Thoughts on Instagram

I have recently started using Instagram, actually after a webinar I watched at work where the librarians were talking about what a great social media space it was. They had a lot of success with being found, with getting constant interactions on posts, and with being able to ask questions and get answers. Well, that all sounded pretty good. So I gave it a look.

So far I have really enjoyed Instagram. It doesn’t get spammed to the extent that something like Tumblr does, so I can in a few minutes scroll through and see everything that’s posted for the day. It’s visual like Tumblr is, though, so it’s easier and better for scrolling through and checking out on the fly than I have found Twitter or the WordPress Reader to be.

How do they pull this off? Well, for starters, there’s no sharing. At least, not that I’ve figured out yet – I do see the occasional “re-gram” with a little share symbol and username in the corner of the image. Not sure how that’s done, but it’s pretty rare. Unlike a space like Tumblr, where sharing is the majority of the activity. You can like and comment, both of which being closest to something like Facebook in terms of use and visibility. However, some things in posts or comments don’t work – like websites. No hyperlink. So it discourages going in and linkdumping – unlike Twitter, where that’s almost the whole deal.

So it’s a visual space that’s there for others to experience and interact with. And really, I’ve had more success there with interaction than on other social media accounts. Things on the Facebook Page almost never get seen. Tweets rarely get any likes or shares. Tumblr doesn’t see much action. Indeed, in a couple of months I have as many Instagram followers as Tumblr followers, and the latter account is over a year older. In other words, it ended up really being what was advertised to me: a fun space with good interaction.

So let me run down a couple of things I have discovered regarding how Instagram plays with my whole suite of other social media accounts, to give you a more complete picture of how it works!

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Science Fiction Today – Libraries (The Sunday Re-Blog)

Comparative Geeks

LLast week we lined up Health Care and Immunization, and this week it’s Knowledge and Libraries. A couple of sets of things that go hand-in-hand as we look at the future. And while Holly and I might be outsiders looking in at the world of health care, there’s an inside-track when it comes to libraries: I am a librarian. So I have to try to make this post not about that…

What this post is about is the fact that libraries don’t always appear prominently in Science Fiction – though they feature prominently in Fantasy. Often there are other ways the information is kept or passed on in Science Fiction – the sorts of things Holly talked about yesterday with Knowledge. In  a world where all of human knowledge is at our fingertips… what does the future of libraries look like?

Libraries in Fantasy

“Libraries really are wonderful. They’re…

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I Feel Like I Learned Something – Thoughts on the Year

I Feel Like I Learned Something

Look! It’s Monday and I have a meme!

It’s been a touch-and-go year here on DBCII, which all pretty much stems from the fact that this blog is not my first priority. Well, okay, not top five. Probably not top ten.

In some ways, I have kept the blog alive because the April A to Z Challenge was so good to me. I got a lot of great posts written, met a bunch of great bloggers, added a bunch of followers here on the blog. I might mean you there, reading this right now. Hiya.

I decided what the blog needed was Features, something I had a responsibility to get posted, and which you the readers could expect from me. Something to come back for. And for a while, I kept some Features going. Indeed, I am still posting Wordless Wednesday, and I see no stopping ahead for that.

I then hoped I could harness the Features, that I could use them as a way to make myself write. To combine reader expectations, deadlines, self-expectations, a space and time… and maybe it’s time, most of all, I didn’t account for. My wife and I have kept Comparative Geeks going strong, and I have kept contributing at Sourcerer – moving on to comics when my music posts ran their course.

So I’m doing quite a bit of writing in a week. But even my contributions have been getting done really last minute, and if you’ve watched Comparative Geeks’ posting schedule for a couple of days, you know we’re writing pretty much everything day-of. I’m writing, but I’m not pulling wildly ahead, I’m not writing and writing and writing.

I had also thought for a while about whether it was fiction or blogging where I wanted to put more focus. I think I have figured out a new approach to the fiction that should work, but that can wait for another post.

We have news and plans for Comparative Geeks in the New Year, so that is going strong. But for now, I am officially putting my Features here on hold, and am returning to more of how I used to use this blog: as a space to step back, reflect, share, and discuss. I’ll be talking more about my plans here in the days and weeks to come!

A Year and a Half of Comparative Geeks! (The Sunday Re-Blog)

This last week was the 18-month mark for Comparative Geeks! I did some more reflecting on some of the new top posts – as well as some of the posts that could use some more love. It was interesting to look at both segments!

Comparative Geeks

I like enjoying these small milestones, to remember how much we have accomplished in this time! 475 posts, and consistently posting 6 posts a week, has been a lot of work, and very rewarding. Thank you to all of you, our readers and commenters and followers and friends.

Last year at the six-month mark, I did a post highlighting our top posts and topics thus far. Many of those posts are still top posts, because they keep getting search engine hits. However, we have a few new contenders top posts that I would like to highlight – beyond the Illuminati post I referenced the other day.

Then I thought I would share a few of the posts that have barely been touched. Sure, there’s a lot of those – and a lot of them make sense. There’s our failed Trailer Watch category – those never did well. And there are…

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One Month of Features – Thoughts!

