Let the conversations begin!

In lurking around the SLJ’s “All Together Now” Netvibes page, I’ve discovered many new blogs by school librarians to follow. Quite obviously some are rather experienced, but many others are very experienced. The new bloggers are using a variety of platforms to test the waters, and I’ve seen many Edublogs, WordPress, and Blogger blogs. I have always had a strong dislike to the Google Platform known as Blogger or Blogspot.

One reason for this dislike is of this particular platform is it seems to be blocked a lot by k12 schools, more than likely due to the bar that rides across the top and includes a link to the “next blog” which is randomly loaded. The issue here, I imagine, is the chance that the next blog will be significantly less than educational. I initially tried blogger, but when I decided it was risky due to that little feature, moved over to Edublogs, which I’ve grown quite comfortable with, and must say the behind the scenes helpers have been immensely nice and generously helpful with any issues I have had. (thanks Sue!!)

Another issue I had with Google’s Blogger platform was the feed. While it behaved like a blog, allowing comments and feed I could subscribe to in my reader, it lacked a feature I liked in WordPress and Edublogs–>a comment feed. The comments feed allows one to read blogs in their reader as if they are a conversation. When people asked me what platform they should try, I would suggest first Edublogs, then WordPress, and then strongly steer them away from Blogger, no matter how easy it was reported as being. Why? No comments feed available. Well, I guess Google got wind of this complaint (surely not from little ol’ unimportant me). They have made the fix and made it possible for Blogger users to add in their subscription feeds to their side bars–both for all posts and all comments. (How? Simply go into the dashboard, find layout, add a page element, and select subscription feeds.)

What does this mean? It means now I can subscribe to their posts and comments, and really feel a part of a conversation happening in a blog. As it was, if I followed a blogger user, I had to leave my aggregator to read comments. Now they will come to me in my reader. W00T.

No, I’m not going back to Blogger. But I will stop steering newbies away from it. I will recommend it AFTER Edublogs, and then only as a last resort. Sorry Google–lose the risky and totally unecessary “next blog” feature. Make that an optional feature instead.

Blogger-Logo.”

http://www.elertgadget.com/images/blogger-logo.JPG

Edublogger.”

http://edc.carleton.ca/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/edublogs.jpg

WordPress-Logo.”

http://www.breakitdownblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/wordpress-logo.png



5 Responses to “Let the conversations begin!”

  1.   diane Says:

    Cathy,

    I’ve never had a problem with blogger, and can access it at my school. I didn’t realize how important the comment feed was until I installed it, at your suggestion.

    Once I added my blog comments to my own Google Reader feeds, I saw firsthand how convenient it is to track conversations this way.

    Thanks for the heads up!

  2.   Katie Says:

    it is pretty easy to remove the “next blog” from the HTML code.

  3.   Janice Says:

    Thanks for the reminder. Blogspot is blocked by our board for precisely the reason you mentioned – the next blog button. I had a PDF which I’ve since misplaced in the transition from one generation of computers to the next to the next to the next, which explained exactly how to remove the button, but even after I called the person “with authority” and explained that I could remove that button, she still wouldn’t change the filter and allow my site to be seen. I was SO frustrated. I’d spent almost an entire summer getting the blog ready! A few years later there is much better stuff available. Your post reminded me of how far I’ve come!

  4.   Sue Waters Says:

    Hi Cathy – always happy to help you and others :) . Apologies for taking so long to drop past your post but I’m traveling on the other side of Australia with limited Internet access since last week. Looking forward to heading home at the end of this week.

  5.   Cathy Nelson Says:

    @Sue–You have been the MOST helpful blog expert and friend I have encountered here. So I thank you so much. If not for you, I probably wouldn’t have been brave enough to venture out on my own.

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