BLUF Backstage: The BLUF events calendar, and how to get listed

BLUF • events • policy

Submitted by Nigel, aka LondonSubNigel (3), 22 June 2015

 

Index

A few years ago, the BLUF calendar was something that was only available to members, and was principally a listing of BLUF events and very few other things. Over recent years it's grown, and now contains over 300 events, of which BLUF organises, supports or sponsors around 90, and is available to anyone with a web browser.

We're happy to list events for other community groups and organisations, as well as some commercial events, because we think it's important to keep the leather scene alive by spreading the word as widely as we can about events all over the world.

This blog explains a little more about the calendar, and how you can get your events listed.

How to access the BLUF calendar

The main address for the calendar is bluf.com/events

On this page you'll see all the forthcoming events we presently have listed, in date order. You can use the options at the top of the page to narrow it down by region, country or city - if you don't see a city named, then we don't have any events for that city listed at the moment.

You can also select just official BLUF events, title contests, or cultural events - those include things like leather art exhibitions, film screenings and so on.

Click the share icon for an event, and you'll see the poster - if we have one - plus full details, and for certain cities, options to view BLUF Local information as well. There are buttons on the page to share event details via Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

Keeping up to date via Twitter or Facebook

If you don't want to check the website all the time, you can like our public page on Facebook, where we post a summary each week of the events for the forthcoming weekend. You'll find that at facebook.com/BLUFclub

You can also follow our automated Twitter feed, @BLUFevents. On this feed, you'll see a note each Sunday about how many events have been updated, each Tuesday we'll list all the events for the coming week, and each one is then listed on the day it happens. For events lasting more than one day, we'll also tweet a reminder on the last day. On the first of the month, we'll tweet to say how many events are coming up that month, with a link to them. Generally, this is a fairly low-volume feed, and it's not going to swamp your timeline.

Can I have my event listed in the calendar?

Very probably, yes. If it's a leather-related kink event, or a cultural one related to the leather or kink world, and you're a community organisation, we'll usually be happy to include your event. We'll often include some commercial events too, where we think they'll be of interest to people. Obviously, the decision of whether or not to include events is at our discretion, but if you ask nicely, and submit details in plenty of time, there shouldn't be a problem.

What do I need to do to get my event listed?

First, and foremost, send the details to events@bluf.com. Please use this address, because it is likely at some stage the calendar admin will be handled by a volunteer other than me, so you can be sure it will reach the right person. Don't just share event details on Facebook, or via IM, or in other ways. They might not get to the right person, or they might be seen when it's not convenient, and not remembered later. Send an email, and it'll be in the right place when we're updating the calendar.

What details do you need?

Take a look at the events we list, and you can see the sort of information we include, but this is the bare minimum:

  • Name of the event
  • Date of the event
  • The time it happens. You'd be surprised how often people forget this! Without a start time, we cannot list your event (see below)
  • The full name and address of the venue. We need to know the city, and the country.
  • A brief description. If you can summarise the event, including cost, dresscode and other key details, that helps. We can write a description ourselves, but it saves time, and makes sure it's right, if you send it to us.

It's also useful to have the time at which your event ends, a website link, and a contact email address, all of which will make it easier for people to learn more about your event after seeing it in the BLUF calendar.

We have a monthly event. Can that be listed?

Yes, we can list monthly or bi-monthly events in the calendar. And if the details are the same for each month, let us know and we'll automatically copy them forward into future months.

We don't tend to add a whole year's worth at a time, because that makes the list of recently updated events a bit unmanageable - and by adding a couple more events every couple of months, it also means that these events will be promoted more on BLUF and via social media.

Note that to make the calendar pages a little more manageable, some repeating events may be shown only for the next two months on some pages of the website, rather than for every month, though they are clearly marked, eg 'Monthly event, third Saturday'.

What about events that last for several days?

