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August 12, 2008


@Peter, you picked a good time to switch, too - Delicious just increased the allowable size of snippets as part of its first major overhaul.

Anybody here use Delicious with the TypePad sidebar? I've been thinking of adding a links/favorite recent posts feature here and this suggestion sounds great -- if it would work.

Thanks everyone for such a good discussion!

Teresa - and other linking newbies - adding the links should be fairly easy if you're using Typepad or Blogger.

First thing you want to do when you see a post you like is look for something called the "permalink" at the top or the bottom. Click on it. (If you don't see it, the title of the post is probably the link - click on it.)

See the address up at the top of your screen? (For this post it's http://cassandrapages.typepad.com/the_cassandra_pages/2008/08/the-prose-is-li/)

Highlight it with your mouse and copy it (command under Edit).

Now, go write your own post. The way both Blogger and Typepad is that you use your mouse to highlight the part of the post you want to be the link. (Something like "beth's post on blogging", say.)

Then look for a button that looks like some chain links, or a little globe. Click on it. A window should pop up. Paste the address you just copied in the window where it says URL. Click okay or done and you should see a link in your post.

If you're feeling fancy, you can also do a trackback, which is a way of letting the site you've linked to know you've done so.

Look at the end of beth's post above. See the Trackback URL? (It's http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/341703/32256760 for this post.) Highlight this, copy it, and paste it into the Trackback box that should be part of your own posting window. Done!

(Oh, to make the whole process easier, I usually have one window open with my blog posting space, and one with the blog post I'm linking to.)

I hope this helps! Email me if you have questions!

A little late to the conversation, I know, but I wanted to speak to the fear factor. For a long time after I started blogging, linking to and leaving comments on other blogs scared me. My fear was if I linked to them, or posted a comment, there was a chance they might come visit me, and I just wasn't ready to be noticed, especially by bloggers I most admired. And I didn't want to post "anonymous" comments -- that seemed silly. So I just stayed kinda quiet. I finally had a "get over it" moment, but really, I was quite shy for a very long time.

Teresa, thanks for reminding us about the issues newcomers face. I'm really glad you left that comment, and as you can see it already drew a response. Because blogging has been around for a few years now, I think it's even more important to remember that it's still not intuitive how to navigate the medium, and it takes quite a while to be comfortable. I hope other people will feel free to ask questions, and that this space is one where it feels comfortable to do that. In fact, I'll try to write a post about that specifically, inviting readers to bring up issues they find confusing or nerve-wracking and would like help with. Hey, I just had to ask for help on Identia - I couldn't figure out how to reply to comments at all!

Rana, thanks so much for that clear explanation! I've emailed Teresa to make sure she sees it.

ps_pirro -- thanks for saying that. If you can believe it, I was really nervous about commenting at first too! I think we all have had to get over a number of hurdles in this medium, and when I think back it's easy to remember how big they once seemed.

Beth, I can echo Lorianne's and Pica's comments. I suppose my blog is simply an extension of my work in general and, yes: ...(I am) overwhelmed, and reading and linking less because of the sheer volume.
Sometimes I feel the need to get away from the computer, much as I also want to go visit my blogging friends and comment on what they're writing but this requires time and focused attention, not just skimming superficially here and there. So I tend to make my blog-visting hours very late at night and that's not ideal either. I don't know what the answer is to the problem of community/interaction versus solo performance/introspection. It shouldn't be "versus", the two should be able to function together, but I haven't found that balance point yet.

Grateful, as ever, not only for your writing, but for the way your blog, Dave's blog, others become gathering places and jumping-off points for people worth reading. Since the time demands of my non-virt-world-life's increased, I spend less time reading and commenting, but that doesn't mean I value these gifts less.

Thanks, everyone for all these thoughtful comments and helpful insructions. Somewhere in Beth's post she asked the question why do you blog. It's one of those things that (for me) just happened because a writer friend of mine encouraged me to do it, but then after while it took on a life of its own and I found myself reading 10 or 11 blogs every day, and commenting and even having e.mail exchanges with some. My friend frequently puts me in her blog and I her, but there are many bloggers I've never met, and yet feel myself becoming friends with them. And last winter I found myself writing a post about one such blogger friend after he died, my eyes so blurred by tears I could not see what I was typing, but felt his loss intensely.

Beth described in her post about what early blogging was like, and because of my limited experience of blogging so far it seems like that to me. A small group of bloggers who read and comment on each others blogs. It is a unique and fascinating community, and I am grateful to my friend for having pulled me in.


Cor! Nothing like blogging on blogging for bringing in the comments!

I suppose I'm one of the later-comers, comparitively, who's reaping the benefits of the pioneering work the rest of you have already done. I try to make time and space for new things, but at the same time keep faith with the friends already made, and the balance between social responsibility and self-expression is one that needs constant attention.

Cynically, one might say you can't expect comments if you don't leave them, I visit people who visit me and we make each other feel good. Less cynically, those relationships are real, it's not like reading a book, I feel a personal connection to those people regardless of the artistic quality of what they do. There are a few special blogs I continue to go to even in the knowledge they will never visit you back, like Paula's House of Toast, but they are rare and exceptional.

I rarely read without commenting, I use feeds but almost always click on to the actual blog, but that's slow going, and sometimes I need to read a book or watch TV with Tom.

Anyway, I didn't intend to comment at length here, especially as everyone else has said what I'm thinking already! It's still a wonderful, and endlessly, navel-gazingly, fascinating world...and yours is one of the particularly inviting corners of it!

