IT MAY have been a relatively small first “27 dinner” for Port Elizabeth last weekend, but it is set to grow as word spreads about this enlightening “techno talk” aimed at bloggers.
The dinners take place on the 27th of each month, for marketers, entrepreneurs, writers, media practitioners, speakers and anyone computer-minded to share ideas, news and opinions over a meal.
Alternating monthly between Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria, Durban and – since last weekend – Port Elizabeth, the events are open to anyone who wants to attend or contribute technological expertise.
An intimate group of 20 “27 diners” arrived at the Algoa Bay Yacht Club at the Port Elizabeth harbour for their first dose of “techno chat”.
The first speaker was Greig Timkoe, a Bay conflict management specialist, whose talk centred around the dangers of e-mail.
Warning that e-mail could be a source of conflict in the workplace, Timkoe stressed that face-to-face communication was still invaluable, despite the improved, faster processes of the digital age.
Mark Bloomfield, an Adobe communications expert from the Bay, introduced the new Adobe Air, although this could have proved a little high-tech for technophobes.
Main speaker Ramon Thomas‘s talk on how to “blog your way to being an expert” had the audience captivated. A professional speaker, researcher, trainer, blogger and on-line behaviour specialist, Thomas, from Uitenhage, gave advice on how to position yourself as an expert in your chosen field.
Using his catch phrase, the “psychology of technology”, Thomas explained how positioning yourself via the internet could increase traffic to your blog and therefore improve your chances of picking up business – or credibility for being an expert in your field.
Using his own experience as an example, Thomas explained how he had been earmarked as an “online expert” by media who saw his blog on the internet. As a result, he has been quoted in popular magazines, been a guest speaker on SABC TV show Three Talk and interviewed by a host of other media.
He advised potential experts to choose a niche topic to blog about, interview experts in the related field, participate in online discussions and to write articles when blogging. “It‘s important to blog your own original content and not just link to others‘ pages,” he said.
Business cards were exchanged after the formal presentations and chatting of the interpersonal kind quickly got under way.
Newly blogging Uitenhage resident Yusuf Moses said the talks had helped him with his blogging aspirations. “I like that you can blog about whatever you want to but I didn‘t know where to start.”
Port Elizabeth‘s Greg Smith said the dinner allowed for the gap of faceless communication to be closed. “If you chat with people online, it‘s very different from sitting down and exchanging ideas over drinks. This was a great idea.”
The next “27 dinner” is expected to be held in Port Elizabeth in two months‘ time and the organisers hope even the computer ignorant can be converted one “byte” at a time.
For more information about 27 dinners log onto http://27dinner.pbwiki.com.