Posts Tagged ‘Wordpress’

So I’ve launched my new blog site: re-education.net with help from colleagues at work and students who I teach who are all champing at the bit to “sell” me photos that I can decorate my site with.

 

Now I’ve made my first discovery in stepping out of the wordpress.com roost… any post, even when I put tags and categories will not appear in the WordPress reader…

 

A depressed man sitting on a bench

Epic… fail? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyway, I’ve decided to celebrate this discovery by… starting another wordpress.com website, which aims to capture a-post-a-day for the 7 months I’m on long service leave… I’ll launch that on Saturday (Sydney, Australia time)…

 

Happy days…

 

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Well, not much in terms of blogging for the last month, but lots of change within the realm. I’ve (finally) launched my own blog url… re-education.net (or cliveparkin.com if you come from a different direction), giving me the chance to have a decent domain name, my own (purchased) theme that I can fiddle around with and all that comes with all of the switch to wordpress.org

Road sign merging

Road sign merging (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This includes having little to no idea about how everything works. I love my new theme, but saying that there is a difference between the schmick looking preview on themeforest and what currently exists on my own url is stating the obvious. First lesson… wondering what was needed with png images that would ‘fit’ the screen the best way. I still have some way to go. Haven’t worked out how to do my title banner yet. There is a great series of (silent… I think it comes from Vietnam) YouTube clips that show a moving cursor doing a whole range of changes. A great resource, but it will take some time to ‘decode’ for a relative newbie like me. Looks like the next few weeks will see some tinkering.

Next up, it looks like I’m going to get a lot of spam. Amusing in a way, since I’ve not even posted on that site yet, but offers of how to x-ruple my internet traffic have been coming in… they always seem to pop in about 12:15am my time… not sure what that signifies. It looks like WordPress.com managed to block a lot of this crud. Mind you, I was getting a lot of stuff from Project AWOL beforehand.

Anyway, for the next few posts, I am going to straddle the two sites. I’ll keep this site going for a while – to flag with my small band of loyal retainers where my destination is, while also setting up the new site. Bear with me while I get the layout organised… it is going to take some time.

Thanks for your patience.

Well, someone in the next day will be – it could be you and this post might well tip the scale over – currently my blog sits on a modest 1994 views (I know, distinctly small fry for many). I would love to be able to let you know if you were my 2000th viewer. Maybe if I’m vigilant, I’ll be able to tell the country that you’re from. If the first six viewers all ‘liked’ this post, I could tell that number six would be the one. Maybe I could even do a feature on the person receiving that milestone…

English: The Grand Prize for the winner of a g...

A good year thus far… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ironically, the one year anniversary of my writing – NOT my joining WordPress, which took place seven months before as part of a work ICT activity – is also coming up on June 25th. This was a post on students doing ‘TED Junior’ talks. It took me that time to work out what I was going to write about (and feel confident to press that ‘Publish’ button), one reflecting my work and ideas in Education, which, as you might expect, has also undergone some changes in that year.

Back to my title – how many times have you been the “999,999” visitor (or one millionth)? In thinking about this post, I reckon I’ve won about 50 of these things (and have of course, clicked on none of the cheery, cheesy banners when they’ve popped up). I even typed the phrase into Google and got all sorts of discussion about the possible scams and identity compromising consequences of clicking on these spots.

So anyway, to give you something in the same vein, here are some stats reflecting your relative chances of a number of events occurring – just to give you pause for thought. I’ve made them ‘Australia’ based, to reflect some of the idiosyncrasies of my country:

Chance of winning the big division prize in Lotto – 1 in 45 million

Chance of being killed by a shark –  1 in 292, 525 (chance of drowning at the Australian beach, by comparison, 1 in 3,362)

Chance of being struck by lightning – 1 in 1.6 million

Chance of dying in a car accident – 1 in 12, 500

Chance of winning anything by being the “Xth” person to visit a site – nil?

But, getting away from the darker side, it has been a great year thus far. I’ve learned so much and thank you all for popping by, whether this be a first time, or a return trip. Looking forward to even more in the coming twelve months. I’ll keep you posted on the 200th viewer… if I can 😉

best before

I’m coming to the end of my summer holidays now. Having spent more time looking at the Reader on WordPress (most recently using the Tag “Blogging”), I’ve began to think about what the life expectancy of a post is. Does it have a Best Before date? This morning, while looking at the Reader, I’ve noticed how the Post ‘feed’ comes in and, despite the cheerful Wait, there’s more! from WordPress when I scroll down on my iPad, I’m conscious of how long it is before the posts below three or four or even eight flips of my hand are buried… effectively forever.

