Tag: WordPress

The Unofficial WordPress Undiscovered Club

Maybe you remember “The Never Been Freshly Pressed” Club (NBFP). I started it in 2013 because there were so many of us WordPress.com  bloggers who had never been ‘pressed‘. (‘Freshly Pressed’ was a WordPress magazine, of sorts, that featured the writings of every day bloggers.)

discover-badge-circle‘Freshly Pressed’ has been allowed to die. It has been replaced by Discover – a slick, modern online magazine. The editors select content from about  53 million posts per month, so the chances of your post being chosen are still quite slim, but if you do get selected, you get to put a badge on your sidebar!

After almost seven years of blogging, I believe I have demonstrated an inability to be slick or modern – therefore I am, by extension, Undiscoverable. For that reason, I think I can safely form the Undiscovered Club, and proclaim myself  President of the Canadian chapter. Should he accept, Al at thecvillean is my choice for President of the American chapter. (He is current President of NBFP.)

If you would like to join our club, use the comment section below to state your unqualifications (first, and foremost, you must never have been featured on Discover.) You may also decide to volunteer for a position of your choice.

You might want to download the Unfeatured Undiscovered Club Badge to display on your blog. (I put mine on my ‘About’ page, along with all my other unprestigious awards.)

Be sure to tell all your Undiscovered blogging friends about our new Club!

In keeping with our general philosophy of “undeserved unknownness“, I refer you to this post that demonstrates the virtues of ‘unning’:
Unsubscribe, Unfollow, Unclutter – It’s UnFriday!

Post 551

Transition – Beep Beep Boop is Gone?

orange pink clouds Alberta

The dawn of a new day. If there are clouds, then a sunrise can be a remarkably beautiful transition from dark to light.

orange pink clouds Alberta

Perhaps our blogging hosts, WordPress.com, were thinking of dawn when they recently unveiled the New High Speed Editor. I certainly thought they had made a few improvements since they first introduced the ‘New Editor’. It loads so fast that the ever so unpopular, wait while I’m working, ‘Beep Boop Boop’ screen is gone!

Another plus – images can be dragged and dropped from your desktop right into your post. Unfortunately, the new editor is still in transition – the search feature for creating links to my old posts is missing.

How long will it take before this transitional editor is finished? Or will it ever be? Will we still have access to the good old editor that many or us prefer, or will it eventually disappear?

It is like asking, ‘Will there be a beautiful sunrise tomorrow morning’. No one really knows.

Light precedes every transition. Whether at the end of a tunnel, through a crack in the door or the flash of an idea, it is always there, heralding a new beginning.
– Teresa Tsalaky, The Transition Witness –

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is: Transition.

Post 520

WordPress Bloggers React to the Rainbow Banner

WordPress.com celebrated the US Supreme Court decision (that same-sex couples can marry nationwide) by posting a Rainbow Banner (the LGBT Flag) across the top of every WordPress bloggers ‘My Sites’ and ‘Reader Page’. These are the first pages WordPress bloggers see when they log onto their site. While only they can see it (not their readers), every WordPress.com blogger in the world was presumably seeing the same Rainbow flag.

503-wp-blue-bgThe response from the WordPress blogging community was immediate, with questions being posted to the WordPress forum: How can I remove this!?

An early response from a WordPress Member was “The rainbow master bar was added in support of the Supreme Court of the United States ruling on same-sex marriage today… However, as this is a polarized issue and the community support forums are not the place to hold such discussions we are closing threads related to the mastbar.”

With that, they closed the topic. As further requests came in, WordPress repeatedly closed each topic after responding with “The banner is temporary. It will eventually be removed. Threads are being closed as the public WordPress.com forum is not the place for these discussions.” In some of the requests, the user simply said the banner was offensive, just as a Swastika banner would be offensive. Others said they would prefer to have an option as to what appeared on the top of those pages. Others weren’t aware of what the banner meant, and though they liked rainbows, they didn’t want one there. Others asked, how long is ‘eventually’?

