The Blogger’s List of Summer Fun

My friend Michael recently did a post, citing Time Magazine’s list of summer fun. It got me thinking that there should be a special list for bloggers.  We are our own breed after all, logic would follow that we have our own brand of fun. Right? Here’s my list:

1. Heat got you down? Take the whole family to your local cyber cafe. There you can help the spouse and the kiddies start their own blogs. The only fights they’ll be after that, is who gets the computer first. Coffee and extra laptops not included.

2. Invent an inflatable blogger raft. Remember those plastic slipcovers your Aunt Edna covered her entire livingroom suite with? Why not take that technology a step further and create your own plastic laptop slipcover? Duct tape it to your favorite inflatable raft and blog in the pool while the rest of the family splashes and plays. Cupholder optional.

3. Start a home business. While blogging is loads of fun, there is no reason to do it for free. Use tee shirts, coffee mugs and mouse pads to proudly promote your blog. They are popular and can be mass produced by underpaid workers in China for pennies on the dollar. Sell them to your co-workers, friends and family for a tidy profit and get free advertising to boot.

4. Start a blog-i-nary. Hey, if Wikipedia can start a pop culture, ever- changing, user-written, online dictionary, then why can’t you get some of that action? Have contests on your blog for suggestions and entries as well as using your own bright ideas, put it together with some nifty pictures and sell it as a downloadable ebook for $9.95. Proceeds can be used to pay for the aforementioned tee shirts, mouse pads and coffee mugs.

5. Live-blog Movie Reviews. No need to stay home in a stuffy apartment blogging while the rest of the family hits the 10-plex to catch the summer blockbusters. Just grab your brand new Iphone and blog the movie while watching and pigging out on popcorn and overpriced soda pop. Thumb-brace recommended. Also works well with rock concerts – neckstrap for Iphone recommended for this venue.

6. Gather blog fodder. How many times have you been in a hilarious situation and said to yourself, “I am so blogging this?” Well why not really do something about it? Stuck with that annual visit to the in-laws at the beach house? Great! Take a voice-activated tape recorder with you and conseal it on your person. Everytime something bloggable happens you’ll have it all on tape. Take your laptop with you and explain to the family that you are working on your novel at night – how are they going to know that you’re really transcribing the tape of that day’s fun activities? A win-win, if you ask me. Avoid swimming or any activity that could short circuit the tape recorder.

7. Have a blog-off instead of the traditional picnic. Aren’t you just a little bored with soggy potato salad and melted jello molds? Forget all that and have your blogger buddies meet up with you at the local park. Elect a moderator to throw out topics and race to see who can blog it the fastest and the bestest. Winners, must drink a frozen margarita after each round – drunk blog offs start at sunset. Charge the laptop batteries before leaving for the park. An extra set of clean clothes recommended.

8. Find creative ways to get new readers. How will you find new readers if you constantly sit home alone, blogging? They don’t grow on trees and they aren’t hiding under your sofa. Get out in the world. Take  your laptop with you wherever you go. Like the grocery store. When you spot someone having a shopping dilemma, offer to let them read your latest post. Note how many times they nod in agreement and laugh. Then move onto the produce department. In the library, offer to let someone use your laptop for five minutes if they read your last post and comment on it. You can do this virtually anywhere, bus stops, taxi cabs, airports, coffee shops, the list is endless. Being proficient in self-defense, recommended.

9. Teach your dog how to type so they can guest blog. Sometimes you just need to get away from the keyboard. You need a break but you’re worried about your stats. Buy an elementary typing software program, install it and teach your dog or cat how to use it -, doggie biscuits and kitty treats are great motivators. You may want to use plastic laptop slipcover to prevent permanent drooling stains.

10. Start a blog-cast. Face it, in the summer whatever they throw on television is crap or reruns of crap. People are bored. So why not offer to webcam your neighbors and friends while they are drunk and making asses of themselves? You can set it up on an endless loop and entertain thousands for days. Meanwhile, you can sit on the patio with a Guinnes and a cigar. Signed release and waiver forms recommended.

Okay, those are my ideas, what are yours?


What’s the Secret?


I’ve been blogging in the whacky world of WordPress for a few months now. And in that short time these guys have come up with all kinds of bells and whistles.

Every month there is at least one new theme, which we all have to run out and try. For me, that usually means I spend several hours trying to get the widgets to work right and re-do all the sidebar items only to discover I’m an idiot and can’t do it. Then reverting back to the prior theme.

They have changed the dashboard, made it easier to have multiple blogs, added custom headers, snazzy and fun little widget thingies and all sorts of stuff. As long as it isn’t too technologically challenging I can usually play around with them and get it right.

Then there is the secret stuff. The stuff that I either don’t get or the stuff that is just truly too mysterious. Domain mapping???Eh? What the heck is that and do I want it? Little video gadgets and mp3 widgies, blog surfer, feed stats, other kinds of stats, search terms, referrers, links, the list goes on and on.

But in all the time I’ve blogged with WordPress there is one area I have never been able to figure out. It’s the right side of the dashboard. Top WordPress Blogs. Fastest Growing WordPress blogs. Blogs of the Minute. Latest posts. I mean, I understand the concept but what I don’t understand is how they arrive at who the fastest growing blog is. Logic would tell me it has to do with stats – but no, that can’t be because my other blog gets far fewer hits than this blog and yet it was on the list a couple of times and I think was Blog of the Minute one day too. Is it random? Is it the result of content? Stats? Is there a secret vote? Is a matter of who bothers the tech support guys less? Who bakes the best cupcakes or what?

I really want to know. How the heck do they figure this stuff out? Or maybe I should say make the determination. For example, there was a blogger I knew of who actually hit number one on one of these lists and he’d been doing it for about 2 months – he didn’t seem to get any more traffic than I did, yet there he was. Nothing wrong with his blog or anything but it wasn’t earth shattering or ground breaking either. Just a regular blog type blog. So wtf?

Right now, there is one blog that has been number one on one of these lists since the day it started – now how is that possible? Did he get like 50k hits on opening day? I’m just wondering.

If there is some secret, I really want to know. Does anybody out there have a clue? Any idea at all? I mean I know that in the greater scheme of things, this matters not one whit – but it’s one of those silly things that just baffles me. So, theories? Ideas? Thoughts? Knowledge? Anybody?