Meeting PromptsbyDee

It started on Twitter, where I saw a post from Dee over at PromptsByDee about a Harry Potter-themed day out in London on the Thursday of this week. I love meeting blogger friends in real life and Dee is someone who I’ve wanted to meet for a while now, so I said I would tag along.


We agreed to meet at Platform 9 3/4 (of course) on a day when wizards and witches get the 11am train to Hogwarts. Therefore, the queue to have your photo taken in front of the Platform 9 3/4 wall was understandably long.


What was also interesting was the giant cards of the Hogwarts logo, the Hogwarts Express etc. that had been put up in Kings Cross for people to colour in. It was a promotion for the new Harry Potter colouring in book. I had to have a go and include a shameless bit of self-promotion too.

After a brief look around the Harry Potter shop, we took the tube to go and see the Palace Theatre (where The Cursed Child is showing) and visit Forbidden Planet.

I’m not a fan of comic books, yet I was wrong to assume that was all that was inside the Forbidden Planet megastore. There was a section dedicated to Sherlock products (mostly the odd poster, Pop Vinyls and figurines, which aren’t really my thing) and downstairs there was a whole section dedicated to books based on TV programmes. It was great to see TomSka’s Art is Dead on sale along with comic books about Watchmen, Batman and Deadpool. Whilst I’ll probably never read a comic or graphic novel, a lot of TV programmes or films I watch are based upon one of the two. For example, I love The Walking Dead (based on Robert Kirkman’s comics), Batman and Deadpool (which are of course based on the characters from DC Comics and Marvel respectively).

After that, we then went back to the train station and made our separate ways. I just want to say another big thank you to Dee for letting me wander around London with her for the day. It was great to finally meet you. As you could probably tell by what we got up to, Dee runs a fandom blog dedicated to Harry Potter, Sherlock and more. If that sounds like your cup of tea, why not say hello? Tell Dee that Liam sent you!

Aside from what happened on Thursday, I should also mention briefly that work on my novel has resumed. Although the progress is slow, I’m definitely excited about getting back into writing and I can’t wait to tell the story I’ve been wanting to tell for a long time. As always, I shall keep you posted.

How was your week? Have you ever visited Forbidden Planet or Platform 9 3/4? Have you met a fellow blogger in real life before? Comment below!

Liam

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How Twitter both separates and unites the blogging community

Twitter is an extension of a blogger’s personality. As a micro-blogging site, it’s there for us when we can’t write a lengthy blog post about a TV show we watch or what our plans are for the day. Its 140-character limit requires us to be succinct, allowing us to perfect the best versions of ourselves. Twitter is one of the few social media sites which allows us to be both an individual and as part of a group, and that isn’t without its problems.

 

Twitter
Twitter can unite bloggers, but at the same time, it can set us apart. Photo: Esther Vargas on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/legalcode.

I’ve been involved in blogger Twitter chats for a long time now – most notably #lbloggers (a chat for lifestyle bloggers). As with any community, there are advantages and disadvantages to being part of a group. One of the main issues is that of a ‘group think’. Whilst we all have our own opinions – of course – we all have to agree on certain aspects of blogging in order to fit in – we like to feel included, right?

For example, we’re all expected to despise automated DMs on Twitter and hate ‘follow for a follow’, yet there are some people who disagree with this and still expect a follow back. Admittedly, I can be one of these people sometimes, and I’m open about that because I shouldn’t hide it, just to fit in the wider community.

Similarly, as much as most of us like to think that numbers and followers don’t reflect the quality of the blog (some great bloggers may have only a hundred followers, for example), I certainly feel like there is a hierarchy within the blogging community which is headed by those with rather high follow counts. This can have both positive and negative effects.

To some bloggers, it serves as a motivator, to strive to achieve similar success in terms of followers and interaction. However, it can fuel an obsession with numbers when a lot of people argue that it doesn’t – or shouldn’t – matter. In a post at the start of the year, I talked about new bloggers being influenced by numbers and stats, and I think this hierarchy is partly to blame for that. In an ideal world, I’d like to see a blogging community where numbers don’t matter or where there isn’t a sense of hierarchy. It may take time, or it may never come at all, but it’s a concept I like the sound of.

To further delve into the psychology of online communities and the ‘group think’, then you also have drama and controversy whenever someone goes against what everyone else thinks. I’ve seen some of it online for myself and it’s quite uncomfortable and a tad hypocritical when the community is meant to be about positivity.

But then again, there is a smaller sense of community within blogging which is much more manageable. I’m of course talking about the small group of bloggers whom you talk to more frequently than others. Unlike the wider blogosphere, you’re not bound by collective thinking and you can truly be an individual. However, as we mature and develop as bloggers, our blogger friendship groups change. We read fewer blog posts of theirs, comment less and never really interact on Twitter. It becomes awkward and then sooner or later, we unfollow them. It’s a cycle I’ve found myself trapped in for a very long time.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved Twitter as a platform – both personally and from a blogging perspective. I’m a big fan of Twitter chats as well. I just think that there are some aspects of the blogging community on Twitter which need to be changed. Blogging is all about sharing opinions and these should be individual and our own.

What do you think about Twitter? Do you like it as a social media site? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below!

Liam

Liam O’Dell gives blog a professional revamp | The Friday Article

Lifestyle blogger and aspiring journalist Liam O’Dell has announced plans today to update his blog, The Life of a Thinker.

The University of Lincoln student, who started the WordPress blog in August 2012, set up the website to improve his writing skills.

Now, the budding writer is hoping to upgrade the site to show off his previous and current experiences in radio, print and online journalism.

Liam said: “I’ve always considered my blog to be an online portfolio, but now I’ve realised that there’s other things I can do to create that image.

“I’m hoping to add a few more pages to my blog, and the idea of buying my own custom domain has been on my mind for a while.”

The changes can be expected to take place over the weekend.

Liam

Liam hosts new online Twitter chat! | The Friday Article

Lifestyle blogger and music fanatic Liam O’Dell – who blogs at The Life of a Thinker – has set up a new blogger chat on Twitter.

Using the hashtag #musicalbloggers, Liam asks both lovers and bloggers of music questions every Thursday at 6pm (GMT).

Liam was inspired to set up the chat after discovering that there isn’t much discussion about music in the blogging community. However, music still comes under the bracket of lifestyle.

“I decided to set it up as I love the Twitter chats that bloggers can get involved in. The fashion, beauty and lifestyle communities – amongst many more – are huge. But I think music is something all bloggers can get involved with.”

So far, the blogger has hosted two chats, and hopes to host more in the future. Bloggers can join in the chat every week using the #musicalbloggers hashtag and by following Liam on Twitter: @lifeofathinker.

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Liam