My Preoccupied Mind: Blogging and Research

I haven’t been posting as much to my blog lately. I wanted to explain my reasons, in case anyone cared to know.

I’ve been thinking a lot about some related things.

A while back, I started a post about the radicalism of the Enlightenment. Many people, especially conservatives, forget how violently the traditional social order was overturned, in order to create the world we know today. Modern capitalist society may be many things, but it has nothing to do with any traditional social order and the same goes for modern conservatism that aligns itself with capitalism.

That led me to other topics. I was reminded, among other things, to some of my earlier thinking on the Axial Age, Julian Jayne’s breakdown of the bicameral mind, etc. I’ve always sensed a hidden connection between that earlier era of transformation and the radicalism of the Enlightenment, the latter being a greater expression and fulfillment of what first emerged more than two millennia ago.

With all of that in mind, I was looking many different articles and books. My curiosity has been in full gear ever since. I’m in research mode, which for me can be quite an obsessive and time-consuming activity.

This was made worse because I got into a discussion about shame. While putting the radicalism post on the back burner, I looked into this other topic, as I had never explored it before. It turned out that shame is a lot more fascinating than I had considered.

My investigation into the meaning of shame once again led me back in the same direction that the issue of radicalism had brought me.

Julian Jaynes had written about the comparison of shame and guilt cultures. He was influenced in by E. R. Dodds (and Bruno Snell). Dodds in turn based some of his own thinking about the Greeks on the work of Ruth Benedict, who originated the shame and guilt culture comparison in her writings on Japan and the United States. Benedict, like Margaret Mead, had been taught by Franz Boas. Boas developed some of the early anthropological thinking that saw societies as distinct cultures.

Connected to these thinkers, I was reading Lewis Hyde’s Trickster Makes the World. I realized a connection to my own speculations about symbolic conflation, about which I recently wrote a post. I explored that in a fair amount of detail, but it only touched upon one area of my mind’s focus as of late.

As you can see, I was exploring the connections of scholarly thought, but also the connections of different time periods. The past speaks to the present, whether the past of centuries before or millennia before.

At the same time, I feel like I have a family obligation to finish up the genealogy research I started years ago. I got distracted by other things. I do enjoy genealogy, but it is difficult and requires total focus. I have barely even started on my father’s side of the family.

I have my hands full. I enjoy blogging and will continue to do so, but it might be sporadic in the immediate future. I’m not sure what I might blog about, when I do get around to it. I’m known for being easily distracted and writing about such distractions.

The Fantasy Blog Stock Market

I just came across a profile page for this blog on a website called Blogshares: “The fantasy blog stock market.” On the About page, the website is described thusly:

“BlogShares is a fantasy stock market where weblogs are the companies. Players invest fictional dollars in a wide spectrum of blogs. Blogs are valued by both incoming and outgoing links, and can add value to other blogs by linking to them. Prices increase or decrease based on trading and the underlying value of the blog. No actual ownership of blogs is transferred: BlogShares is purely a fictional marketplace for entertainment purposes only.”

My blog’s fantasy valuation is B$12,826.16 and the market share 0.00002 %. I’m not sure if that is good or bad, but it is mildly amusing.

I’ve always wondered what the real-world market value of my blog. At least, I now have a number to put on the fantasy market value. Sadly, I don’t get any of these fantasy profits. Someone else added my blog to the fantasy blog stock market, and I’m not even sure how to buy fantasy shares in my own blog or how any of it works.

Faith in the Power of Knowledge

I was continuing to think more about knowledge, learning and communication.

I’m always reading and researching. One thing I love about my Kindle is that it allows me to do a search of terms across all of my books, excluding the physical books on my shelves. I have enough ebooks now that doing searches is more fun activity.

That is how I was wasting my time recently. I was doing various searches just to see what would come up. I was looking up terms like “Anti-Federalism” and “Articles of Confederation”, but also terms such as “eligible” combined with “vote”. Doing this kind of activity reminds me of how much there is to know and how little I know in comparison.

With those last search terms, I found my way to Liberty in America’s Founding by Howard Schwartz. I always have so many books I’m meaning to start reading or finish that it is nice to have books brought back to my attention. This particular book I had almost entirely forgotten about. My search first brought me to a section on Jefferson and Locke, and then looking at the table of contents I noticed the author had a section on John Dickinson. Oh, what a lovely find/rediscovery.

Just reading a few short sections really did get me excited. The author was presenting a very original perspective. The guy is obviously well informed and he brings so much together. It is books like this that demonstrate the power of knowledge to shift one’s perspective. I can’t help but wonder what would happen if knowledge were to shift the perspective of our entire society, a shift to a new understanding, maybe even an entirely new paradigm.

