Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

 

Wonderful Bloggers of OZ_2 - sig

 

We aren’t people anymore.

Have you noticed?

We’re the Wonderful Bloggers of OZ.

When you read an article or post or tweet, look at the language. “Bloggers”. Like some group of lost writers who crashed a hot air balloon, landing in a bizarre world: The Blogosphere.

We perform tricks to dazzle—with words and photos that aren’t quite as real as we’d make them out to be.

Because, sometimes, your dog’s foot is in the background of that perfect tulip shot and needs to be cropped out. Sometimes that amazing idea gets caught in a tornado and thoughts whirl around and around until you plop down near a Technicolor yellow brick road.

You land on a witch and get her sparkly shoes (which are wicked cool). So there’s that. But there are flying monkeys to watch out for. So there’s that, too.

The Blogosphere can be a scary place.

It’s filled with dangers and strangers but also with wonderful people who rally around you and tell you how awesome you are for arriving here with your blog.

There are always a few who are on the same journey and are more than happy to skip along that brick road with you even though there are lions, and tigers, and bears. Oh my.

When we get to The Emerald City Blog, and see the “Blogger of Oz” is just a man behind a curtain, we will show compassion.

Why?

Because none of us are wizards. We are human—vulnerable and lost and busy and stressed and trying to make the Blogosphere think we have our shit together. That we are the Great and Powerful Oz.

So, as I tag this post with “bloggers”, I know that you are, indeed, fellow travelers on this blogging journey. Or writing journey. Or both. But I do know, and do keep in the forefront of my mind, that you are people.

Here’s the thing I think we sometimes forget:

We ARE people. We HAVE blogs.

We are not our blogs.

We are human beings. (Weird, introverted, writer-types, some of us, but still.)

Just remember, gentle readers, there is a person behind the screen.

 

If you need a break, just close your eyes, click your mouse 3 times, and walk away. We’ll be here when you get back–we’ve got water balloons for the Witch of the West and flaming potatoes to fight the flying monkeys. 

 

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3 Quick Tips to Keep Your Blog Reader-Friendly

 

I’ve only published a few how-to posts before so bear with me. It’s short. And has three easy tips to increase your readership.

Okay, I can only promise it will increase readership by one.

That would be me.

Hopefully that one flower (that would be me, again) will become a garden of readers.

There are some of you (I won’t name names) who have the most sweetest blogs and the most loveliest things to say. And yet…

There are a few things I’d like to discuss with you. Three, actually. I’ll be quick. Promise.

I’d like to ask a favor, my bloggy friends. Could you do something for me? That is, if you don’t mind and I ask nicely? (I usually offer cookies or something as my “nice” may not be as nice as I think it is. So, cookies will be involved. Or cake. Your choice.)

When I read your post and there’s a link, it’s wonderful if that link is a word or two (or even five), not an enormously long URL.

And then, when you have your cute, little word that is now a link, it’s quite charming if it doesn’t kick me off your blog. I’m reading your blog because I like it. And I don’t want to leave. And you don’t want me to leave. There might be other posts I’d like to read on there.

Finally, when someone leaves a link in your comments, it often flies off the side of the page and makes your blog literally swim before my eyes. And not in a cute, “Aw, look, it’s a dolphin” sort of way. No. It moves and is difficult to read and (apologies) I often click off the post. I sometimes manage to finish reading if it’s short but I certainly don’t enjoy it as much as I would if it were, say, staying in place.

So, if you’re interested (and use WordPress), these are super-quick fixes:

 

Turning a long link into a short word or phrase:

  • Select and cut link from your post
  • Highlight word(s) you would like turned into a link
  • Click on link button in the toolbar (if you hover, it says ‘insert/edit link’)
  • Paste link into the space provided

 

Having a link open in a new tab:

After you have turned your long link into a short word or phrase, have it open into a new tab so I can stay on your blog. (Unless you want me to leave. I can take a hint.)

  • Keep box open where you just pasted your link
  • Click on gear icon (it will say ‘link options’ if you hover) Skip this step if using the Reader
  • Find the tiny box that says ‘Open link in a new tab’
  • Put a check there

 

Adding/editing links in comment sections:

  • Go to Dashboard and into Comments
  • Click ‘Edit’
  • Click the ‘Link’ button
  • Cut and paste link into URL space
  • Find the tiny box that says ‘Open link in a new tab’
  • Put a check there
  • Click ‘Update’

OR

  • Go to Dashboard and into Comments
  • Click ‘Quick Edit’
  • Cut and paste the following into the comment box:
  • <a href=”www.hello.com”>Hi</a>
  • Change “www.hello.com” to link in the comment
  • Change “Hi” to whatever text you want to display
  • NOTE: This will not open the comment link in a new tab

 

So long and thanks for all the links! 🐠

 

If you don’t do these things, is it by choice? If so, why? Does it bother you to have a link open in a new tab? Do you think it’s more likely people will click on longer (obvious) links?

