January 28th, 2009


Forget 'Fast Traffic' ... Go Write!

I was amused to see this long interview post about "fast traffic" on blogs, which essentially repeats the classic writing advice: write. It's all about useful content; there is no magic trick. Now go wear the ink off some keys.

I am further amused by the get-attention-quick folks who seem to be blogging all over the place today, and gone tomorrow. They have no stamina. It's one area where people who have been writing for a few years, or a few decades, have a huge advantage. Because we just keep going, and going, and going, until even the fuzzy pink rabbit drops dead in exhaustion.

A year from now, Hypatia's Hoard of Reviews will have about 400 book (music, product, etc.) reviews and links to however many author websites I've been able to locate for the people who wrote those books. That's going to be a handy resource. "The Wordsmith's Forge," heading for its second anniversary this spring, has dozens of poems, some cool how-to articles, and a thriving community.

MyPictr avatar cropping

I've been gradually expanding my presence on social networks. Most of them use avatars, in a lot of different sizes. Today I discovered MyPictr, a simple tool that lets you upload and crop an image. You can set the pixel dimensions manually, or choose a service from the menu and it will automatically set to that service's avatar proportions.
gold star

Blog Catalog Gets a Gold Star

I'm pleased to add Blog Catalog to the short list of blog directories that are seriously worthwhile. If you have a blog to promote or you're looking for new blogs to read, go check it out. If you're already a member, please look me up as Ysabetwordsmith, add me to your Friends list, bookmark or rate my blogs, etc.

This was one of the cool-looking directories I explored early on, and then my registration hangfired. I sent off a note using the "contact" function, not really expecting a reply. Lo and behold, a real person read the message, manually activated my account, and I was able to go fill in my profile and add my blogs. I wish more companies would remember the importance of customer service and technical support.

Blog Catalog offers a dense selection of services clustered around blogging and social networking. There's a profile page for sharing information about yourself. You can search for people you know to see if they're in the network, add them as Friends, and send private messages. There's a whole newsfeed box that aggregates what your activities and those of your friends; it will link in other services like Digg if you activate them. You can search for blogs directly with tags or by browsing the categories, and this is one of the richer category trees I've seen; you can bookmark favorite blogs. You can add your own blogs and read statistics about usage; there are also widgets you can put on your blogs to track BC visitors. ("Recent Visitors" widgets are a wonderful way of building community.) A rating system helps gauge the quality of each blog. There are also groups and discussions and other things you have enjoyed. Also, once I was able to log in, the site seems to run fine.

I'm very glad that I got into this system. It looks tremendously useful for blog promotion ... and I like encouraging people when they do something right.

Poetry Blog Rankings

Today I discovered a new blog directory with a specialized focus that should appeal to a lot of you folks: Poetry Blog Rankings. This site aims to list all the blogs in the world that feature poetry and/or poets, connecting readers and writers of poetry in the process. For readers, the site provides tools for finding new poetry blogs, rating them, and bookmarking your favorites. For writers, the site provides a way to introduce your poetry to new readers and compare your blog's popularity against others.

Membership in Poetry Blog Rankings is free for poetry readers and writers. There is a link for donations, if you wish to support the site; that page also lists their ideas for future expansion and features. Poets may make a $12 donation to earn permanent "Gold Member" status, which offers extra perks. If you practice cyberfunded creativity, this may be useful.

The more members who rate a poetry blog, the more solid its score becomes. (They don't want one or two people skewing the numbers.) It takes a minimum of 6 votes to qualify for the Top 100 Poetry Blogs list. A blog's ranking within the directory thus depends on how members rate it. If you already belong to Poetry Blog Rankings -- or if you decide to join -- please consider rating The Wordsmith's Forge according to your taste. The directory recommends that members read at least three of a writer's poems before ranking that blog; to view my poems available on this blog, click the "poem" tag in the sidebar on the right side of this page.

Poetry Blog Rankings

Featured Community: Meme_LJ

Most folks on LiveJournal belong to a bunch of communities. Some of the good ones are kind of obscure. The "Featured Community" meme encourages people to share their favorite communities.

  1. Cite a community that you enjoy.
  2. Summarize its purpose and parameters.
  3. Invite your audience to join the community and/or reply with their favorite communities.

Today's featured community is: meme_lj
This community is a place to exchange memes. If you've found a nifty meme, or written one yourself, post it here to share with other meme mavens. (I've posted a fair number of my original memes to this community.) If you're out of ideas for a post, here you can find a fun meme to fill out. This community is open to all sorts of memes, but only to memes -- not any other kind of post.

If You Crash The Economy, The Lesbians Take Over