Saturday 9 November 2013

Blogging @ UCCN

Led by Louise Rogers, a group of UCCN-ers chose to start blogging.  In Louise's words, this is what we've been doing during the blogging workshop.  And there may soon be a few more blogs out there.

What is a blog?

Blogs, or Web logs, are online journals that are updated frequently, sometimes even daily. An update, (also called an entry or a post) is usually quite short, perhaps just a few sentences, and readers can often respond to an entry online. People who write blogs are commonly called bloggers. Bloggers, tongue in cheek, call themselves and their blogs the blogosphere. 

The difference between a blog and a website
Decide on a topic 
Personal profile
Viewing Unitarian blogs 

What do people like about some of these blogs?

  • Snappy title
  • A title that is understood and if not, an accessible explanation for the title
  • Visually attractive, not too busy, no strong image under the writing, not to detract from the writing. If images attached to posts they should be attractive - copyright-free from and 
  • Style - not too much jargon and complex language, accessible style. An open and honest approach, not being too dogmatic.
  • Short pieces like poems which invite the reader to think.

What people don’t like

  • To many visuals, too busy, image beneath the text
  • Posts are too long
  • Too many bees in their bonnets
  • Too much political and religious ranting
  • Overly complex language, jargon and abbreviations that are not common (OK to use common abbreviations like OK and BBC)
  • Too long - not the place for sermons - consider setting up a personal website


  • Confidentiality, writing about other people
  • Archiving blogs which are not being added to 

For own blog

  • Who is the audience?
  • What do they want to know/what do you want to tell them? Information? Advice? Personal stories?
  • How do they want this - words, pictures, podcasts, video?
  • How often will you blog? Once a week? Once a month?
  • How long will each post be?
  • Will you allow comments and will you respond to these?

Blog and blogposts

  • Your blog will have a title
  • Each post will have a title - titles should offer a benefit, promise news or arouse curiosity.
  • Do not have long, dense paragraphs
  • Perhaps have sub-headings?
  • Bulleted lists
  • Can use contractions like don’t and can’t - this is not an English exam
  • Have an easy style
  • Use the word ‘you’ rather than ‘we’
  • Explore different blog hosting services

Setting up a blog 

  • Google account. To get to your blog sign into your Google account, search fro blogger and your sites will become visible.
  • Privacy setting
  • Lay-out, including gadgets
  • Design
  • Adding content - need to save it but until it is published it will not be viewed
  • Copyright issues
  • Links - use a gadget
  • Polls - use a gadget
  • Email new post alert - gadget
  • Time zone - language and formatting under Settings
  • Can write a post and set the time and date when it will be published 
  • Labels for pages - determine which labels you want and list them under post settings 

Promoting your blog

  • Linking to other sites e.g. UCCN, local congregation, districts
  • Asking sites to link to your blog - as above
  • Facebook and Twitter - can link via Blogger

Thursday 18 October 2012

New book on 18th century dissent

OUT NOW from John Issitt  A new novel, Agents of Reason, by John Issitt, explores the life of Jeremiah Joyce, a dissenting minister in the 1790s.

Jeremiah was a London radical. He and his associates gave themselves to the cause of freedom - a cause that was always dangerous and compromised.

When the Bastille fell in 1789, English radicals like Jeremiah saw the promise of freedom, but by early 1793 the French Revolution had turned into madness as Robespierre and the guillotine had produced a blood-bath.

In England the fear that the revolution might spread across the channel provoked reactionary responses and the years of William Pitt’s terror began. Radicals were hunted down. Some found themselves in Botany Bay, others charged with sedition or treason, languishing in Newgate and the Tower.

Friday 27 July 2012

A simple guide to social media

How to market your brand / book / website on social media:

Set up a Facebook page and/or group where you will post regular news items (from your site and those of other relevant sites). Attract attention to it by posting it in other related Facebook groups (search in Groups for related keywords for your topic). Keep it updated regularly.

Set up a Twitter feed where you will post regular news items (from your site and those of other relevant sites). Attract attention to it by following other similar Twitter accounts (search for related keywords for your topic) and retweet and reply to their tweets. Keep it updated regularly.

Set up a blog where you will post regular blogposts about topical items in your subject area. Attract attention to it by adding other similar blogs to your blogroll (search for related keywords for your topic) and post comments on their blogs. Keep it updated regularly.

If you don't "get" Twitter, there's a remarkably succinct and clear summary of what it is and how it works in today's verdict on the Twitter joke trial. (PDF)

Using HootSuite (a paid service), you can also automatically send your blogposts to Twitter and Facebook.

Monday 9 January 2012

Recommended reading

You can buy some of these from the UK Unitarian website.

Unitarian Engagement Groups and Small Group Ministry 

Unitarian Engagement Groups - How to start and facilitate groups

Unitarian Christianity 

Unitarian Earth Spirit 

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Press coverage of same-sex marriage campaign

Scottish Unitarians participated in a press conference at the offices of the Scottish Youth Parliament in Edinburgh. The Scottish Youth Parliament has been campaigning alongside the Equality Network, LGBT Youth and NUS LGBT Campaign for marriage equality. Leaders and representatives from the Quakers, Liberal Judaism, Unitarians, Metropolitan Community Church and Pagan Federation want the law changed to allow them to preside over same-sex marriages. A 14-week consultation asks if marriage in Scotland should be allowed for homosexual people through a civil or religious ceremony.

Derek McAuley

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Sound systems for churches

I recently spotted this article, Sound Systems for Better Sunday Worship in UU World and notice that Oldham Unitarians have just installed a video screen.

I thought it would be a good idea to improve sound systems in our chapels and churches, so I asked if there was a fund to support this.

Apparently the Millennium Fund is still in existence and could be a source of funding support. It does cover “fittings, furniture and equipment following developmental work eg audio loop systems” Any congregation interested in making an application should contact Derek McAuley.

Thursday 22 September 2011

UUCF on Facebook

The Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship now has a Facebook page.

It's a great idea to have a Facebook page or group for your affinity group or society - that way, members can link together; you can raise awareness of your group and the issues you care about.

I'm a member of the CUUPs group (Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans) on Facebook, and it has some quite active discussion topics.

Because people see things in the Facebook feed, having a Facebook page boosts the numbers who are interested in your group - but only if you post things (comments and articles) regularly on your wall.

Find out more about Unitarian societies and UU societies.