Yesterday I talked about the stats difference from doing Features on a regular basis. As these things go, when you post more frequently, you get more views! It’s like science.

However, I have some more direct learning and thoughts after a month worth of Features. Even if the stats say “doing features is good!” what does that really mean – and do I need to keep up with these same features? A few questions to consider!

Learning More about WordPress

So the first thing that really happened when I started to work on setting up Features was that I started learning more about WordPress. I found a couple of things in particular. One is a setting that makes it so people can like and share posts directly from the Home Page/Archives Scroll. For the Photo Blogging I have been doing, this is a big step, I think – there is no reason someone really needs to click into these posts; they can read and/or see everything from the home page.

I considered this when it comes to Comparative Geeks, as well. However, while we have been writing a bit of shorter posts lately (after what we learned in the A to Z Challenge), most of them still use the “More” separator, to keep the home page from being massive, to hide spoilers, and just generally because it’s how we write and present our posts. So people need to click into them to get the whole thing anyway – so the liking and interacting can all be “hidden” there, without it being troublesome. But with these simple photo posts, no reason to add steps!

Another thing I have found out is that Tweets with line breaks don’t get picked up in the feed on WordPress, so most of my Six Word Story posts haven’t shown up here. So I probably shouldn’t post them like this:

[tweet https://twitter.com/dbc_ii/status/484861322706698240]

The other thing I learned is that there is a Screen Options menu, hidden away on every post you work on!

Screen Options

If, like me, you’ve never noticed/clicked that before, give it a go! Here you can pick which additional menus or options you have to work with, below your post. For instance, you can write a custom Excerpt for the WordPress Reader or RSS feeds – something I have seen other blogs do, but had no idea how to do myself! It also includes the options for manually turning comments, trackbacks and pingbacks, etc. on and off. Or for choosing who the author on a post is! So many options! That I had no idea about. Fellow WordPress bloggers: give this a look!

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One Month of Features – Stats!

As is my wont, now that I have experimented with something, it’s time to consider it! What has the blog looked like because of features? Let’s look at the stats!

Blog views for the past month, by day.

Blog views for the past month, by day.

Okay, so there have been daily visitors, with peaks for original content – the first one is Introducing Features, the next one is my first feature post, and then the big spike in later June is the Writing Process Blog Tour. The day with no views was 4th of July weekend, and was a day when I did not post anything. Since then, a few a day.

The other thing those stats show is that this is a really small blog – incredibly low view count in general. So having features has accomplished a few things. First, it’s given a reason for people to check out the site on a more consistent basis. But second, it has me actually creating and putting things here – the first step, really, to having more engagement in general with the blog. So really, I think these stats show the picture much better:

Average blog visitors per day.

Average blog visitors per day.

This shows that this really has been a pretty uneventful blog. Then I did the A to Z Challenge in April and that spiked things considerably! In an effort to not waste the connections formed during the challenge or the momentum gained, I think the features are a good way to keep this blog alive and moving forward! And the best thing to see is that, with features kicking in there in June, you can see that there is a more steady number of visitors per day than the blog has seen before – even if it’s only a handful of people per day!

One part of this also is that the posts are so short that people might be taking them in without visiting the site – which is fine! – but that means that some of the likes and views aren’t showing up in the stats, but people are still experiencing the content! I think this is just going to be an effect of photo blogging. In my experience already, there are posts that get interaction (likes) through the reader because of pictures – without generating views. At least with these, there isn’t any content being “missed” because of this effect!

Okay, so those are some of the quantitative aspects of what Features have done for the blog! Tomorrow, I’ll be considering some of the qualitative aspects – what have features done for me? What have people liked? These sorts of things! But for now, let me know what you think of the Features I’ve been doing! Have you been stopping by here more? What would you like to see? Let me know!

A to Z Recovery and Reflections

Hello all! Thanks for stopping by my blog once more. Last week saw the end of the A to Z Challenge here on DBCII, and a great many other blogs, and it was a genuinely fun time. Just looking at my archives, that was by far the most posts in a month that this blog has seen. It adds a fantastic collection of reflections on writing to the blog, really beefing up the purpose of the blog. And, with completing the challenge on two blogs, it really got me writing!

survivor-atoz [2014]I did a reflection and looking-forward post on Comparative Geeks yesterday, and it was good to do so. For Comparative Geeks, it was a zero-sum change in the amount of content we did in the month: we regularly post Monday to Saturday, once a day, so the challenge’s rules matched perfectly. We went with a theme, so it got us blogging about characters for a whole month, which I think is good. Our character studies are regularly some of our most popular posts, so I think all of these are going to remain popular over time. At least, I hope so; I hope that the challenge-themed titles and such don’t detract from the posts. The one that got away from me was the one on Hermione and Harry – and the recent J.K. Rowling comments surrounding them. Which is a fun and relevant post here, too: does the author really get to challenge the meaning or content of their stories once written? Feel free to check it out and join in the conversation!

Anyway, I’ve been thinking and decompressing, and a four-day vacation helped. But it has me thinking about the state of the blog; the purpose of the blog, and my blogging; the future of my writing. Which is all supposed to happen, I think, doing something like this challenge. So below are some of my thoughts after working through the A to Z Challenge.

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