Wonky's Land of Nonsensical Musings

Category: blogging

On Hiatus

As you’ve probably noticed dear readers of my blog, all 20-30 of you, I haven’t posted in about 3 weeks. So I thought I would officially announce an hiatus from blogging for a bit. I’ll be back, probably, and I won’t be gone that long.  I actually have like five posts in various stages.  So this blog is taking a nap for a bit.

even while sick he cheers me up

Blog archeology 1: blogging epochs

I sometimes think of myself as a blog archeologist. As I’ve mentioned before I got into blogging fairly early. 2003 wasn’t the birth of blogging but it was early days. Since then I’ve been far more of a blog reader than a writer. Anybody who follows any of my blogs can attest to that.
Back in the olden days I followed a blog. The person eventually moved overseas and I lost touch and stopped reading their blog. About two years ago I rediscovered them on the internet. They had been blogging the entire time. They had changed platforms a couple of times but all the posts in all three blogging platforms still existed. When I realized they had a different spouse I knew I had missed plenty. So I went back and read from where I had left them to the present. I read about moves and unemployment, children being born, sickness, a divorce and a remarriage.
This caused my rekindled love for the personal blog. Not only did I start following a lot of blogs again, but I have been reading them from their beginning. I’ve only done this with a handful of blogs at this point but it has been fun and enlightening.

1. The ancient past (1999-2003)

Not much remains of this ancient period.  Many of the blogs no longer exist and many of the blogging platforms have disappeared.  But I have found a few blogs started in this period that are still running or up.  Blogging was a much simpler affair back then.  Rarely were pictures involved and most posts where simple descriptions of the authors day. “I went for a run this morning.  Later I met Bob for lunch.”  Posts where generally short much like facebook status updates.  You often find people during this period complaining about using dial-up or having to find internet cafes.  Note: 1999 was the year blogger was first made public.

2. The age of growth and innocence lost (2003 – 2007)

During this period personal blogging really took off.  Several solid platforms existed.  Wordpress was released in 2003.  Home internet starting becoming more common. Posts became longer though still several times a week.  Blogging meant not only writing your own blog but also, reading and commenting on blogs. A slew of communities began to be created. People of like interests would share links, comment, and support each other.

This period also saw the rise of the popular personal blogger.  People who would begin getting thousands of readers of their blogs.  This helped spur the end of the innocence in blogging in two ways. First, people became aware that blogs were not anonymous(even if they tried to be) and were public. One of the most famous cases of this was the story of petite anglais.  Her employer discovered her blog and fired her over contents. Several blogs completely disappear at this point. Their authors just seemed to not even take the chance of of being found out.  Heck at the time I would put up personal medical details without even a thought. Secondly, now that people had many readers, the possibility of profit entered the picture.  Bloggers started inking book deals, adding ads, and trying other ways to monetize their efforts.

3. Growth and Decline(2007 – 2010)

This new found money led to an influx of people looking to get on the train. People started creating blogs looking to capture certain SEO rich topics. Some bloggers just kept on trucking with what they had been writing before while many tried to tailor their writing style and topics to acquire as many readers as possible. Some where successful, many were not.

During the middle of this period we see the big rise of facebook and twitter into mainstream popularity.  We begin to see a corresponding decrease in blogland. You see a log of blogs dwindle to nothing.  They authors post less and less and then just stop. Sometime there is a final message but often the blog just waits there in hopes someday of being reborn. I think many of these people just went to facebook and twitter for quick life updates.  Why bother with the hassle of a blog post when you can just quickly fling something out on your smartphone.

4. Rebirth in the time of Facebook(2010 –)

Blogging has experienced a comeback in the last few years. Many people are creating blogs as a way to write long form to complement their other online activity. For many, their blog is the centerpiece of their social media presence.  On their blog they have widgets that connect you to their twitter stream, or pinterest activity. 

I will not vouch for the accuracy of anything I’ve said here.  I am not a social scientist studying blog culture, I am just some dude who reads blogs.

