This blog is just a couple of months old and same for the domain.  I was looking at my Comments admin panel and I have just over 200 approved “comments” this includes both written comments and mentions which appear on site as “facepiles”.  I’m thinking only about 3 or 4 of those comments were from the traditional comment forms at the bottom of each post.  The rest come from Indieweb style webmentions from other Indieweb blogs, Micro.blog, Twitter and G+.

I’m not telling you this to brag.  This is still just a insignificant, dumpy, tiny, newish blog.  But I have blogged before, and while I have had participation, I have never had this level of good, thoughtful, helpful engagement. It just does not happen on a new blog by a nobody.  Ever.

200. On. a. new. blog. Unbelievable.

Part of this is I stumbled upon the Indieweb which we bloggers never had before and they responded. Part is due to the great Micro.blog community.

I can also tell you this much: people do click on those links I left commenting on other peoples blogs and equally people are clicking on the links other people leave on this blog.

Yup, these Indieweb folks are definitely on to something.

Also on:

I added a Guestbook Page (under About) using a WordPress plugin I found Gwolle Guestbook.

What I like about this guestbook plugin is it has multi layer protection against spam, plus a final human review before anything goes live.  Also, it does not try to use the Comments part of WordPress.  Somehow it just seems tidier to keep Comments, which in my mind are about posts, as comments and guestbook entries separate.

Heck it’s all part of an experiment: can you have old things like Guestbooks, will anybody know what they are, will they be useful, in 2018?  The only way to tell is try it.

And it might lead to discovery of new websites for viewers.

The idea came from @vega Weird Indieweb Idea of the Day Guestbooks.  Many thanks Vega.

Replied to

In reply to: Ticker Tape Parade.

What no black background with with neon green text?  😀

Seriously, I really like this.  At first I was disoriented for a second because I was expecting rigid and flat.  But then it just all clicks and makes so much sense.  The threading and the different sub styles for different post types all work really well together.  Colors are good.  Most important, it’s highly readable.  Very cool.

Some quick thoughts nowhere near complete.

It’s sort of a rule in room design, that it is hard to make a big, wide open room cozy and inviting.  You do this by adding odd, warm, interesting alcoves and inglenooks around the perimeter.

Likewise, modern open plan designed homes are practical in a sense, you can survey the home from front door, through the great room and kitchen to the dining area all at a glance.  But what gets lost is the delightful sense of exploration and being surprised when opening a door and seeing what is beyond.  Old homes had parlors, withdrawing rooms, nooks, turning hallways with many doors, sunny window benches for reading, surprise unexpected seating alcoves.

I kinda look at a WordPress blog the same way.  You have all these plugins and pages, so can you make areas, spaces if you will, that surprise, hopefully delight and entertain.  Odd bits of eccentric whimsy that capture interest.  These are not quite an easter egg but are not in your face either. You don’t want to take away from what you have written but you want to add value.  Navigation is there, easy to find if one does more than helicopter in on a search query and then helicopter out.  They are there if one explores.

These spaces can have utility too. An oaken paneled library, provides knowledge, entertainment, quiet refuge and a sign of what the owner finds interesting.  A bookshelf full of books in a guest room provides interest for insomniacs.

And it may be that these virtual spaces get little used, but if they bring pleasure to you knowing that they are there and to the odd visitor then all to the good.

Needless to say, I’m not a minimalist.

I fear that our technology, search engines delivering you to individual pages you are looking for, while efficient has robbed us of a sense of wonderment and adventure. Can a website or blog be both an effective conveyor of information with an optional dungeon crawl like D&D?

Feel free to comment.

Also on:

Introduction The “best” feed reader is largely a matter of individual preference. There are many good ones. Most of them, including the best, are free like browsers. The one that matches the way you want to work is best for you. 🙂 No matter which reader you choose, it should give you some way to back up your feeds, preferably as an OPML file. You may also be able to use your OPML file to move to another reader, although the formats may not be compatible.

Like: Best Free RSS Reader-Aggregator | Gizmo’s Freeware

Wow what a great article.  It’s much more comprehensive than most of it’s kind.  One thing I’ve learned you really really need a feed reader in the Indieweb space and eventually on Micro.blog.

