Tag Archives: Blogs and blogging

Full Time Blogger

For the first time in almost seven years I’ve gone from Monday to Friday, and while I’m not sick, it’s not a holiday, and I’m not taking a vacation, I haven’t gone to work all week. I guess that means that, until something changes, I’m a full time blogger.

Over the past several months, since the last election actually, I’ve gotten out of the habit of blogging regularly. Not because I’ve become any less passionate about the greatness of our country and the unlimited potential of our experiment. I have grown weary of the people, our fellow citizens, who have descended into a mindset of “What are you going to give me?” And to be honest, there is a part of me that questions whether there are enough people left who care about our country or if we’ve reached a critical mass of looters.

It’s not merely the economic looters, those wanting the government to provide their every need. What bothers me more are the social looters; those who feel entitled to offend but never be offended, to dictate to others but never be held accountable for their own actions. Are we too far gone?

Yes, this is rambling. I’ve got a lot on my mind. Perhaps I can put some more coherent thoughts down soon. After all, I am a full time blogger now.

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Help Day by Day

Things have changed greatly in the eight or so years that I’ve been blogging. The tools we use, from our blogging platform to the way we measure and interact with visitors, are all much different now. Group efforts have largely surpassed the lone blogger, pioneers have reached a national audience or faded from the stage. A large number of well known writers in the infancy of the blogosphere have moved on to other projects and places in their lives.

Not all things have changed. One enduring part of the conservative portion of the blogosphere is our daily dose of Chris Muir’s Day by Day. Even on days when I don’t write anything (and lately that’s been more days than it should) I open this site so I can read the latest from the fictional lives of Sam, Zed, Jan, Damon, and the rest.

Chris’s efforts are 100% reader supported. Every year he holds one fund raiser to sustain his work. In years past the goal has been reached early, and usually surpassed previous years. This year things are going a little slower. In order to reach his goal Chris has extended this years fund-raiser. I urge you to visit Day by Day and contribute what you can to keep this wonderful part of our daily lives going. Please visit soon and push this years totals over the top.

Bloggers and the 2012 GOP Convention

Yes, there may be a lot of infighting among the GOP candidates and their supporters. Eventually that will all sort itself out and it will be time for the 2012 GOP Convention. Among the 50,000 or so visitors coming to Tampa will be a large group of Bloggers. I’m lucky. Tampa is practically in my back yard. Others coming to Tampa will be looking for some help.

Enter the 2012 GOP Convention Blogger Supersite. I am setting up this site to gather and share resources the attending bloggers might need. I urge you to visit the site and add it to your links, feed readers, etc. I would really appreciate it if you will visit the first post and add your comments and hit all the share buttons.

As I said over there, the first order of business is compiling a list of Tampa-Orlando area bloggers. Let me know if you fit that description. Soon, we’ll be looking for information about those coming to the convention.

Friends, 2012 will be a blur and August will be here before we know it. Help me spread the word today. Thanks!

Cleaning Up

I just completed a little project that was kind of sad — cleaning out my blogrolls. It is amazing (and depressing) that some very good blogs aren’t around anymore. It was also a bit telling regarding my housekeeping skills that there were a few blogs on the list that hadn’t posted since 2008. 2008!

There were also a few that have moved. Those links have been updated. The two I noticed were Bad Example and, a very recent move, Blogs for Victory.

All in all, I probably trimmed a dozen blogs from the rolls.

If you know of any blogs that I should add (including your own) leave a link in the comments. This would be a good time. I need to do something to keep busy (and to keep from punching holes in the wall).

Two Questions

I am serious about planning a blog get-together when the Republican Convention comes to Tampa in 2012, but I have two questions.

What should we call this thing? I’ve been calling it a Blogger Bash, a get-together, a party, all pretty generic. Suggest a name!

Who are the Florida bloggers? I know a few. I did go through an old blog list and was disappointed to see how many blogs on that list were inactive. Some hadn’t posted in months, a few in years. I know there are conservative Florida bloggers out there. Who are you?

Thanks for your help.

Comment Tech 101

A final bit of follow up to my two posts on comments — comment tools you can use.

There are dozens of plugins you can use to make your comments friendlier. A few of them I was already using. Others I found while doing my research. If you search the WordPress plugin repository you will find almost 800 of them. Let me try to break them down in to a few broad categories.