 

The Blogging Snow Globe

 

 

Lemon Shark’s Blog Tip (for WordPress).

Let’s have a bit of silliness. ‘Tis the season to be silly.

 

The Blogging Snow Globe:

My blog started snowing a little over a week ago. I was way too excited about the whole thing.

I realized I had never turned the Blogging Snow Globe off and it announced December in the most delightful way. (Please don’t search for “Blogging Snow Globe”—I made it up.)

If you find these blog flakes hideous and annoying, swim away…

For those of you who are seeing other blogs with bits of snow and are jealous bitter curious, keep reading.

Okay, bloggers, hold on to your winter hats. We’re gonna make it snow. It’s really difficult so try to keep up. Ready?

 

Go to your Dashboard (through WP Admin).

Dashboard > Settings > General

If you see Title, Tagline, Timezone, Date…you’re in the right place. (FYI: Your site icon is there so, if you’ve been looking for that, boom! There it is.) Scroll down until you see “Snow”. Seriously. It actually says “Snow”. And, next to that, it says: “Show falling snow on my blog until January 4th.”

Click the box.

 

Your blog is now snowing. ❄️ And will automatically stop on January 4th. You are like a frickin’ weather wizard. (You know you want to do this in real life.)

 

Go to your Dashboard (through The-Powers-That-Be Admin).

Dashboard > Life > Weather

Scroll down until you see “Show falling snow for the weekend that melts by my Monday morning commute.”

Click the box.

 

 

❄️ Happy blogging days, my friends. ❄️

 

Why You Should Embed Tweets in Your Blog Post

 

lemon-shark-screen-shot-sarahb

 

I shared how to embed tweets in a blog post but you may be asking yourself why you’d want to.

 

You: “So, Sarah, that was cool and all but why would I need tweets on my blog?”

Me: “What?! Because!”

You: …

Me: “It’s awesome, that’s why!”

You: …

Me: “Okay. I’ll tell you.”

 

These embedded tweets are… Psst… Come closer… *whispers* Interactive.

I know, right? How cool is that?! Readers can do anything right from your blog.

  • Open your tweet
  • Visit your timeline
  • Check out a hashtag
  • Follow
  • Like
  • Retweet
  • Reply

Everything is clickable. It’s basically a live tweet. One that you’ve highlighted. One that you want to share with your blog readers.

I do like Twitter but, let’s face facts, that thing moves like ticker tape. It’s so easy to miss tweets from your tweeps. Depending on how often you post, that tweet is going to be much more visible here.

And it doesn’t have to be just one. You can make an entire post from tweets. Maybe you’ve had an interesting conversation about traditional vs indie publishing. Or the best way to make brownies. Or whether spiders or rats have had better PR. (I’ve had that last convo quite recently: Mickey Mouse and Spider-Man. It was weird.)

Regardless, it makes for a fun post and people can interact with each tweet by liking, retweeting, and even replying to it right from your blog.

 

FOLLOW:

This allows readers to…well…follow you.

Click to enlarge

 

TIMELINE:

Your name/avi brings readers directly to your timeline. (They can open a specific tweet by clicking on the time/date of the embedded tweet.)

Click to enlarge

 

LIKE:

Click to enlarge

 

RETWEET:

Click to enlarge

 

REPLY:

Readers can reply to your tweet right here.

Click to enlarge

A pop-up box appears, they write 140 characters (or less) in reply to you, then click “tweet”. This shows up on their timeline and yours. Nice!

Click to enlarge

 

Let’s try this, shall we? I’ll embed a tweet or two, you have fun:

 

 

* I tried a poll a few years ago and, when I posted about it, most bloggers said they hadn’t seen the poll on Twitter. If you embed it, both your blogging friends and your tweeps can vote.

 

Hope you found some fun ways to use a tweet on your blog. Remember…a well-placed tweet can make a good post great. (I just made that up but it’s kind of cool.) 🙂

Happy blogging (and tweeting) days, my friends!