That is why I so often return to the Axial Age, the Enlightenment, and the Revolutionary Era. Those were fulcrum points in history when entire worldviews shifted like plate tectonics. At the heart of those shifts were new understandings and perspectives. Beginning with the Axial Age in particular, books were what much of that hinged upon, books as a technology to transfer knowledge and insight from one mind to another, across boundaries of nations, religions and ethnicities.

I read and write so much because I have this genuine faith in the power of knowledge. I wish I had endless amounts of time to do nothing but read and write.

 

Fighting Ignorance With a Love of Learning

I sometimes write long posts, as anyone knows who has visited my blog. I don’t just ramble endlessly because I like to hear my own voice. The motivation is that I’m in a constant state of reading and learning, and my blog is the main way I process my own thinking and give it form. I do want to communicate in a way that can be understood by others, but that is a secondary process that arises from the act of writing itself.

Still, I sometimes wonder who may actually be paying attention, assuming anyone is. Most of my posts don’t necessarily get a ton of views or comments. Most don’t get any comments at all, although others get more comments than I know what to do with. I’m not sure why I feel like I need to justify my rambling posts to anyone. I know the rule of blogging, if you want a popular following, is to keep it short. But that ain’t me. My mind rambles… always has done and probably always will. I like my rambling mind, even if others don’t appreciate it as much.

I get so excited by things I learn that I want to share them. Learning is just plain awesome.

Just these past few days I’ve come to understand some things I hadn’t really understood before. For my entire adult life, I’ve heard quotes of Thomas Jefferson writing about dissent such as watering the tree of liberty, but I never really understood it. In reading about Anti-Federalists, I suddenly grasp the larger context of what dissent meant back then. It is kind of strange that an aristocrat like Jefferson would advocate dissent when many of the other founding elites were less welcoming to dissent and its relationship to agrarianism. The pieces came together in my mind and now I better understand something I didn’t fully understand before.

That makes me happy. I’m a tiny bit less ignorant today than I was yesterday. Fighting ignorance one day at a time.

I wish I was better at communicating my excitement about learning. Sometimes it is hard to express why a particular issue or quote fascinates me so much or, as I like to say, gets caught in my craw. I try to connect my thinking about larger issues to a more grounded level, abstract issues to subjective experience, historical issues to present realities. But I suspect I fail more often than I succeed. My rambling mind is my Achille’s Heel. When I ramble, I can really ramble. My mind just goes on and on and on, one thought leading to a thousand other thoughts, one book leading to book after book. My mind vomits out quotes and thoughts, ideas and observations… worthy or not. They are just there in my head and they want to be free.

To most people, I suppose subjects like history are boring. I used to be like that when I was younger. No one was able to communicate to my younger self why history mattered. I was raised to appreciate education, but it took me to leave school before I could develop a genuine love of learning. I’d love to inspire more people toward such a curiosity-driven attitude. The world, past and present, really is an endlessly fascinating place.

Even so, the ignorance in the world sure can be frustrating at times. Ignorance is everywhere, including within myself. It is precisely because our ignorance is greater than our knowledge that one never has to worry about running out of things to learn. I sometimes want to devour the entire world with my mind. There is too much to know for too little time.

Marmalade’s New Blogs

Marmalade’s New Blogs

Posted on Jan 3rd, 2009 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade
This blog is a continuation of an earlier blog about blogging:

Blogging Options

I’ve continued to have blogging sites on my mind, but my focus has been renewed.  I thought that getting a new blog started would be a good new year’s resolution.  Actually, I’ve had a number of blogs started for a long while.  I just haven’t done anything with them.

I’ve been playing around with these blogs.  I wanted to experiment with their options.  All have similar functions for my purposes. 

WordPress has pages that can be altered which the others don’t, but Blogger has categories that can be used in a similar way as pages.  The concensus is that WordPress is the best option if you are willing to pay for self-hosting and put a lot of effort into developing it.  As for hosted sites, Blogger seems to be better than WordPress… for most non-professional bloggers.  I’m not interested in self-hosting, but still the hosted WordPress isn’t a bad option.  It does have a lot of capability.

There are two blogs I had before my Gaia blog, but have only posted on either a couple of times.  Live Journal and My Opera are different in that they emphasize the social aspect and have types of functions you won’t find on many blogging platforms.  Both are major sites, and Live Journal in particular is very well established.

I joined Live Journal because of people I knew from MBTI forums.  I belong to some groups on Live Journal, but I haven’t visited them in a long time.  Live Journal is very basic in how it looks.  However, I care more about functionality than looks and Live Journal has much to offer.

