Techy Transformation Information

The world has been so noisy these past few years that I took advantage of the upheaval brought by the pandemic to evaluate things and then of the colder weather to hunker down in the dark and quiet. I thought about what in my world contributes to the noise. I also thought about the meaning of connection and how to truly connect authentically via technology. Of course, I’ve always thought about connection, but this year heightened my awareness.

I started by stepping away from social media, the lure of scrolling that has the ability to suck me down into a time-wasting wormhole if I’m not careful. The latest go-round with this found me blocking Twitter and being off Instagram for about a month. I tidied up my Pinterest boards after not being on that site in who knows how long then blocked it — I still can’t quite figure out the point of Pinterest other than finding recipes I could Google. (I’ve been off Facebook for years.) I’ll go back to Twitter and Instagram, sparingly. Social media, to me, leads to a lot of talking at, not with, people.

Blogging can be like that. I try not to be that way. I try to comment and connect and encourage conversation. To do that more, I evaluated how I go about participating in the blog community. I’ve revamped my site and spent time figuring out what I want to write about. I have some ideas… stay tuned! Once I started thinking and planning — and making a calendar with color-coded topics! — it started to fall into place. It’s starting to feel more like me again.

I’ve ditched the WP reader. Many reasons. The algorithm it uses means I miss posts even though I’m following a blog. Some bloggers’ posts appear in my notifications but not all. On Reader, you can’t see people’s actual websites and some are quite creative. Posts don’t always format in Reader the way they do on actual websites. Some formatting doesn’t show up in the Reader though it’s on the website. Some blocks look different — and not as good — in the Reader. The layout may change in Reader even though on the website it’s correct.

I like these stars. (Gerd Altmann / Pixabay)

And even though you can turn off the WP star for Likes on individual posts, it can’t be eliminated from the Reader. I’ve grown to dislike that little star. I’ve clicked it on others’ posts in the past (not often), but I won’t use it at all anymore. To me, the point of blogging is connecting with other people.

Commenting takes such a short amount of time. It lets writers know you read their post and also tells the writer a bit about you, the reader. Stars and hearts are fine for Twitter and Instagram, or perhaps a photo-only blog post. But a written blog post is the beginning of a conversation, one that needs other people to keep it going — in the comments.

Long story short (TOO LATE), I’m relying on a feed aggregator instead — I know, very early 21st century. Every new post by bloggers I follow is included and, to read them, I visit bloggers’ actual websites. I’ll pop into WP Reader occasionally to find new sites to add, but I won’t follow and interact with sites there anymore.

In terms of IRL community, as it is in pandemic-stricken 2020, this year found me embracing video technology, which I swore I would never use because no one should have to do their hair to essentially talk on the phone. Now, I participate in — and lead! — Zoom calls. AND I LIKE IT. I don’t see my enjoyment of this changing any time soon. I did get Zoom fatigued mid-Autumn, trying to do everything, but I made adjustments and all was well.

They could have sent a letter, but they’re chattin’ face-to-face. (Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay)

As for other technology I was already using, I still hate texting, I still love emailing, I still love playing with my websites and how the layout, etc. can help communicate, too. I LURVE snail mail. I love telephone and IRL face-to-face chats with people I feel comfortable with.

Most of all, I really love writing.

2021 will find me connecting with others with the above-thoughts in mind. I’ll also continue to connect with the parts of me that want to express something and figure out the best way to do that as I go along. If I really connect and stay in touch with myself, I figure I can’t go wrong.


This is the second in a series of three posts about transformation. Read the first post, Transformation Information.

17 thoughts on “Techy Transformation Information

  1. It’s interesting that I came across your post on this subject in WP Reader today. I’ve been trying to figure out how to manage things, too, and had decided that Reader might work for me and cut down on all the email notifications. But to my dismay, I just discovered that I had missed a post on a blog I was following. And then I read your post. I didn’t know about the algorithms! I wonder how many other posts I’ve missed! So I signed up for email notifications all over again. Phew!

    I’m not a fan of like buttons either. I’m not much of a writer and prefer to post a lot of my pictures but I do enjoy commenting and having discussions. What is a a feed aggregator? (My tech knowledge is sadly lacking.) I’ve also gotten used to video calls this year. I’m off to read the first post…

    Liked by 2 people

    • WP Reader works like social media. The more someone posts, the more you interact with them, the more you see them in your feed. But some people don’t post every day or even every week and I hate to miss them! I used to get email notifications, too, but that didn’t work for me as easily as this aggregator does. I used a site called Feedly. https://feedly.com/ Once you create an account, you can “Create a New Feed.” To do that, you put the website you want to follow in the search box. It gives you suggestions based on what you put in. You click the one you want, click Follow and then it updates the “feed” for you every time something new is added! I called my list “Blogs I Follow” and added the blogs I follow to it. I haven’t missed a post since!

      Glad to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t like the Like buttons. Always happy to have a conversations, too, and I’ve enjoyed ours!