At this point, I thought the Rainbow banner was one design decision that WordPress hadn’t thought out very carefully. They chose to impose their support, and an implied solidarity, onto every WordPress.com blogger. Many of these bloggers were quick to object to that kind of forced compliance and rightfully so.

One forum moderator responded to the bloggers objections by saying, they thought everyone who posted a protest on the forum was a hater. Hater? Everyone? I object to the banner, but I’m not a hater. I simply object to not having a choice as to whether I want to fly a particular flag. There are lots of flags and graphics I would object to – not out of hate – just a desire to have  control of the design in the ‘living room’ of my blog. I think WordPress made two errors – one in their disrespect for their user base by posting the banner, and the other in the way they responded to the users when they objected.

What do you think?

Post 503

It took a while……… but I’ve finally arrived.

https://gogreygirl.wordpress.com/

https://gogreygirl.wordpress.com/

Why I reblogged Al’s post: When I was Freshly Pressed, I had to kick myself out of The Never Been Freshly Pressed Club. Without consulting anyone, I dictatorially selected Al at the cvillean to take over the position of President. This reblog is Al’s Acceptance Speech. I hope all WordPress Bloggers will go to Al’s blog and join the Club, follow his blog, and throw buckets of praise at him because he is one very nice person.

Post 443

The Cvillean

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” – William Shakespeare  “Twelfth Night”

“Great men need great events.” – unknown author (although it might have been me)

Before this month, I fell squarely in the first quote category. Now I am honored to say I am one of those who has had greatness thrust upon him.

For those who do not know, I am a member of a club which was founded by a fascinating blogger, Margie, at As iAge. The club is aptly named “Never Been Freshly Pressed” and membership is very exclusive. There are only around 400,000 potential members. Margie was not only the founder, but self-appointed President as well. Earlier this month, Margie found herself in the embarrassing position of having been Freshly…

View original post 186 more words

My Freshly Pressed Natural Disaster

Michelle, a well meaning WordPress Story Wrangler, chose my post ‘Hidden Valley – A Community Lost’  for the honour of being Freshly Pressed. Michelle had been following the story of  the flooding of our community, and she thought it deserved a wider audience.

Unfortunately, most of the Freshly Pressed readers didn’t agree. They weren’t as drawn to a story that was tagged ‘Natural Disaster’ as they were to – well – just about every other post that day… or week… or month probably. So much for my expectations of Freshly Pressed fame! I don’t, of course, blame WordPress for my somewhat dismal showing.

WP StatsAll my long time, loyal readers (and you know who you six are!) will want to know about the meteorical rise in Viewer Stats that comes with being Freshly Pressed. I’m going to satisfy your curiosity by inserting a clip from my stats page. On the far left you will see a very, very short bar, which is my usual readership. The next three bars are what happened to my readership when I posted the stories that no one else in the Google World had picked up on – the Flooding on the Siksika Nation and Hidden Valley.

Continuing on from left to right, you can see what happened when The Mainstream Media finally picked up on the story. Freefall! When you get to the fourth bar from the right – that is where I was Freshly Pressed.

https://gogreygirl.wordpress.com/As if the loss of our entire Community in a flood wasn’t tragic enough, I must now announce my voluntary resignation as President of the “Never Been Freshly Pressed” (NBFP) Club. (It was very short sighted of me not to proclaim myself  LIFETIME PRESIDENT.)

We are going to need a new President, and because I am the Founder of the Club, I am quite prepared to stalk and bring down the person who I feel would be best qualified to carry on the traditions we don’t really have, but would have if we should ever need them.

It is with great pleasure that I dictatorially proclaim our Treasurer, Al, of the blog thecvillean, as our new President. Now, I know that Al is not a Canadian, and he is, well, a man. But he has worked very hard to manage our dark chocolate fund and I think his dedication should be recognized and rewarded. Congratulations, Al!

