I never met a metapost I didn’t like

June 1, 2011 @ 3:30 pm | Filed under:

Thanks much to all of you who’ve chimed in on the linksharing survey (and if you haven’t yet, here’s where). I expected varying responses, which I’m getting, but some patterns are emerging: Facebook users tend to prefer links shared via that platform (I loved Susan’s “town square” metaphor). Non-FB folks prefer links on the blog, but not too many links at a time, and with short why-I’m-sharing notes. Hardly anyone looks at sidebars anymore. (Begging the question: are sidebars therefore a cluttery distraction? Or does it not matter because people are reading in Reader anyway? I figure sidebar content exists for a tiny but important minority, particularly newcomers, and therefore serves a purpose even if it is seldom used. I admit, however, that lately I’ve been craving a wide text column and only one sidebar, sparsely furnished.)

Sometimes I wonder if it makes more sense to move all link-sharing (I’m talking about items-of-interest like the midnight sun eclipse link I posted yesterday) to a separate venue, Tumblr maybe (which could be fed to Facebook or subscribed to in Google Reader by those who were interested). Reserving this space for booknotes, comic-con reports, travel notes, family tales, the inevitable garden photos. (Be warned: my sunflowers are mere weeks away from blooming. The bees go mad for them, and then I go mad for the bees going mad. Also: the milkweed is in lush bloom, and we’re expecting monarch caterpillars any day.)

But I don’t know. As I continue my archive cleanup, I’m enjoying revisiting the links that caught my attention at a given moment (if they still exist), and remembering that moment only happens if I see them in the context of my days and weeks.

Scott often teases me about my Charles Ingalls streak—I absolutely thrive upon a big move, a fresh start. (Even when we’ve been sad to leave our friends, like our New York and Virginia moves, I’ve been simultaneously grieved and exhilarated.) I’m sure part of my current metablogging preoccupation has to do with the fact that I’ve been living in this blog design for (gasp) four years now, and I’m craving change. Which generally starts with cleaning out closets and packing up things you aren’t using anymore.

Well, enough of this for now! I’m supposed to be doing a final pass at the beginning reader today. My editor said no rush—it isn’t scheduled to pub until Spring 2013—but I’m really enjoying these last little nitpicky tinkerings. Then it’s full steam ahead on the Alabama book. (And ooh, they’ve picked an artist for the middle-grade novel! Can’t wait till I have clearance to share! But it’ll be a while yet…)

    Related Posts


20 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Pippi says:

    I love sidebars!! And the links on your blog! Don’t change it up too much!

  2. MelanieB says:

    I love all this metaposting. One of the things you do well, Lissa, is talking about how people actually use all this new media. It’s fun to think about.

    I do use sidebar content on blogs I’m visiting for the first time. It does help orient me, give me a sense of who a blogger is, what they like, etc. I’d kind of hate for it to disappear. I’ve found some great pages via links on people’s sidebars.

    As for moving the link sharing to a different place, it sort of sounds good in theory; but in practice I fear I’d never actually go to wherever it was you were posting them. Jen Fulwiler of Conversion Diary actually has a separate links blog but I never remember it’s there and when I do go I just get overwhelmed by all the content. I think I kind of prefer my links in the middle of a stream of other content as on Facebook or a blog.

  3. Melissa Wiley says:

    @Melanie, thanks for the compliment! I do like thinking aloud about the new media…I tend to be an early adopter, and I’ve tried out loads of things that I didn’t stick with for one reason or another. The way I know something works for me is if I’m still using it a year later. šŸ™‚ There are many platforms I’ve enjoyed briefly but didn’t find expedient over time (for example, I love the look & functionality of Listography but forget about it for long stretches of time, which tells me it wasn’t quite the right platform for my daily needs.

    There are things about Facebook that drive me batty (the privacy issues) but there’s nothing quite like it for staying in touch, is there? I mean, I’ve been on the internet since 1995, active on bulletin boards and email groups from 1995-2008, blogging daily since Jan 2005, on Twitter since 2007—but not until Facebook was I in daily internet contact with my relatives, high school friends, college friends, grad school friends, old work friends, etc. PLUS the interaction with online friends (with whom I became friendly first via boards, lists, blogs, etc), kidlitosphere colleagues, and so forth. And I find I really count on FB to let me know quickly who is safe when, say, a freak tornado touches down in Massachusetts!!