We're happy to include these too. Events that run over more than one day are the only ones we can add to the calendar without a specific start time. If you are organising a leather weekend, for example, we can list the whole weekend, and add extra entries for the individual parties and other events within it. The individual events need a start time, but the whole weekend does not.

Can I send you a poster?

Yes. Please do, in fact. Throughout the BLUF site, there are various places where we highlight forthcoming events, and those that are highlighted are selected only from the events for which we have a poster. So, including one means that your event will be seen by more BLUF members, and it may be one of the random selection of events that appears to all visitors on the site's main front page.

Additionally, if people use the share button on event pages to share a link to an event on Facebook, the calendar will automatically tell Facebook to use the poster we have. Because of the way Facebook does this, it's best to make sure you send the poster with the rest of the event details - if it's added later, the images on Facebook aren't updated automatically.

How do I send you a poster?

You can send the poster with the rest of your event details to events@bluf.com. We can work with most formats - a PNG, PDF, TIFF or JPG will be fine. We'll convert it to a JPG to add it to the calendar. Because of the way our pages are designed, posters will generally work better if they're portrait (ie tall) rather than landscape (wide).

How far in advance do you need information?

Please send your details as soon as you have them. We can add events for the current calendar year and the following calendar year only (so, in June 2015, we can add events with dates up to December 31st 2016).

We recommend that you allow at least a week, and preferably two, to ensure your event is in the calendar, so that as many people as possible see it. We can add events at short notice, but they won't be promoted as much as they would be if we had them sooner.

What are the deadlines/schedules for promoting events?

Broadly speaking, most of the promotion of events happens automatically, according to the following schedule. Since updating the calendar is a voluntary task, it's best to give us information at least 48 hours before any of these, if you want your event to be included. All times are UTC.

Sunday, 1200 UTC: The @BLUFevents Twitter feed indicates how many new or updated events there are this week, with a link to bluf.com/e/latest, which is where your event will appear if it was added or updated in the last 7 days

Monday 0800 UTC: This Week on BLUF is emailed to around 2,500 BLUF members. This includes the dates, times and summaries of all the events happening in the next 7 days, and the titles of all the new events added to the calendar.

Tuesday 1200 UTC: The @BLUFevents Twitter feed sends one message for each event that is starting in the next 7 days, with a link to the event's individual calendar page.

Thursday/Friday: We usually post a summary of the week's events to the BLUFclub facebook page rounding up the weekend's key events.

On the day, 1200 UTC: The @BLUFevents Twitter feed lists each event on the day that it starts.

How do I link to my event in your calendar?

The best way to link to an event in the BLUF calendar is by using the short numeric links that look like bluf.com/e/991

These links are quick and easy to type, and work for both members and non-members. If you have sent us a series of events, for example for a weekend, we will collect them in a group, and you can use a link like bluf.com/e/g933

On that page, you'll see a promo banner as well; we can add that to your set of events if you send one to us. Please don't make it too large. If we consider the event suitable, we may also use the banner to promote the series of events to BLUF members on the rest of the site, too. Ask for more details about that.

If you want to show events in a particular country or city, you can use links like this

bluf.com/e/fr bluf.com/e/london

Can I email BLUF members about my event?

Sorry, we do not pass on email addresses of BLUF members to anyone else, and we don't generally email our members about events other than official BLUF ones. There are sometimes exceptions, for example where there is a BLUF event as part of a larger event (like Folsom Europe, or IML), but again, we will never give any email addresses out, or send commercial messages to BLUF members on behalf of someone else.

Can I use the BLUF calendar information on my own site?

Yes, of course you can. We've built the BLUF calendar specifically to make it easy to share information about leather events, and we'd be delighted for you to help do that.

We've even built a special calendar widget that allows other sites to include events from the calendar very easily. You can see an example of it on the Hotboots calendar page and on the Mastery website.

You can get the code to add the calendar widget to your own site from our Calendar builder, which will just give you a few simple lines to copy and paste. If you're good at programming, you can retrieve the data in other ways too. Our Calendar API explains how.

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