My Opera was the blog I started right before this one.  I joined there because my favorite blogger (Quentin S. Crisp) posts there.  The downside I found was that there were a fair number of non-English blogs, but that could be seen as a positive in that it attracts an international crowd.  Even though My Opera is not very well known, its a major site that is quite impressive.  I’m surprised that it rarely gets brought up in comparisons between Blogger and WordPress.

There are really good bloggers using all of these.  A good blogger is a good blogger even on a simple blogging site, and vice versa.  I want to explore other people’s blogs on these sites to see what others are doing.  I’m also going to start posting on my own new blogs. 

Here are the links to the 4 blogs I’m now focused on:

https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/

http://benjamindavidsteele.blogspot.com/

http://marminfp.livejournal.com/

http://my.opera.com/MarmaladeINFP/blog/

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Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 1 hour later

Marmalade said

My experiment began just now. I posted a blog about blogging on each site.

Live Journal actually was more confusing than I expected. I posted or thought I did, but couldn’t figure out if it actually posted or not. It showed as posted. Nonetheless, when I looked for it,I couldn’t find itwith my previous posts. Maybe there is a lag for posts to show. I’ll have to check it later.

Word Press was also confusing. Both Live Journal and Word Press were very cluttered. On Word Press, I couldn’t even figure out how to place a title on my post. I spent 10 minutes trying to figure it out, and ended up posting it without a title.

Blogger was easier. The page did freeze up, but that might’ve been connection issues unrelated to the site. I opened a new window and it seemed fine. One significant problem was that I wanted to remove a paragraph, but was unable. The “cut” option seemed to be disabled in my IE7 browser. So, I had to manually delete it using the “backspace” button. I’d hope that a major browser would work with a major site like that. I have some problems with Internet Exploerer here on Gaia, but I have lower expectations for this site.

The last site was My Opera. It was simple and easy. It has many options and yet isn’t cluttered. It felt very intuitive and posted without a single problem.

My Opera wins the first round of the experiment. Its hard to say who came in second, but offhand I’ll give second place to Blogger.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

1 day later

Nicole said

it will be cool to see how the experiment progresses!

starlight : StarLight Dancing

1 day later

starlight said

LOL…you’re a trip Ben…i was wondering what you been up to…joy*

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

1 day later

Marmalade said

Nice to see you both. Happy Happy Joy Joy 🙂

Because all of the praise I read about it, my guess is that I’ll like Word Press if I ever figure it out. I’m not sure why I couldn’t find the section for the title. I downloaded the new version (2.7 I believe) and maybe I was just experiencing a glitch. I’ll try it again. Someone from work brought up their Word Press page for posting and it looked entirely different. It might also be browser related. I’ll try my other browsers as part of this experiment.

I checked back with Live Journal. I still couldn’t find the entry I tried to post with the other previous entries. I kept the window open, and I was able to go back to the page that showed the posting. It seems to be posted somewhere. Its possible that Live Journal has the capacity for posting on multiple pages and somehow I unintentionally posted it on another page. If so, I need to learn how to control which page it posts to.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

1 day later

Marmalade said

Second Round:

I used Google Chrome this time.  I didn’t have any of the problems I had last time.  I like Google Chrome.  It seems to have less compatability issues with the blogging sites.

Its strange with Word Press.  The appearance of it was the same.  I put the title where I tried to put it last time, but for unknown reasons it allowed the title to appear this time.  I do like the Category option Word Press.  The closest thing I had to a problem was that I couldn’t sign into my Word Press blog on the page of my blog.  Instead, I had to go to the main page to sign in.

Nobody wins first place this time.  This round is a tie, but I’m thinking I’m going to learn to like Word Press more and more.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

1 day later

Marmalade said

There is one thing that this test is making clear. Gaia competesfairly wellwith the otherblogging sites. There aren’t as many choices here in terms of functions, but there is still plenty one can do. Gaia is very simple and intuitive. I’ve never had any major problems in blogging here.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

2 days later

Nicole said

that’s good to know, about Gaia and Google Chrome. I have the latter but haven’t used it much yet, force of habit.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

3 days later

Marmalade said

Yeah, Google Chrome seems decent. I haven’t had any major issues like I had with Internet Exploer 8 which made my virus scan non-functional. It took me a while to realize there was a problem. I hope I didn’t pick up any viruses. IE8=BAD!!!

The problem with Google Chrome is that it has compatability issues with playing videos. Whereas I’ve never had problems with videos with Internet Explorer. You just can’t have everything. I guessI have to choose whether you like blogging or watching videos more.

Annemieke : Similarity

3 days later

Annemieke said

“I couldn’t sign into my Word Press blog on the page of my blog. Instead, I had to go to the main page to sign in.”

