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Technoramble

Yesterday I teased you all with hints about how I was going to shift to WordPress, and how I was going to use my 1337 5|<|11z (oh lord, I've lost the ability to write in l337) to port over the comments. I'm sure you all assumed that meant I was going to get right on that...and to be honest, so did I! Instead, however, I have found myself messing with something else. Two things, actually: del.icio.us and Technorati.

(I know, I know, I am an old fogey, behind the times, etc. I’ve already indicated that I’m not on the cutting edge ;P)

Cory Doctorow linked to a guy named Matt who’d written up a bookmarklet for Technorati that allows you to insert their new del.icio.us-and-flickr-esque “tags” into blog posts, thereby connecting your blog to other blogs discussing the same subject. I found this intriguing and went to check it out, but I actually ended up veering off into the realms of del.icio.us first.

“A place for all my links? That I can access anywhere and use to create a links page for my website? That’s just what I need,” I breathed, astonished. And so I spent some time sticking some of the links on my sidebar in there, and all of the webcomics I currently read. It was fun assigning tags to all of them! I tried to pick a lot of different tags that were descriptive but not too specific (although I couldn’t resist putting “fhqwgads” in as a tag for homestarrunner.com). I also checked when items in my list were also on other people’s lists, and copied some of their tags.

I haven’t decided yet how I want to categorize the items I currently keep in my blogroll under “Friends” and “Interesting People”, because del.icio.us requires one-word tags. I could, for example, use “myfriends” and “interestingpeople”, but those have less of a chance of being used by others, and the point of the tag system is to interconnect. I’m pondering just calling them all “blogs” and not worrying about differentiating my friends from the people I think are cool. Or I could call them all “blogs”, but then add another tag, “friends”, to my friends. I’m still thinking about it. My main goal will be to have tags I can use to organize how they display on my website; there have to be some that are exclusive to a category, otherwise the entire system falls apart.

You are perfectly free to take a look at my list if you want. It resides here.

After I got done with the webcomics, I poked around del.icio.us for awhile, looking at the new entries. Following a couple of links, I ended up back at Technorati, where I created an account for myself and claimed my blog. Then I searched for “conversations” involving my journal, fully expecting to find the usual list of me, Brooke, and Luke (the only three people I’ve ever seen link to me).

To my surprise and delight, I discovered that my blog was added to someone’s blogroll just five days ago…and it’s right under Language Log in her list. What estimable company!

My link benefactor is a woman calling herself “the Divine Miss Em“. (If the url is to be believed, her name is Emily Mann.) I haven’t gone spelunking in her archives just yet, but a cursory scan of her front page leads me to believe that she journals a lot like I do, with brief posts to point out things that interest her, and then slightly longer ones discussing her life. (This may, in fact, be the default blog format; I don’t know. I do know, however, that some people do it with style, and some people do not. Emily Mann has style.)

I’m not sure if I’m going to start using Technorati tags in my posts or not. I don’t want to do it the way the aforementioned Matt of Oddiophile does it (a bunch of words stuck at the end of the post) because I think that looks stupid (no offense). Instead, I would probably stick them into the meat of my post, so they’d be contextual. This process would presumably be made easier by Matt’s bookmarklet, but it would still be more of a chore than just, oh, I don’t know, writing a post, and clicking “Publish Post”, and being done with it. (I could create a new blog template with an area specifically for Technorati tags, that would be off to the side or small and unobtrusive. If that ends up being the best solution, then I’ll do it, because I’m going to have to redo my template anyway to shift to WordPress.) As a point of interest, here‘s a bookmarklet that will search any word anywhere on Technorati. This is sort of good and sort of not, because if you’re using this bookmarklet it means you aren’t following a “tag”-ed link in someone’s post. You have access to content, but only if people are actually using the tags. And such a bookmarklet makes tags seem unnecessary. You see?

The third site that is constantly mentioned alongside del.icio.us is Flickr, a photo site with tags for sorting and such. I have to say that I like the tag system; it’s decentralized and self-correcting (people who want their pictures to be found in searches will strive to make their tags match their content and match the tags of similar content). However, I haven’t given Flickr a try yet, and I’m not really ready to do so just yet. I think I’ve had enough new technology for one day. Or week…

Speaking of technology, though, I want to mention that WordPress is awesome. In the settings, you can assign latitude and longitude to your posts. That would be perfect for a travelogue! But, of course, I’d need a GPS system first.

Anyway, I promise I will get working on that WordPress thing soon. I’m very eager to find out if my theory will pan out. If I can’t import the comments, I can easily imagine myself copying them over manually, like I did the last two times I changed commenting systems. I do not relish the prospect, but I refuse to lose the comments.