A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.
– Rosalynn Carter –

As a NBFP Alumnus, I promise to sink back into relative obscurity. I promise to continue to write in the mediocre style that is my trademark. I promise to continue to overuse exclamation marks! And I promise to keep looking at life from the sunny side of the street.

Post 440

The Unofficial WordPress ‘Never Been Freshly Pressed’ Club

So You’ve Never Been Freshly Pressed! Then it is your lucky day, because you qualify for membership in the NBFP Club.  Yes, there are other bloggers just like you who have chosen WordPress.com but WordPress.com hasn’t chosen you… or them…

By my estimation, (and by virtue of my self appointed rank of President of NBFP I am authorized to do estimates) 99.9986% of WordPress bloggers have not, and never will be Freshly Pressed. Don’t ask me how I came to that conclusion. It is advanced math and like WordPress, I am not at liberty to tell you how and why I do what I do. Rest assured, however, that no matter how many of your fellow bloggers get Freshly Pressed and no matter how many of your fellow Bloggers are Freshly Pressed on numerous occasions, they still are a very small minority. There are, you see,  nearly 40 million new posts each and every month for WordPress to choose from!

I’m sure you are as excited about the NBFP Club as I am. You already know the benefits of Never Being Freshly Pressed, but let me itemize them for you (this is why I am President – I am organized too):

  • no long lines of strangers hanging about your blog hoping to cash in on your fame
  • no feelings of inadequacy if you don’t get Freshly Pressed again
  • no depression when your site stats slip back to normal
  • no need to live up to your past fame

Of course, the NBFP Club will be more than just a virtual reality. I’ve found us a clubhouse.

street scene

I know it doesn’t look all that good right now…

street buildings

But my contractors assure me that with just a few renovations, this is what our place could look like. I think the restaurant and patio will be wonderful!

Since the inauguration of our club, we’ve rounded up a few bloggers who are eager to serve on our Board. The good thing about our Club is that anyone can be on the Board simply by volunteering to fill a position that they invent. How cool is that!

UPDATE:  It is with extreme sadness that I announce I was Freshly Pressed on July 9, 2013. I therefore announce my resignation as President, though I will still retain my title of Founder and First President.

Our New President is Al at thecvillean . Previous to this, Al was our very capable Treasurer. If you would like to join the NBFP Club, head over to his blog.

Farewell all and Happy Blogging!

Post 388

Press Release from The Never Been Freshly Pressed Club

bandaid

I was just putting the finishing touches on a post about all my blogging friends who have never been ‘Freshly Pressed‘. I was thinking it would be appropriate to form a group of ‘Never Been Freshly Pressed’ (NBFP) bloggers, perhaps design our own badge to put in a widget on our sidebar – celebrate our status as the underdogs.

I think everyone roots for the underdog.
– Johnny Knoxville

I was going to link to some of my fellow underdogs and the first on my list was Steve at The Brown Road Chronicles. He recently wrote about how he has skirted around accusations that he has used the banned substance called ‘Freshlypresstosterone’ in an attempt to achieve Freshly Pressed fame. I guess the drug finally worked –  yesterday Steve was Freshly Pressed.

Toonaday bandaid

Steve with A Broken Heart because he was Freshly Pressed

Congratulations Steve – but as self proclaimed President of the NBFP, I’m going to have to kick you out of our club. It breaks my heart to have to do it, but rules are rules. (Note to the Club Secretary – please get those rules written. Note to Membership – please nominate a secretary.)

I’m sorry Steve, but you will have to remove your belongings from the Club locker room. I’m going to have to suspend your bar and dining privileges too. (Note to Club House Manager – do we have a location for the Club yet? Note to Membership – hire a Club Manager.)

On the bright side, that means someone gets Steve’s parking stall.