Yes, very strange indeed. I mostly stay logged in, but when for some reason I have to sign in, I always wonder where I have to do that again.

“Gaia is very simple and intuitive.”

Totally agree with that. No matter how good I find WordPress, intuitive would not be a term to use. Although I am more and more ‘getting it’ lately.

I also like Google Chrome and at the moment I use it together with Internet Explorer. For some reason I like IE still best for bookmarking sites. But I noticed it is good to use other browsers to see how it all looks, because sites can look rather different with other browsers sometimes.

I so like that you share this kind of struggles. I am going through the same processes at times. But I totally love it.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

3 days later

Marmalade said

Its getting close to bedtime for me, but I shall comment first.

Yes, Annemieke, I prefer Internet Exploer overall. Maybe its because I’ve used it the most and I’m familiar with it. I never had major issues with it until I downloaded IE8.

You like that I share this kind of struggle… is that you’re way of saying you don’t want to hear me share my struggles withchanging my cats’ litter box? Sadly, neither Google Chrome nor Internet Exploer is compatible with the litter box. I should get a virtual cat with a virtual litter box. It would immensely simplify my life.

3 days later

Centria said

I love your analysis here. I was convinced blogger (blogspot? are they the same thing?) was going to be the best option. But within a day of posting there, I switched allegiance to wordpress. Even though some of the layouts are confusing, it seems easier for others to find your work through the categories and tags. No one has even found the blogger posting. But wordpress has proved more visible and likeable. Gaia, though, is simple and intuitive. It’s still preferable in many ways….

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

3 days later

Marmalade said

Blogger and blogspot are related but not the same… both relate to blogging with Google. Its technically more appropriate to say blogspot I suppose, but for some reason I was using the Blogger name instead. I was meaning the same thing anyways.

You seem attracted to Word Press for the same reasons as I. The category and tag system will be very helpful as I gather more blogs. I’m glad they also help others to find my blogs. That will be part of my comparison experiment. I’ll see which of my blogs get the most comments and what kinds of commenters they attract.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

3 days later

Marmalade said

Third Round:

This time I used the Opera browser which is related to the Opera blogging site. It was a very easy to use browser except for one factor. When I tried to copy and paste from my Gaia blog, it didn’t carry over the hyperlinks. Both Google Chrome and Internet Explorer carry over hyperlinks.

I ended the third round at that point. So, none of the blogging sites were a winner in this round, but the Opera browser was the loser.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

3 days later

Marmalade said

For the time being, I take my conclusion back for the Third Round. The hyperlink copy/paste problem seems to be failing on all of my browsers. That is very odd because it was just working. Is it something to do with my computer? Or are the various browsers somehow causing problems for eachother? I hope I can figure this out.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

4 days later

Nicole said

oooh, that’s a very annoying problem. really odd!

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

18 days later

Marmalade said

I’m bringing my experiment into a less formal mode. I decided to drop LIve Journal from the experiment just because the set up is somewhat confusing and not aesthetically pleasing. I’m going to continue to use the other 3 for a while. At the moment, I can’t say I entirely favorany one of themover the rest.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

19 days later

Nicole said

ok. i see you’re still having that words running into each other trouble!

Blogging Options

Blogging Options

Posted on Dec 4th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade

I’ve been looking at my blogging options.  There is a lot out there and its hard to make a decision.  I’ve found reviews, but everything is always changing and so I have no way of knowing which reviews are still relevant.  At least, I have an idea of what types of things are available and so have a better sense of what I’m looking for.

I want to bring my blogging up a notch as part of my wanting to get more focused on my own writing.  I want a blog that is hosted by a site like Gaia, but something with more options. 

I have a couple particularly important factors.  I’m mostly interested in the big players in the field.  Since I’m planning to put a lot of time and effort into blogging, I want a stable system with a company that won’t go belly up.  There are way too many new companies popping up and not all of them will last.

However, problems can even arise with the big companies.  Blogs can get (accidentally?) deleted or frozen, and depending on the customer service it might be a challenge to retrieve your blog.  This has happened with some people on Google’s Blogger, but maybe they’ve fixed it by now. 

Blogger does seem to be the single most popular blogging site with WordPress in a close second.  Blogger is simpler and WordPress is fancier, but both are constantly improving.  Yahoo has jumped in with MyBlogLog which looks promising, but I haven’t looked into it very much yet. 

All these have definite advantages, but they’re focused just on blogging.  Part of me is attracted to white-label networking sites as they balance tons of options with ease of use.  Ning is the most popular, and is the only company in this category that I feel sure will continue to exist for many years.  The problem with blogging on Ning is that your blog is in a community that you set up.  You could make it a more private community, but the main problem is whether the blog is easy to find.  For instance, is it picked up by a websearch like any other blog would be?  I’d hate to have a blog that was simply hidden away somewhere.

