Journal 3

More Blogging Technology and Decisions

This is a very quick post about a few decisions I have made with my blog in the last hour.

I researched plugins and realized that, because WordPress.com is hosting my blog (though it has a unique url), I don’t have the option for plugins. The staff at WordPress.com seems extremely helpful and willing to customize existing widgets to fit my purpose, though this won’t be necessary for the time being.

Anyways, I have now re-added a meta section on my right sidebar. I had removed it initially because it looked to crowded with everything else I wanted to display, but it provides me with an ease of access that trumps my simplistic style. Also, I have added a “Follow this Blog” tab which users and non-users can click in order to follow Classy and True as a blog or by email. I think that this is an important way of ensuring that those who are interested in my blog are able to find it in the future. It is very frustrating when you find a site which you find helpful or entertaining and then cannot locate it in the future. This is often a problem for me so I made this choice based on my own experiences. I think that it is a really easy way of providing blog hospitality, by allowing readers to becomes followers without having to do much work.

On another note: After my journal post last evening, I had an increase in visitors, “likers”, and followers. This, to me, proves that a blog can look awesome and be very interesting, but the biggest thing which will draw attention to it is current content updated on a regular basis. Who wants to visit a blog that doesn’t have new information added on a regular basis? This is a fundamental difference between blogs and information-only pages; blogs must change and update and grow, whereas pages that hold lasting information are static and without followers. For example, I don’t follow Wikipedia pages about Broadway Musical or Victorian novels, I read them once or twice and move on with my life. I do, however, follow fitness and music blogs which are updated regularly and are current.

Just a few thoughts for my blogging process. I better write another actual post soon or else my followers will get bored.

Have a great day!

Kassieboo

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Journal 2

There are tons of different factors that go into ranking well, but the biggest is high-quality content. (David Sinick)

The Technology and How-To

For the past week or so, I have explored different plugins and widgets which I can incorporate into my blog. I’ve looked at attaching my Twitter feed to my sidebar, creating contact forms, adding a search bar, and the like. I’ve googled various techniques and guidelines for personal blogs/websites in order to help me decide on which technologies to attach to Classy and True, but have found little which fits my vision for my blog. I don’t want a money-making site or a site specific to a particular group of academics or thinkers; I want a blog which the average person living in society can relate to and think about after reading. Humour is important to my vision.

Tangent Time!

However, in doing my research, I found that many how-to guides and articles focus on the business end of blogging; of the commodification of thought and opinion. The plugin selections are based on drawing more and more people to the site, not entertaining those who have already found their way there. One article, in particular, seemed to turn a media which was once an outlet for writers expressing themselves in a nontraditional way into a new commercial enterprise for writers and non-writers alike. The article’s subheading that bothered me the most was labeled “Promotion” and the first sentence in this section stated that the topic is “the big one” (Dholakiya). I do understand that being a blogger is a viable living and that this includes promotion (like an author offline), but I find it troubling that being an online writer is no longer about being a writer, if it ever was. Articles, such as the one mentioned, suggest that “you don’t have to be an amazing writer to be a successful blogger” (Dholakiya). I find this troubling. No, you don’t have to be another Vonnegut or Atwood to be a blogger, but shouldn’t being a relatively good writer be at least part of the reason for blogging? Maybe it’s just me being an English major, but I believe that writing is not as easy a many would have you think. It is fairly easy to separate good writers from those who use convoluted sentence structure and nominalization to appear good. Many bloggers are the latter. Some write well, but lack conviction or real interest in their topic. They have great skills of promotion and an intuitive sense of which widgets most interest readers, but do not necessarily have the gift of the written word. In the past week, I have realized that modern writing (blogging and the like) consists of so much more than being a good writer or feeling the need to write down particular experiences or opinions and it sometimes doesn’t even include these things.

I’m sorry to get off track, but this lesson in blogging as a commercial endeavor really interested me. I’m not sure that I think that bloggers need to be excellent writers, but I never realized how many other aspects there are in running a successful blog. This tells me that I still have a very long way to go.

Back to Widgets and Plugins

Really, I’m still exploring widgets. I have found that I like the idea of a visit counter which I have titled “Are We Popular Yet?”. This is the most interesting widget I have found for my site to date. I like the simplicity of Classy and True at the moment so I think that I will keep with this for a while.  As I said in my previous journal entry, I believe that a blog has to grow organically with additions coming from need rather than fear of boring readers. If I see a gap in my blog or realize that I’m missing something, then I will add on, but I’d like this to be practical rather than showy or for technology’s sake.

Any additions I make, I’ll be sure to reflect on in a journal entry.

Happy reading, happy blogging, and happy growing.

Kassieboo

Work Cited:

Dholakiya, Pratik. “How to Blog (Even if You Can’t Write).” Socialmedia Today. Gigya and Infusionsoft, 20 06 2013. Web. 21 Sep. 2013. <http://socialmediatoday.com/hishaman/1545026/how-to-blog&gt;.

Doors

Okay! So this is my very first post on Classy and True and I think that it would be best to start out with a very simple topic: Doors.

