“There was an eclectic group of us, containing among others, a gynecologist, a lawyer, an R.N, a retired teacher, a real estate agent…and me…the retired cop…the crew of Gilligan’s Island.”
“When everything else fails, read the instructions.” That’s always been my M.O.
Back in the seventies, when my little tykes got their first trikes I’d be there with a wrench and a frown trying to deal with, “some assembly required”.
I’d do this assembling without going to the enclosed instructions because I knew that the literature would have Tab A and Slot B and flange C all over its pages…hated it. I’d rather just visually analyze and proceed, you know, make sense of it all at a glance and dig in. Not sure whether it was an ego thing or laziness. But I like to think back on it as the desire for challenge. Yeah, yeah, that’s it. Sometimes I’d be successful, sometimes, say when the banana seat would end up on the trike backwards...I’d go to the “book”.
Today my kids have kids and the assembling challenges of yestertech are gone. The instructions are all symbols, no words, so it’s internationally “friendly”. Yeah, right!
However, I still do what I can with this analogic brain I was issued to deal this digitaldemon world I find myself in.
My latest ongoing trial started with a sweet young lady in my building urging me for some time to write a blog. I kept putting it off, sounded hard.
But in 2103, Lino, my nephew-in-law from Italy happened to be visiting. Before returning he helped me launch my blog and I just started writing and photo-posting without first learning how to further “build” this Huffy.
It didn’t go too badly. I got about a thousand views per month and even picked up some international viewership. But I was doing it, again, without any training or instruction, I hadn’t gone to the Blogger Academy. But a few months ago I felt it was time to bite the bullet and “read the instructions.”
So, this winter I took a short course in blogging at Hofstra University, taught by Sandra Mardenfeld*. She was not only well armed in the fine art of blogging but more importantly had real “street” cyber-savvy too.
There was an eclectic group of us, containing among others, a gynecologist, a lawyer, an R.N, a retired teacher and a real estate agent. With me the retired cop, I’m not sure if we were a gathering of the village people or the crew of Gilligan’s Island. All of us wanted to float a blog off the island but they had the forethought to learn raft building…before launching one.
It turns out my blog, among other things, doesn’t have a “narrow niche” (In defense see my About page, link below). I also had been suffering from long-scan, to progress from the top of the post to the bottom. My huge photos, as demonstrated at left, contributed a lot this situation. I did like my photos to stand out, I’m a photo guy ya know, but the effect it had on my blog was like having the “banana seat on backwards.”
But happily from the course, I learned about “wrapping” text around photos and key words and captioning and “chunking”, (small-batching text and photos and not Chun King some kind of Chinese Food I thought Sandra was talking about).
My blog now has a text-photo wraparound that you now see which makes it easier to read and scan through. I also try to use key words in my captions, it helps search engines to find my post. You can see my use of these tips in this post. I also applied this new method in my About page:http://tinyurl.com/LeeAbout
Now, in the course of my life I’ve encountered many relatives, friends and colleagues who had a lot to offer on many subjects. My service with the Corps and the Cops let me see how my much my colleagues had to say. With the Cops, The NYC Transit Police was our chosen career and they did have a lot to say about that. But a lot of discourse had nothing at all to do with, “the job”.
It was, more importantly, other life-interests that were their passions. Sometimes the passions were, well, passions! And when a few of us were young and single they’d love to describe in detail the passions of a Saturday night. Some were legends. As we grew older we began to suspect they were more legends in their own minds.
But I did hear many underwear-clad Police Officers, in front of their lockers, discoursing on anything from taxidermy to taxes. Regarding the former, I recall one officer, at the locker next to mine, showing me his catalogue of eyes for his current owl project. There were other experts on fishing and hunting, boats and baseball, parrots and pigeons. One was expert in magic, still is.
Some were fifties music aficionados and could name any group and song you asked about. FYI, Here’s a link to the best variety of great oldies and ads I’ve ever seen: http://tinyurl.com/Jukebox4U I also learned at Blogger U how to use:http://tinyurl.com/ to shorten that last link from this:http://www.1959bhsmustangs.com/VideoJukebox.htm#
Most of us have moved on to other careers or interests but I’ll bet many still hold court on these subjects today. Some at the bar, some sitting at a bar…but none behind bars. Praise the Lord.
So, I say to them and all of you out there, why not join the rest of us blogger-buddies? After all, the world is really only a bigger locker room of fellow space travelers willing to lend an ear. Some of you may have worn out tennis courts, golf courses, bowling alleys, tendons, joints and may want to switch to the less physical exercises. I gotta say, I find this “sport” to be a good mind excersize, but I do have to bike and swim for lifestyle balance.
I learned that three popular sources of blogging are WordPress, Blogger or Tumblr. I think all have free domains to start you off with. Google them and “Inquire within.” You pay, as in any other area, for Premium or additional options. None of the costs are prohibitive. I’m talking in the $25 to $100 area.
I use WordPress for blogging but I’ve learned at Blogger U that Tumbler and Blogger are easiest to use but don’t have the bells and whistles of WordPress. But WordPress tech support has been great in helping me. Seems I had a tendency to try to blow the bells and ring the whistles. You know…ass backwards.
The world’s your locker room boys and girls. Stand up on that bench and let it all hang out…just the thoughts of course. But maybe, read the instructions first.