The reason I’m looking at the networking sites is because they allow more complex designs.  WordPress does allow more complexity, but the learning curve on WordPress is quite large from what I understand.  I want to be able to (easily) set up multiple pages with categories (and possibly sub-categories).  I want to be able to have multiple blogs for different topics and maybe pages for longer articles.  Ideally, I’d like to even be able to set different accessability for the separate pages… some public, some private, and some viewable only to friends.  I don’t know if any blogging site has these functions, and so networking sites may have more of what I’m looking for.

There are many other networking sites that are similar to Ning.  Some of them even seem nicer than Ning, but its hard to tell which ones will last.  There so much hype and splogging (spam blogging) that its hard to determine what info is reliable.  Ning is the only one that gets consistent praise.

I’ve already joined a bunch of these sites.  I wanted to explore them for myself, but haven’t yet started blogging on any of them.  I was thinking of narrowing my choice down to two or three, and actually start using them.  In particular, I wanted to try out maybe Blogger and Ning as they’re two very popular and yet very different platforms. 

Anyways, I thought it would be good to keep two blogs going with the same posts.  They would act as backups for eachother instead of me saving my blog posts to my computer.  I have this fear about blogs.  I’d hate to wake up one day and see years of blogging entirely disappeared into the aether.

——————————————————————————————————————-

This continues in Part 2:

Marmalade’s New Blogs

——————————————————————————————————————-

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Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

27 minutes later

Marmalade said

Of course, the only blogging options I’m seriously considering are ones that are free.  I don’t feel like spending money unless it was very minimal and there was some great advantage to what I was getting for my money.  I’m fine with there being some advertising on my blog. 

It would be simpler (in some ways) if I was willing to put the money and time into designing my own website, but I’m not that motivated or that wealthy.  I don’t need perfection… just something that works good enough for my purposes.  I’d rather spend my time on my actual blogging and less time with endless tinkering and upkeep.  I don’t need any more distractions in my life.

Annemieke : Similarity

about 2 hours later

Annemieke said

Hi Ben

WordPress is not that difficult, it is rather easy, even for me. And I have never lost anything yet. Everything you are working on is saved every few minutes.

Something else to consider might be to become a member of  BlogCatalog. It is a very large and active community for bloggers and a great way to get to know other bloggers. 

Good luck,
Annemieke

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 5 hours later

Marmalade said

I just checked out your WordPress blog.  It looks nice.  You have multiple pages.  Was that at all difficult to set up?  One comparison showed that WordPress has the option of both categories and subcategories.  Are the pages what are considered categories?  Have you ever tried creating subcategoreis?

There is another thing about some of the white label sites.  Some of them have the capacity to create photo and video albums.  I’m not sure if any of the purely blogging platforms is capable of doing that.

As for learning curve, how long did it take you to design your blog?  The learning curve I heard about with WordPress is that it takes a lot of effort to do anything outside of basic functions.

BTW I had come across BlogCatalog.  It probably would be a good idea to become a member there.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 5 hours later

Marmalade said

Hey, Annemieke, have you ever blogged anywhere else besides WordPress and here on Gaia?  Why did you pick WordPress?

about 5 hours later

WH said

I blog on both Blogger and WordPress, but I prefer Blogger, especially if you use Firefox. Blogger can be customized on Firefox, using Grease Monkey and other scripts, to make it do a lot of stuff. With Chrome or IE you are stuck with the Blogger interface as they created it.

The “new” Blogger is easy to use, but less easy to customize unless you are really good with html.

That’s my take.

Peace,
Bill

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 5 hours later

Marmalade said

The one thing I haven’t looked into yet is websearchability of blogging sites.  I’ve seen some comparisons that I plan to check out soon.  Personally, I want to be read, and so having my blog listed in relevant websearches is important.

There is another thing I’m keeping in the background of my researching this subject.  At some point, I might want to start a community group for my family.  I want a site that would have certain options.  Video and photo albums would be necessary of course, but also a way of organizing info about the family including genealogy.

Terrill : Spirit of butterfly

about 7 hours later

Terrill said

Hi Ben,

I have been having similar conversations with myself over the past few months. I now post on a ning community that I was asked to join. It is kind of cool to be part of a narrowly focused community and I am pretty much the only one who blogs there. I am not fussy about all the steps I have to do to put in hyperlinks and formating when I have pasted text in from word that already has everything.

I recently set up a blog on blogspot because it is nice and clean to link client into. But I have no idea who reads it or if anyone can search it. Not a good feeling… it somehow feels more like a post card instead of a blogging conversation.

