Tag Archives: blogs

Blogging Platforms

My sister and I were discussing blogging platforms the other day. She’d recently moved to Blogger from LiveJournal, so we were contrasting various blogging experiences.

I’ve used Blogger since 2003 (though originally with a different blog, now defunct), WordPress.org since 2009, and LiveJournal since 2001. I’ve visited a number of blogs using these and many other blogging platforms, free and otherwise. These are my thoughts.

These days, having a LiveJournal is sort of sniggered at, kind of like having a Hotmail.com email address or a MySpace account. I’ve come across people who were surprised to learn it even still exists, and roll their eyes as if it’s just one of those embarrassing things we do as stupid teenagers then grow out of.

But why is that? Is there something inherently childish about the LiveJournal format?

MySpace, with its awkward interface and preponderance of glittery GIFs, is not quite analogous, though it did attempt to be at least partly a blogging platform. People moved to FaceBook largely because it was cleaner and faster and easier to use.

WordPress is great if you want complete control over your blog’s layout. There are bunches of customizable templates for various uses. My husband, for example, uses Easel (which grew out of ComicPress) for his webcomic. If your blog is specialized, WordPress is very handy.

Blogger is free. It’s easy to set up and get started. Personalization options are so-so, and it often tries to be entirely too helpful in its enthusiasm for all things Google (stop trying to make Google+ happen!), but it’s not bad. One perk is that if you can run multiple blogs from the same account without difficulty.

A lot of people have turned to Tumblr for their blogging needs. I have an account but I don’t use it. I never quite got the hang of Tumblr. As far as I can tell, it consists mainly of people reblogging pictures, with relatively little original content. There are no comments: you can heart/favorite something, or you can reblog it and add your own thoughts, or you can send a question directly to the author but no one else will see it unless they decide to answer it publicly. I think of Tumblr largely as a meme accelerator.

Twitter and Facebook are not blogging platforms. You can write “notes” in FB but that’s nothing but a lengthy status update most people don’t bother reading. I like Twitter and FB for random links, pictures, or pithy comments – stuff too short to warrant a full blog post, in other words.

One thing LiveJournal handles better than any other platform I’ve used is comment notification. You automatically get notified if someone replies directly to a comment you posted. Most other blogs only allow you to subscribe to all comments to a particular post, many of which offer minimal threading. This is problematic for a popular blog. For example, if I comment on Cake Wrecks or The Bloggess, I get the option of either checking the post repeatedly to see if anyone’s replied, or else subscribing to all the comments and watching my email fill up for the next few days. Discussions are very difficult in this format.

LJ’s nearly limitless reply levels also improves the discussion aspect, because you can clearly see who is replying to whom. I’ve never seen this depth of threading anywhere else. Blogger, for example, allows for only a single level of replies – anything beyond that is formatted like a reply to the first comment in the thread.

LJ isn’t perfect, of course. Though you can login/comment from a number of sources (my brother, for example, has commented on my LJ using his FaceBook account), full functionality really requires a LiveJournal account. It’s free to use but I have a paid account because I like the perks it offers. I like how easy it is to read and add to my “friends page” – those other LiveJournals I read regularly. I can add RSS feeds too (one of the paid account perks) but I prefer to use Feedly (since Google Reader died, anyhow) as my blog aggregator since I can use categories and read individual blogs and sort by oldest first and stuff like that. Of course, I could always just add all the LJ blogs I read to Feedly and read them that way. (Adding Tumblr blogs to Feedly doesn’t work very well for some reason.) However, since I’ve been using LJ for over 12 years now, I’m perfectly comfortable with the format of the friends page there.

LJ also doesn’t allow you to have multiple blogs from the same account. I have multiple LJ blogs (my 101 Things in 1001 Days progress blog, for example, is on LJ) but I have to log out of my regular account and into another in order to post or comment. LJ does, however, give you control over who may and may not read certain entries, or even your blog as a whole. Granted, those allowed to read must have LJ accounts themselves, but still, that sort of selective locking is something I haven’t found elsewhere.

