This post is part of a series to showcase the wide variety of talented bloggers using .blog domains. In each post, we’ll interview a site owner to explore their .blog and dive into an area of expertise, ranging from editing tips and tricks to how to build your following.
A student-run publication, “Blockchain at Berkeley” has its roots in the Blockchain at Berkeley student organization at the University of California, Berkeley. They’re a membership-based group that provides educational resources to both the Berkeley student community and the public at large about blockchain and cryptocurrencies, including a full library of open source classes about cryptocurrencies and blockchain. It’s a new and complex field, and the students at Blockchain at Berkeley are doing their part to share their expertise so that everyone can benefit, both newbies and experts alike.
How did “Blockchain at Berkeley” get started?
In Spring 2014, a group of Berkeley undergrads founded a club called the Bitcoin Association of Berkeley. It started off as a niche student organization of fewer than 10 members, who hosted small discussions on campus and eventually organized a for-credit course about cryptocurrencies by Fall 2016. At that time, however, the public interest in Bitcoin was not strong enough to sustain an active club membership.
Realizing this, and upon foreseeing the future implications of blockchain technology, the Bitcoin Association of Berkeley rebranded to Blockchain at Berkeley. After expanding their focus to the greater blockchain space, and introducing new branches of education, research, and consulting, Blockchain at Berkeley managed to increase their active membership from 10 to over 100 between September 2016 and September 2017.
Today, Blockchain at Berkeley’s executive board is solely composed of student entrepreneurs, many of whom are focused on doing more beyond getting a degree at UC Berkeley. They are responsible for managing several projects under one cohesive name. Our board members have worked at companies like Consensys, Earn (previously known as 21.co), Qualcomm, Facebook, Cosmos, and various startups.
Further, with an extended community of over 1,800 active worldwide contributors to its public Slack channel, Blockchain at Berkeley is currently one of the most inclusive and insightful crypto and blockchain communities in the world.
How would you describe the mission of your blog?
The “Blockchain at Berkeley” blog was created to showcase quality content on behalf of the organization and its members on a regular basis. Members can share their knowledge with the greater community and gain authority in the space by publishing articles about their work. By doing this, we contribute greatly to the Blockchain at Berkeley brand, while allowing members to cultivate their own output and personal brand as well.
While each article is usually just a 5- to 15-minute read, they are a significant element in maintaining our active presence in the blockchain community. Our goal is to highlight the accomplishments and output of each department and publish consistently on behalf of the organization, even when school is not in session. This tells the world that Blockchain at Berkeley is more than just a student organization; we are a community of highly driven academics, researchers, and consultants who aim to establish ourselves as legitimate thinkers and leaders in the space.
In terms of building your organization, what has been the biggest benefit of starting the blog?
Our members get to build their brand. Because we have already built the brand of Blockchain at Berkeley, when students write an article, they have a huge audience right away. Some of our students have received internships because of a simple blog post they have written. Because our blogs is not our only outlet for marketing, we continue to have other ways to bring in publicity and awareness. Because we provide articles often, it is still one of our most effective ways to let people know what we are doing in the Berkeley Community while also presenting new innovative topics that we have researched.
One thing that’s really great about your site is that you have articles that range from newcomers to blockchain to more advanced topics. How do you manage your editorial calendar?
Our calendar is very open-ended and, because of that, we tend to have articles on a wide range of topics. During the school year, we try to have an article once per week, but beyond that, there is not much to managing our editorial calendar. We mainly request that our members write about what they find interesting and as a result, we get an influx of articles. We do not limit anyone to write about anything specific.
Because we have already built the brand of Blockchain at Berkeley, when students write an article, they have a huge audience right away. Some of our students have received internships because of a simple blog post they have written.
What’s the biggest challenge you face in writing about blockchain for the general public?
Content is the hardest. Blockchain is a confusing topic and blockchain topics are even more confusing, so finding that balance where your article is informative but still understandable can be difficult. Not only that, but content must be accurate and because the field is still growing, it is crucial to find accurate information.
What’s your number one tip for new bloggers, especially those looking to build a community around their niche?
Write blogs that other people could not write. Many of our blogs are very unique and require a load of research to write. If you are able to write blogs that few people could, you have a publication where people that are interested in that area will follow and be excited about all future posts.