Last night, I discovered the SEO plugin I’ve used…

Last night, I discovered the SEO plugin I’ve used forever has cool social media tricks baked in. Now, I’m playing with them. 🙂

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You’re Not Me

I’ve been waiting for months to say this while a “friend” has indirectly attacked my blogging style. This morning, she gave me the opening I’ve been looking for.

I hope we’ve all noticed by now that everyone approaches their online identity in different ways. Some of us like to write long diatribes about their life. Some of us like to post short updates just to catch up our friends. Some of us like to share and talk about pictures or videos. Some of us have such a wide online presence that we prefer to post one place and then let it share everywhere so people don’t necessarily have to subscribe to a million services just to follow us.

That’s part of what makes the web so nice. You can post something and have it show up multiple places. You can write however you like and express yourself. You can follow conventions, or you can do what works for you.

Take me, for example. I like to experiment, see what works for me and what doesn’t. As a result, I am spread hither, thither, and yon, but I have friends and family who aren’t very tech-savvy so they want to be able to keep up with everything easily. As a result, I have certain things set up so they can do just that.

Unfortunately, I’m lacking a bit on my own tech-savvy (and just don’t have the time to figure it all out), so I am still hand-posting blog entries to both MySpace and LiveJournal. I do have a method of sorts for doing this so that I update one right behind the other, but it doesn’t always happen and I end up dropping six months of MySpace posts into LiveJournal in a single shot.

Eventually, I aspire to have the MySpace posts cross-post themselves, but I just haven’t managed it yet.

Because I just catch up everything when I have time, someone decided that I was deliberately shutting her out of my life (keep in mind we’re also friends on MySpace…or were last time I looked) by posting all these things she could only see after I post them (it’s called the backdate feature. Useful for keeping things in order when you slack off like I do.) and so she whined about that. She was actually convinced I was posting them either privately or to some friends group she wasn’t in, and then going back and making them public afterwards. (Like anyone has time for that!) Then she got upset that my posts were all Twitter (because I was failing to get everything posted in a timely manner from MySpace). She actually held a poll to decide whether or not she should unfriend me because my updates were all from Twitter.

I realize my life’s not all that interesting, and is so beyond my control these days that I can’t manage to get things working the best way possible, but honestly… We’re all different. We all express ourselves differently. If you can’t cope with the fact I’m never going to conform to your narrow view on how this should all work, then I wish you well in your future endeavors.

(Yep, I’m a horrible person. And I really don’t care at the moment.)

Who Do I Read?

Lorelle on WordPress has issued her newest blogging challenge: talk about who you read, where you get information from. For me, this is a difficult question. I have a number of topics I want to stay read up on for myself and for my blogs.

For example, I read up on career issues. Finding your passion, changing jobs with a thought toward your passion, writing resumes, developing skills, leadership and management. I like blogs like Occupational AdventureTalking Story, and the Monster blogs.

I also like to read tutorials for web design and Photoshop because occasionally I find time to work them back into my schedule. That causes blogs like the Sitepoint blogs, A List Apart, andmezzoblue to appear in my aggregator.

Despite the fact I am a teacher now, my passion is creating informal education experiences. I’d love to break into educational media and working on educational games. While I’m exploring the necessary skills for myself, I’m also trying to keep my ear to the ground for information on e-learning, information architecture, and just trying to keep an eye on what’s going on. Some of my favorite blogs to follow include Boxes and Arrowselearnspace, and Stephen Downes.

Finally, what fun would stressing over my own writing and editing work be without following people who do it on a much larger scale than I do. My favorite blog from the publishing world is the recently retired Miss Snark, but I think I’d be lost without Lit SoupPracticing Writing, and Copyblogger.

I do also follow a number of feeds that reflect my recreational habits, too. Some of the more fun ones include Girls Read ComicsWWdN in Exile, and She’s Such a Geek.

Of course, then there’s my favorite pair of feeds: Lifehacker and Wired.

This is quite possibly the most link-heavy post I’ve ever written, and that includes back when I was doing weekly link dumps.

Present Yourself Authentically Online

I guess this week’s accidental theme is being authentic. On Monday, I was thinking about leading authentically. Today, I’m thinking about blogging authentically.

Living online, I think it’s easy to forget that this kind of communication carries a certain skepticism from the readership. Who is this person really? Do they really live what they say? Are they honestly trying to reach me, or are they focused on reaching the search engines?

The internet has such a bad reputation brought about by those who use it as a stage, a place to test out new personalities, to test out ways to gain what they want through not entirely kosher ways that it places a great burden on those of us who do exist on the internet the exact same way we exist in real life to have to fight to prove our own authenticity.

What’s even more fun is that a number of teenagers, that group of people trying to find themselves, to figure out who they are going to be through the early stages of adulthood, are online showing off that growth. They’re being normal kids- posting emotional rants, attacking each other for being different, sharing pictures they find silly, but we would find stupid (Sometimes, I really wish my students wouldn’t feel compared to share these pictures with me.)- but they’re also trying to share their journey. They’re trying to share their writings, their art, their personal expressions as they navigate the same troubled teen years we all had to pull ourself through.

