For today’s Blogging101 task we needed to think about changing our name and tagline, but I’m writing under my own name for pretty much the first time ever and am happy with that decision. And my tagline: ‘gardening, roses, photos, creative’ could be much better, but at least it gives people some kind of handle on the type of subjects I write about.
So, wanting to take part in other ways, and with a couple of questions to ask my classmates, I headed to our shared forum The Commons. After seeing the same names cropping up a lot – and finding it hard to keep my place reading a page that was constantly being refreshed and moving as bloggers added new thoughts and replies so quickly – I decided to see if I could find out how many classmates I had and who they were.
That wasn’t easy either. I went between Safari and Firefox, valiantly trying to find out what I’d find if I could just get the intriguing Community Blogroll tag to load. I wanted to see if I could find gardeners or nature lovers, writers, photographers & designers. I had set time aside today to be a reader, not a writer and was happy to look at the sites of all kinds of creative, thoughtful people I could learn from and be inspired by.
After a few entertaining Firefox error messages trying to load the page, I thought I’d better report the problem. Michelle W. let me know that there are over 7,000 of us on the course, so it’s perhaps not surprising that the shared Commons site is having a few issues due to the numbers. There are simply too many people trying to look at the long Community Blogroll list for it to load every time.
At least I knew, and could stop trying to discover what I was doing wrong or to fix my iMac or internet connection!
It might be that the Community Blogroll is just a list of names, so less a cornocopia of treasures that I think, but ever the optimist, I am hoping for title and tagline after today’s task. And I’m sure there’ll be links to the sites.
Michelle W. explained that WordPress wanted to keep registration open and free so as many people as possible could benefit and I think that’s a great attitude. She’s doing a remarkable job, especially as she replied to me several times in a very clear, caring way in just a few minutes and has just got back to me again. I am sure her job is keeping her busy – let’s hope it’s the happy kind of busy that we all thrive on!
Her answer reminded me that when I worked in horticulture, we always wanted our rose gardens to be free to enter and enjoy. From time to time that wasn’t great – for example, the gardens and other facilities could be crowded on a fine day during their first peak of flowering – and on occasion, when it was less busy and a few more visitors would have been welcome, we were not able to get into a national newspaper’s garden listing because they wanted to advertise two for one offers or a percentage saving, and our garden was free!
I ground my teeth at that one, as I thought it was short-sighted if they genuinely cared about their readers or users and wanted them to have a good deal. When is free entry worse than two for one? Grr.
But back to Blogging101: another thing that’s intriguing about the course is that we all have access to two separate site dashboards and stats. In my case, my own site had 157 views yesterday, compared to 22,198 on the Commons one. Quite a contrast!
And that’s how I thought of a new plan to be able to find my classmates, because via the Commons stats, I can see all the people who have made at least one comment that day, just as I can on my own site.
I only found one gardener though before I deciding to write this instead. I’m finding the course fun, interesting and thought-provoking, despite there being so many of us at times in what feels like a surprisingly small room: I know it’s going to give me new ideas and challenges in the days ahead.
Any small quibbles I have are far from being deal-breakers – I’m delighted to have this chance to learn more as I’m new to blogging.
I later learned that by right clicking on a link, you have the option to open it as a new tab or window, while keeping your place in the Commons – knowing that earlier would have helped a lot! And the community blogroll is working fine in Photography101.