    Re moving linksharing elsewhere, yes, I pretty much abandoned the idea the moment it was conceived, because I really do like the way my blog works as a scrapbook for *me* of what I was reading, thinking, pondering, watching at a given point in time.

    (Of course, I do have that Tumblr I funnel things to, but I don’t feel compelled to SHARE; I just want to keep track of them for myself.)

    (Though I do like knowing that some people DO find it an interesting feed to follow.) šŸ™‚

    Re my sidebars—I think I’m just wanting to open up wider a bit, move back to a one-sidebar format with a wider text column. My photos feel squished!

    Actually, I’d love feedback on what you DO like to see in a sidebar—mine or anyone’s.

  4. sarah says:

    Sometimes sidebars are distracting, but mainly only when there are photos involved. Please don’t stop offering links in your posts. I rely on them! Seriously, you are directing my dd’s literary education!


    But seriously seriously, for me, I never visit links collected in a separate location – I am lazy, I like them to be placed right in front of my nose. I guess I’m a one-click-only-please type of person.

  5. Rachael in Australia says:

    I click on your book logs in the sidebar every 6 months or so to remind myself of the books I have been meaning to read but haven’t gotten to yet.

    I love your links in your blog posts. The variety you offer here is one of the main reasons I am an avid reader. My children and I have discovered and loved so many new books thanks to your recommendations. I’m not on facebook and I’m continuing to hold out as long as I can (!) so I’m really grateful for all the info here in your blog.

  6. Kathy says:

    I’m with Melanie. I really appreciate your links. And actually, I’d love an update on Diigo. I know some people visit the websites of every blog they read (and maybe that’d limit my reading to the ones I actually remember), but yeah, I mostly read in a reader (and I’m always sort of surprised when I realize that not everyone else does.)

  7. Heather says:

    I love your sidebars, too! I always check out your click-worthy stuff, and your book lists are wonderful for reminding me of stuff I want to read, or coming back to find your discussion of Room, for example, once I read it! And I much prefer links here, in a post or otherwise, than on FB. There’s just too much on facebook and it is so easy to miss things!

  8. MelanieB says:

    Oh my. I don’t know how I missed your reply here, Lissa. The one thing your blog doesn’t have that I’d like is email notifications of comments. I subscribe to your comments feed on Google Reader but sometimes it slips off my radar for a few days and I miss out on the back and forth of conversations.

    I love that you’re an early adopter. Dom is the early adopter in our household and I’m the holdout. I wait to let him prove the utility of the concept and then I leap into it. Which means I’m usually a little ahead of the curve of when the general public adopts. Perhaps at the front of the second wave adopters?

    I’m like you with Facebook. It drives me batty and I grumble that some of the conversation has shifted from my blog to Facebook. But… I am much more in contact with aunts and uncles and cousins and college friends, none of whom read my blog. I enjoy the quick real-time back and forth exchanges. And, like you, say the on the spot emergency check-ins whether it be of the tornado disaster variety or the “Help! What shall I make for dinner?” kind.

    Facebook allows for a more coherent conversation than Twitter and easy sharing of links and photos.

    I do know what you mean about the wider text column. We’re thinking of redesigning my blog to have only one sidebar.

    In the sidebar. I like a blogroll. I like the recent comments feature. Love the book logs. (Yay for Rillabooks!!!) I often go to people’s blogs specifically to look at the book logs in their sidebars. Yours and Elizabeth Foss’ come to mind immediately. And I’d hate to see your “Word about how I blog” piece disappear. Or the Tidal Homeschooling link. I think the first time I linked to Bonny Glen from my blog was to one of the Tidal Homeschooling posts. Big nostalgia factor there; but also I just think that everyone should see them.

  9. Melissa Wiley says:

    Melanie, happened to be sitting here catching up on other people’s blogs when your comment came in. šŸ™‚ I actually thought I had a “subscribe to comments” link in the sidebar—I must have nixed it during one of my overhauls. No, wait, I see it up there on the bottom right—does that link not work? But I will also add a button or something up higher; great tip, thanks. Funny because just this morning I was on another blog I love, hunting and hunting for a link to a comment feed!