Imagine this: You’re walking across the parking lot at the grocery store when it suddenly starts to rain violently! You hurry toward the door, tripping slightly as your Toms (or whatever brand name of shoes you’re wearing) get caught on a crack. You don’t fall, but you’re getting wetter and wetter by the minute. On the bright side, you’re about ten steps away from the glorious dryness that is Safeway. You’ve got this. You’re good to go. You’re going to buy some organic almond milk, a bag of bananas, a loaf of gluten-free bread (I guess you’re trying to be healthy or whatever), and-okay, that chocolate bar on special right beside the till-and get the heck out of there. This is your plan. It is a good plan. But then you get to the door and a man checking Facebook on his phone is ahead of you. He pushes the door open for himself and you walk up behind him, assuming that a functioning member of society understands the convention of holding the door for the person behind him, and begin to walk through the door way when BAM!! The plexy glass and steel battering ram called a door slams against your arm and face. The man didn’t hold the door for you. Your entire trip is ruined by poor door etiquette.

When I walk through a door in a public place, I (a) wait to see if somebody else is waiting to walk out and let them go first, (b) hold an arm out behind me just in case anybody is coming through. It would be mean to let the door close on somebody. I feel like these are pretty simple concepts, but apparently they aren’t. I don’t know what it is with people today; maybe we’re in a constant state of late or maybe we’re over stimulated and have too much on our minds. Or maybe we just don’t care about each other. This last point seems to be the answer when a door closes on me or I run to catch the door after someone and they just let it close. I end up thinking to myself, maybe people are just jerks.

I’d like to believe that people aren’t jerks and that they are simply preoccupied with the growing amounts of information with which we are faced every day. This is easier to stomach.

There is also the possibility that maybe parents and society, in general, don’t teach manners anymore. My own parents worked to set a good example for my siblings and me and I’d like to think that I’m a polite and respectful person because of it.

I don’t let doors hit people and I thank those who do the same for me. Ultimately, it comes down to treating others as we want to be treated ourselves. If I don’t hold the door for somebody who has his or her arms full, then maybe somebody won’t hold the door for me when it’s pouring rain and I’ve got a stack of books in my arms.

Maybe that’s the way to inspire door etiquette: think of yourself and what you want and then project that onto your behaviour around other people. While this concept feels selfish, it also makes sense in a world where a lot of doors are opening and closing on a lot of innocent people.

Before I end this surely-stimulating discussion of door etiquette, I guess that it is important to mention an exception for door holding. Don’t hold a door for somebody who is too far away. If they are still halfway across the parking lot or street, then holding the door for them puts the burden on them to hurry up to catch your politeness. That’s crazy. It’s extremely awkward when I’m walking toward a building at school and I look ahead of me (like fifty meters) and somebody is holding the door and looking at me expectantly. I usually end up trotting to catch up and get through the door, but it makes both the holder and the enter-er feel awkward and sometimes annoyed. Not cool.

So next time you are on your phone watching Vine videos of cats as you walk through a doorway, take a glance over your shoulder and check to see if someone is behind you because it sucks to be hit in the face with a closing door.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back soon!

Kassieboo

Journal 1

Components of my Blog

Any idiot can put up a website. (Patricia Briggs, Blood Bound)

So this week I need to focus on my “personal cyberinfrastructure” (find the podcast explaining this concept here) or the home and landscape of my internet self (ex. host, data storage, etc.). I have, so far, chosen to base my blog in WordPress with a unique URL (one which doesn’t include “____.wordpress.com”) as a way to own my own domain. I have a basic idea for where I’d like to take this blog which I’ve explained in my About section. The very basic idea is that I’d like to focus on everyday interactions among people and how manners affect these communications.

It’s difficult to say which types of components will be of use to me in this endeavor. I do think that connections to social media will be important as these are some of the major ways in which people interact with one another. The idea that my comments on things such as pedestrian etiquette and how Facebook statuses affect our possible employment could be shared on various platforms by like-minded individuals is both exciting and a little terrifying. However, this is how the information highway works and thrives–through the sharing of comments and ideas of interest with next-door neighbors and individuals who live on the other side of the planet. I think that the globalization of the internet is very important to keep in mind while building my blog and laying its cyberinfrastructure because this directs the way I share information and posts with and ask questions of other members of this strange online community. Plug-ins and widgets which attach my blog to social media are really the best way to attain readership and ensure that my internet voice travels the distance that I want. This also means linking my existing social media accounts to Classy and True  and growing the breadth of my internet self. I find this a little scary, but I know that it is the best way to create an authentic and genuine self in a time when trustworthiness is nonexistent to some platforms.

Creating a blog and the ensuing cyberinfrastructure seems to be an activity which builds on itself over time and which cannot be thought up and executed in a few short hours. New needs and wants drive the growth of a unique type of self just as we in the non-cyber world change throughout our lives to fit an ideal or situation.

I’ll be sure to update as my vision for this blog changes and grows and possibly becomes something very different from the original plan.

Thanks for reading,

Kassieboo

Resources:

Campbell, Gardner, perf. “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure.” Gardner Writes. N.p., 2009. web. <http://www.gardnercampbell.net/blog1/?p=934&gt;.