I looked at wordpress and follow another blog that is on there. Humm… maybe I will check it out more closely.

Anyway, if you find anything that is super good, please let me know.

And thanks for posting your research.

Terrill

Annemieke : Similarity

about 13 hours later

Annemieke said

“You have multiple pages.  Was that at all difficult to set up?” 

The pages are not difficult to set up, the only thing that was a bit strange is the followup in the heading. It took me some time to find out why one showed up before another.


“One comparison showed that WordPress has the option of both categories and subcategories.  Are the pages what are considered categories?  Have you ever tried creating subcategoreis?”

No, the categories belong to the posts. For each post you choose one or several categories. The pages are just static on the header. I did not create subcategories but it should be rather easy to do, from each category you can make subcategories.  
Some of them have the capacity to create photo and video albums.  I’m not sure if any of the purely blogging platforms is capable of doing that.

I also don’t know if the blogging platforms have the capacity to create photo and video albums. I think the way to do that is to link to your own pages and posts, but the idea of albums seems more an external thing to do, I guess.
As for learning curve, how long did it take you to design your blog?  The learning curve I heard about with WordPress is that it takes a lot of effort to do anything outside of basic functions.”

It did not take that long as I just started it and I just learned along the way. Maybe not the best way to do it, but for me that usually works best. I also never read manuals very well but just start something and just see where it goes.

I can very well imagen that it is difficult to do anything outside the basic functions, but until now that has not been a problem for me because it was all very new and I just used what was available.  

” have you ever blogged anywhere else besides WordPress and here on Gaia?  Why did you pick WordPress?”

I haven’t blogged anywhere besides WordPress and Gaia. The reason I picked WordPress was just random. I just started blogging because at that time I read a homeopathy blog where someone said there should be more homeopathy blogs that where actually about homeopathy instead of the sceptic blogs that came up high in the search engines. And most of the blogs I read at that time where WordPress blogs so I just started there.

” having my blog listed in relevant websearches is important.”

Coming up in relevant websearches was not to hard. In fact it all worked to fast for me. I am very much on the edge of homeopathy, astrology and the periodic table and showing up there too prominent would be just provoking. I remember after my first posts I found myself all over the place. At least that is the idea I got. And I decided to leave a lot of words out of my posts and tags. So my idea is that showing up in relevant websearches is not to hard.
I might want to start a community group for my family.  I want a site that would have certain options.  Video and photo albums would be necessary of course, but also a way of organizing info about the family including genealogy.

About starting a community group for your family I don’t think that WordPress or Blogger would be your best options. But maybe it would be best to seperate that and use a personal blog which you can very easily handle, to be a sort of centre, maybe a daily journal of some sort, to link to albums, videos and other family activities. Just thinking out loud.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 14 hours later

Marmalade said

WH – I don’t use Firefox.  I’m not too excited about adding further complications to the process of blogging.  I may not be computer illiterate, but I’m definitely not computer saavy.  I probably could figure out using all of that, but it sounds like a lot of work.  I’m an inherently lazy person who seeks the path of least resistance.

Terrill – I belong to several Ning groups.  I like it, but one problem is that your profile doesn’t carryover from one group to the next.  When I do a websearch for “Ning” and “Marmalade”, it shows my profile for each group separately.  I could blog in one of those groups, but I don’t want to blog in someone else’s space.  I even started a group there just to see its capabilities, but I have the group closed.

Your other blog on Blogspot is a good basic blog.  I mostly would be happy with something like that.  The main thing it lacks is multiple pages.  I wonder if there is a way to create multiple pages with it.  I think it does allow you to create multiple blogs which might serve a similar function.

I think I understand your view that it has a less personal feel to it.  That is the difference of a blogging site and other sites that offer blogging amongst many other services such as networking.  Also, a blogpost blog like you have can seem so much more plain than a WordPress blog.  WordPress gives one greater ability to personalize.

If you don’t like the feeling of anyone being able to read your blog, then you’d probably be better off making Ning (or another similar platform) your main blog.  Both Blogpost and WordPress come up in websearches very easily.  I tried to do a search on blogs in Ning and nothing seemed to come up other than Ning’s official blog.  Apparently, if you blog on Ning, you are hidden from the prying eyes of strangers.

I’d like some attention from websearching strangers or at least I don’t want to be isolated entirely.  My blogs here often come up in relevant websearches.  However, too much attention can be problematic.  I’ve heard that if you allow comments on the main blogging sites, you might have to install some anti-spam tools and spend some time removing spam.  That is one nice thing about Gaia.  I’ve only had one comment here that I assume must’ve been spam.