    My “Word about how I blog” excerpt—I removed it during a recent sidebar makeover—for about a day, then decided I really need it there. It jumped from right to left, though. šŸ™‚ It really does seem necessary to give people a heads-up on my “the truth, nothing but the truth, but not every single detail of the truth because some things are private” policy.

  10. Melissa Wiley says:

    Oh, and here’s the comments feed, if you like:

    It’s for *all* comments, though. I don’t know that I’m configured for individual post comments. Any WordPressy folks who know how to do that, feel free to point me in the right direction!

  11. Melissa Wiley says:

    Oh my goodness, LOL! Two seconds after I posted the above, I noticed—evidently for the first time—that there’s a “Comments RSS” link at the very top of this (and every) comment thread! THAT one goes to the individual post. So there you go! Wish it were that easy to grant all wishes. šŸ™‚

    (Now I may go see if I can change the words “Comments RSS” to something more attention-grabbing. Since, you know, I failed to notice them myself anytime during the past several years.)

  12. MelanieB says:

    Sorry, I guess I wasn’t clear. Yes you can subscribe to comments in general, and I do. But I can’t get email updates only for comments on a specific post that I’ve commented on– like Blogger does and some of the newer WordPress blogs. So since it’s just one feed for all comments to all posts, I don’t track conversations on it as easily as if I’m just getting notifications to all the comments on one post. Some posts have conversations I’m just not as interested in following and so I have to sift through those to find the relevant strands. Is that clearer? Argh. I’m having trouble explaining in writing. I think I could be clearer if we were actually face to face.

  13. MelanieB says:

    Oh now that you say that I do see the link. Why did I never see it before? I’m sure I’ve looked for it. Now I feel foolish.

  14. Melissa Wiley says:

    I just changed the name to something more noticeable AND (I’m flushed with accomplishment here) figured out how to repeat that link at the *bottom* of the thread. Don’t feel foolish—I had never noticed that Comments RSS link at the top of the combox either.

    Seems more useful down here at the bottom, anyway!

    But still no email notifications for comments on individual posts, and I agree with you that that can be useful. I may look into adding that feature. Surely it’s possible. Glad you nudged. šŸ™‚

  15. Melissa Wiley says:

    Oh and a PS re sidebar blogrolls: I chickened out of maintaining one a long time ago. Was always worried about hurting someone’s feelings via omission. Plus also, I read such a fearful quantity of blogs in so many circles. And yet! And yet! I *love* exploring other people’s blogrolls and would be sorry to see the practice altogether discontinued. So tell me, what’s to be done?

  16. MelanieB says:

    oooh at the bottom! Nifty!

    I do still prefer email to RSS notification. Not that I’m great at returning emails; but I see it more quickly. If you can figure that out, I’d be so grateful. I would be more likely to jump in and continue to follow the threads of conversations.

    I do know what you mean about blog rolls. Mine is sadly neglected and I need to give it some love. However, I’m afraid I don’t have an answer. Having one you run the risk of people being left out or it getting out of date or of it being so long it’s overwhelming. I sort of wish I could just automatically publish the list from my Google Reader subscriptions. Except there are blogs on there that are long expired and all those comments threads I’ve subscribed to. I guess that wouldn’t work. Something to ponder….

  17. MelanieB says:

    re The Brief Bee…. It doesn’t feel like The Bonny Glen; but I do like the open, airy feel. I would miss your header terribly if you ever ditched it. There’s just something so magical about it that captures something of the feeling of your blog. But the bee is pretty amazing.

  18. Leslie says:

    Love the Rilla books but how about Jane books? Does she have her own list? My eldest daughter is VERY similar and usually devours any crumbs thrown her way in the form of books that Jane has enjoyed!

  19. Melissa Wiley says:

    Leslie, Jane does keep a reading log and I asked her if I can share a chunk of it here. šŸ™‚ She said sure so I’ll work on that this afternoon.

    She reads sooo much more than I do. *wistful sigh* And cool stuff, too. Lately I’m finding the tables have turned…I’m getting my book recs from her rather than the other way around!

  20. Leslie says:

    So thrilled at the prospect! Ive often thought that our daughters would be great friends. . . from what I have read via your blog, very similar reading tastes and dispositions. I will email you her blog that she did last year while we were house building. Jane can get a sense of who she is sharing with. My blog is in progress!