(Short answer: if you read other people’s stuff on the Internet you, too, will soon be sorting through hundreds of links to pick the top ten or top fifty for re-sharing. Thanks to +Sandy KS for asking a good question!)
Where do I find the links for my Link Logs? Each web site I’ve used has generated a blog feed of its own as I’ve connected with people there. I’m online at an obscenely early hour this morning, and I’m starting a new blog that I hope will actually generate some revenue as well as publicity, so while waiting for the caffeine to kick in I think I’ll reminisce about my blog and e-mail feeds…
1. Live Journal: Before the Internet, I wrote an appreciative letter to Suzette Haden Elgin. Enough readers had done that that she was publishing Newsletters, which were really mini-magazines, sometimes accompanied by handwritten notes to individual correspondents, but much more about what everybody had been reading–from medical journals to comic strips–than about anybody’s personal affairs. The Newsletters were the sort of thing that naturally worked better in cyberspace. Around the turn of the century Elgin transferred them there, first to short-lived web sites and then to the Ozarque blog at Live Journal. That blog still exists as a memorial. It attracted hundreds of readers, most of whom started LJ blogs of their own. Many of those blogs are still active. Ysabetwordsmith (Elizabeth Barrette), Harvey Rrit (Matthew Joseph Harrington), and Language Log (University of Pennsylvania teachers and friends) are reliable daily sources of thought-provoking fun stuff. I’m sorry to admit that, because LJ is based overseas, designed to work best with foreign browsers, therefore full of quirks and glitches when it interacts with U.S. browsers, I’ve neglected that site and probably discouraged a few e-friends there.
2. Associated Content: I was a paid writer for this “content farm” site during the years when it prospered. AC encouraged writers to interact in helpful ways. Groups of e-friends formed. +Lyn Lomasi , +Theresa Wiza , and +Coral Levang were three AC writers who’ve stayed active in cyberspace and maintained e-contact with me.
3. Tea Parties: AC was politically neutral before it sold out to left-leaning Yahoo. Petitions that circulated via AC, many of them sponsored by Republican-husband-and-Democrat-wife Newsmax, brought me into contact with a lot of political bloggers, writers, activists, and news sites from a wide range of positions. I’m on dozens of e-mail lists and file a few hundred political news e-mails in the Bacon Folder daily. The feeling that U.S. citizens are “Taxed Enough Already,” the belief that governments should respect private property rights (as discussed in the Bible), and the belief that Obamacare is neither ethically acceptable nor economically sustainable, are not limited to the Extreme Right, although I know some nice people on the Extreme Right. These views are actually bipartisan. I get e-mail from Tea Parties affiliated with the Democrats, Greens, and Libertarians as well as the Republicans. I’ve tried to move that whole department to Freedom Connector because I think that site needs more activity (and funding, if any of us can spare any) and, being U.S.-only, is a better site for discussions of our political issues than the more general, more global sites.
Personally, I’ll accept the label “conservative” about domestic fiscal policy, as long as people respect my right to be “liberal” about people: I think race is a lingering myth, cultural diversity is fun, women are generally superior to men but should concede equality as a useful fiction, abortion is so horrible that nobody should judge women who’ve survived it, and who cares what people get up to in their own bedrooms as long as they don’t gross everyone else out by publicizing it. Which is the kind of liberal thinking that can be considered “libertarian,” and although I think some of the kind of “victimless crimes” the Libertarians defend are not in fact victimless, I do think public funds shouldn’t be wasted on victimless crimes. And I’m also “Green” in the sense of believing that people can and should live in harmony with the other living creatures in their part of the world.
I reserve the right to disagree with anybody, including the shadows of real-life friends and sponsors who form the “we” at the Blogspot. When I post things with which I disagree I feel obligated to explain where and why I disagree. Readers are entitled to their own judgment. And disagreement in no way means I don’t like people, or even support those things that they do with which I don’t disagree. “Don’t you know that Barbara Ehrenreich is a Socialist, that +Stephen Marsh is a Mormon, that Dave Barry makes anti-cat jokes,” etc. Well, yes, those writers mention those things rather often, and no, I don’t think those things invalidate everything else they say.
4. Elected officials: Almost all e-mail from my U.S. Senators, my U.S. Representative, or the U.S. Representative for Danville goes on the Blogspot for its historical value. (Why Danville? Because for a while the Blogspot was functioning as the publisher for the Danville Tea Party.) I get daily e-mail from the White House social media staff, too, far too much to use, and occasionally link to it. (All through the twenty-first century, every U.S. computer user has had the option of joining the White House e-mail list; the Obama administration have worked social media more than the Bush administration did.) Once in a while we get content that qualifies as information rather than campaign material from other elected officials.
5. Writers whose Fair Trade Books I’ve reviewed: A majority of writers who’ve published books don’t do blogs. Many use sites like Facebook or Tumblr that don’t work for me. When I’ve found that a writer maintains a blog that does interface well with mine, I’ve added it to my blog feed. Scott Adams, Neil Gaiman, Liz Curtis Higgs, Dave Barry, and of course Glenn Beck as founder of The Blaze, come to mind as sources of many good links. (Before the Internet it was rare for very successful writers to make the time to become pen friends of all their fans–Ozarque was, so far as I know, unique. Now, for those who maintain blogs and web sites, it’s common. Musicians are doing it too.)
