Comments, Avatars, Subscribe to Blog

Several people posted comments over the last few days that did not get “approved” by me until today. Sorry! I was fiddling with my settings and set the comments email notification off, when I thought it was on. I love getting comments, but don’t get that many – so was happy to see a backlog of comments from the last week.

I read a lot of blogs – mostly from my SlowTrav friends – and don’t comment often. I should because I know how much I like reading comments. So, keep those comments coming. I have my settings correct now and will see them. If you have commented before, your comment is posted immediately.

Avatars

I changed the blog to display avatars from Gravatar. WordPress blogs can be set to display avatars created on Gravatar (they are linked to your email address).

I tried to sign up for Gravatar, but it said I had already signed up. So I got it to send me my password, logged in and set up my avatar. Then I noticed that it said “Hello Poptarticus”. My friend Shannon runs a blog called Poptarticus. Recently I switched her blog from Movable Type to WordPress. I must have signed her up on Gravatar using my email. Gravatar calls me Poptarticus and I don’t think there is any way to change it 🙂

Long story to say – check out Gravatar if you post comments on WordPress blogs.

Subscribe to My Blog

Subscribe to RSS Feed for Slow EuropeI have both set up my blog on FeedBurner for RSS (read in your feed reader – e.g. Google Reader) and email subscription (you get an email with the most recent post). Click the links at the top of the blog or – Subscribe by Email 0r Subscribe to RSS.

I really like the Subscribe by Email and have subscribed to several blogs. Usually I sit down and go thru all the blogs I read to see who has new posts but with this I get an email showing the new post, so I don’t miss posts if I forget to check blogs.

But not all blogs are set up with FeedBurner. If you run a blog, put a FeedBurner subscribe link on it! You can add a form to your sidebar or a link to a form page. There are other things you can do with FeedBurner, but I have not figured them out yet. FeedBurner is now part of Google.

Twitter

And, since I am rambling away today, don’t forget to check out Twitter. I emailed many of my friends to tell them about Twitter and got 4 more people to sign up (out of about 100 emails). I think that my generation is not really into Twitter. But I go to my Twitter page first thing in the morning and the last thing before I shut down the computer – and really enjoy reading the tweets of the people I follow.

When you sign up for Twitter, anyone can read your Tweets (unless you mark your account as private). The idea with Twitter, as far as I understand it, is to do short (140 character limit) conversational tweets (posts).  Sort of like the Group Blog that I set up on the SlowTrav forums years ago, except shorter posts. Something you don’t mind anyone reading.

Make your account public so someone can read your recent tweets and decide if they want to follow you. If someone follows you, check out their page and follow them if they look interesting. If they look like spammers, block them so they cannot follow you.

See me on Twitter – PaulineK. If you sign up, follow me. I will get an email, then I can follow you.

I follow 52 people – people I know from SlowTrav, friends, famous web designers, travelers, expats in Europe. If you go to my Twitter page you can see the icons of the people I follow. Click “view all” under the displayed icons to see my list. Click on each one to see if they are someone you want to follow. Look at the lists of people they follow and so on. Eventually you get a nice list of people to follow. If someone becomes boring or pisses you off, you can unfollow them with one click. You can also search by keywords – I found some people to follow that way.

My pet Twitter peeve – people who tweet all day long. I was following people who tweeted about 20 times a day. That is too much for me to follow. I think 1 – 5 tweets per day is about perfect.

Speaking of pet peeves, how about people who post on their blogs 3 times in one day because they are avoiding other work (or thinking about the current stock market levels)? Guilty!!

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Pauline Kenny

Pauline Kenny and Steve Cohen are US expats living in Dorset. We moved to the UK in 2010. Read about our move. If you would like to talk about travel, please join us on the Slow Europe Travel Forums.

20 thoughts on “Comments, Avatars, Subscribe to Blog”

  1. I subscribe to both your blogs (along with many others) from Google Reader. I just started using it recently–I don’t know what too me so long, because it’s very convenient to just have a nice list of new posts to cycle through any time I feel like it!

  2. I tried using BlogLines as a feed reader, but kept forgetting to go and look at it. Do you access the Google Reader thru your Google Mail page?

    I like the blogs arriving in my morning email so I can read them when I have stumbled to the computer before I have my coffee. In the “old days” that was when I used to go on the forums and do bitchy posts. 🙂 Me reading new blog posts and Twitter before coffee is better for everyone.

  3. I like using a web based reader like Bloglines or Google Reader. Between food, travel, technology and photography, I follow about 140 different blogs. Having them all in one place is great. I also use a web mail client to it is natural for me to just open another browser window to read my feeds. There are also keystrokes to quickly jump to the next post (J = forward K=back) in a feed. This is helpful if you read a blog that does lots of posts every day like Lifehacker or Serious Eats.

    There are some blogs that do not full posts. Those are a little more difficult to follow in a reader. You have to click through. It makes sense if you are earning revenue from your blog. I don’t think you get hit counts or have your ads viewed unless you put them in your RSS feed. Here is a current post on ProBlogger about people who only read a blog via RSS.
    http://www.problogger.net/archives/2008/11/14/are-rss-subscribers-worthwhile-if-they-dont-visit-your-blog/

    I prefer a reader over the Feedburner subscription. I’m subscribing to one blog via feedburner and the delivery is slow. I prefer readers since they seem more immediate to me. That is if they don’t have problems with the feeds like Bloglines has been having. A lot of people are leaving Bloglines for Google Reader due to reliability issues. I don’t like Google’s UI but unless Bloglines fixes their problems soon – I’m going to leave. I’m currently subscribed in both.