Life goes on. Let me introduce you to some of the remaining members of our Club:

  • Al at thecvillean.  Al is blunt in describing his feelings about the WordPress FP editors: “When the intellectual powers that be at WordPress FP gather together to beatify a subscriber, please just put away the dartboard and actually read one of my posts.”
  • The self described ‘disjointed and somewhat snide’ blogger at Pouring My Art Out is pragmatic: “I have as much chance of being ‘freshly pressed’ as Dick Cheney has of being voted People Magazine’s ‘sexiest man alive’”.
  • Christine at The Good Stuff writes, “I just started my 2012 day timer with that freshly pressed paper smell” – In our club, Freshly pressed means different things to different people.
  • L8n at Back Road Scholar. L8n is well connected. If anyone can find us a club house, L8n can.
  • Me. I wrote about the probability of being Freshly Pressed in a post called So You’ve Never Been Freshly Pressed. I compared it to a lottery, but it isn’t. It is a competition with no fixed rules where there are winners and losers and no one really understands the how or why of any of it. As one Freshly Pressed Blogger said about being selected, “here was a post that was far from my favourite in terms of creativity and flow. It didn’t even contain any of my own pictures!”

Contrast that to all the benefits of the NBFP Club –  no long lines of strangers hanging about your blog hoping to cash in on your fame; no feelings of inadequacy if you don’t get Freshly Pressed again; and no depression when your site stats slip back to normal.

If you are an overlooked, under appreciated blogger and  you would like to join our club, head over to the home of our new President, Al, at thecivillean so that your name can be added to our roster. You will have to take an Oath of Allegiance… once we get one written.

Post 384

My First Ever ‘WordPress In Review’ Report

I’ve been blogging for three years and managed to stay under the radar as far as WordPress.com was concerned. Then, for some unknown reason, my stealth radar shield was deactivated. The WordPress stats helper monkeys swooped in, sucked up all my blog’s pertinent data, and compiled an annual report.

I won’t burden you with the full report, but here is the stats monkeys cleverly worded comparison:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 31,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 7 Film Festivals

I’ve never been to Cannes, but I’ve bought a few DVD’s from Costco. Comparing my blog views to the DVD sales stats for Costco wouldn’t have made me feel very successful though.

That pretty much wraps up this year. I expect my radar shields will reactivate shortly and my blog will return to stealth mode. Happy New Year!

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.
– Bill Vaughn –

May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.
– Joey Adams –

Post 376

Responsive to Change – My Cat and WordPress Themes

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
– Charles Darwin –

This is Mooch. He is a very large cat (see story The Cat Compendium) that may not be the brightest bulb in the box, but he certainly was extremely responsive to change. It took him about a nanosecond to accept that he no longer lived at our house and had been adopted by the people next door.

But Mooch isn’t what this story is really about. This is about my blog, and your blog, and how everyone reads our blogs. Surveys suggest that nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds.

But there is more: people no longer just use their desk top or laptop computers to read our blogs. More and more people are using their phones or digital tablets to view our ever so entertaining stories. And did you know that a blog that looks just fine on a computer screen can be much more difficult to read on a tiny phone screen if the theme of the blog hasn’t been taught to be Responsive or doesn’t have the Mobile Option clicked (Go to My Site(s) → WP Admin → Appearance → Mobile in your dashboard. Click on the Yes radio button to enable a mobile-friendly theme, and click on the Update button.)

Which WordPress.com themes are fully Responsive? Hop over to this page: Responsive Themes to find one that appeals to you. For now, I’m using a Mobile friendly theme that isn’t responsive, but I frequently change themes. Like Mooch, I enjoy the change of moving to a new abode – with the simple click of my mouse!

Post 357

I’m Blue – WordPress Sometimes Sucks the Joy Out of Blogging

Actually, the Photo Challenge this week was simply the word Blue, but I’m feeling Blue so that is what today’s post will be about.

It has been one of those weeks. Nothing bad happened, but a series of little things coincided with a shift in the ‘feel fine’ chemical brew that keeps me on an even keel. The result is, and always has been, several days of living with a black cloud hanging right over my head.

