Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

I’m a guy who likes to blog. I’m the guy who HATES having to deal with the technobabble that the task entails. I noticed that the backside of my blog was running slowly. Sometimes when I tried to schedule a post, I’d get an error message. My provider wrote:

“Our monitoring systems show that one (or some) of your user accounts may be making your web hosting account operate inefficiently. We noticed you’ve frequently hit the memory limits of your shared hosting plan over the last couple weeks. When this happens, our system automatically stops web processes which could be negatively impacting your server’s performance. This means your visitors may see errors or be unable to access your website at all for brief periods of time.”

I was given the option to leave everything as-is, optimize my website (for which I didn’t understand the instructions), or upgrade to Virtual Private Server and spend a bit more. I asked a fellow blogger what I should do. Among other things, he suggested that if I were still on an older PHP (5.x), jump to 7.0. If you don’t know what that means, well neither do I.

I did that. I also did the SSL free certification for https, though I’m not sure why. Immediately, I received a Fatal error on my page. I undid the SSL.

The technical support folks disabled the blog counter, which they identified as the problem. Blog working, but there’s no sidebar! No search bar or links or way to get to 12.5 years of my posts. This made me terribly… well, DEPRESSED. I mean, the blog isn’t just the last item I wrote, it’s the body of work. There were some back-and-forth written messages with suggestions that did not change anything.

Finally, a week later I called their support guy. The solution? “It looks like the site ‘sidebar’ and counter plugin may have not been
working correctly due to them not being compatible with php 7. Once we switched your site back to run on php5.6 your counter and sidebar has
been restored.” Thanks, John!

But all of this work not only reminds me how weak I am in certain areas, it was a real drag on my finite time to actually write blog posts. At least it was fodder for one.

Arthur, the Kiwi-American, wrote about blogging recently, prodded in part by an article I sent him. One of the takeaways is that bloggers spend more time on a typical blog post (up 39% from 2014 to 2017) and as a result, posts are published less frequently.

I shared the survey with this local blogging collective, maybe a dozen and a half folks who either presently or formerly blogged at a certain metropolitan newspaper, plus selected others. As I wrote, cheekily: “I love being in a collective! It’s so early Xian, or Soviet.”

It’s designed to be a safe place to kick around ideas, maybe gripe about the inevitable blog trolls we inevitably get. (Although I almost never get them here, I’m pleased to note.)

We answer questions about our writing process. “What inspires you to write about in autumn?” I asked if any of the others write ahead like I do. Well, no. unless a vacation is planned or one is crafting a fictional piece as part of a larger whole.

Someone posed this question: “What was the first time you wrote about something OUTSIDE of your comfort zone? I.e., something in which being a blogger inspired you to try something different?”

I can’t say for sure, but it was almost certainly something that one of you posed during what I call Ask Roger Anything, probably concerning race.

This is the time when youse folk get to inquire anything of me, and I must respond, generally within the month, to the best of my ability, obfuscating only when really necessary, which has not been as frequent as I would have thought, truth to tell.

As always, you can leave your questions below or on Facebook or Twitter; for the latter, my name is ersie. Always look for the duck. If you prefer to remain anonymous, that’s fine, but you need to SAY so; you should e-mail me at rogerogreen (AT) gmail (DOT) com, or send me an IM on FB and note that you want to remain unmentioned; otherwise, I’ll assume you want to be cited.

For reasons currently lost on me, I have put up a profile on the Quora site. Quora is a user-based site that where questions are asked and answered.

As is the case in human interactions online, some are sincere queries, while others, usually political in nature, and often about Obama and that guy after him. “If liberals hate Trump so much, why don’t they just leave?” Some kind souls answered that one, but not me.

For some reason, maybe because I’ve been doing it for 12.5 years, I’ve answered questions about blogging. But not all of them. One directed to me that I ignored: “Which blog content would make more money, diet and exercise or drawing and graphic design?”

Some months ago the New Yorker noted that the personal essay boom is over. A key sentence: “Personal essays cry out for identification and connection; what their authors often got was distancing and shame.”

In response, Salon posted The “personal essay boom” is dead. Long live the personal essay! “What we are instead experiencing is an evolution — of writers being encouraged to not simply mine personal feelings for a quick click, but to make connections between the personal and the political more explicit.”

Both of these pieces talk about blogs from women, and describe posts that are far more high profile than mine. Still, the discussion made me want to continue to do whatever the heck that I do each day. I didn’t get into this for money or fame. And a good thing too, because then I’d be REALLY disappointed!

I do it because makes me feel just a little less powerless. It grounds my thought process by having to write it down in sentences than to just say, “Daylight Saving Times SUCKS!” (It does, BTW.)

My Quora pieces generally have said, “Write because you have to.” Every once in a while, I check in with myself and realize, “Yup, still need to do this thing.”

There was this blogpost that community, unpaid blogger Heather Rusaw-Fazio wrote for the Times Union site in the spirit of #MeToo. It became not visible and the site inaccessible to the blogger because the post did not meet whatever community standards the Times Union thought were being violated.

Which standards, exactly?

Ultimately, Chuck Miller posted the piece on his blog, and I on mine. I referred to it as a “banned” post.

Rex wrote to a friend of mine:

We did not, in fact, silence a woman’s voice. A woman who is the senior editor in charge of engagement – and thus the supervisor of community blogs – took the step of protecting Heather and the Times Union from a potential libel claim. (As publisher of the blog, we are susceptible to libel claims.) We are quite eager to publish Heather’s post, but we have suggestions to make it less likely that we – and Heather – might be vulnerable legally. Since we have a lot of experience in legal matters, we could advise her on this, but at this point she has chosen to remain silent rather than accept any such suggestion. It is very regrettable, but there is certainly no intent on our part to shut down conversation.

What does Heather have to say about this to Rex? This is pretty much the opposite of what Heather was told by TU folks:

There has been very little to no consistency on blogger standards from blogger to blogger or post to post for some, and I hope you take the time to read all of this and truly understand.

Is it the use of f**k? Read the rest of this entry »

If blogging about blogging is a sin, then today I’m going to need a shot at redemption. (So does Arthur.)

The vast majority of the people who visit my blog are not from the Albany, NY area. As a result, when I’ve written something that was Capital District-specific, I tended to post that IN ADDITION to a post that might be of interest to a larger geographic swath.

After the deadline hit for turning in petitions to run for office locally, which was July 13, I contacted the Albany County Board of Elections to secure a list, from which two lists were generated, the Albany city Common Council folks (i.e., the city council) and everything else.

This took some time and the window of opportunity was fairly narrow. I also cross-posted this on my underutilized Times Union blog, which proved to be aggravating. In an answer to a question, not the article itself, I left off one word, which changed the meaning. This led someone to write, “Makes me wonder about the accuracy of the rest of the information you provide.”

Then when I demurred in doing the Common Council list, because it was laborious, I got, “Are you ‘late for lunch’?” I get the impression that, because I appeared on the Times Union site, I was getting paid or something. It reminds me that avoiding that venue is probably better for my mental health.

The real takeaway here, though, is that I need to stick to the one post per day, EVEN if it’s of interest only to folks around here, because time is not fungible.

Dustbury noted that he gets messages from folks who want to write for his blog. I get them too, a lot. But from one entity, who I’ve linked to in the past, I’m going to actually post a quiz on this blog, sometimes in August, in lieu of content from me. I’ll do that sort of thing very rarely, but it is in part because I like the organization, and partly because it will alleviate my time crunch.

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