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This is an experimental, informal blog for learning about blogging, blog development, and blog-related professional development activities.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Geo-tagging

As an experiment in geo-tagging, and in hope of detecting this and other blogs using Feedmap (beta), I've registered this blog and added the following meta tags to the head of the blog template:

meta name="geo.position" content="32.7885; 130.715"
meta name="geo.region" content="JP-43"
meta name="geo.placename" content="Kumamoto, Japan"
Before you try stuff like this, however, let me remind you to backup your blog template first, and if you have more than one blog, make sure you are using the correct blog template. You shouldn't have to learn those lessons the hard way, like I do!

As Andrew Turner suggests in Geotagging Web Pages and RSS Feeds (2005.01.11) you can retrieve local latitude & longitude coordinates from Multimap, by city names, and get an International Standards Organization country code from the ISO.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_3166-1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_3166-2:JP
Internet searching for "ISO 3166-2, [+ country name]" should turn up codes for other locales.

I note that in Andrew's coding examples, tag closures for geo.region and geo.placename are missing (2007.04.09). Each of those tag lines must begin with a left angle bracket ("<") and end with matching right closure (" />"). I put those three lines immediately below the "head" line in the template, with the understanding that place name is optional. I'll soon see if it works.

Nope, I still couldn't update my location with Feedmap. So I've turned to Kuan Cheen's guide (2005.08.13) to find another tag of the ICBM variety:
meta name="ICBM" content="32.7885, 130.715"
I'll add that and try again....

Note that once uploaded, the template automatically redefined the tags with their elements in a different order:
meta content='32.7885, 130.715' name='ICBM'
meta content='32.7885; 130.715' name='geo.position'
meta content='JP-43' name='geo.region'
meta content='Kumamoto, Japan' name='geo.placename'
Yet each line is still enclosed with angle brackets. Let's try again with Feedmap.

Though Feedmap suggests, "If you want to update your location, simply add geo.position tags to your home page and submit it to the Ping page - it will automatically update your location"; I've done that, and I keep getting an error stating, "Unable to store blog. Please try again later. [ERROR: Value cannot be null. Parameter name: value]" - with and without the ICBM type tag.

Back to the drawing board....

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Lessons for bloggers (Porter, 2007)

In addition to a first batch of nine lessons learned through seven years of blogging (Porter, 2007a), Joshua has summed up nine more lessons for bloggers (2007b). I've collected and recast them here because they resonate with what I've been feeling, reading and wondering recently about blogging.

Getting over initial fears of publishing your thoughts is part of the blogging process. This is a challenge for many if not most would-be bloggers. You can get over, around or through it simply by blogging.

Saying your say is important, whether you say it right the first time or not. Thinking aloud in beta is part of the process; just keep typing. Posting what you've written is essential. As Joshua suggests: "When in doubt, post." You're a blog owner, so you can always change your posts, continue to refine them, or remove them later. Fine-tuning posts with comments is a possibility (Porter, 2007a). However, I prefer revising the posts themselves.

Sticking to your passion(-s) will enable you to inspire not only your readers, but yourself. It will help you decide what to write about, and feel strong enough about to see it through. You should be writing from the gut or heart. So rather than worrying about grammatical correctness, you should concentrate on making your ideas easy to understand.

Creating a "greatest hits" collection, or showcase module, and featuring it on every page will remind readers of where you've been and what you've done (Porter, 2007a). It will also help you remember that people are reading what you've written, and that you have written something you're proud of. This is an idea I plan to adopt and share with students as well.

Nevertheless, is important to take your time writing because each post can pay forward as well as pay back. Give each post and each concept that you embrace a meaningful, memorable name. Build on posts of interest to you and others. Continue to revise good stuff to make it better; you never know who may find it several years down the road.

Joshua suggests summarizing comments and writing your own reflections in follow-ups, linking to, but not quoting yourself. If you've got a hot idea that deserves reiteration, refer to it by name and paraphrase it; you most certainly can find a better, more economical way to say it again than quoting.

It is productive to own up to your mistakes. If someone points out a mistake that you've made, in thinking or expression, agree that you made it and carry on with what you actually meant. Take other disputes off-line promptly. If criticism becomes offensive, personal or tangential to the focus of your writing, don't haggle about it on your blog or in counter comments. You may wish to try writing a polite email response instead.

Finally, it is important remember that blogs are conversational. Your posts should sound as if you're speaking, and you can use your voice to help make others' perhaps softer, less familiar voices heard by cross-linking, creating broader audiences and promoting higher expectations of readership (Porter 2007b).


References

Porter, Joshua (2007a). Nine lessons for would-be bloggers. Retrieved April 3, 2007, from http://bokardo.com/archives/9-lessons-for-would-be-bloggers/

Porter, Joshua (2007b). Nine more lessons for would-be bloggers. Retrieved April 3, 2007, from http://bokardo.com/archives/9-more-lessons-for-would-be-bloggers/

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