Not an awesomely beautiful black cloud like the ones I sometimes see in the blue morning sky over the hay field. No, a dismal, dull black cloud that wants to suck the life out of everything.  (If you are into Harry Potter, think dementors, only not quite as evil as that.) But bad enough that a small feast of chocolate does nothing to lift me out of morose. (And it didn’t help my mood at all to watch the season finale of NCIS last night, either. It looks like Ducky has met his demise. Trust television to make you think they are going to kill off a senior.)

I had hoped this morning would see the clouds lift, and it might have if I had not logged into WordPress.com to write this post.  I shouldn’t have read their latest weblog called ‘Stay in the Conversation’  because it didn’t brighten things up at all. In their infinite wisdom, the WordPress team has decided that by default, everyone who comments on a WordPress blog post will now be subscribed to all the comments for that post. That means you get an email in your inbox every time someone else comments on that post. If you do not want a full inbox, and you have a WordPress account, you can turn this feature off, (go to your WordPress Reader and click ‘Manage Email Delivery Settings. Or you can manage it on a post by post basis by unchecking the appropriate box under the comment you make). If you do not have a WordPress account, and you want to turn this feature off, they suggest you open a WordPress account. (I could remove the requirement that you must leave your name and email address when you leave a comment on my blog. If WordPress doesn’t have your email address, then they can’t send you comments you don’t want. But for now, I will remove the option to subscribe to comments at all.)

(PS:  The very next day, WordPress withdrew this feature with the following announcement:

Update (May 17): Since this feature went live we’ve had a bunch of feedback and it looks like following comments by default is not a good fit for a lot of bloggers (and their readers) after all. We looked at a few different options, but for now we’ve just changed things back to how they were before. To follow a conversation, make sure you check the box when you post a comment.)

I hate this ‘Opt Out’ mentality. If you want out, push this button. Well, I do want out, and it is for that reason I’m going to take a blogging break. I’ll still post, but less frequently. I’ll read others blogs, but not as often. I need to step away from the WordPress rat race for a while. I’m letting it suck the joy out of blogging.

Post 328

Reblogging and Image Copyright – Part 2

lady camera

I’m not going to pretend I have never violated someones copyright. If I was to follow the strictest terms of the law, then I should include the author and source document of each Quotation I use. I should not have  photographed my Daffy Duck shirt and blogged about it. I’m also a bit unclear as to whether the graphics I bought from The Print Shop can be used on my blog or not…

ToonadayI am, however, a bit touchy about the issue of other bloggers using my Photographs without permission. In a previous post, When Does Reblogging Violate Copyright?, I mentioned that one of my posts had been reblogged. I complained to WordPress about two things:
1. The reblog contained one of my photos, used without my permission.
2. The site that reblogged my post seemed to consist entirely of reblogged posts, without a single word of original content.

I haven’t received a reply from WordPress about my complaint, but when I checked the offending blog today, I saw that WordPress had dealt with the issue by removing the blog:

hello100blog.wordpress.com is no longer available.
This blog has been archived or suspended for a violation of our Terms of Service.
– WordPress.com –

A WordPress Happiness Engineer, Erica V., (who was on the receiving end of my complaint), also wrote  some suggestions in The Daily Post for finding photos that are in the Public Domain – A Picture’s Worth.

Of course, I still don’t have an answer as to whether WordPress thinks Reblogging violates image copyright

Hopefully everyone understands that it is a big NO-NO to copy photographs and images without permission. Of course, the consequences of doing this are probably about NIL unless someone discovers it and complains… Nonetheless, there are a number of image sources on the internet that don’t violate copyright. In addition to the ones Erica mentions, here are a few others to consider:

1. Wikimedia has an impressive list of  Public Domain Image Resources.

2. YouTube  is a popular source for interesting video, but embedding a YouTube video in your blog is not something you should do without taking a few precautions. The people who upload material to YouTube are expected to abide by the information presented on the Copyright Education page. Not all of them follow those rules, however. YouTube cannot, of course, review every video that is uploaded, so they depend on subsequent viewers to alert them to Copyright Violations.