I stay on LiveJournal partly out of habit but mostly because I haven’t come across a compelling reason to leave. It’s not like personal blogs don’t exist anywhere else, but for some reason LJ has become synonymous with whiny teenagers venting their spleens. Which is kind of hilarious, actually; I don’t read anyone under the age of 30. One of LJ’s most famous residents, Cleolinda Jones, continues to draw a huge readerships without even bothering with a personalized domain name.

So what do you think? Do you have a preferred blogging platform? Do you look down on certain URLs for particular reasons? Are personal blogs passe?

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Excellent New Craft Blog

I would like to introduce you to Reve Dreams, a new craft blog on the scene. Mixing humor, good writing, and a whole heck of a lot of talent, Reve creates amazing crafts and shows you how, too. I’d like to note that she only learned crochet last November, and is already making stuff like this. And it’s not all crochet: fans of children’s literature will enjoy her embroidery, and I of course happen to be completely in love with the newest additions to my Peep family, appropriately named Micropeep and Picopeep.

But you know, as adorable as her creations are, the mechanics of crochet and other sewing-related activities don’t really interest me. Ordinarily I’d look at the pictures and scroll on down, but what keeps me reading is the random asides thrown in. Some favorite quotes:

‘Good clean fun! Hint: it is actually dirty fun.’

‘…but every time I throw out one of the covers I feel like I’m telling the Earth “today, I hate you a little.”‘

‘Of course, if you’re me, and you cut your narrow ribbon to be 8W instead of 10W, you might utter some unladylike words and have to cut new lengths of ribbon to cover the fourth side of the bag.’

‘It is a little-known fact that Peeps’ native terrain is rugged, and in fact they are semi-arboreal.’

Best of all, it’s new enough that you can easily read the entire archive in a short time. Check out Reve Dreams today!

Full disclosure: Reve is my sister. But that doesn’t make her blog less awesome. Seriously, just read an entry or two and you’ll see what I mean.

 

Addendum: I can neither confirm nor deny her fire-breathing abilities.

 

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Hiatus Announcement and Links to Tide You Over

Okay, this is getting out of hand. I hereby declare a blogging vacation until after the BookCrossing Convention. If I review any books, the posts will be scheduled for after I get back on April 18. If you are waiting for a review by me, I will email you when I finish it, since all my reviews end up on GoodReads and LibraryThing as soon as they’re written (as opposed to being scheduled so I only have one post per day, like on this here blog).  If there’s anything especially timely I want to post, I’ll post it, but for the time being don’t expect anything new here until mid-April.

For those of you still on the fence about the BookCrossing Convention, we’re now offering day passes.  It’s going to be so much fun – you don’t want to miss it!

To tide you over, I have a meme: a list of speculative fiction reviewer blogs. Yes, I’m listed. To add your own blog, visit Grasping for the Wind.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Romanian French Chinese Danish Portuguese German

A


52 Weeks of Geek
7 Foot Shelves
The Accidental Bard
A Bibliophile’s Reverie
A Boy Goes on a Journey
A Dribble Of Ink
Adventures in Reading
A Fantasy Reader
A Fantastical Librarian
The Agony Column
A Hoyden’s Look at Literature
A Journey of Books
Allan Bard
All Booked Up
Alexia’s Books and Such…
The Alternative
Andromeda Spaceways
Anomalous Thoughts
The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
Ask Daphne
ask nicola
A Southern Fried Weirdo
Audiobook DJ
aurealisXpress
Australia Specfic In Focus
Author 2 Author
AzureScape