6. Google +: My Blogspot predates Google +. If you go far enough back into the archive you’ll find some of the history…Blogspot used to encourage users to discover one another with a “Next Blog” button, which generated random leaps and few sustainable connections. Then there was Blog-Zug, a German effort that I and some other non-German-speaking bloggers interpreted as “Travel Blog” and failed to understand or use. (It was meant to be a “Blog Train” on which bloggers could meet…if they could read German.) So then Google launched its own networking page with automatic membership for all users of Blogspot and Blogger. Despite some glitches, the worst of which may still be presenting every pretty picture from every site you’ve ever plussed as if it were a picture you had taken and you had offered for everybody in the world to use free of charge, I’ve found some nice things at Google +. +Ruth Cox , +Jasmine Ann Marie , +Susan Zutautas , and +Jeff Sullivan come to mind.
7. Bubblews: The site that promised to pay users, but didn’t, was where I e-met +Marsha Cooper , Callie WVU2 , Arthur Chappell and several other sources of material to which I’ve linked. (Interestingly, although nobody I actually recognize is still using that site, there’s a sucker born every minute and when I checked for activity among old e-friends I found new Bubblers following my long-inactive account. I’ll reactivate that account when I receive the $100 Bubblews promised to pay me and didn’t.)
8. Chatabout: Most of the people I e-met at Chatabout were old e-friends; for a social site it was surprisingly unconducive to e-bonding, but I did discover +Protecto Shell there.
9. Yougov: Yougov doesn’t seem to have been conducive to e-friendship either, and currently seems to have given up even trying, but sometimes their survey results have been worth linking to.
9. Persona Paper: Like The Blaze, Persona Paper offers sponsors flashy ads that, in practice, actually cost these sites readers because they use up memory and may slow down or crash browsers. Even new, expensive browsers. Web hosts who want actual readers should just ban Shockwave Flash and anything similar from their sites. Modest and simple ads are the way to go. The more an ad looks like the sort of cheap, simple, one-time ad taken out by a student trying to resell a bicycle, the more likely I for one am to read it. The more an ad tries to grab my attention, the more resolute I feel about not buying the product. And the kind of “negative ads” that are so common on the Internet, that try to market allegedly health-related products with images of human bodies in disease conditions, can just put me off using a site at all. However, a lot of e-friends post interesting content at Persona Paper…when it works for them.
10. Tsu: It was a nice concept, and I’ve tried using it and linking to it, but Tsu is just too many pictures.
11. Twitter: I avoided Twitter until a local lurker convinced me that “Twitter Mobile” is the only way a lot of people in our part of the world connect to the Internet, so using Twitter would boost local traffic. So now I use Twitter. It’s a memory hog that crashes some browsers but, since all the major news media tweet features and stories, Twitter is a great source of the news stories your local newspaper may have overlooked.
12. Blogjob: Back when I was conscientiously not surfing the Internet and using it only to write paid articles, Blogging for Dummies reported that some blog sites paid bloggers per post. +Sandy KS told me that Blogjob is trying to revive this concept. I’m checking it out. There’s a minimum word count for paid posts and a cap of two blog posts a day, plus pennies for supporting other people’s Blogjob sites, so for the duration of the experiment I’m moving the daily book review post and the next longest post–typically the Link Log–from Blogspot to Blogjob. Although I’ve pre-scheduled a few more book reviews for Blogspot, they’ll be migrating to Blogjob, at least for a while. I will be exploring other Blogjob blogs.
13. And let’s not forget Amazon, even though that site has apparently forgotten us…the contextual ad has been replaced with a lame graphic that doesn’t actually link to anything. Has the “crawler” that’s supposed to find Amazon book links on a page that’s been consistently displaying half a dozen Amazon book links, perhaps, broken down? Has Amazon decided not to bother because nobody’s ever clicked through the contextual ad? Has Amazon decided to stop linking to books and just push the sort of department-store products I don’t promote? Yourall’s guesses are probably as good as mine, Gentle Readers. Anyway, my purpose when I started blogging was to help promote writers and help writers get paid, so the great online book exchange site is a natural source of links.
14. Finally, the easiest way to get your blog added to my blog feed or e-mail lists is to interact with me through anything I’ve posted at any of these sites or at new ones. If you don’t post often, no worries, I just won’t find or link to a lot of your posts. If you post often but mostly in order to advertise something, I’ll be unlikely to read your content. If you’re either a left-winger or a right-winger who just predictably follows your party line, I’ll skim or ignore your posts; if you’re a “winger” or even a Real Wingnut (e.g. Barbara Ehrenreich) but you deliver fresh new information that’s reliable and informative and fun to read, I’ll read and probably endorse your posts. If you write things (or photograph things when I’m using a computer that can handle images, but I usually ignore audio and video content) that are funny or moving or insightful or fresh or informative, I’ll look forward to reading your content whenever I’m online.
Now for a graphic…Google + tends to misplace links to posts that don’t contain graphics. I have a Blogspot graphic, but Google + isn’t picking it up. For those who didn’t know, Morguefile and Pixabay are sites where photographers and graphic artists promote their work by sharing free samples with the world. So let’s see…courtesy of Mensatic, here’s www.morguefile.com/archive/display/974817 . (This is not Grandma Bonnie Peters’ front yard, but it’s the same species of flowers, blooming in similar profusion.)