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Hacking The Social Network To Get To The Top

Posted by Molli Fire on Monday, 30April07

Before I end the detour into posting about HearingTest and internet technical info, I want to add a few things….

This Here WordPress Blog

I like to read about all kinds of things and i’m fascinated with how things work. I have a terrible habit of dismantling things, especially electronic things, to see how they work. If they weren’t broken to begin with, I am good at getting them back together. One of my many obstacles in life turns up when I take things apart that don’t work for some reason. I leave them “exploded” – scattered bits about 1/16th inch away from where they were nestled together as a cohesive whole. I leave them that way while I try to find the part that will make them work again. This would be fine, except they tend to multiply. Many little unfinished projects with their guts exposed.

I can’t do this with the web. If something can’t be fixed properly, I have to figure out a backup plan that will work. Which brings us to the current design and layout going on here at the HearingTest HQ. WordPress worked on fixing the sidebar/widget problems this morning, and seems to have resolved it. For some reason, it’s not working for me. I have a dead widgets dashboard. I can’t mess with ’em. So what am i going to do now?

(shrugs) nothing.

It really doesn’t bother me too much, as long as all the correct info is there. I’d actually like this layout if the sidebars were on the left. And, i wanted to change the CSS for this site soon enuff anyway. So, maybe this will do until I get a chance to write up a stylesheet, it might increase my motivation to get on that. Or, maybe i will figure out how to get the old design working again. Either way, it means there will be a bit of a construction zone goin on here for a short time. I apologize, I hope no one is actually inconvenienced, though i hardly think a person could be inconvenienced by this site.

Technorati favorites, Digg, Top blogs, And other Social Networking Issues In Web 2.0

I’m A Tinkerer

Part of my fascination with how things work extends to the web. I learned programming at a very early age – I was writing programs on a Commodore 64 that would tutor me on french when I was about 12 – so I am intrigued with SEO, accessibility, user interface, and such things. This is one of the reasons I thoroughly enjoy reading Problogger, even though i have almost no interest in making money from the blog itself. Sure, i have that link to Threadless Tshirts in the sidebar, which generates a whopping $3 credit in the store for me if someone were to use that link AND buy a shirt. (have you seen that link? oh you really should, it’s near the bottom. have you seen Threadless Tshirts? They are SO nice!) ;) But i digress. I read Problogger because I find it interesting. It’s useful, often has specific info on topics that are of interest to any website manager, and I like that he values reader interaction and quality of content more than what the web-surfing robots think. You know, the robots who decide things like blog rank and top posts and such.

Technorati Favorite Swapping

This weekend, I learned of yet another web 2.0 obsession – swapping favorite blog links. It is a game that some people play to get ahead on the web. The idea is to get enough people to add your blog address to their favorite blogs list on Technorati so that you get into the Top 100 Favorited Blogs. Darren, the author of Problogger, wrote a post about the dynamics of this game and whether being in the top 100 was a huge advantage or not. He has a great perspective in this matter, being #3 on the list, and it is valuable to get a glimpse of what he can see from there. Especially because he does not use this swapping method to get ahead in the rank. His post got me thinking about such methods, and I just thought I would put them here for the record. Think of this as an editorial in the Opinion section…

Put Down The Mouse, It’s Time To Get Some Fresh Air

Towards the end of that post, Darren offered up his honest opinion of the tactic. He said “This might not be popular – but I think that the practice of swapping favorites is a little sad and that the energy that some bloggers are putting into doing it could be much better spent by actually engaging with readers and encouraging genuine relationships to be formed.” I couldn’t agree more. The funny thing is that some people got really upset. Some even went so far as to use expletives in their comments! Getting heated about a topic like this displays how some people identify themselves with their blogs too much. MANY people in this cyber world need to step away from their computers and get some air. And some perspective. Take a walk, or a vacation. Seriously, it’s a blog, a web log of some series of events and personal experiences. Blogs may be taking over the web, but they should not be allowed to take over our lives. I say this even as someone who has spent 16 hours/day on my laptop every day for the last 2 weeks. I have not had any day off, I have been eating pizza and chinese, drinking too much coffee, and going insane. However, this is really unusual for me. I love the outside world, I love dancing and kung fu, I love huge stacks of speakers playing dub music, I especially love fresh air!

Every Man And Woman Is A Star

Blogs, writing, coding, programming, designing, and all computer based careers cause pixel burn to the eyes, a lack of social skills, stiff joints, sore backs, and a host of other problems. Why would i want to identify with these things? I find it a little scary that we, as an online population are getting so involved in web 2.0 that some people are beginning to internalize their online personas. Granted, your blog is a personal experience, and it probably follows the same moral standards that you adhere to in “real” life. But really, why take it so seriously?
I can appreciate the spirit of experimentation that this game began with (supposedly), but these types of trading, gaming, etc. is really just cheating. Is it more important to see inflated stats, rather than have any clue if someone actually likes the work being presented? For some, I suppose it is. But in the end, it’s just an illusion. I’d rather have one genuine reader than 100 fake ones. At least I would know if I was blogging to a brick wall in cyberspace. Plus, I hate it when a good idea, and a useful tool gets ruined by people who abuse it and exploit it, thereby making the tool completely inaccurate and useless. Well, for me, and my web persona, we’re gonna stick with integrity and moral highground. Even if it means we look insignificant in the vast universe of the www. Coz we are, we’re VERY insignificant. So is almost everything I post here. Do you think I would care about anything at all on the web if I was hungry from not eating enough for a week? How about a month? A year? Do you think our great great grandchildren will care about how popular our stupid blog was? Maybe it would be better to leave them a healthy environment, or an inspiring educational system.

End : rant transmission

Thanks for reading through all that. I don’t often rant and I’m not sure what has inspired this sudden interest in interacting with fellow bloggers. Today I even found myself going back to the WordPress forum about the broken sidebars and posting the temporary solution that had worked for me. I went back, and shared my insight in the hopes others could benefit as well from my discovery. This is totally my style, but not usually my web style. I hope I haven’t been virtually bit by a link swapping, black hat, blogger vampire!

Take it slow,
miss iVi

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