Blog Lessons from FARA


Evaluation of the FARA blog

A poll was posted on the FARA staff blog for two weeks in December 2007. Only 7 persons replied to a poll on the use of the FARA staff blog.
  1. The FARA Secretariat blog was started as an outcome of a Web2.0 training by Wageningen International at the FARA secretariat on 13th of September.
  2. A PowerPoint guideline about What is a blog was sent to ALL STAFF mid of October.
  3. As per today 11/04/2008 a total of 239 postings were produced with weekly e-mail alerts to ALL STAFF.
  4. One outsider gave a long comment on Climate change. But this comment is the only registered on the FARA Secretariat blog.
  5. I spend an average of one full day to check for relevant information for the FARA blog.
  6. An attractive layout is essential but needs some more time when you have to look for pictures, logos or the reproduction of front pages of reports.
The objective: To play around with a Web2.0 tool among the FARA staff was not reached - I made 98 % of the blog postings. But:
  1. The FARA Secretariat blog postings are fed into the FARA website and is aggregated under AgriFeeds (and thus receives more visibility)
  2. It attracted some interest of FARA partners (CTA, AGRA, CIAT, EUFORIC, IAALD), although mainly of persons already versed into blogging.
  3. The expectations had to be downscaled about the response of the FARA secretariat itself and the FARA forum.
  4. Some specific Google searches will also lead to the FARA Secretariat blog.
  5. The future of the FARA Secretariat blog depends on its integration into an overall FARA communication strategy and complementarity to the FARA bulletin and website
In order to facilitate postings on the FARA Secretariat blog by professional staff the facility to e-mail directly onto the blog we was activated from December 2007 onwards. The e-mail text appears as a posting and the e-mail subject as a posting header. But again, even easy access did lead professional FARA staff to post on the blog.

To end on a positive note:

  1. Google email alerts and the use of an igoogle page with a clear overview of the newsfeeds per organisation has facilitated the search for relevant information
  2. I learn everyday more about the agric research jungle
  3. Tagging is a very good memory tool which I use to trace for blog-info I want to put in the bi-monthly FARA bulletin.

Interview with Dr. Monty Jones about the FARA Staff blog (24/09/2007):