Some great insight from Luis Suarez about blogging’s past and future, one of my sources for the WordCamp US talk I’m putting together – The evolution of a blogger (and blogging) 2003-2016.
Something has been lost. Before algorithmic timelines, message length restrictions and mass surveillance there was a more robust world. It’s a distributed world that still lives behind the centralized allure of social networks. It’s a world where every person owns a small part of the internet, where they control their medium and communicate freely.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve noticed many complaints from adults with autism that they are tired of non-autistics speaking for them. The fact that I’ve only recently really noticed these complaints doesn’t mean the complaints haven’t been around longer than that, nor does it mean that the complaints aren’t valid. There are many cases of non-autistics trying to say what they think is best for autistics. (I don’t think I need to go into specifics.)
However, this is a distinct problem from something that has come up more recently: complaints about the media choosing to interview non-autistics instead of autistics when producing stories about autism. The most recent example of this is the reaction to Kristina Chew’s interview with Newsweek on the subject of parent’s reactions to “political pandering” to parents of disabled children.
Now I don’t know how Newsweek chose Kristina for the interview, but I have the feeling it had a lot to do with the fact that she blogs about her experiences parenting an autistic child. Not only does she blog, she blogs extensively, prolifically, and very eloquently. In short, the interviewer already had a pretty good idea of what Kristina would say in response to certain questions, and in those cases where she didn’t she had a pretty high level of confidence that Kristina would come through. Reporters are like anyone else: if there is an “easy” way to do their job and a “hard” way, they will choose the easy way.
If you would like for reporters to seek out your opinion on something you care about, the trick is to make them see you as a way to make their job easy. Blogs are a great tool to achieve this. If you want to get your word out about being the parent of an autistic child, write about being the parent of an autistic child. If you want to get your word out about being the autistic parent of an autistic child, write about being the autistic parent of an autistic child. If you want to get your word out about life as an autistic adult, write about your life as an autistic adult.
It’s as easy as that.
Three and a half years and nearly 250 posts. That’s the life so far of 29 Marbles. And to tell the truth, I’ve run out of new things to write about. Not that there isn’t always something happening in the world related to autism, but like everything else it all seems to happen in cycles. Different day/month/year, the same stories and questions in different clothing.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the referral logs for the site. Most hits come either from the Autism Hub, or from search results. Sometimes the search queries are on things I wrote about years ago, sometimes more recent. But inevitably, the same questions keep coming back around.
I first started writing this blog to help me sort through my own feelings and thoughts on autism. That goal is accomplished; I have a much better conscious understanding now than I did three and a half years ago. But there are many others out there still forming the questions in their minds and looking for answers. Among those nearly 250 posts are what I feel are good responses to some of those questions.
I’m sure I’ll continue to write the occasional “new” post, but for now I’m going to dig into the archives and bring out those that answer the questions I see in my referral logs. Who knows, I might even have something new to add to those things I haven’t given much thought to in a while.
…while I fix the problems I have caused in site layout.
Updated: Thank you for your patience and understanding.
My notebooks are littered with scribbles and notes of ideas for blog posts. Unfortunately, many of these ideas have never made it off of paper. If only there were an easy way to post from my quickly written out ideas….
One of the things that caught my eye when going through the things OneNote 2007 can do was the Blog This option when you right-click a page. This page is meant to be a test of that functionality.
Because of the way OneNote handles text and images – basically, put it wherever you want it on the page, I’m curious how it will handle the different placement of elements when it converts to HTML. This paragraph that I’m currently writing is a separate element from the text above, placed below and a bit offset from the rest of the text. I captured the graphic using the windows+S key combination and dropped it in on the right side of the page.
Update from within Word 2007:
Once I clicked on Blog This, OneNote sent the page into Word ’07. I kind of expected this based on my previous experience with Word ’07 and blogging, but I was hoping that OneNote would simply use the account settings from Word. As you can see (well, I can see it since I know what the original looked like), Word has taken the free-flowing format of a OneNote page and converted it into a more structured document. The only change I made to the page (except for adding this description) was to adjust the text wrapping properties and location of the image.
From here the process is somewhat familiar, but I’m still going to have to do some tweaking once I get it up into WordPress. For example, you can Insert Category from within Word, but you can only select one category – Ctrl-click doesn’t work.
Update from within WordPress:
Once I got into WordPress, everything in the post looked fine. I added the categories I wanted this post filed under and it was ready to post.
A quick recap of the process:
- Put together a rough (or not so rough) draft in OneNote.
- When ready, right-click on the Blog This option
- In Word 2007, adjust the flow of the text and images as needed, then Publish as Draft.
- In WordPress, open the draft, modify the post properties (Categories, tags, timestamp, etc). Then Publish.
Which is what I’m going to do now.
Just to let you know, I’m going to be going through some blog maintenance over the next day or two, including an update of the WordPress software and databases and a possible template change (haven’t decided about that one, yet). I’m also planning to import posts from the original …no straight lines… from Blogger, partly to have a consolidated collection of my writing but mainly to follow my own advice (inspired by Harold Jarche) to “own my data.”
I’m giving this warning because 1) I’m not sure what will happen when I import the posts, whether subscribers will get a blast of new posts or if there will be no effect, and 2) in case I screw something up you’ll know that it is my fault – not my host, DreamHost – and is (hopefully) temporary until I can figure it all out.
Two interesting posts on the question of data ownership, coming from two very different perspectives.
Harold Jarche comes at the question from a “physical” standpoint, as he contemplates the closure of Eduspaces, in his post Own Your Data:
Anyone who asks me about blogging or setting up a community on the Web using wikis or some other application is given pretty well the same advice. If the site is important and the data are of some significance for the long term, then:
- Use an open source platform from a stable and functioning community.
- Own your own domain, and have a Service Level Agreement for your hosting.
Using open source gives you freedom from vendors and ensures that you are not handcuffed to your technology provider. Having your own domain name and paying for a service provider (or hosting on your own server) ensure that you have control over your data.
This is one of the reasons I moved this blog off of Blogger and onto my own domain . I’m eventually planning to import that old version onto the new, but I’ve not been able to get the function to work properly. (An excellent example of what Harold is talking about.)
On the other hand, Ton Zijlstra is thinking more about how to control how the data is used. In To (Web2.0) Developers: I Want Control of My Data, I Want to Write My Own Rules, he gives developers his two key reasons:
First because if you tell me I have no friends simply because my data is not on your platform, you’re not getting it. I am the landscape, you are the map. And the map does not get to say what reality is, just what it thinks it looks like.
Second because I want my tools to become smarter, a lot smarter. And it is only me that can provide the context and data that allows tools to be smarter. I need to be in control of my data for you to let your tools be smarter. I need to be the owner of e.g. my favourites/wishlists and preferences for you to really give me good recommendations.
Something to think about.