    Also about Twitter. I haven’t warmed up yet to Twitter. I am starting to follow this blog which has lots of tips about Twitter: http://www.twitip.com/ . Thanks for the information about Gravitar. I’ll check it out.

  4. There’s a link to Google Reader on my gmail page, but I’ve also got it as one of the tabs that opens automatically when I start Firefox. It’s my early morning routine too to read this stuff with coffee.

    I haven’t warmed up to Twitter either. Maybe I should follow it more closely for a while and see if it grows on me.

  5. A disadvantage of relying on Google Reader is that if I relied on it entirely, I’d never see conversations like this one in the comments section. Of course, that’s an advantage for most of the blogs I follow!

  6. What Marta said! And Chris about the comments!
    I’m a subscriber here thru bloglines (when I chose, google reader just wouldn’t load for me). I prefer to read a blog in the reader and only click over to comment (which I have been trying to do more often). I have 155 in various categories! I don’t read all of them regularly tho 🙂

    I commented on another wordpress blog the other day and was surprised to see my avatar. I have NO recollection of doing that. Funny.

  7. I too use Bloglines. Since I access it daily it’s always on my drop-down list from my address line, so it’s quick and easy. I always choose the option to see the complete posts, but some bloggers override that with their personal settings.

    Regarding Twitter, I still don’t see the point, and wonder who has the time to post their every move OR to read about what everyone else is doing!

    As for posting multiple times per day, I try never to do that, not knowing when I might run out of inspiration! If I want to blog about something and I’ve already posted for that day I just save it as a draft or schedule it to publish at a later date!

  8. Chris – you do have a point about following comments. I’ve come back to this post a couple of times recently to follow the comments. You can subscribe to a comment feed also but I’ve never tried it.

  9. I set up Bloglines but just can’t get in the habit of looking at it. I will give it a try again and also check out Google Reader.

    I just realized that I never set up a good blogroll for this blog – am working on that now and will add your blogs (Karen, Barb, Marta – Chris, I would love to see you blogging again!).

    On Twitter you don’t post your every move (okay, I do – but I don’t do much). It is more like the SlowTrav group blog but shorter. The difference is in who you are following. I just enjoy reading the comments every day from the group I follow. One person is traveling around the world (in Vietnam now). Some are web designers who post comments about design. I don’t know – it just makes me feel connected. You know I always like to know what people are doing. Diva (Judy) is a good Twitterer.

    Karen, nice avatar 🙂

  10. I added chicklets for Google Reader, My Yahoo and BlogLines. Looking at my blog in Google Reader, can I format the feed? I use right aligned smaller photos (300px wide) in my blog, but in the Google Feed Reader (and in the emails from FeedBurner) the image does not float right but sits at the front of the paragraph looking ugly.

    I will google for help – but if any of you know the answer, let me know.

    I like the look of the Google Feed Reader.

  11. I’ve been looking for a way to subscribe to a comment feed from Google but I haven’t found anything. I know so little about all of this…

    Your photos aren’t floating, Pauline, but your blog looks better than most in the Google Reader. The slowtrav blogs have no paragraph breaks, so if they’re more than a few lines, I have to click over to them to be able to read them.

  12. Okay, I give up on email subscribe with FeedBurner. I was getting too many emails. I have Google Reader going and put all my subscriptions there.

    Chris, some blogs I see have RSS feeds for comments but I don’t see a way to get comments on Google Reader. The photos will never float in a RSS feed, but at least now they don’t bump up against that first line of text.

    Colleen, great to see you on Twitter!! I like Twitter even more these days!

  13. I just got this comment in Google Reader! 🙂 I clicked your Comments (RSS) link here and chose Google to set it up. I don’t know how to get it from the other direction.

  14. I’ve been meaning to ask you – why the switch to WordPress? Are you happy with it? Also, I’m liking twitter – so thanks for the heads up. One of the things I thought was cool was when it went through my e-mail address book and found anyone in my book who was already on Twitter; I was able to re-connect with an old friend that way.

  15. Hi Kim! WordPress is a good solution for one person running one blog. It would not work on SlowTrav where you are using Movable Type to run many blogs. Each time you start a new blog with WP, you have to set up a new MySQL database. With MT there is one database but many bloggers. WP does not let you easily control many blogs from one admin panel like you can with MT.

    But, for ease of customizing styles and templates, WordPress is the best. Movable Type, even in the new release which I tried out for a few months, has IMO convoluted HTML. Divs within divs within divs. The WP HTML is very straightforward and the styles easy to figure out. And there are hundreds of great themes for WP, whereas for MT there are only a few (maybe there are more now).

    I still did my own theme for WP because I wanted it to fit into my website look, and it was pretty easy to do.

    WP is different from MT in that there are hundreds of plugins – and that is a bit confusing. You have to figure out what they do and which ones you want. But they are very simple to install and configure.

    WP runs completely off the database – it does not generate HTML pages as does MT and Blogger – so it can cause a lot of usage on your server. On the other hand, when you make a change to a template in WP, you do not have to rebuild anything.

    Blogger is still a very good solution for someone who does not want to fuss with their blog. There are nice templates and it is easy to use. You do not have to install any software on your server or configure a database.

    But if you like being more hands on with your blog and want to use all the latest tools, WP is the way to go.

    I like seeing you on Twitter – but as I understand it, it was not me who convinced all you SlowTravers to try it – it was Colleen!! She can be very persuasive!!

  16. I have not tried that feature with Twitter – was afraid of having something go thru my address book. Of course, since then, a hacker went thru my address book up on Earthlink Webmail and emailed spam to everyone I know (or rather, everyone I knew about 3 years ago when I for reasons unknown to me put that address book up there). I will give it a try.

    I am slowly finding some great people to follow. I click on someone’s profile and see who they are following!!

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