Of course, there are some exceptions to this. There are the Blogs that you, or I, Follow. There are the connections we’ve made by Liking a Post, or by making a Comment. And then there are those that come to your Blog via search engine terms. However, in my case, this highlights those posts that get searched for (and those that do not). I’m sure it’s the same for you and for other bloggers? So in my case, my 2nd ever post on Bladerunner and Frankenstein gets a fair number of hits seven months after writing it. But a lot of other posts get swallowed up by the system – whether that be via being bypassed for new content by the Reader, or within your own site once they go off that first page (or worse, being pushed back into the Archives).

And are some Posts doomed from the start? If the blogger posts at certain times of the day, or even days of the week, might it miss the intended audience entirely? Is it because of the Tags that we see on the Reader that help define the Post – the one that you might think “nah, not that one then” (surely, I’m not the only person who does that!) or is it the word count… you aren’t quite sure and then you see X words (enter your default parameter here) and similarly think… maybe… not.

I’m not sure how long this post’s life expectancy will be (or perhaps, like radiation… does it have a “half-life” after the first few days?), but my record for Likes and Comments (thus far – I’m still only a relative newbie) is four apiece… so here’s hoping. And for me, I’m sub 400 words, so hopefully you’re still here at this point!

Bloggers blockIt’s been a good summer for me thus far. I’ve managed to blog a little more often and the ideas over these holidays have kept coming through. I’ve had the chance to have a look over the work of other bloggers and am enjoying the wider offerings these blogs present.
One topic that I’ve noted is blogger’s block. This 21st Century take on “writer’s block” appears to be the oft touted reason for why people have been away from posting (or, more practicably, that they have been busy and/or lazy during this time!), thus falling short of their usual frequency. In my desire to up the number of posts that I am publishing over our summer period, I’ve noted the dreaded “Blogger’s Block” while reading other posts. Here’s a quick post on what I’ve done to head this off, in my own way.
My main ‘technique’ is to make use of the Draft Post setting in WordPress. In many ways, this might appear counter-intuitive to what WordPress offers – on my iPad, it aims to Publish a new post when you start one, unless you change the settings to ‘Draft’, so that it no longer aims to publish straight off. There is also the QuickPress (or Quick Photo) facility – obviously designed around the “share your thoughts now” approach.
Anyway, the process is simple enough – as soon as an idea for a post occurs to me, I start a New Post and pop in any thoughts that sit with the initial concept. Thus, like a painter, I might have several works “on the go”. The advantage to this is that many ideas, in their infancy, are very rough and need to sit on the “mental back burner” in order to mature. The only issue that I have noted with this is that I need to be conscious of the “Publish Date”, as the post uses the time you open the document as the start point. There is probably no issue with this, although I found one time that a post, started many months ago and finally completed, published “behind” other posts on the site, which might be a consideration for a viewer who comes to the site address itself, rather than via the post itself, if that makes sense.

Here is a blogroll of some recent surfing on the topic, whether it be an expression of exasperation or of possible salvation for those suffering, in the form of topic starters…

from Singing Stream – on Blogger’s Block
from Heart, Mind, Soul – on Fear
from SmallTownMedia – 25 Blog Ideas (aimed at small business, but certainly pertinent)
from SameBoatDifferentCaptain – Blogging Mojo and Bloggers Block
from Lilach Bullock’s Sociable site – 14 Ideas To Find Great And Inspiring Blog Topics

So, how many do I have in the tank? Well, as I type, the answer is five, with the oldest (or earliest) dating back to mid July 2012. I’ll start with the next one shortly…

