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Tinkering online

Wednesday, 27 May, 2009

Bloggers unite!

Last night, on a whim, I went to the Sydney Christian bloggers thing that Justin organised. I'd heard of Justin, but never met him in person, despite the numerous ways in which we were connected. (Also, I was curious why he wanted to meet me.) It probably would have been more daunting if I hadn't known anyone else who was going, but George said she was going, and Craig, despite double-booking himself, talked about turning up, and there was some talk of Ali being there (unconfirmed by her). In the end, there were seven of us: me, George, Craig, Justin, Michael, Doug and Mark. I knew of Doug and seen him around the traps, but, along with Justin, I'd never met Mark or Mark before, so it was nice to make some new acquaintances. And we ate some very yummy gourmet $10 pizzas at The Nag's Head Hotel in Glebe, and had a very interesting conversation, canvassing everything from the crypt underneath Mark's church to Moore College moving to St Philip's York St (the church where Ben and I got married) to what it's like to grow up in the city.

Several thoughts sprang to my mind after the event:

I took pictures to mark the occasion, but forgot to ask permission from each of my subjects, so they won't be going online anywhere.

Anyway, Justin's called another date, so see if you can make it!

Unite my blog!

On a related note, I've been thinking about this blog and the dreaded redesign question (this blog hasn't had a facelift since January 2005). Of course, I've had zero time to do a redesign, and the thoughts are more half-hearted than anything else. But loads of questions have sprung to mind regarding how to organise the content of this site. I realise blog design is changing; reading Rachel C's thoughts on the matter is very interesting (particularly her predictions on how Twitter will change blog design). I'm just not convinced I ought to integrate my Twitter feed with my blog. For that matter, I'm not sure how I ought to integrate or unify any of the elements of this blog. I've had a think about my public online activities and why I engage in any of them, and this is what I've come up with:

Then there are all the public online things I do that don't make an appearance on this blog—Facebook, Bookmooch (international book swapping site; you pay for postage), Listal (social networking site built around common interests in stuff—that is, books, movies, music, games, TV shows; I just use it to keep a DVD inventory and wishlist, as well as lists of different random things to do with movies), and, of course, Twitter.

Some things I would prefer to keep private (e.g. Facebook: at one stage, I made myself so hard to find that people had to send me a message asking me to add them as a friend because they couldn't make the request themselves). Some things are public anyway (my Twitter feed is public). Some things I haven't cared enough about to add to this page (Listal's in this category). And some you probably won't care about at all.

It seems to me, however, that this site and my online activities are evolving in a particular way: the blog is becoming more reflections and opinions-based (hence LONG posts that frequently top 1,000 words), whereas “Story of my life” posts have sort of moved to Twitter (I suspect the length of my blog posts offset the enforced brevity of Twitter) and, as I said before, Blinks have moved to Delicious. These three threads are the ones I think I want to preserve and keep public. (It was interesting that Craig asked me on Sunday what I'm up to these days—not that he should have known because I don't expect anyone to keep up with that, and, besides, Craig skims thousands of feeds each day anyway—but it just reminded me how less public that aspect of my blog has become. Some would argue that's a good thing. But I want to remember, and I think I've found the right level of comfort with the amount I choose to disclose about myself.)

But when it comes to sharing content, I keep wondering what to do. I'm aware that people read my blog for different reasons, and certain people enjoy certain things about it. (Some, for example, completely skip over the craft posts, which is totally fine with me!) In addition, not everyone reads this blog through a feed reader, so what I do in terms of redesign is going to affect people in different ways. Regarding feeds, I've tried to give people options (five different feeds!), and certainly one of the lovely things about Expression Engine is that everything is almost infinitely customisable (so I could create a feed that filters out all the craft posts!)

Here is where my reasons for putting stuff out there and your reasons for reading clash. Thoughts?

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Other comments

What surprises me is the number of people who use my blogroll to find other blogs they want to read…

That’s how I found my husband!

You’ve just convicted me that I need to update my blogroll.

I’d love to see the pics…

How would we do that?

J.



Writing

Kinds of Blue: Cover art

Twitter

Blinks:

A way of funding writing in the future: pitch and idea and get people to support it.

Place where you can hire play equipment for parties, etc.

How to recalibrate the home button on your iPhone.

Unsolicited manuscripts accepted by Pan Macmillan with certain conditions.

Thought Balloon is a group blog in which the writers tackle a new theme every week? month? with one-page scripts. This URL is for their Phonogram ones.

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Social media