Before a blogger embeds a YouTube video in their blog, they should also assess whether it violates copyright or not.  HubPages presents a comprehensive Copyright Infringement discussion.

Stanford University Libraries discusses Copyright and Fair Use.  It is very readable, and includes the  fact that Copyright has expired for all works published in the United States before 1923.

I know it all sounds quite complicated, and I know that now and then most bloggers are in violation of something. But that shouldn’t stop any of us from trying to do the right thing, not the easy thing

Post 272

When Does Reblogging and Pinning Things Violate Copyright?

Reblogging

We All Like to Reblog by Andy P, WordPress.com, June 1, 2010
Have you ever come across a blog post that you enjoyed so much you wanted to easily share it with the readers of your own blog? Sure, you can copy and paste the link and perhaps even a snippet of text with your own comments, but overall it’s not a particularly enjoyable experience. We wanted to change this and make sharing other posts with your readers as easy as posting to your blog.

On December 5, 2011, I got a notice that one of my posts had been Reblogged. When I clicked the link that pointed to the site that had reblogged me, this image is what I saw:

In the case of this particular post, the reblog contained about half of what I said, plus one of my photos in its original size. The Blogger that copied my post did not add any of their own content.

I was not asked for, nor did I give permission for someone to copy and post one of my photos. Reblogging, in this case, looks an awful lot like content theft.

Content theft happens all the time on the internet, but that doesn’t make it right. Each and every one of us holds a Copyright to the content on our blogs, as long as we are the original writer of the words, photographer of our photos, or designer of our graphics. We don’t even have to post a notice of Copyright for this to be so. (But it is a good idea to do this to remind others that your content is not free for the taking. WordPress discusses how to Prevent Content Theft.)

No one else is allowed to copy this content in it’s entirety without our express permission. They can, however, take small excerpts from it for inclusion in their work, provided they give us credit. These snippets should be for the purpose of criticism, commentary or news reporting and are considered “fair use”.

In the case of a photograph or graphic, the photographer or graphic artist has the sole right to produce and reproduce the photograph or any substantial part of it. No one can use that photo or graphic without permission.

All WordPress Bloggers signed Terms of Service. We agree that we will not “download, copy and use Content that infringes the proprietary rights, including but not limited to the copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret rights, of any third party”. In turn, we as bloggers “grant Automattic a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting our blog.”

I contacted the owner of the blog that has violated my photo copyright. They did not approve my comment, respond to my complaint, or remove my photo. I contacted WordPress and asked them to facilitate the removal of my photo from this site. WordPress eventually responded by blocking the offending blog completely.

So, what do you think about Reblogging? Does it look like content theft to you?
Have you ever included photos or graphics in your blog that you have not obtained permission to use?

Pinterest and Copyright

Copyright law governs the use of these works on the internet, just as it does in all other forms of publication. Contrary to popular opinion, everything on the Internet is NOT in the Public Domain.

Perhaps the largest segment of the internet population who violate Copyright (and there are over 70 million of them now) are Pinterest Users.   Copyright violation (content theft) occurs every time a Pinterest User ‘pins’ a photo or an article to one of their boards – unless they get the permission of the author or the artist to do so. The reason it is content theft is simple. Pinterest pins are exact duplicates of the original content which is stripped of identifying metadata and then stored on Pinterest’s servers.

Pinterest Pins are not thumbnails (thumbnails are not copyright violation because you have to go to the original source to see the full picture.) Pinterest Pins are not embedded links (like embedded video clip links, which are also not copyright violation.) Pins are a duplication of material that was created by someone else for use on their website. If the creator of that material does not give you permission to put that material on your page or board, you are violating the author or artists copyright.

Pinterest knows that Pinterest Users violate copyright all the time, but it isn’t really a concern of this well funded company (currently valued at $3.8 billion). Pinterest won’t be the ones on the hook if the original authors of the content get fed up with content theft. Pinterest have absolved themselves of any wrongdoing by stating that they “respect the intellectual property rights of others” and that that they expect their users to respect these property rights  too. Pinterest goes on to say that the user is solely responsible for the User Content  they post to Pinterest.

