Categories
Blogs and blogging Social Web

Reminders why blogs remain relevant despite social media

Here’s another reminder by Chris Maiorana why blogs remain relevant despite social media that arguably makes it easier to share with each other:

Those of us who take the idea of democratic publishing seriously rejoice at how the field has opened to include anyone who has something to say and is willing to write it down. That’s why we should be more alarmed when we see social media companies crowd the spaces once occupied by blogs and do-it-yourself content creators. We see a decline in diverse opinions as the web quickly becomes less free and more autocratic.

Bringing Back Blogs in the Age of Social Media Censorship – WordPress Tavern

I’ve also added Cal Newport’s “‘Expert Twitter’ Only Goes So Far. Bring Back Blogs in WIRED” to Pocket to read a bit later.

These calls to blog more aren’t new, just as assertions that blogs are irrelevant in a time when we can share anything with millions (hypothetically) on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and <insert name of hot new social service here> aren’t new either.

Yes, I’m biased given who I work for, and the fact that I still blog (somewhat irregularly). At the same time, does that detract the assertion that blogs remain relevant despite social media? I think you’d be hard-pressed to say that they aren’t.

In many respects, you just can’t beat blogs’ combination of having your own space to publish to, open platforms to power that publishing (such as WordPress), and the flexibility to communicate your ideas in a way that does justice to what you have to say.

On a related note, I also recommend reading Chris Hardie’s post titled “Multimedia journalism and the WordPress block editor“. The more time I spend with the block editor, the more I believe that it’s truly transformational, even at this early stage of its evolution, and despite the initial learning curve.

Categories
Blogs and blogging Publishing

Still working on a more convenient publishing workflow on mobile

My publishing workflow for my site on desktop is convenient enough. I’d love to be able to share on mobile as conveniently. I’m just not there yet. That’s probably why this quote resonates with me:

This is important. I need to enjoy the workflow and publishing experience. For me, it’s technical and I want to have complete control. I don’t want to publish on a platform like medium and I actually enjoy some of the hacking around of having control of my own site.

🖋 Stop Giving af and Start Writing More

It certainly helps to have the block editor in the mobile WordPress.com app. The block editor, generally, makes publishing easier on WordPress sites.

Categories
Design Events and Life People

… you can create blocks like it’s 1999

I’m watching Matt Mullenweg’s “State of the Word 2019” from the recent WordCamp US, and almost snorted my tea when he had this to say about the new colour gradients feature for blocks in Gutenberg v6.8:

You can create blocks like it’s 1999 …

Matt Mullenweg, speaking at WCUS 2019

😂

You can find Matt’s keynote here:

Luke Chesser
Categories
Blogs and blogging Design Useful stuff

Making the WordPress block editor even easier with preconfigured layout options that use standard Gutenberg blocks

This definitely falls into the This is cool! category. The Gutenberg Blocks Design Library is an awesome plugin that used standard blocks to create a range of useful layouts.

What’s great about this plugin is that it uses blocks that are part of the new WordPress Editor already, and combines them to create a collection of mini-layouts for a variety of use cases. I especially love that this doesn’t require you to add a new level of complexity to the new editor.

Instead, it uses the blocks that are already available, but in prepackaged combinations that address practical needs.

There’s a free version of the plugin with about 50 free combinations. You can read more about this over at WPTavern:

unsplash-logoFeatured image by Vanessa Bucceri
Categories
Applications Blogs and blogging Useful stuff

Pretty excited about the RSS block in Gutenberg 5.0

I noticed that Gutenberg 5.0 has added a RSS block to the editor. This is probably a bit nerdy, but I was pretty excited to see this addition to the block editor.

My “Interesting stuff” page is an experiment in sharing things I find, well, interesting online. I had to install a separate plugin to add a RSS feed that I created, initially. The new RSS block makes it as easy as it should be to just add a RSS feed to a post or a page.

I like it!

This wasn’t the only addition through Gutenberg 5.0. Here’s the announcement post with details of the new Kindle block, and a great tweak to the Cover block:

unsplash-logoFeatured image by Markus Spiske
Categories
Applications Blogs and blogging Design Useful stuff

Watch this if you’re still on the fence about the new WordPress Editor (aka Gutenberg)

If you’re still unsure about the new WordPress Editor (aka Gutenberg), it’s worth watching Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word keynote at the recent WordCamp US 2018 event in Nashville.

You can find links to parts of the talk, along with slides, and commentary in Matt’s post, here:

I’ve been using the new Editor almost exclusively lately, not because I work for Automattic, but because it’s actually a pretty enjoyable way to write posts.

I still prefer to write longer posts in my text editor, and then add the posts into the editor afterwards (I’ve always been a little twitchy about my only version of long posts being in an online editor, just in case something goes pear shaped and I lose it all).

The new Editor isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty good! It does work a little differently in some respects, but that isn’t a bad thing (necessarily). Also, it’s improving (I can add galleries that work the way they’re supposed to! Yay!) all the time.

Categories
Blogs and blogging Useful stuff

MarsEdit + WordPress 5.0

MarsEdit is my favourite blog editor for my laptop. I use it daily, mostly for work-related posts that I publish. It makes it so much easier for me to publish to a variety of blogs (we have a lot of internal blogs at Automattic).

The new WordPress Editor has changed how we write blog posts and pages in the WordPress dashboard. I’ve been using the new editor more and more, lately, and I like it a lot for the most part.

At the same time, I don’t see myself giving up MarsEdit anytime soon. It’s a terrific app that I haven’t appreciated nearly enough.

In the short term I am not planning to add much in the way of block-specific functionality to MarsEdit. As I mentioned above, I think that blocks are going to appeal more to web authors who are managing full-fledged sites, and less to bloggers who appreciate the streamlined workflow that MarsEdit emphasizes.

Daniel Jalkut

I don’t see any reason why MarsEdit fans should stop using MarsEdit with WordPress 5.0 out. For one thing, you don’t have to switch to the new block editor. You can install the Classic Editor plugin, and keep blogging the way you’ve been doing it till now.

The new WordPress Editor is great, but it hasn’t reach feature parity with its predecessor in some respects. One area that stands out for me is galleries. It doesn’t seem possible to create galleries that open into slideshows like the current version of the feature in the Classic Editor.

I just published a draft post using MarsEdit, and I noticed that WordPress will add the post as a Classic editor block (at least on WordPress 4.9.8 – my host hasn’t released the 5.0 update yet).

Given the changes to the editor, and how central this has become to the WordPress experience with WordPress 5.0, it can be worrying if your workflow is dependent on an editor that you’re much more familiar with, and comfortable using. I’ve been hesitant to use the new editor, too.

If MarsEdit is central to your blogging workflow, keep doing what you’re doing. I see the new WordPress Editor as adding another option, not precluding you from doing what you’ve been doing till now.

Daniel Jalkut wrote a post about MarsEdit and WordPress 5.0. It’s worth reading.