 

How to Embed Tweets in Your Blog Post

 

lemon-shark-screen-shot-sarahb

 

Tweets aren’t just for Twitter anymore.

Here’s a neat thing you can do with those tweets right here on your WordPress blog. It’s wicked cool. And easy. 3 steps…done.

All of you lovely bloggers know I’m not a techie but I wanted to share this fun find with you.

I have visuals, too, which is awesome. Admittedly, I went a bit bonkers with the arrows but…you get the point. (I know. I’m hilarious.)

First we’re going old school with a “cut and paste” URL option, then we’ll embed an html code like we know what we’re doing.

No need to hurt your eyes squinting at the screenshots—you can click to enlarge them. Let’s get tweeting on our blogs.

 

Copy Link Option:

STEP ONE:

Choose the tweet you want. Click on the cute, little grey v-shaped thingy in the top, right corner.

Click to enlarge

 

STEP TWO:

You’ll see a drop-down menu with all sorts of neat things like “pin to your profile page” (or “unpin” if it’s already pinned), “share via DM”, and “delete tweet” (for those times when Twitter decides to add a typo after you’ve posted). Click on “Copy link to Tweet”.

Click to enlarge

Here is what you’ll see. Select and copy. It’s a URL so you can use this anywhere you’d use a link. (UPDATE: OCTOBER 2017 – There is no longer a URL to cut and paste. Once you click on “Copy link to Tweet”, the URL is automatically copied.)

Click to enlarge

 

STEP THREE:

Open a post and paste the copied link. You’ll be in “visual” view for this. Hey! There’s a tweet!

Click to enlarge

Copying the link works well on WordPress but may not work on other platforms. On a website, for example, this option will simply create a URL to the tweet.

 

Embed Code Option:

STEP ONE:

We’re going to embed that tweet now. Hold on to your hats. Choose the tweet you want. Click on the cute, little grey v-shaped thingy in the top, right corner. There’s that drop-down menu. Click on “Embed Tweet”.

Click to enlarge

Here is what you’ll see. Select and copy the html code.

Click to enlarge

 

STEP TWO:

Open a post. Switch to “text” view. Paste the code. Hmm…there’s a bunch of html stuff there I don’t understand. *shrugs*

Click to enlarge

 

STEP THREE:

Let’s switch to “visual” view and see what happens… There they are! Except, erm, they look different. Click “Preview”.

Click to enlarge

No worries! When you preview, they look the same.

Click to enlarge

Embedding has a few more options and benefits but, for the sake of brevity (and for those who don’t play well with html), these are two ways to get a tweet into a WordPress post. Pick one, have fun, and tweet on.

Tune in tomorrow, Same Bat-Time, Same Bat-Channel, for my follow-up post on embedding tweets. What they are and why you want to use them.

And…here it is: Why You Should Embed Tweets in Your Blog Post (the what and why of embedding tweets)

Happy blogging days, my friends.

 

How to Get Your Blog Post Back from the Depths of WordPress

 

lemon-shark-screen-shot-sarahb

 

I was minding my own bloggy business when I messed up a post that I had spent some major time setting up. I don’t know how I even did it but I turned the entire thing into one big link to a Google search. Huh? Right. Moving on.

WordPress would NOT let me ‘undo’ as I usually do when I muck something up. I was stuck. In the muck. Oh…

And non-techie me figured out how to fix it. Little ol’ me! Most of you probably already know this but I thought I’d share just in case I could save a fellow friendly blogger the trouble of rewriting a post. (I even have visuals. This is all mind-blowing, I know.)

I made up a Wonderful New Post to walk you through this super easy process.

 

STEP ONE:

Write an awesome post and be proud. Fix those typos, polish, and click “Save Draft”, as always.

screen-shot-revise1-sarahb

Click to enlarge

 

STEP TWO:

Mess up your awesome blog post and panic. Then notice how you now have “Revisions” over to the right. You didn’t have that before. You must “Save Draft” at least twice before that shows up. This “Revisions” is your key to salvation. Or your post’s salvation. Same, same. Click on “Browse” over in “Revisions”.

screen-shot-revise2-sarahb

Click to enlarge

 

STEP THREE:

You get a choice here. You’ll now see two versions of the post. Click on “Previous” on the left of your screen OR slowly move the sliding arrow in the middle of your screen over to the left.

screen-shot-revise3-sarahb

Click to enlarge

 

STEP FOUR:

Cool! You’re getting closer to your original (or the version you want back). It says this was my “9 minutes ago” revision. But…it still has my mistake in the green there, see? I don’t want this.

screen-shot-revise4-sarahb

Click to enlarge

 

STEP FIVE:

Neat! You’ll notice the big, blue button that says “Restore This Revision” is now clickable. (It wasn’t before.) Click that button when you see the post you want. Ah! My mistake is no longer in that green area.

screen-shot-revise5-sarahb

Click to enlarge

 

STEP SIX:

Look! It says “Post Restored”. I have my Wonderful New Post back. Click “Save Draft” then “Publish”. (Or schedule, if that’s your thing.)

screen-shot-revise6-sarahb

Click to enlarge

 

Happy blogging days, my friends.

