Jenni Adams in the Piopio forest, Waitango 2007. Credit: Jamie Stewart
Race Start NZ Champs 2015 Middle – The Rockery Onewhero. Credit: Karen Woods
Auckland Orienteering Series 2015 – Woodhill. Credit: Karen Woods
  
Selfs Farm Summer Orienteering
Where should I post? Should I blog on OrienteeringNZ?
By Roger Woodroofe - Fri 19 Dec 2014 5:58pm
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On the local map-related sports community chat site MapTalk, I suggested Paul-I post a blog post about his mapping activities for Nationals 2015 instead of in chat.

His reply got me thinking. The reply was this:

“Hey Rog, not 100% sure I should do that mate… my info isn’t really official release, also I’m thinking there will be 3 separate places which could be confusing???”

True. It can be confusing. And from past experience it can be difficult to try and maintain multiple locations. From what I read, what Paul I had written in the ONZ Chat and Maptalk was a very good example of content that I believe could make a great blog post on the Orienteering NZ website now and in the future.

So in an informal and write as I would talk way (sort of), I’m replying to this problem in a blog post.

Here is the question. Where should I post? Facebook(FB)? OrienteeringNZ Chat? Maptalk? Orienteering NZ Blog? or News? Twitter? Surely I shouldn’t post it as an OrienteeringNZ blog post as I am unofficial?

The way I understand it is like this:

  1. News Items – items and announcements that are news worthy i.e. they could be put in your local paper or newsletter, announced to the world (or local community). What everyone should know about! (Posting a news Article on OrienteeringNZ will likely end up on WorldofO news feed).
  2. Blog Posts – The story of the orienteering community. Information, personal experiences, resources, coaching, training, tip and tricks. Best ways to prepare for a Rogaine. Commentary about your orienteering world and your journey helping make it better. The community defines what content could be included. When the blog post is really worthwhile – a news post could be made to point everyone to the blog post or feed. For example JWOC2015 blog.
  3. Chat – Asking questions. Discussing issues and interactive chatter. When a solution is found and tested – then you can write a blog post about the outcome/solution/result.

The example that got me thinking – Paul would be sharing about his personal role as a mapper – and his input into the coming events. He is telling his part of the story and sharing a potentially unique and interesting perspective as he has done in chat.  Another example could be blogging about it as a competitor, with a certain goal, getting ready to participate in the race.

But by contributing a blog post instead of in the chat, you are contributing to the larger orienteering blog – a blog made up from posts from multiple people with a common theme. In our case, the blog theme is orienteering and map sports. That is a very wide topic for a blog – and it can be broken up into many smaller feeds – “coaching” could be one. “Events” could be another. “Mapping”, “MTBO”, “Rogaine”, “club management”, and more.  All of these posts can be tagged with the appropriate “tag” to allow it to be included in other smaller blog feeds within the overall orienteering NZ blog.

If you are concerned about your content being unofficial, you could write a disclosure or caution note somewhere in your post. Check with your team before hitting “submit” to avoid giving too much away. It’s the same as posting on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Maptalk or where-ever. Once you hit send its out there and can be difficult to delete and take back with replication.

My understanding from the intended direction of the Orienteering NZ website is that blog posts are not intended to be “official only”. That is why *everyone* who subscribes to the site can post blog-posts in their name. You don’t need to use the club’s account. (You can always mention the club or include the club as a tag). The invitation is there for everyone to tell their part of the New Zealand orienteering or map related story and experiences.

Getting back to my “mapping for the Nationals” example, combining multiple blog posts into a blog is the tag – “Nationals” and “Mapping”. If I select either one of these tags,  I will see the post in either tag feeds.

When leading up to an event, I feel its great idea (and valuable promotional tool) to be able to share/read short snippets of information about what is going on behind the scenes. It builds interest in the event – and can be used by others too. Hear about snippets of information as it comes available. Generate a sense of lead up to the grand race. At the same time you are contributing to the bigger orienteering blog story.