And I’ll be sure to keep you posted.  I’m taking my time in making a choice.

Annemieke – I like that starting a WordPress blog hasn’t been difficult for you.  Your blog looks pretty nice and I like what you did with the pages.  I’m like you in that I’d probably just figure it out as went along and hope for the best.  I’m fairly good at figuring things out as long as they’re reasonably intuitive in design.

Out of the blogging sites, WordPress does seem most impressive.  I have one lingering question which I don’t know if you can answer.  Some of the more general sites allow multiple pages that have different levels of privacy.  Is there a way of making private or friends-only pages?

You’re probably right about keeping the two separate.  It might be easier to think of them as two different objectives.  Although, its possible there could be a single platform that would allow me to separate them enough.  Some sites allow you not only to make pages and specific blogs private to varying degrees but also allow you to create multiple groups or multiple blogs.  There are many different ways I could go about all of this.

I’m glad I got all of these responses here.  Its given me a chance to think out loud.  I still have plenty of more research to do.  I need to play around with the various sites I’ve joined.  Once I narrow down my choices, I might start another blog to get at more detailed comparisons.

Annemieke : Similarity

about 15 hours later

Annemieke said

“Is there a way of making private or friends-only pages?”
Private is easy, you have the choice between public and private. Friends only I didn’t know, so I went looking and it seems you also have the choice ‘password protected’.

And you have the same choices for the pages.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 16 hours later

Marmalade said

I must say that WordPress is looking pretty nice.  Between Blogger and WordPress, I was leaning more to the former.  But, listening to you, I’m starting to lean the other way.

Annemieke : Similarity

about 16 hours later

Annemieke said

If you want some more comparison between the two, here are pages full of opinions from users. Some use Blogger, others WordPress and some even use (or have used) both.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 17 hours later

Marmalade said

Thanks!  I’ll check it out later.

about 19 hours later

Centria said

Ben, this blog is so timely!  Thank you for writing it.  Yesterday I asked (inwardly) to figure out some sites for blogging.  Have been thinking of doing a special “project” and writing about it every day next year.  Still in the planning stages, but was trying to figure out where I might blog about it.  Don’t want to do it here on Gaia because I still want to blog about other things here. 

Thanks also to Annemieke for her insights!  REally appreciate all of this information.   Kathy

Marmalade : Gaia Child

1 day later

Marmalade said

Hello Kathy! Yeah, this blog is so timely. I was just thinking about blogs the other day and then all of a sudden I saw this blog. I was like, dude, I wrote that. It was amazing. Its like I can read my own mind. 🙂

Anyways… If I blog elsewhere, I can’t say what will become of this blog. I was thinking I might reserve this blog for less serious writing and postings of videos. This is a good basic blog.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

1 day later

Marmalade said

BTW I’m not being very focused… nothing new. lol I’ve been on a massive reconnaissance mission to discover every interesting thng that exists on the web. That is my humble aspiration. :))

I can’t help myself. My curiosity is my addiction. Its not my fault the internet is such an interesting place. For the past several months or so, I’ve been looking at all the ever-multiplying sites that involve: virtual reality (worlds and globes), video (tv and movies, video sharing), social networking, white label platforms, blogging sites, search engines, social bookmarking, portals, OpenID,etc.

They all start intermingling after awhile. I’m particularly interested in where these different services crossover in a single provider. For instance, I’m sure Google has more services than I’m aware of. Google has: Google Earth, Google Maps,Blogger, Google search engine, Google Reader, Lively (virtual world, social networking), OpenSocial, Google Groups, Google Books, and on and on. However, they’re not all in one place per se. Google is a rather sprawling megacorporation.

I like some of the white label platforms because they offer the diversity of services like Google but with the ability to create a niche market. The problem is niche markets are more precarious and don’t necessarily offer the best promise of longterm innovation.

Anyways, I’m looking for something more than just a site to blog. My true desire is to find a main platform that will allow me to aggregate many different services. Some sites offer their own versions of services. Other sites allow importing services or other nifty ways to interconnect with other sites. Many networking sites offer an easy way to put services such as Twitter on your personal page or automatically show your favorite YouTube videos.

A similar concept are tools that allow simultaneous posting across multiple sites. There are tools that will post to all of your blogs. And there are tools that will post to all of the social bookmarking sites you belong to.

An even newer method of merging is happening with web browsers and browsing histories. Amazon has created A9 which is a search engine that not only remembers your search history on the browser, but also includes your history from your Amazon searches. This allows it to give you a tailored search that will show you the results that are the most relevant to you personally. Plus, it will tell you which pages you’ve visited before, and I think it might also allow you to make notes about sites.

