local historians despite its unprepossessing cover. My second one was on the City of Hawthorn Centenary 1860 to 1960 and featured a video by Swinburne.

As I normally try to reframe and recycle my personal Hecuba Reads for one of the library blogs, I also did nine unscheduled #blogjunes on Bookends and once we put them into the equation decided that enough was enough. So I did a total of 11 blogposts for Boroondara in June. These included the two local history ones as well as ones for Bookends on Dorothy L Sayers, More Peter Wimsey, Striding Folly, In the teeth of the evidence, Last gift of time, In tearing haste, Manhattan dreaming, Lord Peter: the end, and finally Franklin and Eleanor.

So 11 Boroondara blogposts and 30 personal blogposts! A total of 41 for June for Polyxena! Yes, I know that nine of these were recycled and reframed and on the same topics but I am really very pleased with myself. I am also very pleased with the Boroondara challenge and look forward to Tapsister's analysis of it. Well done to Tapsister for giving us this challenge! I wonder how many posts we all did at Boroondara for June covering both Boroondara and personal ones?

#blogjune 30 Reflection drinking Gorgeous Geisha

Well, the end of June has come and a few days later I have finally come to the end of my 30 personal #blogjune posts, or rather I will be when I get to the end of this one and press the publish button. So I sit in Melbin's cold eating cake, drinking T2 Gorgeous Geisha tea and reflecting on what #blogjune meant for me.

Was I absolutely mad to take up the challenge? I had already taken up the #2011PAD challenge on 1 January and that involves a photo and sometimes a comment every day. I find with #2011PAD that I simply don't do it every day. But I basically do keep up to date by posting every few days. And yay! 30 June must have been the halfway mark for that as well as the end of #blogjune.

With #blogjune I decided that I wouldn't stick to one blog for my posts but I would spread the blogs over my three active (er semi-active?) blogs depending on how the mood took me. This meant that I would be focusing on technology (Hecuba's Story), books reading and writing (Hecuba Reads) and food (The Librarian and the Kitchen). This also meant that the focus of my blogging was restrained and not limited to random reflections. So what did I actually post about and what was the spread of topics?

I started off with Hecuba's Story as I needed to blog about the death of my feline Hecuba and the barriers her death had given me to writing in that blog. After the struggle of writing that one I didn't get back to Hecuba's Story for a while but did eventually do eight other posts there: 16 paper-li, 17 paper-li reprise, 18 Martyn Wyndham-Read, 20 Neighbourgoods, 21 Rouxbe, 24 Keepmeout, 26 Google+, and, of course, I am now doing 30. So that meant I did a total of ten posts on the general theme of technology - be it exploring new sites or commenting on the value of others. There probably were at least another 30 posts I could have written on this all-absorbing topic :)

After my initial post, I moved quickly to the comfort zone of books and writing and did a total of 14 posts on my blog Hecuba Reads. These basically focused on what I was reading during the month of June: 2 Macrobertsonland, 3 Dorothy L Sayers, 4 More Peter Wimsey, 5 Beyond the Ladies Lounge, 8 Striding folly, 9 Vale Patrick Leigh Fermor, 10 In the teeth of the evidence, 11 Last gift of time, 14 In tearing haste, 18 Manhattan dreaming, 22 Five books meme, 23 First Merchant Venturers, 25 Lord Peter: the end, and 27 Franklin and Eleanor. On looking back I am fascinated to see that what I read and thought about serendipitously in relation to recreational reading in June held no surprises: crime fiction, biography, local history, Greece, feminism, archaeology. Yes, these are always my key reading interests.

Another key interest is food and cooking and this was reflected in the six blogposts I did in The Librarian and the Kitchen. They were: 6 Chicken coriander and mushroom pie, 7 Mackerel and vegetable pie, 12 Turkey and coriander balls, 13 Turkey and coriander balls in tomato sauce, 15 The Flavour Thesaurus and 28 Sweet chilli prawn pies. There were no surprises there either. I love reading cook books and books about food and in terms of actual cooking I have been going through a phase of cooking different pies recently. And the meatballs? Well, meatballs are simply one of my favourite meals so again I am always trying out variants. During June I was so pleased that one of the other bloggers actually cooked one of my recipes and another friend whipped out a camera to take a photo of a pie I cooked her! Cooking and reading and writing about it is always fun and a constant in my life.

So would I do #blogjune again? I certainly would take up the challenge again as it provided me with a framework and a discipline. That being said the only topic discipline was provided by the actual blogs and I am really interested to reflect back on what I actually blogged about and how reflective it was of me. Will I blog more as a result or heave a sigh of relief? Well, probably the answer is yes to both.

This post is, of course, only my comments on my own personal blog challenge. I was also absolutely blown away by the volume of blogposts and the wide range of topics my fellow #blogjune bloggers came up with. To review my reactions to all of that would just take a lot more space than a blogpost. And I don't need to anyway as my colleagues provided regular updates for us on Libraries Interact.

#blogjune 29 Google+

Yes I know that it is 3 July and I should have finished my 30 #blogjune posts by now. But on Thursday evening I did one and still had two to finish. Exhaustion got the better of me - as did a website and app I was wanting to comment on and which got into a loop when I tried to signin. I'll pursue that another time as it may just have been my tiredness and not the site.

The end of June of course coincided with the launch of Google+. I was annoyed to get onto it just as I was in the midst of end of year financial transactions and really haven't looked at it properly until this morning. Here's a link to a good Youtube introduction to it that I found when I was searching Google+ in my Sparks section.

At this point of time it is not possible to get a perfect prediction from the crystal ball, but I really like lots of things about it. I like the clean interface. I like the Circles and the ease with which you can add and take away people and the ease in which you can limit or broadcast your posts and Sparks. I really like the Sparks function which is, of course, building on the integral strengths of Google. And I like the way it is all part of a Google package: if I am using it I also have immediate access to Googledocs, Blogger, Youtube, Mail, Reader, Calendar, Picasa, etc. I don't use all of these regularly and some hardly ever but this is a strength of Google+. I haven't tried a Hangout yet and my experience with the mobile site on iTouch/iPad is that I prefer the web much more. Hopefully there will be an app soon.

At the moment with such a limited number of people participating my circles are only in the 80s and the majority are librarians with a few IT geeks thrown in for good measure. Maybe that has a lot to do with my limited range of acquaintance but I do know that the range of my followers and those I follow on both Facebook and Twitter is much broader than this. Will it have common appeal to say my extensive group of breast cancer friends on Facebook?
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