I’ve decided to try and change the way I interact online, and have already made a few changes that almost certainly no one has noticed but me. The first is that while I visit and “use” Facebook, I have never actually liked it very much and do so really only because that’s where the people are. On the other hand, I really do enjoy Twitter, and am far more engaged there than I ever was or will be on Facebook. I was piping my Twitter posts into Facebook, just as a simulacrum of interaction…but I don’t think I want to do that anymore. So I’m not.
I have also gone weeks this year without blogging, and after consideration, I don’t like that very much. Why not just use Facebook to write things like this? Because I really do feel very strongly about controlling how my words are displayed, and I want to own my own voice. So I’m going to try to blog more frequently, about things that I find interesting, and share those things out to Facebook and Twitter and elsewhere…but I want to try and make my blog somewhere people can come and learn about what I’m doing and what I think is cool in the world. It used to be that, and I think I need it to be that again.
The TL;DR version is: I’m going to try and blog more, and share more accurately the things that I think are interesting or important. I will use Facebook and Twitter as other channels to talk, but if the medium really is the message, I don’t want my message to be Facebook and Twitter. I want the medium to be my own.
I decided after seeing some work that a friend was doing on their blog to take a closer look at this old thing. I’ve been blogging in one form or another on Pattern Recognition for almost 12 years, since February of 2003. I started blogging using Blogger, just prior to their purchase by Google. At that time, you could use the web interface of Blogger, but have it publish your blog to your own hosting space as just HTML files, which is what I did, hosting the resulting HTML at Ibiblio at UNC-Chapel Hill.
The first blogging software that I fell in love with was Dave Winer’s Radio Userland, an old-school bit of software that did all it’s work client-side on your computer and then published to your webserver when you wrote a post. I tried it out and loved it…I bought a license and it was a revolution. I don’t know exactly how to explain to those of you that didn’t experience that early web blogging boom, but to be able to just write something without worrying about code and then to just click a button and have it live on the web without fiddling with FTP was just fantastical.
And then there was WordPress. I moved over to a pre-1.0 version of WordPress after testing its predecessor B2. For years and years my WP database prefix was still B2- because of this…and once I was in WordPress, I never looked back.
I’ve changed themes a few times over the years, but had really settled in to my old one, creating a child theme and just customizing the heck out of it. But I have been thinking for a long time that it needed more polish than it really made sense to do, as the old theme just wasn’t modern enough to take advantage of a lot of the new abilities that WordPress has added under the hood. So I’m switching up, and I’m going to see how this one feels. If I keep liking it, I’ll start iterating on it to make it more my own. But for now, let’s see what it feels like for a few months. I’d love to hear feedback if you have any on the look/feel.
This post is the 1500th here at Pattern Recognition, a monstrous amount of content by any measure, and easily the longest writing project I’ve been a part of. The first post to my blog was on February 10, 2003…2858 days ago. That’s better than 1 post every two days, or conversely, half a post a day, every day, for almost 8 years. I decided to dig in and see how many words this thing has. The number left me gobsmacked: 189,299…at least 3 decently sized novels worth of text.
Blogging has been very, very kind to me over the last decade. From the early days when a post about my Master’s Paper was picked up by BoingBoing, to being asked by Karen Schneider to take part in a panel about library blogging at ALA Annual 2006 in New Orleans. Another member of that panel was Karen Coombs, and it was after that presentation that she and I were approached to write Library Blogging. Being introduced to Karen C. and working with her on the book was how I met Michelle Boule, and the three of us joined forces to create the BIGWIG Social Software Showcase in 2007. The vast majority of any success that I’ve had in my career, I owe in part to these three amazing librarians.
So happy 1500th post to this crazy blog. It’s been on BoingBoing 4 times, made the Digg homepage once, and has generally been the place I’ve gone to vent, to think, to critique, and to speak my mind on all sorts of things. My attention may have wandered to other pastures (thanks, ALA TechSource and Perpetual Beta) but the home for my writing is here.