A Life Worth Blogging

I sit on my couch with my netbook in my lap.  My cat keeps trying to sit in my lap and seems confused by this plastic thing in the way. I have tried to think of something to blog about so I am resorting to the worst sort of blog post, a post about blogging.

I think there are four main types of blog. You have the corporate blog. These exist for the synergising of brand awareness… or something else made up.  I avoid these like the plague. There is the pro bloggers. People who are an expert in a field and tend to write on that subject.  A couple of examples from my own blog feeds, a blog on woodworking by a professional woodworker, and a blog by a tech writer about laptops.  Thirdly are the theme blogs. Blogs about politics or discussing a specific type of news story. Think of blogs with an agenda. And finally my favorite type of blog, the personal blog.  I read a lot of personal blogs. Most of them are about expats living outside their home country.  This provides them with a nice exciting hook.

As I have returned to blogging I often wonder if my life is worthy of being written about. Seeing as I spend most of my time at a sports bar, probably not :).  Don’t worry I plan to keep blogging. It’s not really that I don’t have topics to blog.  Mostly I need to find the will to do it.  I can easily find the time. And perhaps the desire to blog will help me do something more interesting than just watching every single Blackhawks game.

Follow Friday: Robin Ellis

I know. I know. It is Saturday and not Friday and it is a twitter thing.  If you look down the left side column of my blog you will see the newly added Blogs I Follow section.  I plan on populating it with some of the blogs I follow.  Instead of just dumping a bunch of them on there at once, I decided to add them one at a time and do a little post about each.

First up is Robin Ellis of robin-ellis.net. Robin Ellis is an English actor who now lives in the country in France.  I have only ever seen him in an episode of Fawlty Towers. Robin has been diagnosed with diabetes.  It runs in his family.  A large number of his posts are recipes fit for a diabetic.  He calls his method of cooking a “Mediterranean style of cooking”.

My style of cooking in usually Mediterranean—based on olive oil, tomatoes and garlic. This cuisine–with a little tweaking–suits the slightly different way of eating that I adopted once the diabetes showed up.

 The flavor in these dishes and comes from spices and not from salt and fat. This makes for delicious and healthy meals. I have made several of the recipes he has featured.

Two of my favorites:

So if you are ready  for some really delicious healthy meals he is your man.  He also has a cook book.  You can find the details on his blog.

Food isn’t the only thing Robin blogs about.  He also give us entertaining snippets of his life in France. Robin places special emphasis on the animals that live with them.    

Again two of my favorites:

So I can highly recommend giving Robin’s blog a follow.  You are guaranteed (note this guarantee will not be honored anywhere in the known universe) a tasty recipe or a fun story.  Also, you might learn some info about diabetes.  

Why the switch back to blogger

Yes I’ve switched from self hosted wordpress to blogger. Why? I did not have any problems with WordPress. In fact I really love it. I highly recommend it.  I consider it the best blogging platform out there.  Continuously maintained with a long list of useful addons it tends to kick bloggers patutty. If you are planning any sort of professional blog I would use wordpress. If you know web programming you can really modify it and get an exact theme you want.

In 2006 I purchased a hosting package from 1and1 http://www.1and1.com it included five domains and some hosting with access to ftp and mysql.  My plan at the time was to invent the next big internet sensation.  I never did. All I ended up with were a couple of WordPress blogs.  Recently I checked out how much the plan was costing.  It had escalated to almost four times what I was initially paying.  None of this was underhanded by 1and1.  They had been sending me invoices the entire time and keeping me informed.  I just didn’t pay attention.

I realize now that I will never build a great internet phenomenon. All I really want is a couple of blogs. So back to blogger I have returned. As you can see I am just using a standard theme at this time.   I could put up a header to represent my life.  But that would just be pictures of a messy apartment, a cat, and me sitting at a computer.

After a couple of weeks I can tell you a few thins about blogger vs wordpress.  The android app for wordpress is better than the blogger one.  And blogger seems to be more social centric. 

I still have tweaking to do so if you see changes don’t panic.  I need to get up a sidebar of links among some other things.  Probably will toss my twitter feed on here.  So stay tune for the rare blog about my cat.

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