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Belfast Bloggers Meetup

Last week a fresh Belfast Bloggers Meetup was held at Farset Labs. I’d been to the very first meetup, where I spoke (i.e. ranted) about SEO for bloggers, but I hadn’t managed to attend one since. This time I was asked to speak on a topic of my choosing, and I decided to make it a bit of a mix.

Before my talk, two other speakers held the stage, starting with Brian O’Neill from the famous Northern Irish political blog Slugger O’Toole. As the technical guy behind the scenes, Brian shared fascinating insights about how such a popular blog is run and managed, how they moderate their comments, and the hosting requirements for their website (turns out it still runs on a shared server).

Next up was Brian John Spencer, a man I’ve admired for a long time and finally got a chance to meet. A political cartoonist, blogger, and writer, Brian spoke about his awakening to blogging as a platform to make his voice heard and write about his political views and ideals, not content to let others speak on his behalf with their warped visions of what his culture should look like.

Brian John Spencer speaking at the Belfast Bloggers Meetup

Brian is an exceptionally well-read man, which was evident from the litany of quotes he peppered his talk with, from John Hewitt to George Orwell, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett. His talk was hugely inspiring and motivating for me to put even more passion and drive in to my writing. He also drew one of his signature caricatures of me while I was speaking – it’s awesome!

Lastly I was up, and my talk went from the negatives of Google’s mission statement to monetising blogs by selling links, and I fielded a number of questions from the attendees as well who were keen to learn more about SEO and blogging.

Before the event some of the speakers and attendees were interviewed by Northern Visions TV, a local TV station, and the resulting video has been made available online. It includes some snippets from my interview as well:

The quality and participation of the bloggers meetup seems to grow with every event, so I’ll make it a point to attend every one from now on. You can keep up to date with the meetup by following @BelfastBloggers on twitter.

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