For us, our teenage growth isn’t on display for the world to see. We are sharing our adult lives. For these kids, those teenage experiences that they share with the world through the internet will be available to haunt them until someone finally figures out how to clear all ghosts from the internet.

What this means, and the linked post on blogging authentically is just the tip of the iceberg, is that it’s okay to share your life, to share your struggles. Someone may benefit from seeing how you handled a challenging period of your life, and it may in turn help them through their own struggles. But it’s best to be discreet in sharing your life, and to be yourself even online. You never know who’s looking, and you never know when you’re going to run into your online persona in your offline life.

When you live in harmony, these two personas not conflicting, it makes your life simpler, and people actually appreciate your honesty.

On Being Introverted and a Blogger

I am an introvert.

No, seriously. I’m an introvert. I’m so introverted it’s crippling at times. That’s when I have to create a punishment system to drive myself out of my purple cave. My roommates think it’s funny. They like when I start trying to work through some of my introvert issues because it means they might actually see for some reason other than I’m hungry or in need of massive amounts of cocoa. (It also generally means I’m about to do something that will leave one of them a laughing stock, but they seem to think this is okay.)

I have repeatedly taken the Myers-Briggs test as part of various college courses, and up until a year or two ago, they all came back saying I’m an INFJ (now an INFP, apparently). The great thing about the Myers-Briggs is that you generally get to see the scales when you get your report. I’m right on the line on every single scale EXCEPT the Extrovert-Introvert scale, where I’m squarely on the Introvert side.

I’m an introvert.

Surprisingly, a number of the bloggers I run into are also introverts, many of them fellow INFJs. It’s kind of interesting. We’re all here for our own reasons, but the fact is…we’re here. Hiding out online.

Lorelle on WordPress shared an article yesterday on blogging for introverts. Many of us commented (you should all pat me on the back). I scanned the article briefly, and then went back and read it. Somehow, my introverted self felt a bit miffed. For starters, I feel mostly confident in my knowledge. I’m a teacher, for crying out loud! One who just finally launched a blog that will hopefully lead to a couple of books sharing my knowledge on math and writing. I’m considered brilliant, and I don’t generally question that.

Secondly, introverts are supposed to shy away from any form of criticism. Funny that…one of the reasons my directors like me at work is because I don’t mind taking corrections. I confused Sensei routinely because I worked to apply corrections she gave me, but would then become frustrated with myself because I was taking too long (in my own opinion) to internalize the corrections. I even received a subscription on deviantArt last year after taking a critique graciously. (Everyone else said it was overly harsh, but I found that he addressed many of the concerns that had been running in the back of my mind in very helpful ways.) While there are people in my life who manage not to frame their corrections and criticism in a manner I will take, I can generally handle criticism, and even seek it out on things I’m working on.

I can have my low self-esteem days. I can withdraw to the point of doing myself serious psychological harm. But the simple fact of the matter is I’m an introvert who can find some relief for her introversion here in the blogosphere.

Accomplishment: Time’s Person of the Year

All right, I think all of us who were targeted by Time’s lack of attempt to take their own Person of the Year award seriously are all having a fairly good laugh right now.

In fact, my good laugh came as I was telling my best friend, just home from Japan, about the award. We were already giggling when I suggested adding it to my resume as a joke. That had both of us laughing so hard we could barely breathe.

I’m grateful to know I’m not the only one who is concerned about the potential for this actually showing up on people’s resume, or who find the thought completely laughable. What concerns me more than anything, though, is when a reputable site (who has been on my radar for less-than-brilliant moves before) actually supports doing it.

Honestly, if your resume is so weak that you feel adding this “accomplishment” to it will put you over the top, then perhaps you seriously need to review your resume and stop selling you and your hard-earned skills short.

Yep, I am Time’s Person of the Year this year because I’m unafraid to share my life through blogging and various bits of social software, but in the end, that means nothing next to my long list of well-honed skills and talents.

EverNote Has Truly Become My Workspace

I seem to have become a champion for EverNote. It’s just as well. I spend about as much time in EverNote as I do in Firefox.

This week alone, I’ve used EverNote to:

  • manage an out-of-control to-do list (it’s truly been wild over the past week)
  • prewrite blog entries for the blogs I contribute to
  • start planning for a guest blogging opportunity coming up next month
  • plan out copy for some jewelry posted to Etsy over the weekend
  • keep track of edits made in Photoshop so I could duplicate effects on future images
  • write and edit an article to be shared at Gather and EducationNiche

Part of why I’ve started working more in EverNote is because it keeps track of previous versions of a note. If I can’t remember where I was going with something or how I got there, all I have to do is access the older versions to get myself back on track. It’s also very easy to move around between notes if I’m merging information. It even keeps track of the web sites I’ve pulled information from, making it that much easier to link back or give credit.

We all work in our own ways I guess, but EverNote really does just work for all of my tasks.