In the Indieweb you are going to really want to follow all those neat blogs you discover.  On Micro.blog the timeline is purposely fleeting.  There will be people you follow who you don’t want to miss any of their posts or you just find that you are following too many interesting people and the timeline moves past too quickly: the solution is to subscribe to their Micro.blog blogs in the feed reader.  That way you capture it all.

It’s just an essential tool.  I use Inoreader, which is listed in the article.

This is so simple, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before.  You can make a decent blog search engine, for free, in minutes with Duckduckgo.

  1. Go to the Duckduckgo Search Box page.
  2. Do whatever customization you like.
  3. In the field “Site Search” type in: blogspot.com,wordpress.com,medium.com

blogspot.com,wordpress.com,medium.com

Medium.com is optional.  Copy the searchbox code and Paste it on an HTML page and you are done.

Pros:

  • Because it’s DDG all searches are private.
  • Blogspot and WordPress are the two largest blog hosts on the web, at least in the Western World.
  • Fast results with very few ads.
  • DDG does not insist on having their branding all over the searchbox.
  • You can do multi word, complex search queries.

 

Cons:

You are not searching for all blogs. Only blogs hosted on a subdomain “blogname.blogspot.com” are going to be searched.  Blogs on these same hosts that pay to use their own domain will be overlooked.  Also, blogs that are self hosted on their own servers will be overlooked.

Have fun. Adapt this to your own needs.  If you find this useful on your own site, come back and let me know how you use it.  Thanks.

Is WordPress.com quietly building a blog based social network with Reader?

I have no inside information, but the answer is, They are half way or more there.

Aside

If I were a good (slick) blogger I would fill this post up with neat screenshots of Reader pages that illustrate each of my key points.  You could then squint at these unreadable pics to your hearts content.  Instead, just go to WordPress.com and register.  You can see Reader for yourself.

/Aside

WP Reader is an aggregater of all the blogs hosted on WordPress.com PLUS remotely hosted installs of WordPress that use Jetpack.  Everytime you login to WordPress.com the first thing you see is the Reader.  The Reader is also on all the WP mobile apps.  You can search for posts and blogs by keywords and subscribe to (follow) any blog in the index.  The Reader can also serve up the newest posts on the system whether you have subscribed or not.

  1. The Reader is fast and attractive, well laid out and easy to use. It’s like a timeline.
  2. It is everywhere and has a huge user base.
  3. It can send you notifications if you want.
  4. You can “Like” a post from Reader.
  5. I think you can even comment on a post from Reader if the owner of the blog has comments turned on.
  6. Reader is a very powerful discovery tool.
  7. Reader is a powerful traffic tool. Not just one time traffic but repeat traffic. It is so easy to subscribe to a blog you will find yourself with followers soon after making a few posts.
  8. You can see who follows you in Reader.  They have a profile page.

Is all of this starting to sound like the foundations of a social network?  Admittedly it is a closed one, a silo open only to WP users.

What if’s…

But what happens if they give you the ability to add RSS feeds from any blog hosted anywhere?

What would happen if they adopt Indieweb webmentions from the Reader and all WP blogs? So you could comment on another blog from your blog but all in Reader.  And get replies. These types of Indieweb feed reader (see webmention link above) are already available, so it would be just a matter of WP coding these capabilities into Reader.  Don’t ask me how, I’m not a coder.

With just a few more features a de facto social network would emerge.  I don’t know if it would succeed.  I don’t know if it would be a good fun community or be filled with trolls.

If I were WP, I would be at least thinking about it in my off time.

Micro.blog is also a blog based social network and seeing how well it’s features work tells me you can have a successful community built around blogs.

All this is just speculation.  A social network may be the furthest thing on WP’s mind.  All I am pointing out is that the foundations are there at least by accident.

The inspiration for this post came from Greg McVerry.  He very astutely asked the same question in Indieweb chat room a week or so ago.  But, other pressing matters were being discussed so no more was said.  But Greg’s observation got me thinking so I thought I would start a discussion.

Could it be done? Do you think they are doing it?

 

Source: Official Blogger Blog: It’s spring cleaning time for Blogger

I’ve been reading a lot of “places to host your blog” type articles. Most have added a note of caution about Google abandoning services.  It looks like a mixed bag. Improvements are being made to Blogger but at the same time some features are being discontinued.