Editors

At it’s most basic, a comment box is nothing but a form to collect some information and to input the body of the comment. If a reader wants to add any formatting to the text that plain text box can make the process a bit difficult. There are quite a few plugins developed to allow commenters to add basic formatting such as bold and italic text, and to make creating linked text easier. The one I use is Comment Form Quick Tags. As you can see in the comment form, adding the proper html code is just a click of a button. Other helpers I use related to editing include Live Comment Preview which allows writers to see what their comment looks like before they hit send, and Editable Comments which allows those leaving a comment to go back and edit it for a predetermined period of time.

Control and Analysis

You want to be able to exert some sort of control over the comments, mostly to combat spam. Spam comments are the bane of most bloggers. There are innumerable plugins that deal with just that. Akismet and Spam Karma are two popular and wildly recognized ones. I also use one called Comment Timeout that allows you to close the comments automatically after a configurable length of time. Believe me, a lot of spam comments come in on post I wrote months or years earlier. One feature I like in Comment Timeout is the ability to keep comments open on posts that contain recently approved comments, keeping popular, active posts alive. You may also want to analyze the comments you get. There’s a plugin for that as well. I use Comment Analysis because I like the many pieces of information you can find, and even include in a sidebar widget. If you look in my sidebar you will see most of the things you can track, like the number of comments, the latest and most commented posts, and the busiest commenters. Used correctly, this also gives a little link love to those who take the time to leave comments. One tool I discovered while researching my post is one called CommentLuv. If your commenter has a blog with an RSS feed, CommentLuv will attempt to discover their most recent post and append it to their comment.

Follow Up

I like it when I have the opportunity to be informed when someone replies to a comment that I’ve left somewhere. Subscribe To Comments makes that easy. The comment writer just has to leave a valid email address and check a box to be able to receive notice when someone else has added to the thread.

My question to all of you is, what plugins do you use to enhance your readers commenting experience? I am always looking for new things to try.

Comment Envy

Hi. My name is Jim and I have comment envy.

Hi Jim.

I love writing here at bRight & Early as well as my other blogs. It’s fun, it keeps me informed and engaged, and it’s a way to express my self and sort out the thoughts that run through my head. And while I do write, in small part, for my own benefit, I wouldn’t do it in this public way if I didn’t want to reach out and engage a larger audience. I believe this is true for many non-professional bloggers.

That being said, there are two things that are “Pay” for bloggers who don’t make a living doing this — Links and comments.

I may discuss links some other time, but today I want to talk about comments. As I said, I have comment envy. I would love to have the type of commenters that Ace and Wyatt (to name just two) have. That leads me to ask, what is it that causes some sites to have more comments and others have fewer? Is it the post, the site, or something else? Have at it (where else) in the comments.

The End Of Blogrolling

I noticed this in my feed reader this morning.

We’re aware that there is an issue with BlogRolling blogrolls causing some browsers to display a security warning.

There’s nothing really wrong with BlogRolling itself but the way we connect your blog to the sites in your blogroll makes some security algorithms think there is.

If you find yourself in this situation, we recommend you remove the Blogrolling code from your site.

We’re probably going to be shutting the service down soon. We’ll post more information here and on our Twitter account (@blogrolling) as we decide on next steps.

I had BlogRolling here at bRight & Early for years, but removed it a while back when they were having a different issue. When I first started this blog getting your site added to someones BlogRolling list was one of the premier ways of getting some link love. But, like a few other blog must haves in the early years (Is Rob ever going to fix TTLB? And is Technorati useful anymore?), BlogRolling’s time may have past.

I know that several sites I frequent are having the issues described. Most of them have disabled BlogRolling. So, what to put in it’s place. WordPress has dozens of blog roll plugins. Which one(s) do you use? What are your favorites? Have at it in the comments.

Playing Catch Up

After my out of touch week, I am about through playing catch up. I’ve waded through pages of email, spam, and a very full feed reader, performed maintenance on my various blogs (including all the spam registrations at The Regiment), watched some football, hockey, and three out of the first four hours of 24.

I have to watch the fourth hour before hour five tonight. And speaking of hour five, be sure that you join the crew at the best 24 site anywhere — Blogs.4Bauer.com. Make sure that you remember to join us for the Season 8: 8 pm to 9 pm liveblogging event.

One of the other things I missed were two episodes of bRight@Night. I’ll take care of that immediately following Jack. More on that later.

Now, on with the show.