Pinterest also thinks they can do an end run around Copyright. They offer the owners of the original content a code that will prevent Pinterest users from being able to pin from code protected sites. This suggests that Pinterest believes that nothing is copyright unless the owner takes the responsibility of inserting the code into their site.

The vast majority of Pinterest Users do not even realize that they are guilty of content theft. If they do understand what that is, they don’t think they will ever be caught doing it, and if they are caught, they believe it is highly unlikely they will be sued. In their minds, what they are doing is really just the digital equivalent of the scrapbooks they used to make from the pretty pictures and comics they tore out of newspapers or magazines.

The difference between paper scrapbooks and internet ones is subtle, but important. When you buy a newspaper or magazine, you are not copying and distributing the item. You simply purchased the material for your own use.  If you were to scan and post that picture or comic to a website where it is available for illegal copying and downloading, you would then be violating the copyright of the author of the work. The same applies to the photo or article that you pin to your Pinterest Board. You have taken another person’s work (which you have not paid for) and made it available to the world without the author or artist’s permission.

Why is this a big deal to the person whose work has been taken?  When a photo is pinned to a board, it becomes a competing version of that image. This often siphons image search traffic away from the source site. If that source site is trying to sell their work, that affects their business. Many Pinterest users gather their pins from other Pinterest Users. This means that Pinterest Users don’t even have to go to the original source of the image at all, and that further erodes traffic to the very people who are producing the work in the first place.

Last, but not least – Pinterest is setting themselves up to make some serious money through advertising. They have started off with Sponsored Pins – which are promotions for certain pins from a select group of businesses. These pins will be targeted to match the content the users pin to their boards.  Where does that content come from? All the creative people who take photos and create art and write the stories that get ‘appropriated’ by Pinterest users.  Will any of those creative people be financially compensated for that content? Not likely.

I’d like to end this story with a lesson as to what can happen if a person ‘borrows’ a nice picture without getting permission. This  is a post by blogger Roni Loren: (Bloggers Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Pics on Your Blog – My Story).  Another story about being sued comes from The Content Factory.

Post 269

The WordPress Snub – So You’ve Never Been Freshly Pressed

Freshly Pressed – to a WordPress Blogger, it is like winning the lottery. It puts your little blog on the Freshly Pressed Home Page, and that brings thousands of readers to your door.

What are your chances of being Freshly Pressed? I think you have – well, I’m not sure what your odds are, but there are about 50 posts chosen from approximately 59,000,000 posts written each month. That is an awful lot of posts to choose from, which is why being selected has a lot to do with luck.

131 WordPress Freshly PressedThe Freshly Pressed posts are chosen by reviewing the Tags that you add to your posts. These tags are gathered up and displayed on tag pages which link back to the posts. Certain tags are chosen from these pages, I guess, and the posts with those tags are the ones that will be reviewed. There will still be an awful lot of posts to choose from, so they are weeded out by picking the ones with clever headlines. What is clever? That is a tricky question. I know what I think is clever, but I don’t know what the Freshly Pressed Editor thinks is clever.

The clever headline posts have to pass a content test and be Typo Free. I don’t know what the criteria is here, but I have seen some Freshly Pressed posts that I’d like to correct with a big red pencil, so there is obviously some latitude.

If the content is good, then they would like you to Include Images (original or properly credited). But this isn’t a hard and fast rule either, I don’t think. I’ve seen Freshly Pressed blogs that had no images, or images without any obvious credit.

I’ve seen Freshly Pressed blogs that came from brand new bloggers, and ones from bloggers who had a million views. So I don’t think size and audience figure into being chosen.

50 Freshly Pressed posts a week times 52 weeks is 2600 posts in a year. That does not mean, however, that there are 2600 different bloggers. For some reason, once you have been Freshly Pressed once, this honor seems to follow you like a lost puppy dog.