 

My New Blog Scares Me #MyFirstPostRevisited

 

my-first-post_revisited-bloghop

 

I’m calling out bloggers to publicly share their very first post.

I want to see them all. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Whether you’re thrilled to have an excuse to dig out that old post and give it some fresh air or you’re seriously considering deleting it after I tag you, I want to see it.

It will be interesting to read these (as a fellow blogger) and, also, for you to find your oldest post and see where you were then as opposed to where you are now.

 

As per the rules, here is my first ever (unedited) Lemon Shark post:

 

My New Blog Scares Me

I’ve been blogging for over a year. Yet now that I’m switching the location of my blog, I’m scared. This is a bizarre and fascinating phenomenon which I feel should be studied.

The site is so fresh and clean and shiny. I don’t want to muck it up. Quite suddenly, my posts are no longer adequate. My writing is no longer worthy. Because…why now? Oh, right. The fresh, clean, shiny new blog. It is not to be muddied with words willy-nilly. Posts must be planned and polished to perfection. Ah. But that’s not how I write. So I am faced with a serious decision. Do I change who I am for my new blog?

I have this chance at a new online existence. It’s mind-blowing. I can be whoever I want. I can be funny. Well, I’m not sure about that but I can be very serious and literary. Although. With the fragments… I do love fragments. And swears. They’re fun.

My point is still valid. I can easily, with the click of my mouse, switch the colors, the theme, and even the name of my blog. With a wee bit of thought, I can change the whole focus of the thing. I can become someone else. Someone else who is me because I am still here writing and I’ve joined Twitter and I like all my tweeps there and whatnot.

So I’m stuck staring at the screen. It’s taunting me. Really, it’s not. Well, maybe a little. Some of the taunting is me of course, I know that. But screens can taunt. Ask anyone. *whispers* They can.

My first post needs to be a Mona Lisa. Or a Girl with a Pearl Earring. Okay. Aiming a bit too high. How about the slightly lesser known, but still magnificent, Spaghetti on Wheat?

My magic 8 ball says…“Ask Again Later” What?! I was counting on that! How much later? Stupid toy. Forget it. Here goes. My first post on my new blog:

Hello, gentle readers. Spaghetti on Wheat.

Thank you.

 

 

Yup. So there it is. My very first post here on Lemon Shark. Okay, now I get to tag five bloggers. Have fun. Because I think we could all use some silly fun.

Obvious rules:

  • No cheating. (It must be your first post. Not your second post, not one you love…first post only.)
  • Link back to the person who tagged you (thank them if you feel like it or, if not, curse them with a plague of ladybugs).

Other rules:

  • Cut and paste your old post into a new post or reblog your own bad self. (Either way is fine but NO editing.)
  • Put the hashtag #MyFirstPostRevisited in your title.
  • Tag…um…ten two twelve five (5) other bloggers to take up this challenge.
  • Notify your tags in the comment section of their blog (don’t just hope they notice a pingback somewhere in their spam).
  • Feel free to cut and paste the badge to use in your post.
  • Include “the rules” in your post.

Completely silly rules that I’m making up as I type:

  • Drink a glass of wine, bottle of beer, cup of coffee, mug of herbal tea or whatever floats your boat after you hit “publish”. (In other words, toast yourself. Go you!)
  • Read the post out loud in a Mickey Mouse voice.

 

Rachael Ritchey (Since she created the awesome badge for this blog hop, she’s my first victim.) 🙂

Now the five…
Norah Colvin
D.G. Kaye
Geoff Le Pard
Silver Screenings
Loni Townsend

Can’t wait to read everyone’s first post. 😈 Pass it on…

 

my-first-post_revisited-bloghop-resized

 

Help Me Find Your Blog

 

gravatar-image

Your Gravatar

Your G (globally) R (recognized) Avatar (um…avatar)

 

I’m not saying you must have one of these or even should have one. It’s totally up to you, of course. But it’s possible you’ve heard something like this from me:

“Hello. 🙂 Just an FYI: Your Gravatar leads to your old blog.”