I've been ruminating on your observations, Beth, for the last few days and trying to think up something to add to all the comments here. And that's part of the thing, with all the blogs I stop by I just can't come up with as many ideas or have the energy to think them up as with the fewer blogs I was involved with in the beginning 5 years ago. I also used to spend a lot more time sitting at the computer and found I was losing out on being outside and spending time face-to-face with people. In part that was because I didn't have people to spend time with and so I compensated for that by seeking friendships online. I've made some truly valuable online friends over that time and I try to stay in touch with as many of them as I can, but it still doesn't provide the need I have for being with live people around me. I often wonder how much time I would spend online if I really did have a close-knit group of friends to spend most of my time offline with. No matter how enriching it is to have the access to information and intellectual discourse (I think I would be going completely mad here in Japan if the internet connections weren't available because I've hardly ever met any Japanese who engages in intellectual dialogue. Japanese in general are very averse to any form of controversy or analytical discourse. I always get criticized for "complaining") as a physical being living in a physical world the answer to that need to engage myself in the world most definitely resides for the greater part in the physical world, that deep human need to reach out and actually touch others. One reason I feel a strong loyalty and affection for the writing of Beth here at Cassandra Pages or Dave at Via Negativa is that both of them write about and live in a very rich real world

At the same time, in thinking over the way blogging has changed, I immediately imagined how few of us there were in the early days compared to the zillions of boggers today. A lot of the early days was focused on filling in the blanks, finding connections, learning to use the new software, figuring out what it is that we wanted to say, and learning about the possibilities and limits of what blogging was all about. I recall with affection the wonder and joy of finally meeting and getting very involved with the community of writers at Ecotone (now long since retired). It was like discovering a whole untapped world of people like me. Many of us have since grown into real friends and many of us have met.

Probably important, too, and I'm not sure how many others feel this way, I am growing tired of computers and the constant need to "feed" them. I just don't like spending the money on them that I was so willing to five years ago and the amount of useless time needed to look up and learn about software to maintain or add to the blogs is beginning to make me feel as if I am accumulating mounds of meaningless knowledge. It seems I spend half my time setting up and maintaining online accounts, fixing computer problems, searching for and educating myself on how things like blog design and software works, replying to loads of email, and even having to waste my time battling spam. It's exhausting. Maybe that's one reason why I just don't make much effort any more to be fully engaged in blogging any more. Just adding the photographs to my own blog takes a huge amount of time to produce. I am at a loss to explain how other people have enough time to produce such rich blogs with daily, long posts, lots of photographs, and very engaged comments, while maintaining full-time jobs, taking care of families, having time for friends, and even getting out there to gather the experiences they write about. How do they do it?

I am still trying to figure out the new direction for my blog and how to continue it. One thing, though, is that I deeply value the friends I've made here and don't want to lose the connections I've made. But, as said earlier, you tend to grow invisible if you don't write. Sort of a Catch-22.

I left an agreeing comment a day or two ago and it's vanished. Humph. Shame on invisible comment-cannibals in blogland.

A fascinating call and response sequence, Beth. I'm saving this ikn its entirety. Nothing to add. Just thanks for the stimulus and what has followed.

Natalie - it's here: http://cassandrapages.typepad.com/the_cassandra_pages/2008/08/the-prose-is-li.html#comment-126698504

Hi Teresa, you're that Teresa! How nice to see you here too.

Kia ora Beth,
A very interesting post and discussion. I initially set up my blog as a way for my family and friends back in the states to keep current with my mountain experiences and my life here in New Zealand, thinking they could read and look and share comments. It seems there are two types of people, those who blog and those whom don't. Unfortunately my family and friends are amongst the latter seemingly. They tell me from time to time they check it out, but never comment, and as I am not into tracking hits and places, ect., I have know idea unless they comment who has been around. I found that very frustrating and was contemplating giving it up completely until something cool happened. First I started finding very interesting places, such as yours, to read and view and contemplate, and second a small group started finding me. People with whom I feel a connection to using this technology. Making the world a more intimate place has to be a good thing in terms of where we are headed. I guess there is much technical stuff I could explore, and probably will at some point, but there are a few places I stop by frequently and find myself laughing, in tears, or simply considering things i have not considered before. This is one of those places. Kia ora Beth.

Thanks, Robb. Your comment, like so many others in this thread, is so much to the point: we all need each other for this to work! It's all about give and take, and generosity of spirit. I'm glad you find this a congenial place, and I hope some of my readers have gone to visit your blog, which deserves a larger readership for your thoughtful writing about a place quite different from that which most of us inhabit day-to-day.

Interesting. I comment quite a lot but rarely do people make comments on my blog except for two IRL friends ! But I've made my peace with that. I blog because I like having a platform to write, comment and post photos. I also hope to use the blog to create/find students for courses I run but not good at making it commercially orientated but that might change with a new website. Linking is problematic. I need to feel confident that I'm going to like the content fo a writer long term. I have linked to people in the past who then come out with stuff I'm so not able to support or feel comfortable with I have to unlink!

I'm thrilled to have found Slow Reads through this post. Thank you. A blog which you might enjoy that I do not see on your link list is Annalog at http://www.chillonia.org/blog/ . Anna is an American convert to Islam and her writing is gorgeous. She is also a contributor to othermatters.wordpress.com .

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.