B


Barbara Martin
Babbling about Books
Bees (and Books) on the Knob
Best SF
Bewildering Stories
Bibliophile Stalker
Bibliosnark
Big Dumb Object
BillWardWriter.com
The Billion Light-Year Bookshelf
Bitten by Books
The Black Library Blog
Blog, Jvstin Style
Blood of the Muse
Book Addict
The Book Bind
Bookgeeks
Book in a Series
Book Love Affair
Bookrastination
Book Series Reviews
Booksies Blog
Bookslut
Books on the Knob
The Book Smugglers
Bookspotcentral
The Book Swede
Bookthing
Book View Cafe [Authors Group Blog]
Brain Harvest
Breeni Books
Brenda Loves Books

C


Calico Reaction
Cheaper Ironies [pro columnist]
Charlotte’s Library
Circlet 2.0
Civilian Reader
Cheryl’s Musings
Club Jade
Cranking Plot
Critical Mass
The Crotchety Old Fan
Curling Up By The Fire

D


Daily Dose – Fantasy and Romance
Damien G. Walter
Danger Gal
Dark Faerie Tales
It’s Dark in the Dark
Dark Parables
Dark Wolf Fantasy Reviews
Darque Reviews
Dave Brendon’s Fantasy and Sci-Fi Weblog
Dazed Rambling
Dead Book Darling
Dear Author
The Deckled Edge
The Discriminating Fangirl
The Doctor is In…
Dragons, Heroes and Wizards
Drey’s Library
Drying Ink
Dusk Before the Dawn

E


Enter the Octopus
Erotic Horizon
Errant Dreams Reviews
Eve’s Alexandria

F


Falcata Times
Fantastic Reviews
Fantastic Reviews Blog
Fantasy Book Banner
Fantasy Book Critic
Fantasy Book News
Fantasy Book Reviews and News
Fantasy By the Tale
Fantasy Cafe
Fantasy Debut
Fantasy Dreamer’s Ramblings
Fantasy Literature.com
Fantasy Magazine
Fantasy and Sci-fi Lovin’ News and Reviews
Feminist SF – The Blog!
Feybound
Fiction is so Overrated
The Fix
Flying off the Shelves
The Foghorn Review
Follow that Raven
Forbidden Planet
Frances Writes
Frazzled Book Nommer
Free SF Reader
From a Sci-Fi Standpoint
From the Heart of Europe
Fruitless Recursion
Fundamentally Alien
The Future Fire

G


The Galaxy Express
Galleycat
Game Couch
The Gamer Rat
Garbled Signals
The Geeky Bookworm
Genre Reviews
Genreville
Got Schephs
Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review
Grasping for the Wind
The Great Gnome Press Science Fiction Odyssey
a GREAT read
The Green Man Review
Gripping Books

H


Hasenpfeffer
Hero Complex
Horrorscope
Hot Cup of Coffee
The Hub Magazine
Hypatia’s Hoard of Reviews
Hyperpat’s Hyper Day

I


I Hope I Didn’t Just Give Away The Ending
Ink and Keys
Ink and Paper
The Internet Review of Science Fiction
io9
It is the Business of the Future to Be Dangerous

J


Janicu’s Book Blog
Jenn’s Bookshelf
Johnny Oops
Jumpdrives and Cantrips

K


Kat Bryan’s Corner
Keeping the Door
King of the Nerds

L


La Bloga
Lair of the Undead Rat
Largehearted Boy
Layers of Thought
League of Reluctant Adults
Legends of Fantasy
The Lensman’s Children
Library Dad
Libri Touches
Literary Escapism
Literary Musings
Literaturely Speaking
Little Red Reviewer
ludis inventio
The Luminous Page
Lundblog: Beautiful Letters
Lupines and Lunatics

M


Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf and Book Review
Mari’s Midnight Garden
Mark Freeman’s Journal
Marooned: Science Fiction Books on Mars
Martin’s Booklog
MentatJack
Michele Lee’s Book Love
Missions Unknown [Author and Artist Blog Devoted to SF/F/H in San Antonio]
The Mistress of Ancient Revelry
MIT Science Fiction Society
Mithril Wisdom
Monster Librarian
More Words, Deeper Hole
Mostly Harmless Books
Multi-Genre Fan
Musings from the Weirdside
MyBlog2.0
My Favourite Books
My Overstuffed Bookshelf