Its cool (and scary)to consider where all this is heading, but I’m at thepresent simply interested in the immediate benefit for me.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 1 month later

Marmalade said

I’ve just posted a new blog about blogging:

Marmalade’s New Blogs

Collective-Monkey-Mind.com

Collective-Monkey-Mind.com

Posted on Mar 16th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade
I was looking around Gaia the other day and came across something c4chaos had written about blogging.  I was interested as this is my first blog,.. but I suspect some people take their blogging more seriously than I.  C4chaos said, amongst many things, that blogging should be useful.  I can’t say I have such noble ambitions…. not to say I want to be unuseful.  All I’m hoping for is maybe to be interesting.  Or maybe I need to admit my ambitions.  I do like the idea of spreading knowledge through blogging.  In time, I hope somebody will read my humble blogs and just possibly learn something new.

I find it fascinating the hopes and expectations that fuel different people’s activities on the web, and how they express it.  For the most part, the web serves a non-perfunctorial, non-essential purpose.  Even the most useful blog or website isn’t exactly essential to life.  And most web denizens don’t actually make money(or at least not much) in all the time they spend staring at their respective screens.

There is so much desire and idealism and desparation being bandied about.  People start websites sharing their vision or their manifesto.  People look for friendship in chat rooms and community on discussion boards.  People check the comments and stats on their blogs hoping for aknowledgment, for approval.  People look for knowledge to give them understanding, porn to give them pleasure, entertainment to give them distraction.  I’ve spent many a hour jumping from one link to another.  The web is addictive if nothing else.

There is so much expectation grating against expectation… not to mention mindless compulsion.  So much of the personal gets lost that emotions show in such a raw fashion.  This is really obvious on discussion boards.  You see conflict and clanishness and everything else.  And it feels so fleeting.  Its so hard to really connect with people, and people you knew well disappear without an explanation.  Communities form and dissolve, but the motivation that brought all those people together surely doesn’t disappear.  If people were satisfied with their real-world relationships they’d probably never turn to discussion boards and networking sites… or else not keep returning to them again and again.

In observing the web, I can sense something in the world that wants to emerge.  But its so confused by and misdirected into a thousand distractionss, the vital energy for change leaking into the vast expanses of the world wide web.

What is this all add up to?  Anything?

(I know some of the standard answers, but I prefer the question itself.)

Should a blog, should the web be useful?  Why?  I suppose it was created with a purpose by the millitary, but what has it become?  Even as we speak, various companies and government institutions are vying for control of this burgeoning electronic territory.  Such an amorphous entity must be controlled.  Terrorists.  Hackers. Identity thiefs.  Oh my!  The fears are as magnified as the desires.

My blog is one among millions.  Just another voice filling up the collective monkey mind.

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Tagged with: blogging, internet, c4chaos

Gaiam closing down gaia.com

The place I first did most of my blogging is gaia.com. It was orginally known as Zaadz which operated without profit as I understand, but was bought by Gaiam which was a for-profit company. Zaadz was committed to helping people create a better world which included conscious capitalism. It was because of this ideal that Gaiam bought it. The problem is that it didn’t make money. Conscious capitalism is still capitalism and profit is the one rule that can’t be broken. The sad part is that Gaiam wasn’t open about the decision and so didn’t demonstrate the ideal of conscious capitalism. A corporation is just a corporation no matter what its mission statement.

I left a while ago. I was already feeling disenchanted with internet communities in general. I didn’t put in great hope in gaia.com. It was for me just a place to blog and to meet some interesting people. I vaguely knew about it when it was Zaadz, but I didn’t start blogging there until it had been taken over by Gaiam. There was much unhappiness about Gaiam’s way of operating it. I’m not surprised that they closed it down. It is sad, though.

Fortunately, someone I knew from there visited my blog here and told me about it’s imminent death. I’ll have to spend some time in the near future transferring my blog posts over to WordPress. So, there will be an influx of posts here in the next week. If you wish to visit my former blog posts in their native habitat, follow this link:

http://benjamindavidsteele.gaia.com/blog

If your curious about what Gaia/Zaadz was all about, you can check out the new Ning group:

http://anewgaia.ning.com

My Blog: “Marmalade” & “I’ve just pissed in my pants”

Here are two recent websearches that led people to my blog:

“factors leading to failure in marmalade”

“is marmalade dying out”

I wonder what this means.  If I got these in a fortune cookie, I’d be a bit worried.

On a similar note, the most popular blog post I’ve ever written seems to be the following:

I’ve just pissed in my pants…

If anyone ever did a combined search of “marmalade” and “I’ve just pissed in my pants”, there is a high probability that they’d find my blog at the top of the search results.  I think I should focus on trying to corner this niche of the websearch market.