      Like

      • Thanks so much for the explanation of how WP Reader works, Tara. I’m beginning to understand. Sounds just as bad as Facebook. Feedly looks like it might be useful to me so I’ve bookmarked it to check out after the holidays when things settle down a bit and adjusting to a change will go better. I’ve enjoyed our conversations, too!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I ditched the WP reader years ago.
    Pinterest eludes me. It’s cool to look at 300 kinds of Scandanavian wallpaper, but then like, I don’t save them. I save the one I like. I save the projects I’ll do, and then? I delete them when they’re complete. I think Pinterest is a hoarders heaven, but that’s just me.
    I admit to reading posts on my phone and then not liking or commenting. Not just your posts, like, overall. My phone doesn’t like to save my info for WP and it’s supremely annoying.
    I. DO. NOT. LIKE. TO. VIDEO. CALL. EVER. I have two friends who are like, “Let’s Chat Online!” … I don’t much sit still. And so like, with the lady friend, I drag the damn phone around chatting as I bustle because no sense of propriety, which is needed with the man friend. See also, bra. It’s basically jail. I don’t sit still much and being chained to a screen will not do. I have a lot to do. And while I think I’m pretty cute most days, my friends are more attractive, and yet, I do not feel the need to SEE them. “I want to see your face!” How odd. I like to see my husband and my children.
    I abhor video trends on any platform, and am especially turned off by the lack of time stamp. How do I know if this will be 2 minutes or 15 seconds? It’s terrible. I am terrible.
    At work, video conferences are few and I am grateful they’re done in a conference room, because otherwise, I might would just continue to type and research and crunch my noms — so disrespectful.
    I dunno, I do get a lot done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joey, there’s so much in here! My my. Well, if you ditched the WP Reader years ago then I know I’m on the right track. Thank you. I agree phones that don’t cooperate are annoying. Can someone get on that, please? Pinterest for me, on my secret private board, is a therapist I don’t have to pay for, what with the illuminating sayings and reminders: NARCISSISTS ARE BAD… and what not. I have saved pins of decorating ideas, but unless I win the lottery, these rooms will never happen IRL.
      Bras will not make a comeback after the pandemic, I think. I hope. As for video conferencing with or without one, it’s all about camera height and placement and all I can say is at this point I’m camera height placement level EXPERT. As for your nomming on video calls, I could write volumes (and I might) about the weirdness of people and their rules about what can and cannot do on a video call. I think as long as you’re not acting like Jeffrey Toobin most activities are A-OK. As for continuing to just type and research, I’ve also mastered the ability to do that as well as look like I’m enraptured by what people are saying. Did I ever tell you that I wanted to act when I was younger? Most of the Zooms I’m involved with, though, are things I WANT to do so my acting skills aren’t necessary. I might change my mind if I HAVE to Zoom or else — being forced to do it is an entirely different thing, I’m sure. I also enjoy and frequently use the “Turn off video” feature. For all the times I never took a bathroom break at work IRL, I make up for it by turning off my camera, sticking out my tongue, eating whatever I want, and turning it back on when I damn well feel like it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        • Heh. Thanks for the reminder! I’m totally going to print this comment out since I can’t pin it to my fake online bulletin board and put yours on my real hanging on my wall bulletin board. As a replacement for therapy, please I’d appreciate if you didn’t send me a bill for that. 🙂

          Like

  3. There’s a lot in this post. As I was reading, I was thinking of responses, but after so much, I’ve forgotten what I was going to say. (I don’t mean that as a negative to your post.) … but here are a couple of thoughts. Not only are times away from social media good for us, so is time away from being connected. Regarding blogging, yes – blogging can be a community for those who engage it. I laugh when bloggers want you to visit them, but most they can say is “Thank you for visiting” when you comment. Definitely no community building there … nada, none, zilch. So yes – blogging and in-person conversations have something in common – they must be engaging. Good post, Tara.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry for the loooonnnnnnnng post, Frank! I hate when that happens to me so I’m sorry that me going on for so long made you think of things then other things then other things… *faints* 🙂
      Yes, solitude or just not being connected to others for a bit is important as well. You make a good point there! See, there it is — reciprocity. What you said in a sentence was probably part of what I was trying to say in an entire paragraph. People who want you to visit, engage, etc., but then can’t reciprocate. Not that everything has to be even steven, as the kids say, but all relationships have reciprocity. And blogger/reader is a relationship, I think.
      Thanks for the comment, the compliment, the engagement, and the conversation. I like deep thinkers, Frank, and you’re one of my faves!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The WP Reader aggravated me so much that I gave up on it a couple of years ago. I’m going to check out Feedly because I need to do something. I usually get email notifications but that’s gotten insane and out of hand (my own fault for not keeping up?).

    I’m working my way backwards (I think) through your change posts, and this is so similar to what I was just noting to someone in the comments on my blog. I’ve always thought of blogging as a conversation, and that is what is giving me grief lately because it’s hard to find the time to keep up my end of the conversation by returning visits. I go through this periodically, find something that works for a while, and then have to change when I get behind again.

    I didn’t used to like the “Like” button and understand where you’re coming from. I changed my mind after a while because sometimes I want to let someone know I was there and I read the post (yes, I really do read them — I know some people just click “Like” and move on). I don’t always have anything to contribute to the conversation, or have anything that hasn’t already been said in other comments. That’s when I am most likely to use the “Like” button.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I learned about Feedly from Ally at The Spectacled Bean. It’s AMAZING. Plus, you have to purposefully go there to see your feeds, unlike email which you can open then say, “I’ll read that later,” then it disappears into the vortex of emails. Email works from some, but not others. It’s all good – whatever works best for each. But I love, love, love the feed! (this speaker was in no way compensated by Feedly… this is purely a personal recommendation. hahaha)

      Return visits, continuing conversations… of course everything ebbs and flows. I think if people know you because you comment and converse, then if you “disappear” for a bit, it’s OK because… life… and it happens to us all.

      Your use of the Like button makes sense. I think it helps if it’s someone you know, who comments sometimes. But there are serial likers — not a fan.

      There are no wrong answers, of course. Just personal preference and they can and do change. CHANGE! I simply can’t stop talking about change with these posts! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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