The Missing Element

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Yesterday, I shared four blogs on which I’d placed substantive comments. Today’s Blogging 101 assignment is true. Of the four, one of them stayed with me enough to influence the direction for the STUDIO. But another of the four used the same technique — photography. Deanna’s photos of Clouds and Sunsets underscore the narrative in her posts. They illustrate her appreciation for God’s creation. She has a vast repository of photography from over the years that she continues to expand.

Another self-photographer, Chameleon, uses her own photographs as well. Her posts are written in both English and French — yet use the same photos. This speaks volumes on the power of a photograph and reminds me of the quote:

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

I’d like to amend that quote and add, “A picture needs no translation.”

The content of these two blogs focuses on completely different subject matters. But they both come across as more personal. And I think it’s the photography that makes the difference.

WP_FI_Photography copyWhile scouting for stock photography is an enjoyable pastime, personal photos seem to add a layer of authenticity to a blog. My only camera is the one in my Galaxy S3, which I understand can deliver quality images. It’s a welcome alternative to my broke-down low-mp Canon that’s held together by a rubber-band after being dropped. I’ve read about how the GS3 takes great pictures and that the various levels can be adjusted to affect different image styles. I think I want to add this layer of authenticity to a Commonplace STUDIO. What this means is that I’ll have to spend less time at the keyboard and get to snappin’.

I can usually tell a stock photo from a personal one. And, along with the stock photography comes the responsibility of attribution.

I’m more into the writing aspect of blogging; so the switch to personal photography will be a slow, methodical one. I know not to expect professional quality; but I do aim for my photos to be above “point and shoot.” So, I’ll continue to use stock photography, and work a suitable attribution style into my posts. And, of course, I’ll announce when one of my own images is featured. Wow. Who knew? “Blogging 101 is just what this STUDIO needed” said Miss Donna as she added yet another stock photo to the STUDIO. 🙂

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Be my Neighbor?

Untitled-1 copyThe creative minds behind Blogging 101 have put together a no-holds-barred program. From day 1, we just jumped in with both feet. But the instructors, Happiness Engineers, and fellow course participants kept us afloat. Even though the course outline is prominently displayed in the Commons, assignments always come with an unexpected twist to help us blog with a purpose.

Yesterday’s assignment: leave comments on at least four blogs that you’ve never commented on before.

Ironically, each assignment is actually a building block for something I’ve already incorporated into my blog. Yesterday was an exceptionally good day for connecting with other WordPressers. Seeking out bloggers with whom I’ve not communicated has been quite rewarding. For instance . . .

  • In her Weekend Mission post, Chameleon talks about her choice to write in both English and French. The topics mentioned in her “About Me” widget are what initially interested me. But the English / French concept is also a draw. Reading French with English narrative close-by is a good way for me to update my sketchy knowledge of a subject I studied for six years.
  • Deanna talks about how things came together as she decided on Clouds and Sunsets as the name for her blog. She shares how the name came with an added bonus. Along with reflections, she will be sharing all the amazing photos of clouds and sunsets she has taken over the years.
  • a hectic life had me on pins and needles all the way to the finish line as I read The Morning Race. She brilliantly uses a (part of speech?) or symbolism — whatever — to describe her daily ritual. Cute, funny, and very creative.

My fourth one is missing. I’ll add it later. Anywho — I don’t know if I’ll be a Hero by the end of the course. But I’ll be far from a Zero

The Analog or Virtual Commonplace (includes poll)

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Commonplace_Book VOTE IN MY POLL BELOW! Commonplacing is applicable to any interest and beneficial to the individual. Solely for the sake of word-flow, this post will use commonplacing and journaling interchangeably. It’s a flexible tool that’s as beneficial in the craft room as in the board room.

  • There are pantry items, recipes, shopping lists, task items, cleaning, and decorating ideas for homemakers.
  • Scrapbookers can sketch layout ideas and plan future projects.
  • Genealogists can track documents, chronologies, locations, surnames, hidden ancestors, software apps.
  • The Bible scholar can outline the Bible by book, develop character study and word study pages, maintain topical studies.
  • Book enthusiasts can keep track of their TBR lists, review notes, pending releases.

It’s early enough in the year for me to implement an idea that hatched a week or so ago. Even though my Bible study journal will be maintained separately, I think I’ll keep sermon notes in my day-to-day journal. That way, I’ll be more likely to apply the teachings because I’ll have the notes to constantly remind me. The analog journal will just always be a part of my system. But, recent developments make digital journaling a reasonable choice as well. I prefer to do both. Commonplacing my blogs in a separate blog is my choice for managing these projects. Plus it helps me learn WordPress better.

The theme selection tool that WordPress offers is phenomenal. When I began using it, with mobility being the main criteria, I thought, “Now we’re getting somewhere!” Just as an analog journaler considers size, format, and color when selecting a journal to be used as a commonplace book, I want it to feel as if I’m flipping through the pages of my Moleskine. Therefore, with the digital aspect, asthetics are a factor as well. I switched themes about four times before I settled on Origin as the theme for my personal blog.

The first theme I selected was based on aesthetics alone. I was satisfied with my choice until I pulled it up on my phone. The display was less than I could handle. I had to scroll all over the place just to read a page. So it was, “back to the drawing board.” I tried a few others. They were mobile friendly but lacked the “personality” of Origin. That sounds funny; but developing and maintaining my commonplace blog needs to be an enjoyable experience. Just like the size and color options influence me to buy a certain analog journal — functionality, ease of use, and appearance are game-makers or -breakers in digital journaling.

How I Monitor My Followed Blogs

Before I learned about the Lists feature in the Reader in today’s Blogging 101 assignment, I had developed a system to keep track of the many awesome blogs I came across. My Blogs I Follow list was getting longer by the day. And I wasn’t keeping track of which blog was about what. Today’s assignment showed me another way to view blogs by category. I’ll give it a try until I decide which method will be more efficient for my use.

Follow 5 New Topics in the Reader: I had actually begun doing this before the assignment. The only difference is I set up categories in my left navigation panel (described below) to keep up with the blogs I wanted to read regularly. The assignment, however, showed me how to use a similar feature in the Reader. I’m always open to learning new or multiple ways to do things.

Follow 5 New Blogs: As for the new blogs, I had already added four from interacting in the Commons. I’ll surely add more than the one required to complete this assignment. I appreciate the level of instruction in the blogging course. They provide a lot of detail to show us around WordPress. I’ve been looking forward to this so I can quit stumbling around on my own.

I quickly learned that I don’t remember what many of the blogs on my followed list are about. So, rather than continually add to a lengthy list of blogs I think I want to follow, I’ve limited my followed blogs to 12. (I just used 12 as the cut-off to keep it brief and because I wanted to name that section, “The Dirty Dozen”.) Then, after I visit the 12 on a few occasions, I determine whether to promote them to a link category (left nav) or stop following. When unrelated blogs come off, it creates room for more to be explored. This is the only way I could come up with to manage all the blogs I was finding.

I’m just hoping that, even though I’ve removed blogs from my “Blogs I’m Following” aka “Dirty Dozen” (see bottom left menu) list, the bloggers I’ve promoted to my links categories know I’m still following them via links. We’ll see how it works out.

How do you keep up with all of your followed blogs?