Thanks to everyone who has ever read my writing, and thanks to those for whom Pattern Recognition was my introduction. I hope that I can write another of these at 2000, 2500, and 3000 posts.
I had the pleasure of doing two different hands-on workshops at the Texas Library Association conference this past Thursday and Friday: one entitled Blogging Basics, and one called Extending Your Blog. Doing hands-on at events like this is remarkably difficult, as without very carefully setting up expectations with the participants, it can fall apart fast. I’m happy to say that I don’t think either of these fell apart…although I was personally happier with the Basics session. I way, way over-prepared for the Extending session, and the fact that we had 3-4 different blogging platforms in the room made giving instruction for something as simple as adding Google Analytics code to the template caused us to bog down more than I had hoped.
Overall, I got the feeling that people were happy with the information they got, which is the goal. I’d love to hear from anyone who was in the workshops in the comments, and I can’t wait to see the evaluations.
Here are the slides I used for each session. For the Extending Your Blog workshop, we only covered like 60% of the actual slide content, but I knew that would happen.
So for the last week or so I’ve been playing with feeding various content into this blog, testing some new tools, and trying to find a way to integrate a new Tumblr blog with Pattern Recognition in a way that I liked.
I’ve failed completely.
I’m just not happy with any of it, as non of the WordPress plugins that I’ve tried (FeedWordPress, Wp-o-matic) treat my Tumblr blog RSS properly, and after hacking away at custom post setups, I’ve just decided that I like the idea of having two “blogs” on the net for now.
And so, here’s my plan: PatRec is staying the same…I like it as my occasional posting ground, and it’s going to remain my main blog headquarters. But there’s a ton of other stuff (personal, funny, or other) that just doesn’t fit in here. So for now, that other content is going to live over at Tumblr: griffey.tumblr.com, RSS available here http://feeds.feedburner.com/Griffeylog. I wanted to call it Apophenia, but someone already has all the Google Juice for that. Pareidolia is close enough. If you have any interest in the minutia of my sense of humor or just want to see another side of me, that’s where you’ll see it. Expect lots of silly pictures, youtube videos, and short bits of personal reflection.
It may take me a few days to work out the information flow (what goes to Twitter, what goes to Friendfeed, etc). I’m still using Friendfeed as a “master feed” for my stuff online, so everything I do gets there eventually. One of these days I should post about my digital ecology….the flows and connections between all the stuff I have online. I’ll save that for my Top Secret new writing experiment, coming in January. 🙂
On Thursday, August 6th, I’ll be taking part in a TechSoup webinar on Blogging for Nonprofits and Libraries, along with Allyson Kapin. It will be at 11AM Pacific/12PM Mountain/1PM Central/2PM Eastern in the US (adjust for your particular global timezone), and I hope that anyone who’s wondering how to get started blogging joins us for a fun discussion!
The webinar is free, and you can sign up here if you are interested.
It’s here! It’s really here! For more news about the book, and general updates and such, visit the blog for the book: Library Blogging. I’ll talk more after I’ve had a chance to review it again, but so far it looks great.
For those going to ALA, Linworth Publishing is booth #2553, if you want to stop by and pick up a copy of the book.
Very quiet around Pattern Recognition these days, and I apologize. I’m still trying to find the balance between the microblogging I’m doing over on Twitter, and the longer form stuff I’m now writing over at TechSource…not to mention the family-oriented, Eliza-centered writing/photography over at Brand New World. I’ve fractured myself!
So, my goal is now to use Pattern Recognition as something between Twitter and longer-form, at least for now. There’s a lot of stuff percolating, as always, and I’m never quite sure where it will end up. Stay tuned, though. I promise it won’t be quiet forever.
For those that use WordPress, just a note about the upcoming 2.5 release: it rocks on toast. I’ve been using the Release Candidate 1 for WP2.5 for a week or so now, and the improvements in the admin interface are enormous. Better organization, more ajax interaction, just much, much smoother. Every time I’ve gone to do something in the last week I’ve been surprised at the ease.