Friday, 11 July 2008

British Bears on the Net gets a makeover!

I must apologise for being a little lax with my blog updates this week, but inbetween working on my bears, I have also had another project to contend with: I don't think I've mentioned to you that aside from my bear making, blog writing, website maintaining, Jack of All Trades life, in my spare time (!) I also run an online community group called 'British Bears on the Net' and this week, I took the plunge and gave dear old BBN a fairly extensive makeover.

British Bears on the Net logo

I have been responsible for BBN for quite a few years now and as with all such groups, it has its peaks and troughs in terms of membership activity, but over the past couple of years I've been a bit concerned that there have been slightly more troughs than peaks. At its best, BBN is an energetic chat group providing a sense of community to many bear artists who, like myself, work pretty much in isolation. (It isn't limited to bear artists, we also have many collectors, makers, suppliers, shops, magazines and so on ... in fact, all the colours of a beary rainbow make up our membership and many friendships have been formed between members) However, we have been in existence for so many years, I think maybe we've been suffering a degree of complacency, with more lurkers than active contributors of late.

New BBN Coffee Shop logo

Rather than let sleeping dogs lie, I took the decision this week to give BBN a shake-up with a simple, yet smart forum. I'm not sure whether or not this decision will be well received by all BBN'ners, but as BBN does a terrific job sharing information, friendship and support, as far as I am concerned as list owner, it needed revitalising to enable the group to continue to maintain its valuable role within our British teddy bear scene.

To say the past 48 hours have been a learning curve for me, would be the understatement of the decade! I have never been on the administrative side of forum creation before and there is a heap of detail to be absorbed ... not so easy for my fluff fuddled forty something grey matter! Anyway, I've battled through and astonishingly have managed to pull something resembling a forum together. I've aimed to make it friendly and inviting, even incorporating our very own 'Coffee Shop' for informal chat; so far so good! I can't tell you how nervous I was hitting the 'send' button to inform the BBN membership of this significant change to their group, via email, but the deed is now done and I am so relieved to be able to tell you many of our forward-thinking loyal members have already signed up for their new BBN forum membership! Phew!

Here's to a very bright future for British Bears on the Net!


  1. As always Paula, you are there to help us in our craft. So thank you. Another well deserved 'time out' for me, sometimes I need it, working as we all do on our own. Other times any excuse 'not to work'!!!! Either way, well done.

  2. The new forum is great , Paula!
    Thank you for all the hard work you do, making sure we can all keep in touch with one another, and for being an unfailing voice of reason and good humour.
    (and encouragement too)

  3. The forum seems to be building well ... lots of enthusiastic members with plenty to say already, fingers crossed it will continue to do well! Thanks for your support!

  4. Hi Paula,
    As a Canadian, I'm jealous of your BBN. I miss Bear Artists Online, as I found a lot of the members were from abroad and the small size gave you a chance to really get to know other artists. Everyone in my family was born in Britain except me :( Does that count? haha!




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