In lieu of actual content for the month of February, allow me to present to you some junk I just threw together.
I created a little ‘me’ favicon for writegeek a good while ago, but it never really occurred to me until this evening that it was in black and white, and not for any good reason, at that. I guess it matches my current theme, but that wasn’t my intent — or my theme — at the time I created it.
So I added some color.
Here is the original version.
Here is a new version I was considering. While it better represents the shape of the, um, pointy thing my hair does, it makes my hair as a whole look thinner than it actually is.
Here is what I ultimately went with: the original version with color. I think it’s a pretty good representation of my hair, and reminds me why I didn’t try to get too realistic in the first place.
Creating a favicon is a pretty cool challenge… at 16x16 pixels, talk about a limiting medium! Its limitations help, though; I’m not really visually talented, so there isn’t any expectation of anything complex. It seems like, for the most part, there’s really only one way to do things.
It’s also pretty amazing what a couple of pixels’ difference can make.
I appreciate the slick publishing platform that WordPress provides for my writing. Perhaps even better is its plugin system, which lets me make it do just about anything I like.
Since you wont find me churning out PHP code of my own anytime soon (I’ve actually been meaning to take another stab at to wrapping my brain around Python now that version 3 is out), I rely on the WordPress community to do so for me. Fortunately, with nearly 10,000 plugins available, they seem up to the task!
When I set up my WordPress installation earlier this year, I promised myself that I wouldn’t go overboard the way I usually end up customizing and extending most of the other tech tools/toys in my life. Even while showing restraint, I’ve managed to accumulate just over 20 plugins at this point… whoops! 1 That said, every plugin I’m using has helped make this blog what it is today… from one that mirrors comments that people post on Google Buzz, to one that gives me a per-post space to brainstorm as I compose.
I don’t obsess over this blog’s traffic stats. Doing so would be an example of kicking my own ass.
So while I use both Google Analytics and the WordPress Stats plugin, I don’t care a whit about the numbers. I don’t even have to check them to know that they are meaningless; they’re close enough to zero that they might as well be. (Words I’ve never spoken: “I had 12 pageviews today, up from 10. High and to the right, baby!”)
I can’t separate bot traffic from human traffic, and for all I know, I’m probably responsible for some incidental pageviews… at least if I happen to load pages when not signed in to WordPress. And why should I care about pageviews, anyway? It’s not like I’m looking to sell ads.
So why do I continue to use not one, but two solutions to not give me numbers? For the qualitative data. I can’t get enough of those.
My two favorites are as follows: referrers and search terms (which are, themselves, referrers, anyway). Both of these give me information that is actually useful, right now. Search terms tell me about a case where someone was looking for something and found my post’s title and/or summary promising enough to actually click through. And referrers, clearly, show me who (if anyone) is driving people my way.
(Even in my past life on Multiply, I hooked my account up with Site Meter’s free service to see if they could show me any insightful stats. I took a look through what they offered and found that all I really cared about were the referrers… which were, more often than not, hilarious. Web browser, OS and screen resolution can be interesting for seeing how my visitors stack up against Web users as a whole, but what am I going to do with that sort of insight? Fix IE6 CSS issues? Ha.)
The qualitative data that these services collect from my blog have shown me that people have found my post about the crappy Vivitar Clipshot, some even wondering if it’s OS X‑compatible. (Hint: it isn’t.) A bunch of different search terms brought people to my logo/visual puns post. And one search that didn’t even logically match up with content I’ve posted, recently learned words reappearing, gives me a great idea for a future post!
Should I be worrying more about appealing to the masses, or about creating the sort of content that people who actually do visit are interested in? That’s easy. The searches and referrers have shown me that (please cue the schmaltzy music) I’ve touched people’s lives… even if I didn’t necessarily give them anything of value, and perhaps even wasted their time with content that wasn’t relevant to their interests. I made a difference!
To my small in size, but large in stature, readership, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that I love all of you. <3
(n.b. This offer of one (1) unit of platonic love applies to current readership only, as of the moment of publishing. Whether this offer will be extended to future readers remains to be seen, and is expressly not guaranteed. While extension to future readers is decided on a reader-by-reader basis, subscribing to my RSS feed would not hurt your chances, and almost certainly puts you on the fast track to my heart. Offer not available where prohibited. Your mileage may vary.)
Hello, Internet. It’s Everett, and I’m blogging. I’m sort of new at this.
And at the same time, I’m not.
See, it was 2001 when I first became aware of the fact that people on the Web were writing regularly updated, reverse-chronological content about what they had for breakfast. I was a college freshman. I took up my keyboard and started a blog1 that no longer exists, on a service that I didn’t like very much (but is still around today).
After a few months there, I started a LiveJournal that exists to this day, but hasn’t been regularly updated in a number of years. I was once a paid user of LiveJournal, an acknowledged contributor to the project and, simply, a humongous fan.
Something changed in my life, a few years later, around the time I finished college. Perhaps I no longer felt the need to tell the world what I was having for breakfast (of course, today that’s Twitter’s job), or maybe my life got a lot less noteworthy (if it had ever been). Maybe LiveJournal’s multiple changes in ownership tarnished its image. Or maybe all the cool kids moved on to pure social networking services, which were coming of age at that point.
It was probably a combination of these things, plus another big one: I was hired to work in a public-facing role at blogging/social networking/photo sharing/etc. service extraordinaire Multiply.com. To be clear, Multiply didn’t silence me; I made sure I was allowed to continue blogging elsewhere before taking the position. But having a real job, one that had me among other things, blogging, simply wasn’t conducive to after-hours blogging.
With all of this in the past, I think it’s time I start blogging again. Everyone’s cat has a blog, in which they discuss what they ate for breakfast, so why don’t I?
Okay, now I do.
Though I was at the time unaware of the term “blog,” which was by no means in common use in 2001[↩]