It could be said that all these blog posts belongs on the actual event website. OK – but these websites appear and then disappear very quickly and in the long run we lose the background history and stories. It’s not safe or affordable to leave them up – as most modern websites must be maintained continuously due to their live code security and SPAM concerns. Domain names have a cost associated with them. Using free and well established web services is an improvement – but as history shows – big as they may be, they can get taken over or shut down at some point. Geocities anyone? In addition, its also fragmented or under a different temporary domain name.

I’d also note using Facebook or other social media points as the primary posting point greatly weakens the communities attempt to create a unified orienteering resource – it impacts web-ranking and sponsorship-opportunities potential of the overall online brand. It fragments. [Please don’t get me wrong – it has its place and social media is a great unifier and fun/powerful way to interact].

Tagging and mentioning #orienteering, rogaining, or map sports in many places is good for visibility and promotion. Centralising it and radiating it out is even better.

Consider posting content onto OrienteeringNZ and then share that content on other sites and social media like FB, Twitter, Google+ and the like.

I believe the OrienteeringNZ website is trying to provide a service to the clubs and orienteers of NZ. Other sites (like the event website)  may be able to link into the WordPress RSS functionality and include the feeds displayed on their site. If things need improving, then please try it, demonstrate it, and then lets work it out as a community. We have taken the first step establishing the site. There is a lot of work to be done on it to get it where it needs to be. We know there are areas like the front page that need improvement. Please join us and help on the journey.

Placing your content in the OrienteeringNZ blog is like placing a chapter page into the ongoing story. There are so many things that are happening that could be included as blog posts or news items. It would be awesome to see everyone share.

As a past-club-president and past-member/president of a few clubs outside of orienteering, I do know from experience it may well be that everyone is head-down, working busily, trying to get things done, or they prefer to put focus on their own projects. Please do take the chance to share what you are doing, and publicise it more! What I have seen you are all doing – getting nominations and  awards, running events, running on some amazing maps, creating those  awesome maps, finding solutions, and overcoming obstacles is all great stuff that can be blogged. Some of it is really news worthy too. Please don’t wait for others to create the content – contribute your own part as you experience it and encourage others (including me) to do the same.

Advantages of posting to the blog I can think of (not complete or exhaustive):

  • each and every person can contribute – and those contributions go towards a bigger orienteering community.
  • images, video, text can be inserted as part of the story. To include a YouTube video in your blog post – just paste the video URL onto an empty line in your post. That’s it.
  • tags – allows content to be seen in different blog feed views. See all mapping related posts if that’s what interests you.
  • the Orienteering NZ Blog posts may be seen out on other sites (like WorldofO) or club websites.
  • can still share on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media
  • content contributes to the building of the orienteering presence and brand awareness.
  • potential to increase sponsorship recognition and value.
  • creates a centralised place for information, resources, and knowledge.
  • [visible to all search engines]
  • there are more, I am sure of it.

I welcome your comments and expansion on this. As this is a somewhat impromptu and rushed reply, it may well be revised over time. And a big thank you to Paul for posting the content, getting me thinking, and all he is doing for the sport. I look forward to running on the maps!

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  1. Great Blog Roger. Took a wee while to digest but you have explained it well. the tagging system appears to be the glue as you have highlighted, At first I thought my post was better as a discussion piece under the “Event” group (which is hard to find without tagging). I think I agree with your direction and see many benefits. Simplicity is also a key for maptalk, as well as a place to be less formal. Familiarity however may over time encourage more use of the onz site. I think it does have great potential. I wish to use this opportunity here to see what goes on with the replying to a blog facility…..
    No need for special thanks Rog. There are plenty of people who do a lot more orienteering work than myself. The old cliché “If we all take our turn at the oars, in whatever strengths we may have, we’ll keep the boat moving instead of sinking” should not be forgotten or taken for granted.
    ok I made that madness up but it was better than the one about blowing air into the sails!

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