The blogging boomerangIt has been six months since my first post. This, after setting up my WordPress account (via a colleague at the school I teach at) in November 2011. At the time I had no idea what I was going to write about, so it lay “fallow” for half a year. In what has been probably the best new thing I’ve done in 2012, you can work out, by association, that my knowledge of blogging has come about behind the process of blogging itself – therefore, less than six months of experience. This includes ideas such as (as obvious as it might seem now), reading other blogs, commenting and “liking” on other blogs, as well as finding ways of promoting your voice more broadly.
During this time (and I type this as a mere acolyte!), I have come across a range of other blogs, bloggers and topics. This has included the “super” bloggers, who command readerships in the many thousands, down to the minnows who, like me, are relative newcomers to the blogosphere. And the way that I have come to engage with the blogging community has changed as well.
Initially, I would seek out the established blogs, hoping both to find the ‘secret’ to a wider audience, as well as seeking the wisdom of those who had been doing this for years. What were they writing about? How did they use voice? Did their content change much to reflect different topics or was it consistent for the most part.
Now I find myself looking for the diamond in the rough – the newer or smaller blog. It is affirming to find new, fresh content and I know from personal experience, there is a compelling child-at-Christmas-like (in keeping with the current festive season) wonderment for the blogger, whose site you visit and like or comment on. This goes even more so for those moments when you discover that they are in a different country to your own, asking yourself, How is it that they came to view my site?
Not that I want to say I’ve left the “big” blogs behind- I haven’t. It’s just that I’m also enjoying finding the rarer gem. I’m equating it to a “Blogging Boomerang” – an analogy along the what-goes-around-comes-around concept, except that the small boomerang that you throw out, in the shape of contributing on other sites, returns to you as a much larger device, in the form of fresh interest in your own site, coming from the reciprocal viewing that might take place, along with other passers by who observe your comment on that visited site, never mind all the varied reading that you discover along the way.
So then, in my blogging greenness, I profess to not being adept at finding these sites. I’ve used Freshly Pressed and this offers up a good smattering of possibilities. Likewise, I’ve typed in various topics (such as ‘Education’ in my case, as one example) into the Reader setting, but with limited success. I know that there are over 58 million WordPress Blogs alone, so even taking out 50 million as private blogs, “dead” blogs or even ones that never got “started”, there should still be a gold mine worth of content to find out there (and, I’m guessing, a lot of under explored sites).
Put simply, I’m not sure I’m doing the searching the best way I can. Ideally, I’m looking to keep it reasonably “in house” using the WordPress platform, rather than go “out” to Google and search more broadly that way. Is that a mistake or a limitation on my part?

So, a promise to anyone who has got this far in reading this (hello!), as a relative “minnow newbie”, I will come and peruse your site should you let me know you’ve been to mine – and hope to grow your readership too. If you have tips of how to find those burgeoning sites (or even some great ones to look at that you think I’d appreciate), I’d love to hear from you, as always.
Till next time then…

20121227-204230.jpg

Remember that well-worn idea; you are holding a dinner party and have the chance to invite any guests, from any time – who you would like to attend?

I’d been giving it some thought over Christmas and, having let my ideas drift, have decided to bring it up to the present a little more. What about if we could use blogging as the vehicle, rather than the dinner party? And, instead of inviting guests from anytime, what if we could consider some other options, like a menu of speakers, or even ideas?
First things first, what about a look at the original format and its pros and cons.
The premise is simple enough; who would you select, from all of history, on the basis of their conversation, ideas, notoriety or the like, to attend your dinner party. With a ‘gem selection’ you would have, in theory, stimulating and provocative discourse for the whole of the evening. The likely limitations? Well, how about these:

    • You wouldn’t want anyone who would dominate the conversation. What’s the point of having six influencial figures, only to have one individual dominate the discussion all night long?
    • And, ideally, one wouldn’t want to pick six diverse individuals, only to see one topic of conversation hold court at the expense of the others. Thus choosing Mozart might well see music at the fore, while Fermat might sit quietly, listening for the whole night.
    • On top of this, history being what it is, this occasion would also, unfortunately, tend to favour male guests, for the most part, particularly when you go back 150 or more years.

So then, let’s come forward to the present day. How might we use blogging to have our “discourse dinner party”? Well, as a suggestion, consider any of the following:

      • Using a blog as a space to discuss compelling, unorthodox or provocative ideas. This would extend beyond the usual “make a comment” at the end of a post
      • Developing a small group of bloggers, exploring a common theme. Blog spots, such as WordPress, represent an excellent community for finding and fostering like minded individuals
      • Using a blog as the transcript of the “night”. Like the old fashioned chess game, carried on through months of correspondence, this could act as the repository for the discourse. Of course, this might operate over a defined period, or a broader, extended timeframe.
      • Inviting guest bloggers to attend a “dinner”. This might be on the basis of acting as a stimulus to other bloggers, or the topic being considered.

So, what are the big ideas, the big questions worth considering, defining and debating?
More than happy for you to take all this as your invitation to the dinner… If inclined, feel free to R.S.V.P. (aka Comments?) to get the party started! Not sure how it’ll all go, but that should be part of the fun…