Monday, April 19, 2010

The Bloggosphere: I Love Customized Backgrounds :D

Hey check it out! I overhauled this blog too now.  Emily Ann Benedict of Blog Cargo and I have been working on it for a while now. Well I say we but I mean she. I was just the ruthless taskmaster, she was the mastermind/slave/artist ;) haa ha :P  So d'ya like it? Hmmm?  I do B-)  I just can't see the whole thing on this screen because I'm still using this tiny secondary screen rather than  my normal laptop screen :'(  *sadness in a box*  BTW, Emily's also my campaign manager for my "buy me a real computer of my own" fund cuz she's cool like that B-)  So anyway if you like it, stand up and cheer. If you don't, sit and whine... either way, it's here to stay for a while.  I hope... (And Emily probably does too :P )
Now all I gotta do is get the buttons to put on my website and hopefully I can quit playing geek for a while :-B

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Bloggosphere: Clutter and Cleanliness

In case I hadn't mentioned it before, I am OCD. Not severely like Monk or anything, but I like to have things very orderly and clean, organized and easy-to-find, etc.  (and yes, symmetrical is always a bonus xD )  Blogs are no exception. I like to see a good, clean-looking blog. But this can be a frustrating point because sometimes I want to put a lot of info in sidebars and such... It's just hard to do without looking like a circus. Fortunately on these my two public blogs I don't have a whole lot of info at this time that I want posted in my sidebars so I haven't had to fight with it. Anyway I don't have time to fight with it because I'd rather focus on either posting a good blog or just writing some more in my book. However, this preference of mine does make a difference in the blogs I read, and I'm sure I'm not the only one (am I?).
If I go to a blog and it's all cluttery and hard to find what I'm looking for, I don't waste my time looking for it. Even if the article is really interesting, it just bugs my subconscious that there is all this stuff in the sidebar. Most of it, I understand why it's there, but it still messes with my mind. Unless the blogger has managed to find a way to make it look neat and orderly. Oh how much I appreciate that. And you know, I can't even really explain the difference, but I do notice it. One thing I do know that makes a difference is only having the sidebar content on one side. Of course, when one has a lot of sidebar content, this makes it hard to get to the bottom of the page... which wouldn't be such a big deal except that sometimes people put things I want to find like follower/tag lists or playlists at the bottom. Which brings me to my next point: Playlists
Let me start by saying I'm all for having a playlist of cool music on your blog. I have one on several of my blogs. It's cool because you can tell a lot about people by their playlist (BTW the one on here doesn't seem to be working properly which totally stinks). HOWEVER  my HUGE PET PEEVE with playlists is auto-playing playlists. Like, I'm a huge multitasker and I pretty much always listen to music on WMP or grooveshark while I'm working... it helps drown out background noise and such. But so many times I will open a blog and all of a sudden my ears are insulted by something that totally clashes with the music I'm listening to. And what's the absolute worst is when I don't know WHERE the bloomin' music is coming from!!!!!  ARGH  ok sorry it just bugs me LOL  one day I spent like 10 minutes trying to find the stupid playlist and turn it off b/c I didn't like the song and it was ruining the awesome song I was listening to which I couldn't pause since it was on an entirely different browser and I was too busy looking for that wretched song. (BTW it took me so long b/c I had like 20 tabs up, each with a different blog I was reading. Yes, as I said, I am a multitasker :P).
So no offense to anybody who has their blog set up like this, but I'm just sayin' it bugs me. You can just ignore me if you want and I'll keep living with it, but now you can't say you don't know, right? Right ;)
Anyway all that to say, Congrats to those of you who have been able to maximize sidebar content AND make it look good. You deserve an award and I wish you could teach me how to do it. ;)  As for me, I'm keeping my sidebar content to a minimum b/c I really am a minimalist at heart, no matter how much pack-ratting I do (we won't go there today) and I love things to be neat and orderly.
Who's with me? :D

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Bloggosphere: Jumping in with Both Feet

