Blogging 101, Lessons 2 & 3
WordPress is emphasizing the communal nature of blogging in their introductory course, which is a good thing to do right out of the gate. A blog without interaction is little more than an online diary, something better accomplished in a woodsy spot using an attractively-bound notebook and a quality pen. Following other blogs can yield more followers in turn to your blog and provide a good source of fresh ideas and hot topics to write about.
The focus for Lessons 2 and 3 was not the blog per se, but WordPress’ integrated Reader, which allows you to search across the entire WordPress blogspace by subject matter tag and follow specific blogs you find intriguing. Followed blogs appear under a separate tab of the Reader in an abbreviated digest and update automatically whenever there is new content. It’s a lot more efficient than blindly clicking around to your favorite sites. You can also subscribe to blogs and other content outside the WordPress domain via RSS link, but there are plenty of standalone applications for this purpose, too. Just search on “RSS readers.”
Anyhow, the task for Lesson 2 was to add some topic tags to the Reader. I already had several from past activity, like “writing,” and “faith,” and “anime,” and “science fiction,” but after perusing some discussion among other bloggers in the class, I added the tag “Kansas City” to pull in some local flavor. Unfortunately, most of the resulting articles were from people who had visited relatives in the Greater KC Metro area or had stopped here on their way to somewhere else. I did find one post from a SF&F writer who’s on the planning team for this year’s Kansas City-hosted Worldcon. That was interesting. I went to his blog and added it to my follow list. Following was Lesson 3, by the way.
I also added tags for Korea (yielding mostly foodie articles and a couple of diary blogs), animation (which spammed my Reader with “Hey, watch this!” animated GIFs), and comics—I’ll have to drill down into those results a bit to find some promising comic artists to follow, but I saw some interesting stuff on my initial scan intermingled with the ubiquitous Marvel and DC reviews.
So, today’s nugget of wisdom: use tags to search and follow the good stuff that bobs like a message-stuffed bottle atop the waves of internet noise.