The competition, apparently.
Apparently, there’s a market – and someone at the Guardian reckons it’s at least 18 strong
– for a ‘masterclass’ on live blogging at a cost of £99 for three hours.
I look at that and think ‘who is this Stuart Heritage?’ Does he have the extensive knowledge and experience of blogging that has made him the eighth most influential blogger on the subject of ‘other’? He clearly does not. Has he been nominated for a Blog of the Year award only when the field from which nominees are selected has shrunk dramatically? He hasn’t. Was he featured in print in The Blog Digest 2007? He wasn’t, but yet he still feels he can charge a quite large sum of money to those wanting to receive his blogging experience.
Well, if there’s money for old rope going around, never let it be said that I wasn’t willing to do a half-arsed job and throw something together in an attempt to get a little bit of that cash for myself. Here’s my full day seminar in the things you’ll need to know to be a political blogger as successful, influential and well-regarded as I am.
10am: Welcome, Introductions and Getting To Know You In which I spend at least ten minutes looking at a list of names, counting heads in the room and saying ‘we’ll just give the stragglers a couple of minutes’ before getting started on reading out this schedule to you, as though you’ve never seen it before. Following that, I’ll ask you all to introduce yourselves, figuring that as you’ve all come to an event about how to get other people to read your opinions, you’ll easily fill an hour between you bigging up your own self-importance and getting into pointless arguments.
11am: The basics of blogging In which I ignore the fact that all the attendees already have blogs and tell you how to start a blog, including a ridiculously detailed PowerPoint presentation on signing up for WordPress. (Note: This will be the only part of the course where I have anything resembling notes and a plan and am not desperately winging it)
11.45am: Developing your own complex and detailed political opinions: The amount of time we devote to this subject will reflect its importance in creating an interesting and well-read blog.
11.50am: Who needs opinions when columnists can have them for you? Includes important lessons on how to get newspaper pundits to tweet a link to the post in which you bravely agree with whatever they wrote that morning.
12.30: Lunch (not included in price). Attendees will be given the opportunity to learn more of the secrets of blogging if they buy me food and drink at a nearby pub.
2pm: The @loveandgarbage guide to live blogging: Special guest tutor Love And Garbage (invited, but not confirmed at time of going to press), author of many live blogs including ‘Is it snowing outside?’, ‘Is there snow outside?’ and ‘Snow’ will explain all the intricacies of this special form of blogging. As an acknowledged master of digital communication, Love And Garbage’s lessons are not to be missed (attendance still not confirmed at this time).
3pm: How to be a success at political blogging: This session will help turn you into a top class political blogger. Topics covered will include:
How to cherry pick polls to prove your point
The conventional wisdom: Isn’t the true bravery in standing up for it, not challenging it?
Telling people just what they want to hear – and getting them to share it
Building an audience through the use of partisan factoids
Speaking truth to power: How to tell the powerful they’re looking really good, are completely right about everything and do they have any jobs available?
(Some of these topics will be covered in greater depth on our full-day ‘How To Work For A Think Tank’ course – 10% discounts available to everyone who completes the blogging masterclass!)
All topics will be covered by way of me improvising wildly based on half-completed PowerPoint presentations, and attempting to stoke arguments amongst attendees in the hopes that’ll fill some time.
4.30pm: Close and Conclusions A chance for me to make many of the same points again, then fill more of your time by asking you all to tell us what you’ve learned on the course. Please feel free to tell us all in great detail how it’s proved you’re right about everything.
Following the event, the tutor will retire to a nearby pub, where you will be invited to buy him drinks in the hope of learning more of my wisdom of blogging.
The details: Attendance is just £5.50 per person, though Ryanair-style additional charges may be made for extras such as having a seat or being in the actual room where the masterclass is taking place. Location TBC, but likely to end up being whichever coffee shop has the comfiest seats and staff who are least likely to throw us out for hogging space and not buying anything. Attendees should expect to bring their own laptops, tablets, chargers, power sources and ideas to the course as none will be supplied. All guest tutors are unconfirmed at this time, and may be replaced by whoever responds to a desperate plea for help on Twitter on the morning of the event. All attendees will be given the right to design and print their own certificate of attendance. Tutors reserve the right to be more interested in browsing social media than teaching the course. All timings are subject to change, especially for the afternoon after the pub. No refunds.