Blogging, a Beginner’s First Year in Open Source Land

I really enjoy blogging, but because I am a writer, not a techy.  After a relatively easy start  with WordPress and GoDaddy, for a long time I was unsure of what “self-hosting” means.  My software lies off in Tempe, Arizona (I think) while I reside  in Kansas with Toto. I was also confused whether to use the support base on WordPress.org or on WordPress.com.  Even the support volunteers get confused.  One person told me I was a “dotcom WordPresser” and not a “dotorg” kind of guy.  (I had specifically avoided the dotorg status, because I was scared of it.)  Surprise, surprise, I had stumbled into Dotorg World without knowing it. I discovered that I did not have the limitations of a WordPress. com blogger.  All kinds of self-inflicted mischief lay at my call. So I dived into Part III of WordPress for Dummies.  I bought WordPress Bible which is still well beyond me.  I am “in the cloud” in more than one way.

I’ve learned that I will go broke, if I keep saying yes to “Oh, it’s only forty-five bucks a year for this widget and that widget.  So, at the moment my best backups are my blog copy.  If the thing goes kerplop, I’m up Digital Creek.  I’ve been to a WordPress Meet Up, but those folks intimidate the hell out of me.  In the meantime I read as much as I can, but the jargon often defies understanding.  The techy types never quite understand how little I know, so they talk above me without knowing it.  There’s something to be said for good pedagogy. The nice man at GoDaddy spoke English.  God loves an empathetic support person.

As for the vaunted virtues of open source software, God, there aren’t enough dummy books to help this guy — at least quickly.  As I discovered with Sun’s abandoned version of MS Office, called Open Office, Open Source Land is a lonely, lonely place.  However, I am making progress. I haven’t used MS Office for months.  Now you see why my blog is so appropriately named the tortoisefactor.com.

Luckily I started plummeting cyberspace with my own mental droppings very quickly. There have been a few book reviews, personal reflections (especially about career) and other topics on which I have a modicum of knowledge.  Political blogs receive the least interest, perhaps because of the plethora elsewhere.

As for you, my sometime readers, I don’t know who you are, but I  know your statistical behavior.  I know your state or country and am intrigued by the hits from the UK, Ghana and the Philippines. I have respectable numbers of new visitors, but the “bounce rate” could be better. (The bounce rate in most endeavors could be better, too. ) That particular statistic tells me the percentage of folks who drop by my site and then bounce off, probably to a sexier, site.  But I do think there are signs of some loyalty to www.thetortoisefactor.com.

Too many comments wind up in SPAM, though.  They are usually very polite, ungrammatical robotic (if not illiterate), messages that sell something.  Some would like to give a cookie to my machine.

As for blogging — sheer fun, addictive like Facebook.  Finding an audience here in cyperspace has proved as challenging as the same effort in the analog world of literary agents and publishers.  It’s a jungle.

Comments from humans are not only sought, but fervently sought. We’re all open source here.

Steadfast and cautious,

David Milliken

 

 

I started plummeting cyberspace with my wisdom and insights very quickly.

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