A lot of people in my family are all-or-nothing kind of people. You ask them to roll down the window, and it's gotta go ALL the way down. You ask them to turn up the radio and they craaaaaaank it up. It's a sort of family tradition or something. I guess I've sort of inherited it, but I can do things in moderation too. It usually just takes a little more conscious effort. Unless it falls on the "nothing" side of the scale, of course ;)   I find this impulse to be one of those things can be good sometimes (as you may remember from this post) and other times less convenient, such as in the case of the radio or the window.
When it comes to blogging, I find that it's one of those things where you've gotta give it more effort if you want it to work. Basically it's like any other kind of online social networking: you get out of what you put into it. As I said in the last post, I didn't get a whole lot of comments on my first blogs. In fact, I still don't get that many comments. But that's ok, as long as people are reading. But I've found that in order to get comments you have to comment. In order to get readers you have to read. If all you do is blog casually, you'll pretty much get casual readers (like friends and family).
Recently I've been trying to get a little more "into" blogging b/c I feel like it can be a useful tool. I found that the more I participate with other people's blogs, the more they participate with mine. Makes sense, right? I mean, if nobody knows you exist, they're not gonna read your blog. Sometimes you have to give a lot to get a little, and sometimes you have to give a little and get a lot. But you've always gotta give to get. It's like the bloggosphere sharin'-da-love-theory of relative input... Or something to that effect. Ha I just made that up ^_^
So in other words, I'm trying to jump into blogging with both feet... Or at least step in with both feet. It's not as much fun standing on the shore with your toes in the water :)  To me, blogging is much more fun when you get feedback and followers. Don't you agree?
So how about you? Do you get out about as much as you put into blogging or do you feel like you're always giving and never getting? Or do you end up getting lots of followers/comments with little effort (like skating by on your popularity? ;) )?  If someone follows you/comments first, do you always try to reciprocate?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Bloggosphere: How I Got Here... Wherever "Here" Is.

So in effort to inspire myself to blog a little more regularly, I'm going to try to do a little mini-series on the bloggosphere. Let's see how interesting I can be. Are you ready for this? To start with, I'll tell you all the touching tale of how I got "here". That is (in normal American English): here's my blogging background in a walnut shell.
I've been a casual blogger for quite some time now. It all started when I joined where each of the members has their own blog. At first, blogging was a sort of scary thought. I mean, posting your thoughts out where anybody could read them? Eek!  Well it took a while to get used to. I mostly posted the kind of junk people post on Facebook statuses nowadays. Y'know... like "today I went to Walmart and filled up an entire grocery cart... shopping is so depressing."  Yeah, it was pretty lame stuff and I never got comments on my blog unless something devastating happened like my horse almost died or I fell off a hay truck. Eventually I started posting a little more interesting stuff, like the importance of humility or things I had learned about faith or whatnot. It got to be kind of fun to be able to just talk to cyber space and have no idea who if anybody was reading what I wrote. Then I got introduced to blogger.
A friend of mine sent me a link to his "personal" blog (as opposed to a public blog) which was hosted on blogger so I signed up on blogger in order to be able to comment and such. But it got me to thinking at how fun it would be to try to keep up a regular blog besides my HSA blog (since, afterall, there were things I might want to share with friends but not with *everybody*, or maybe I wanted to share things with non-HSAers). Well I actually ended up starting several blogs at that time. One was just a goofy blog to post my random thoughts, one was a photo blog, one was a horse-training blog, and I think that's all I had then. Mind you, this is before I felt the call to write.
Over the following year or so I added and dropped blogs and neglected blogs. Yes, on my personal blogger account (as opposed to this, my "public" blogger account) I have a few blogs that haven't been updated for about a year or more. I'm considering feeling guilty, but considering none of them are really followed, I figure I'm not the only one who doesn't care enough to keep up with them. When I'm ready to resurrect them, it'll be good :D
Anyway, aside from my dead, private, and public blogs, I also contribute to a few other blogs and help maintain my family's ministry blog ( I hope to eventually have a traveling blog, too, but I kinda have to start traveling before I can really warrant having one (life is rough, yes?) and I'm working on eventually opening another blog that is currently *top secret* so I can't tell you about it right now ;)  Nor will I tell you precisely how many blogs I "author" according to blogger because I don't need to be reminded that after all this time I have, in fact, become a bloggomaniac :cue dramatic music: 
So tell me about you. How long have you been blogging? Are you a bloggomaniac or a casual blogger? And if you want, you can tell me how many blogs you keep.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Oh Dear.

I was going to write a profound blog today. Really I was. But since I didn't get to sleep till about midnight last night, my brain is not functioning properly... so bye bye profound blogging thought. I could rant about all the reasons it seems that lately I never get to bed or to sleep when I want but that would hardly help things. Sometimes you just have to get over it and get on with life. The good thing is that part of the reason it took me so long to get to sleep is because I was writing [hopefully a keeper] but the bad thing is that I was halfway to sleep when my brain started buzzing. Normally I just tell myself to remember it in the morning but I've learned that doesn't work cuz I'll forget it. So this time I decided to actually try to write it down. Unfortunately once I started writing it sounded completely different than it did in my head, but hopefully it'll still be useful. Although I have to say, I don't trust my mind too much at that hour of the night because about 9 o'clock (or more like 8 on Sundays) my brain generally checks out. Come to think of it, when I've been up late the night before, my brain isn't all that great all day long. Consequently I think I'm starting to ramble a little bit...
So anyway all this to say, I forgot what I was going to say. Ever have this problem? :-/