Tag Archives: internet

CauseWired by Tom Watson

CauseWired by Tom Watson: This is not a book I would have read had I not received it for my participation in Blog Action Day 2008. (Yes, I’ve had the book for a year and just now got around to reading it. That’s actually pretty good considering there was no deadline.) I’m not usually interested in current events books (that’s what the internet is for) or books about how OMG teh intarwebs are changing everything (ditto). But I also never pass up a free book, which has probably done more to broaden my horizons than any concerted effort on my part.

But that’s neither here nor there. The fact of the matter is that I would not have picked up this book on my own, but I’m glad I read it. It is more or less a discussion of the impact of social media (Web 2.0, Facebook, that kind of stuff) on philanthropy. From Hurricane Katrina to the 2008 US presidential campaign to a myriad of other internet start-up charities, there’s a whole lot of information in this relatively slim volume. I was particularly drawn in by the descriptions of Kiva and DonorsChoose, both of which are about reducing the middlemen between the donor and the receiver. I even made a loan on Kiva to Saret Sao in Cambodia. The idea of helping a specific person really appeals to me, and the knowledge of what exactly my money is doing makes me want to donate more. At worst, I don’t get my $25 back. I can deal with that. At best, I help a businesswoman grow her business. Which is awesome.

Some of the book bored me, such as the discussion of the 2008 presidential campaign. I suspect that might be because it’s too recent; I’m still tired of the nonstop politicking leading up to the election. The liberal bias was a touch irksome too, which is telling considering I voted for most of the candidates Watson was praising. (For example, where did he get the idea that Ron Paul was an anarchist? People who are truly anti-government don’t run for office under the banner of a major political party. They’d put all their cronies out of a job.) I suspect, being a blogger and a Twitterer and a Facebooker and (sort of) a “millennial” already, I am not the target audience anyway. But once elections were off the table, the rest of the book was surprisingly engaging, and made me want to do more research on my own. The list of links and references in the back alone are worth photocopying.

So in short: I’d recommend this book if you’re a jaded would-be philanthropist looking for new opportunities. Yes, the billionaire donors are still the world-changers, but slowly us ordinary guys are banding together and making a difference.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Bloggiesta, et al.

Forget two birds; I’m killing a whole flock with one stone in this post. See, this week’s Weekly Geeks is basically “participate in Bloggiesta-type activities” so I feel perfectly justified in using this post (and, honestly, the previous one too) for both challenges. I’m even squeezing the recently restarted Write on Wednesday in here too – the prompt is “fresh start”, and that’s a lot of what Bloggiesta is about: catching up and starting anew. Check out all the stuff I’ve done over the course of Bloggiesta:

  • Added “addthis” bar to the bottom of my posts, which is pretty awesome.
  • Added genre tags to all book review posts. (mini-challenge)
  • Added copyright footer plug-in for posts and feed. (mini-challenge)
  • Some housekeeping on my other website, Sine Fine Films.

More Mini-Challenges!

Not going to participate in blogging mentor challenge. Likewise with the mind-map challenge, because my last five posts were either book reviews or a list of the books I read last year or intro posts to reading challenges. Not much to expand on there. But it’s something to think about for the future.

The dead link challenge was particularly handy for me. I ran Link Valet and it worked very well. Sure, it didn’t delve into the depths of old blog posts, but I’m not too concerned about those right now. A lot of my oldest posts referred to news articles, and I’d expect those to disappear sooner or later anyway. I did, however, discover a weird bug: some of the links to my oldest posts no longer work. I’m not sure what’s going on, since I can edit them just fine. Changing the URL for these posts seems to help, so I’m slowly going through them and fixing them as I find them.

The putting your best forward challenge interests me as well. Here are some of my favorite posts:

  • The series of posts I did during the recent Basic Drawing class I took.
  • Mr. Peep Goes to Illinois: an adventure in landmark snarfing.
  • My review of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Love it or hate it, it’s huge right now, and I happen to be rather pleased with my review of it. I know it’s the only book review I included, which implies it’s my best review evar, but I’m not so sure about that. It’s just a recent one that seemed to work really well.

There are probably others, but it’s really hard to sift through the over 900 entries I’ve posted since starting this blog back in 2003.

Bloggiesta’s been a lot of fun, and I’ve gotten a lot done, both on my blog and in other ways: I cleaned up my study, caught up on a few forums (fora?), and logged a few outstanding snarfs. Thanks for hosting, Maw Books!

Weekly Geeks

As I posted the other day, Weekly Geeks has returned. WG 2009-38 is about expanding the readership of your blog. This only sort of applies to me: I enjoy blogging and try to post things that might interest others, but I’ll still post even if no one reads it. And while the majority of my posts are book reviews, I don’t consider myself a book blogger. My only requirement for a blog post is that it must contain at least one link. That’s it. Generally I avoid writing about my day-to-day life, but only because I already have a personal online journal (and it’s not all that interesting to people who don’t know me…or most of the people who do, for that matter). I try to review every book I read or listen to, and I avoid posting more than once a day. I don’t really have any goals for it. Maybe I’m being too casual.

That said, of course I want to appeal to more readers. Unfortunately, the suggestions listed in the WG article don’t really help. According to Google Analytics (which I find less than illuminating at the best of times), the majority of my visitors come from Geocities, presumably on the hunt for writing prompts. Twitter comes in a distant second, which isn’t surprising since I have it set up to automatically tweet whenever I make a new blog post. I just recently eased the search functionality by adding titles and tags to all my old entries, which I suppose counts as progress.

I like to think my blog is easy for new readers to dive into. I almost never post something that would make more sense if you had been reading for a while, I don’t use jargon or inside jokes (that I’m aware of), and I have no rating system to explain. If folks care to continue reading, I’m easy to find: I’m first when Googling “utter randomonium” and third for “melydia” (though the first two hits are also me, and contain links to my homepage as well).  The RSS feed subscription button is also prominently displayed near the top of the page.

So I dunno. I’ve read enough blogs and blogging tips to know more or less what I should be doing to increase my readership, but I’m not sure popularity and visibility is all that important to me. It’s just a blog. It amuses me. Hopefully it amuses others. The end.

P.S. – The phrase is “couldn’t care less.” If you could care less, then you must care at least a little bit. Just sayin’.

last page of the internet

Well, I found it. I didn’t think it would come quite so soon: The Last Page of the Internet. Damn.

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