N


Neth Space
The New Book Review
NextRead
Not Free SF Reader
Nuketown

O


OCD, Vampires, and Rants, o my!
OF Blog of the Fallen
The Old Bat’s Belfry
ommadawn.dk
Omphalos Book Reviews
On A Pale Star
Only The Best SciFi/Fantasy
Ooh…Books!
The Ostentatious Ogre
Outside of a Dog

P


Paper Spaceships
Paranormality
Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist
Patricia’s Vampire Notes
The Persistence of Vision
Piaw’s Blog
Pink Raygun
Pizza’s Book Discussion
Poisoned Rationality
pornokitsch
Post-Weird Thoughts
Praetor Naturam
Publisher’s Weekly
Punkadiddle
Pussreboots: A Book Review a Day

Q


R


Ramblings of a Raconteur
Random Acts of Mediocrity
The Ranting Dragon
Ray Gun Revival
Realms of Speculative Fiction
The Reader Eclectic
Read. Breathe. Relax.
Reading Fairy Tales
Reading the Leaves
Rememorandum
Review From Here
Reviewer X
Revolution SF
Rhiannon Hart
The Road Not Taken
Rob’s Blog o’ Stuff
Robots and Vamps

S


Sacramento Book Review
Sandstorm Reviews
Satisfying the Need to Read
Science Fiction Times
ScifiChick
Sci-Fi Blog
Sci-Fi Bookworm
SciFiGuy
Sci-Fi Fan Letter
The Sci-Fi Gene
Sci-Fi Songs [Musical Reviews]
SciFi Squad
Scifi UK Reviews
Sci Fi Wire
Scribbler to Scribe
Self-Publishing Review
SF Diplomat
SFFaudio
SFFMedia
SF Gospel
SFReader.com
SF Reviews.net
SF Revu
SF Safari
SFScope
SF Signal
SF Site
SFF World’s Book Reviews
Shawn Lazarus
She Never Slept
Silver Reviews
Simply Vamptastic
Skull Salad Reviews
Slice of SciFi
Solar Flare
Speculative Fiction
Speculative Fiction Junkie
Speculative Horizons
The Speculative Scotsman
The Specusphere
Spinebreakers
Spiral Galaxy Reviews
Splashdown Reviews
Spontaneous Derivation
Sporadic Book Reviews
Stainless Steel Droppings
Starting Fresh
Stella Matutina
Stomping on Yeti
Stuff as Dreams are Made on…
The Sudden Curve
The Sword Review

T


Tales from the Black Abyss
Tangent Online
Teens Read and Write
Tehani Wessely
Temple Library Reviews
Tez Says
Thinking About Books
things mean a lot
Tor.com
True Science Fiction
Tyrion Frost’s Fantasy Blog

U


Ubiquitous Absence
Un:Bound
undeadbydawn
Urban Fantasy Land
Utter Randomonium

V


Val’s Random Comments
Vast and Cool and Unsympathetic
Variety SF
Veritias Omnia Vincula
Vons Books

W


Waiting for Fairies
Walk into Mordor
Walker of Worlds
Wands and Worlds
Wanderings
Wendy Palmer: Reading and Writing Genre Books and ebooks
The Weirdside
The Wertzone
With Intent to Commit Horror
The Wizard of Duke Street
WJ Fantasy Reviews
The Word Nest
Wolfe and Raine
Wordsville
The World in a Satin Bag
WriteBlack
Writing About Reading
The Written World
The Wry Writer

X


Y


Young Adult Science Fiction

Z


Romanian


Cititor SF [with English Translation]

French


Elbakin.net
Mythologica

Chinese


Foundation of Krantas
The SF Commonwealth Office in Taiwan [with some English essays]
Yenchin’s Lair