Or

“Hi there. 🙂 Your Gravatar is unclickable.”

You may already know this. You may not care. You may want it that way. But, just in case, it’s an easy fix.

Sometimes, when I’m rushing around or out and using my phone (which, if I’m honest, isn’t “sometimes”, it’s “most of the time”), I’ll click on your name (or image) to get to your blog. It’s quicker and easier than searching through social media for your handle or typing your name into Google then scrolling until I find you.

If you have a Gravatar, think of it as your avi, bio, blog, social media, and all that jazz rolled into one.

Update that bad boy for your bloggy friends so we can find you. Or don’t. But please don’t take offense if I comment about your GRA. Take it with some grains of salt (around the rim of your glass), a margarita, and a smile.

 

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Do you have a Gravatar? Does it link to your current blog/website/social media? Do you keep it up-to-date or have you forgotten about it until now?

FAQ and useful info: http://en.gravatar.com/support/

 

After talking to some tweeps, thought I’d add a quick how-to sort of thing:

Sign in to Gravatar.

Click on “MY PROFILE” at the top of the page.

On the right, you’ll see a list.

“WEBSITES” allows you to add, well, websites. (You can add all sorts of things here that you want to show up as a thumbnail image below your name – not just WordPress blogs, FYI.)

“VERIFIED SERVICES” gives you a drop-down menu letting you quickly and easily add social media by cutting and pasting the link to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogger, YouTube, and more.

 

Slivers and Snapshots

 

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As bloggers, we give readers, fellow writers, and online friends what we want to give them. We decide what we write, how we write it, when we publish it. We decide what to share and what to keep private.

Readers know tiny slivers of our experiences, snapshots of our lives.

There are some bloggers who share intimate details, revealing deeply personal events from their lives. That’s great. That is their choice and they are comfortable with it. But this shouldn’t be something we expect of every blogger who doesn’t have a niche.

For a lot of readers, personal blog equals personal information.

If bloggers have a music, movie, fashion, food, or book blog, they are excused. But if they have a “personal” blog, where they talk about life, they are expected to divulge all sorts of information about themselves. Because. Personal.

That’s not how it works.

Even if we have a blog where certain subjects would seem appropriate, it doesn’t mean we’ll necessarily choose to publish them.

 

I mostly write about roses and only occasionally share the thorns.

Know that, even if I talk about my insomnia or getting overwhelmed, I may leave out that Aunt Foofie is in rehab again, I fell off the kitchen counter and fractured my tailbone, or zombies attacked me on my way to work.

 

Do you have a personal blog? How much do you share with your readers? Do you expect other bloggers to reveal personal information?


How Do You Like Them Apples?

 

 

Scrivener App

 

I was wavering, trying to decide which program to use for my writing.

So, naturally, I wrote about it, hoping readers would help. They did. That post generated quite a few comments. I learned a lot. I also made a decision to at least try Scrivener because I need the organization.

However.

My main problem with it was that you had to download it to your laptop and leave it there. That did not work for me.

Here are some of my replies from that post:

Can you use Scrivener on different devices or only one? iPad, iPhone…?

 Awesome! And, please let [Scrivener] come out with an app. Please! *fingers crossed*

No, no, no! Say it ain’t so. This is my main issue with Scrivener. I’m a total tech floozie, too. (Nice accidental alliteration there, if I do say so myself.) I use different devices and need a program that is available on all. I can’t imagine this isn’t an issue for many writers. Why on earth hasn’t Scrivener…created an app?

Exactly. I use two different laptops plus type a lot on my phone (I know, but it’s convenient if not a bit tricky). I’m going to do the trial but this was my main problem with it. *shouts* “Fix this, Scrivener techies!”

A lot of writers had the same issue. They used more than one device (because, really, who doesn’t?) and/or wrote when they had a second between errands, taking care of kids, work, commuting, sleeping, eating…

Hang on to your hats.

If you haven’t heard, I’m delighted freaking out that Scrivener now offers an Apple app for iPads, iPhones, and any other iThing you want to use it for.

They advertise that you can “Write Anywhere”.

Thank you, Scrivener, we already do.

But now lots of us writers will buy your program to “write anywhere” with. How do you like them Apples?

 

Those of you who use Scrivener, are you going to get the app? Those of you who didn’t (specifically because you used different devices) are you rethinking using Scrivener?