Look who

ComputerWorld Canada’s Blog Idol is about to gett underway with a few dozen contestants vying to be the country’s next great tech blogger. We talked to just a few of the bloggers in the contest to find out why they signed up and what they hope to accomplish in the competition.

Michel Labelle, manager network and terminal support at TSI Terminal Systems Inc.

The overcrowded tech blogging landscape has led Michelle Labelle on his quest to be the next Blogging Idol.

“Trying to get your voice heard is pretty much impossible these days as the blogosphere is pretty well established,” the network infrastructure manager said. “So, coming through an organization and contest such as this seems like a good idea. I can add a voice as opposed to creating a new one.” While Labelle has no blogging experience, the Vancouver-based IT pro has written monthly columns for IT Architect magazine and has more than 20 years of industry experience. With his blog, Labelle hopes to focus on issues of particular importance to Canada’s west coast – an area he said is often overlooked by the IT media.

“Being on the west coast, we see things a little differently than in Toronto,” he said. “The market here is more people driven. Plus, we are seeing the innovations as they arrive from China.”

Labelle said he hopes his blog entries are widely read and actually make it to a CIO or senior IT person’s desk.

Christopher Shaw, owner and CTO at Panaqqa Inc.

The Blog Idol contest is just the motivation that Christopher Shaw said he needs to get back into blogging on a regular basis. The head of Dundalk, Ont.-based IT services consultancy Panaqqa Inc. has tried his hand at blogging several times, but has always become quickly discouraged by the lack of a large audience.

“After going at it a little while, the main reason I tapered off is the fact there’s no real readership for new blogs,” he said. “I see this contest as a possibility of reaching a built-in readership. I am also excited at the prospect of having built-in criticism as well.”

“The feedback is a chance to look at things from a different perspective that you might not have considered yourself,” he added. “You’re putting ideas out there, and if anybody reads them, you may get constructive commentary back as opposed to the usual spam comments for ring tones.”

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Shaw’s most recent foray into blogging appeared on his company’s Web site , where he’s written on topics ranging from social networking, biometrics, and cloud computing. During Blogging Idol, he hopes to get the chance to focus on an area of particular interest to him: intellectual property.

“The debate around intellectual property is an ongoing and big interest of mine, mainly because of the potential threat to open source and the fact that you have such players out there like Microsoft that are laying patent minefields around open source as we speak,” he said.

Not surprisingly, Shaw said University of Ottawa tech law expert Michael Geist is currently one of his favourite Canadian bloggers.

Don Sheppard, senior consultant at ConCon IT Consulting Inc.

Unlike most of the blogging contestants, Don Sheppard’s first priority isn’t to win the competition, but rather to try and get his feet wet in the world of tech blogging.

“I’m just looking to get some experience writing on a regular basis and being able to come up with new ideas and thoughts every day,” the Toronto-based IT consultant said. “It will be more interesting to me to continue to be creative and just see if I can stay in the game.”

Sheppard said he is an active reader of IT World Canada’s blogs and has always had aspirations to write his own tech column.

“The area I’m most interested is IT and systems management and the bridge between organization management and technology,” he said. “I’m a consultant, so I spend a lot of time looking at these issues.”

Sheppard’s goal is to reach as many people as possible with his blog posts and plans to use any constructive criticism or feedback he receives to improve his writing style.

Ryan Bosinger, production specialist at Marketlink Solutions

Toronto-based production specialist Ryan Bosinger does most of his work on front-end Web development, which he said is probably why he’s never been able to get his personal blog off the ground.

“I’ve gone through the blogging process on several occasions by setting up a WordPress blog and that sort of thing,” he said. “But I usually get wrapped up in the technical aspects of setting it up and the design of the actual blog rather than the actual content itself – which is really the most important part.”

Bosinger sees Blog Idol as an opportunity to finally get on the right track with his tech blogging. He said that while his prior blogs consisted mainly of HTML or Photoshop tutorials, he hopes to broaden his horizons and get creative with some of his posts in this contest.

“I’m a pretty big media kind of guy,” he said. “I like photography and music and I try and bring everything I do down to that level. It will definitely show up in my style of writing and what I choose to do with the blog.” Bosinger’s other goals in the contest include getting his name out there in the Canadian IT industry and having the opportunity to connect with his peers through the blog’s talkback options.

To enter the contest, click on this link.

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