Update 2015: The WordPress Daily Post recently discussed ‘The Dark Side of Freshly Pressed‘. My take from this article, and the comments that were left: 4 people pick the Freshly Pressed posts; they have some favourite bloggers, which is why some are Freshly Pressed many times (the record is apparently 16 times); Freshly Pressed is going to be replaced by an online magazine called Discover.

I think there are too few resources (staff people) doing the picking, which might explain why the whole thing has come to resemble the work of a High School ‘In’ Group.

Post 132

 

Choosing a WordPress.com Theme

If you are using the free version of WordPress.com, you know there are a certain number of Themes to choose from. Some themes can be customized considerably, and some are quite fixed. I have tried a great number of these themes, and have not settled on any one as being perfect for me. The following are some of my thoughts on choosing themes:

1. I have several blogs. Some are mostly photos, and some are mostly writing. I prefer a darker theme for the photo blog, because I think the photos look better on a darker background. The dark background necessitates white print, which I think is harder to read. So I wouldn’t choose a dark background theme for a writing blog.

2. I think Categories are the best way to navigate my blogs. So I want the Categories Widget to be on a sidebar, either to the left, or the right of my posts. I don’t want the Categories to be way down at the bottom in the footer. I also wouldn’t choose single column themes because they, too, would not display categories where I want them.

3. Probably the most important criteria should be how physically easy it is to read the blog. This is determined by the Font that is used, the size of the font, the color of the font, and the page background.  A Font Study done for the Software Usability Research Lab (SURL) at Wichita State University was published in January 2002. It looked at Legibility, Attractiveness and Font Size. Study participants indicated that the most legible fonts were Arial, Courier and Verdana. The most attractive fonts were Georgia and Times New Roman. The best font size depended on the font itself, with Verdana looking best at 10 point size, and Arial and Times New Roman looking best at 12 point. Overall, Verdana was the most preferred font. Times New Roman was the least preferred.

Fonts are usually categorized as being either Sans Serif, such as Arial, Tahoma or Verdana; or they are Serif, such as Times New Roman and Georgia. There are a huge number of other fonts that fall into these two categories. The majority of them, however, are not advised for use on the internet. The reason has to do with which fonts are installed on most computers. Visitors to your site will only see fonts that are installed on their own computer. The vast majority of computers, whether Windows or Mac based, will have the following fonts installed: Sans Serif – Arial, Tahoma and Verdana; Serif – Georgia, Times New Roman.

The size of the font is important too, but I think most web browsers allow the viewer to adjust the size of the text. The color of the text is another issue. The reason books are generally black type on white paper is because this causes the least eye strain. So, if a blog consists mostly of words, black type on a light color background would make the most sense.

4. Many bloggers use Pages in addition to Posts. I like Themes that display the Pages on Tabs near the top of the page. I particularly like the “HOME” tab. It lets the reader get back to the beginning if they get lost somewhere in the blog hierarchy. If a theme doesn’t display Page Tabs, the fallback position is a Widget.

5. If a Photo or Graphic is wider than the column it is supposed to fit in, the Theme will deal with in one way or another. Some Themes will proportionally shrink the photo so that it fits in the space, and still looks right. Some themes just squinch the picture so that it is narrow enough to fit, but leave the length the same. Some themes just clip the offending width off.

6. I’m also interested in how the Theme treats Blockquotes. Many themes just put them in italics and center them on the page. But some themes make the quotes stand out by putting a big quotation mark in front, or a line along the side, or boxing them.

7. Some themes have custom colors, custom headers and/or custom backgrounds. These features can lead to all sorts of strange and wonderful results. The limit to complete customization is the lack of a custom footer too…

My experience with Themes tells me that so far there is no perfect theme for me. I will have to pick the most important features, and compromise on the rest of the stuff. Of course, if you upgrade to Custom CSS, then you have a lot more choice on how your blog appears!

Post 46

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