Words On Wednesday

2015-08-26 A Year Blogging (As of Tomorrow)

On the morning of Wednesday, August 27, 2014, I decided to write up a small post on Google+ and begin writing every week for this blog of sorts. Despite some ups and downs, I’m still writing almost a year later.

Topics

I’ve talked about a lot over the past year. Some of it has been serious, some very comical. Some weeks I brought up a few controversial issues, and others I stayed in the safe zone.

Video Games

Since I was a child, I’ve been a gamer at heart. I learned the art of gaming on Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and I haven’t looked back. I eventually got my own top-loading NES and played Castlevania like it was going out of style. Over the years, I’ve teetered the line between Nintendo and Sony, nabbing most of platforms released by each. Though my free time has been limited lately, I still try to play games when I can and keep up with the latest trends in the industry.

Most of what I’ve written about video games has consisted of reviews on what I have played, plus discussion of what I plan on playing. Having fallen behind on the latest generation of gaming consoles, my coverage of everything since the Wii and PS3 is based on speculation, news, and the opinions of my peers. That should change over the coming year or so, when I do upgrade to a PS4 and catch up on many of the games I’ve been postponing.

Technology

Perhaps I’m far too eager to play with technology created for its own sake rather than a means to an end, but it’s just one of those hobbies I can’t shake. I love reading up all the information I can get on the latest Android handsets, I rave about high end machines I’ll never get my hands on, and I prefer digital formats of most things even if the physical or analog alternatives are probably just as good. Tech is ingrained in my being, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

On a limited budget and without the funding of a publisher, I obviously can’t acquire all the newest pieces of tech to review on the blog. You can place a sure bet, however, that I’ll always post a writeup on any devices I do purchase. Any new phones, perhaps a smart watch if they ever become more useful in my eyes, and laptops or desktops are all fair game for me to elaborate on here.

Finance

I may not be the pinnacle of “frugal” or heavily invested in stocks, but I do try to maintain some finance savvy and share what I know with my readers. Nobody likes being told what to do with their hard earned cash, by any means, but I try to help people make their dollar go further or at least talk about my successes or failures in economic pursuits for the knowledge of others. For a quick tip that should help anyone, check out Mint.com to see a good picture of your overall financial health. Even if you’re certain that all your finances are in order, it’s nice to see things in an organized format.

Music

Most certainly one of the subjects I am most passionate about, I love music in a variety of forms and genres. FM radio is a crime against the music world, playing certain tracks to death while so many gems are never even heard by the masses. Anything less than 320kbps mp3 sounds like nails on a chalk board. One can never have too much music in their personal library. Clearly, this is a very general overview of my opinion on music, but that’s only because I don’t have the time or room to fully elaborate on the subject.

Television

I haven’t had a cable television subscription of my own since… well, ever. I do love me some Netflix, though. Most of my coverage on “television” consists of what can be streamed online, purchased on disc, or what little I catch while visiting with family.

Politics

Politicians are all liars, politics is a game of popularity and broken promises, and people who lean heavily or blindly to the political left or right are both stupid and annoying. Yes, I’m very critical of politics, perhaps unjustly so. As I’ve made clear in previous posts, I do have a solid opinion on many of the issues that play into American politics, but I haven’t yet encountered someone that I agree with on enough points to be worthy of my vote. I’ll leave the bulk of political discussion to those who care about it, while I participate with things I find more worthy of my time.

Religion

Discussion religion is a very easy way to step on toes, lose friends, and have yourself ostracized by those around you. However, I find it better to talk about religion with an open mind and entertain the beliefs of others than to vehemently push your own beliefs on anyone who will listen. Take a good look in your own holy book before you go burning the holy books of other cultures.

Adaptation

I started blogging with nearly no knowledge of blogging or how it works, so obviously some things are going to change over the course of several posts. This adaptation has turned Words On Wednesday into what it is today.

Google Drive for Writing

My first several posts were constructed right in a new Google+ post window, and published immediately upon completion. After several instances of losing work due to refreshing a page or accidentally exiting Chrome, I decided to find a better alternative.

Having already been a heavy user of Google Drive, it didn’t take long to explore it as a platform for composing posts. Automatic saving is a wonderful thing when you don’t always remember to ctrl+s regularly. Cross-platform availability is so much more convenient than carrying around a flash drive and hoping you remembered to grab the latest version. Obviously, writing in Google Drive was a great fit for me and continues to be my composition platform of choice.

WordPress for Publishing

Google+ worked alright for a while, but put me in a weird circumstance for reaching the majority of my potential audience. If I wanted any of my Facebook or Twitter friends to see the post, I had to copy a link and share it manually on those platforms. This required me to actually remember to post in multiple places, and took more time than I usually cared to invest.

Furthermore, organizing blog posts on Google+ was a nightmare. Since I wasn’t aware of any way to group posts together, blog posts were included right along with all my other Google+ posts. I tried to include a link to previous posts and edit those old posts with links to the new one each week, but that was both tedious and confusing. Half the time, I would forget which link I had copied to my clipboard and have to check multiple times to make sure everything was routed properly.

Though metrics have never been a huge concern of mine. Google+ offered absolutely nothing in the way of information on how a post was doing. Other than the number of comments and +1’s a post received, I had no clue who had seen it. A lack of even the most basic metrics left me in the dark, to say the least.

After researching a number of different options, I decided on a free WordPress.com site. Blogging is a hobby for me, nothing more. Therefore, I couldn’t justify even the smallest sum for publishing or hosting when I’m not doing this to earn money. WordPress allows users to link Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and more to automatically push new posts to social media upon publishing. I can schedule posts to be published in the future automatically, which is great for composing a post early. I can organize posts into categories, as well as apply tags to group related posts together. Many metrics are handled automatically, and many more can be measured with the proper tools.

Though it isn’t necessarily a permanent move, migrating to WordPress seems to have been the best decision for the time being. I’ve pondered the idea of using Blogger/BlogSpot for its Google account integration, but I haven’t bothered looking at it in depth. As long as I’ve got a reliable platform to publish my work, I’m happy.

Images for Attention

A minor change but one that seemed to improve my traffic tremendously was to include images with posts. Stick a related picture with the social media links, sprinkle a few more in the actual post when applicable, it seems people are far more likely to click. In any case, it’s a trend I’ve continued since I started.

Metadata for Me Being Weird

As one can likely infer from a variety of my posts, I’m weird about data. I love seeing metadata about everything. Eventually, I decided to include a small segment of metadata at the end of every post. If nothing else, it gives me an interesting idea of how my writing changes over time.

The Future of Words On Wednesday

There are currently no plans to stop blogging any time soon. I enjoy writing and this is a fantastic way to express my opinions on issues. Until there comes a time when I’m just completely unable to write, for whatever reason, I’m going to try to continue putting out another article every week.

To anyone who’s ever read even a single Words On Wednesday post, thank you. Though this has never been a public-driven endeavor for me, it’s very encouraging to see my view counter tick up and know that someone decided to read what I’ve written. I sincerely hope that you all have learned a thing or two about me, and that you’ve been entertained or enlightened for even a few moments.

See the post that started it all here, republished on WordPress here.

Meta:

Words: 1680 | Characters: 9257 | Sentences: 81 | Average Word per Sentence: 21 | Paragraphs: 38 | Reading Level: College Student

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