Tag Archives: blogging

Comment spam

I moved to WordPress on August 29th and one of the plugins which I was recommended to install immediately was Akismet from WordPress themselves. This turns out to have been a very smart piece of advice. In under a month I have 121 comments caught in its spam filter.  Now I appreciate what people who have moved to WordPress and Moveable Type have been talking about all these years.

Now on WordPress

I’ve spent the day moving my site from Blogger to WordPress, hosted on GoDaddy. Apart from a little glitch when I corrupted a php file on an early template and had to reinstall, it all went remarkably smoothly. And I’m really impressed with the migration tools and also the huge range of excellent templates. So far, so good…..

Reappraising my blog

I’m reappraising my blog. When I first started blogging on Thursday August 11th, 2005 the world was a very different place. I started initially as a living example of how easy blogging was during an RBI Editor’s Conference. It did an excellent job. So much so, that I kept blogging regularly to the largely internal RBI editorial audience and the blog evolved from there.

In the beginning I used the blog to point to things on the web which I felt would be important for journalists in a media company to know. I found these either through searches or, more often than not, through my newsreader which was consuming the feeds from lots and lots of blogs across the world.

But that function has long since been usurped by Twitter and Facebook. Google canned Google Reader at the beginning of 2003 and so I, like many, moved to Feedly.  However, I find I rarely look at my newsreader any more. And mostly I simply re-tweet a link to something that has caught my eye. And practically every site makes it really easy to do this through “Tweet This” buttons.

Although my blog evolved over the years to include many longer and, I like to think, more thoughtful posts, the time I spent keeping it up diminished as the alternatives proliferated. I am now on Facebook, Twitter and, half-heartedly, Google+.

Recently, however, I’ve started to rethink, partly inspired an excellent presentation which Aral Balkan gave at the RSA (and again – more or less – at Thinking Digital). Called “Free is a Lie”, the premise is that the business model of free is leading to “digital feudalism” as we give away more and more of our privacy in return for “free” services. He argues passionately for well designed, independent tools (phones, social networks, messaging systems) which can compete with Google and Facebook but which fundamentally respect the privacy of the individual.

One of my early journalist colleagues got in touch recently to encourage me to sign up to her blog Notes On A Spanish Valley. It was really nice to see a blog being used as it used to be – a mixture of pictures from the location, thoughts on life, even recipes – some of which I have cooked and which have joined the repertoire. She could have done this through Facebook, but somehow all mixed up together in her own style on the blog she designed it is much more powerful and personal.

Robert Scoble, one of the pioneers of blogging, recently announced he had given up blogging and moved completely to social media. I realised that I was unintentionally sliding down that same path.

And I realised that I didn’t want to.

So, I’ve decided to try to come back to my blog with more persistence. And I’ve decided to migrate it from Blogger where it’s been since the beginning and move onto the WordPress platform. The usual reason people do this is for the increased flexibility of WP. For me, though, it is more because Blogger is firmly part of Google and I have to sign in with by ubiquitous Google username and password to use it. Aral Balkan’s talk has make me wary of this, so this is my first small step away from the big platforms.

If I make the move smoothly, nothing should change. If not, well, time will tell!

Scribe – doing the job for me?

I was reading about the new feature called Scribe on the Blogger in Draft blog. This post is being written using this interesting auto-suggestion system. It takes some time to get used to reading the word forming ahead of the cursor – which you need to do if you are going to really take advantage of the functionality. And for touch-typists it is probably more of a hindrance than a help. But I can see it being quite useful if you find yourself lost for words.
One more example of the spurt of functionality coming from the Blogger team – see my last post on the iOS app.

New Blogger iOS app

I’ve just installed the new Blogger App for the iPhone which has just been released. This has been an age in coming – blogging on the go to Google’s blogging platform has been painful in the extreme while services like Posterous raced ahead with multiple very easy ways to blog on the go. Perhaps this – and the (very good) redesign of Blogspot – is more evidence of the new found determination at Google to step up the pace in all things social?

Time to get back to blogging again

Blogging has been pushed into the background lately owing to the enormous popularity of Facebook, Twitter, Google + et al, but I’ve noticed a bit of a reappraisal going on. The latest example was Hugh MacLeod of Gaping Void who put his decision to cut out Twitter and Facebook to refocus on his blog thus:

Why? Because Facebook and Twitter are too easy. Keeping up a decent blog that people actually want to take the time to read, that’s much harder. And it’s the hard stuff that pays off in the end.

Besides, even if they’re very good at hiding the fact, over on Twitter and Facebook, it’s not your content, it’s their content.

The content on your blog, however, belongs to you, and you alone. People come to your online home, to hear what you have to say, not to hear what everybody else has to say. This sense of personal sovereignty is important.

I am having similar feelings. I realise I first started blogging on August 11th 2005 which means there is a lot of me invested in my blog. But for the past year I’ve barely blogged at all, keeping up with what is going on through Twitter, Google + and, to a lesser extent, Facebook. That, I sense, is about to change a bit.


I sat through an inspiring presentation from Christian Payne (aka Documentally) yesterday in Quadrant House and it has prompted me to spring clean my online presence. So today I started to look again at Posterous where I set up an experimental blog some time ago which has been languishing ever since.

I have tried to modify Posterous so that my personal domain points to it (can’t tell if I have been successful until the DNS propogates) and if that works I’m going to start blogging through this site instead of my faithful old Blogger blog.

The reason? I had forgotten how power the post-anywhere from anything functionality of Posterous was. If my DNS experiment is successful, watch out for an increase in general activity.