Danish


Interstellar
Ommadawn.dk

Portuguese


Aguarras
Fernando Trevisan
Human 2.0
Life and Times of a Talkative Bookworm
Ponto De Convergencia
pós-estranho
Science Fiction Made in Brasil
Skavis

German


Fantasy Seiten
Fantasy Buch
Fantasy/SciFi Blog
Literaturschock
Welt der fantasy
Bibliotheka Phantastika
SF Basar
Phantastick News
X-zine
Buchwum
Phantastick Couch
Wetterspitze
Fantasy News
Fantasy Faszination
Fantasy Guide

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Romanian French Chinese Danish Portuguese German

Hat tip to On a Pale Star.

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Google Reader

I’ve become a big fan of Google Reader, and have gone a bit subscription-happy. It’s too easy to subscribe and unsubscribe, and the interface is sweet.  Love it.  And of course I have to tell everybody about it, even though they’ve been using it for ages and wonder why I held out for so long.  But I don’t care, because when you’re in love the world needs to know.

Now, except for the friends’ blogs I’ve subscribed to, here is my full list of current subscriptions. If anyone has any additional (safe for work) blog/webcomic suggestions, please send them my way.

humor and cute

  • Awkward Family Photos – exactly what it sounds like. Sometimes funny, sometimes creepy, always awkward.
  • Cake Wrecks – hilariously botched confections with funny captions.
  • ROFLrazzi – you’ve heard of LOLcats; this is LOLcelebs.
  • Cute Overload – I like cute animals, what can I say?
  • Go Fug Yourself – awful celebrity fashion with clever commentary.
  • Graph Jam – amusing user-made graphs. Not always funny, but amusing enough of the time to be worth keeping.
  • LOLcats – because too many of them are still funny to me.
  • Photoshop Disasters – professional graphic arts gone awry. Don’t read the comments, though – too many of them are major knit-pickers.
  • Pundit Kitchen – LOLnews
  • Totally Looks Like – amusing (and sometimes uncanny) comparisons

Webcomics

  • Binary Souls / Other Dimensions – gorgeous 3-D art with a pleasantly bizarre storyline. And robots. (I’m a bit biased here, since my husband is the artist, but I still like it.)
  • Dinosaur Comics – the same image with different text. Sometimes funny, always strange.
  • Garfield Minus Garfield – the fat orange cat removed from his titular comic strip leads to existential angst for Jon.
  • Least I Could Do – Just started reading on the recommendation of a friend, but it’s pretty funny so far
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal – not entirely sure how to describe this one exactly…
  • Spamusement – comics made from Spam subject lines. Now defunct – I subscribed just in case it ever comes back.
  • Thinkin’ Lincoln – recommended by my sister. It’s not exactly funny per se, but somehow I just can’t stop reading it.
  • Toothpaste For Dinner – crappy drawings with random captions, which sometimes come together to form humor.
  • xkcd – quite possibly the most consistently good webcomic I’ve ever seen. And it’s just stick figures!

blogs

  • Design Milk – one of the staff picks from Google itself. Mostly weird new products in the “form before function” vein.
  • Dollar Rede$ign Project – new designs for US currency. A lot of interesting ideas here.
  • iMetro – really only entertaining if you’re familiar with the Washington DC Metro system.
  • Lisa’s History Room – history is made up of individuals and their stories, beautifully recounted here.
  • Moving Momentarily – another amusing Metro blog.
  • Snopes.com – one of the most useful sites on the internet.
  • The Markeroni Blog – As a Markeroon myself, I like to see what’s up with the site.
  • The Occasional Chicken – the followup to Three Chicks a Day. I like to see how the chicks are doing.
  • Web Urbanist – interesting photographs and other goings-on.
  • Write on Wednesday – an evidently defunct weekly writing prompt that I used to take part in. I hope it comes back someday.

Anything I should add?

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PostSecret

PostSecret: An online art project in which people send in postcards with a secret on it and the better ones are posted on this blog. Most of them are very sad and yet I can’t stop reading.

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