A TikTokker followed me, this weekend, with the offer of a shoutout if I were to follow her account, and to tag three friends and to share her video to get an upswing startedhttps://vm.tiktok.com/JN4odUw/
“Are blogs still popular in 2020?”
“Yes, blogging in 2020 is still popular and is serving even more purpose than ever before. …68% of marketers now see blogging as a useful marketing tool.”
Just so we’re on the same page. 🙂 It’s a decent rivalry.
It is now summer. Even though the winter doesn’t usually get too severe here in Southern Ontario, we have summer which feels pretty scorching, and that is surreal. That aspect is well-intensified by strange circumstances. Writing this, in July 2020, I am beginning year no. 9 of writing my blog.
time and tide wait for no man
A blog, as you know, is long-form writing. It’s the opposite of microblogging, like how blogging is on Twitter. A Personal Plan on WordPress, an option on the blogging platform, lets you design a blog by choosing from among a variety of special themes, that shape how your blog looks.
On WordPress, as mine is, a regular domain doesn’t look bad, but a more ambitious blogger might start with a Personal Plan if you want a more professional-looking blog. In fact, in WordPress, the Block Editor is the design page that helps you put together blocks of paragraphs, to make writing a post easy.
I use a lot of white space, to keep my blog readable, and to keep it feeling like typewriter text transported to a computer screen, which is what early word processing programs were like. If you know about adventure games in the nineteen-seventies and -eighties, like, for example, the game company Infocom’s game Zork, or a different, earlier, hit game called Adventure, you know they consist of a paragraph of descriptive text followed by a blinking parser, at which you would enter a two-word command to play. I have that period of gaming as a primary concern, one wellspring of motivation.
My intention presently is to reach several dozen people or so with each post, possibly a hundred visitors per post, which is the typical reach I have at present. I appreciate that the odd post I’ve composed gets a couple of guests, to boot. With WordPress, the stats dashboard gives you an idea of how many visitors have turned up for your blog posts, and what they are saying their country of origin is.
I have had this blog for eight years. That’s the level of expertise I have with it, Level Nine, you might put it.
In the first edition of the former game company TSR’s classic game Dungeons & Dragons, Level Nine was known as Name Level. That is the famous tabletop game. It features in the plot of the Netflix hit Stranger Things.
Name Level means that your Dungeons & Dragons character has made a name for himself, as in “Merlin” becoming “Merlin the Wizard,” to take from Arthurian mythology an example. In Arthurian mythology, Merlin is the wizard who helps King Arthur rule at Camelot. Like Merlin and King Arthur, here on WordPress, I am leet.
Likewise, with different parts of life, you have goals with your blog, and blogging makes unobtrusive notoriety for yourself (as it is the Name Level guidelines in Dungeons & Dragons sway interaction.)
On occasion, I draw extra thoughts from patterns I see via web-based media, stages like Twitter and YouTube, and TikTok. On WordPress, I get to blog as much as I make time for it, which is a luxury I know many aspiring writers would enjoy themselves if they had it. With that sort of extravagance, I am happy with the opportunity to continue without too many time limitations. I am not too hard on myself.
My intentions, also, are to keep posting in a way that other people might relate to. When WordPress offered a fourteen-day prologue to composing verse, quite a long while back, I composed through that fourteen-day arrangement. Actually, at the time, I was kind of pleased with a few of the ideas I came up with, as I think my approach is a touch singular.
I in some cases loan support to other little bloggers. I have seen that quite a few bloggers do that. Those are probably the kind of people that I am trying to reach.
Another source of inspiration, outside WordPress, is the real world Nashville Tennessee writer Jeff Goins, an inspiring voice in blogging circles. I think Jeff Goins worked in marketing when he decided he wanted to begin writing. In fact, for his first book, he presented the title You Are A Writer.
The Art of Work is a book that explores all kinds of inspired case studies, of people who bring a special touch to the work they do. It became a bestseller. I think Goins wrote that unless your heart is in your work, it isn’t right.
As well, my father’s sister’s husband, Rick, and his wife Sue, both residing in Nashville, have written some books. They are my godparents.
To the reader, if you have ever read my blog and are returning, by all means, thank you. Such a great hobby. You’re welcome to comment or to follow.
Have a wonderful day and a terrific summer. I wish you well!
Starting, for April, I participated in many of the new Discover challenges that WordPress organized, to help bloggers write posts during the crisis. Each morning, 6 AM in most cases in my time zone, a new word with additional suggestions became available for WordPress bloggers.
Each word theme was accompanied by suggestions about what to post. I found the exercises helped me feel better about blogging because some things I enjoy discussing became the subject of new posts at the same time other bloggers addressed the same themes. With each post, I had several visitors, and if you are among those and returning, please accept my thanks.
Now, today is May the 4th, Star Wars Day. Star Wars The Clone Wars concludes its season 7 run today, a season devoted to the Seige of Mandalore. I think the entire animated series lives on Disney+.
Today is also the day that all nine films of the Skywalker Saga are available with a Disney+ subscription. “This will be a day long-remembered,” to quote Peter Cushing in Star Wars Episode IV.
I have a new strategy, I am starting by trying a serious-in-tone critical thinking post. I was already writing the odd observation about techniques that might contribute to someone’s existing take on the science of being a blogger, tempered with humour, I suppose. I reckoned that I was enjoying myself, that’s mostly what counted.
A definition of a hobby is this:
n. pl. hob·bies
An activity or interest pursued outside one’s regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.
The pleasure of blogging comes from the interaction on the world wide web with people who also blog. I believe that social interaction is important at any age. Why is social interaction important for psychological health, I asked Yahoo!.
“Social engagement is associated with a stronger immune system, especially for older adults,” Yahoo! answered. “This means that you are better able to fight off colds, the flu, and even some types of cancer. You will enjoy better mental health.
“Interacting with others boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression.”
There are so many avenues that if you have access to the web, there are so many ways to reach people, and fulfill that desire, I know you know this. It is always about more than the dollar, as it should be. I’m not out to make a buck at all, I’m just experimenting with being an optimist.
Recently I found a website page that takes a gander at the satisfaction that goes with the joy of a decent diversion. Human resources psychologist Jessica Beltran addresses it in The Value of Hobbies https://blogs.psychcentral.com/thrive/2014/05/the-value-of-hobbies/ “We are at our best when we are relaxed and in tune with ourselves.”
While we are capitalists, the playing field becomes more narrow if you consider that you can address people with the confidence of having many of the skills that they have. There is any number of stations in the lives we lead, but lots of motivation speakers give the advice to get started with your creations, however possible. “Do hobbies help with their careers?” I asked Yahoo!.
“While it may seem counterintuitive to make time for something outside of work to get ahead at work, career coaches have confirmed that having a hobby can help make you better at your job. Having a hobby helps you learn how to handle work-life stress and think creatively,” answered the search engine.
“What skills are needed to be a critical thinker?” I went on to ask.
In response Yahoo! informed me of several qualities, ten in fact, that you need to be a capable critical thinker:
5 Critical thinking.
10 Logical thinking.
I have additional input.
Accuracy, for starters, I learned about in high school science. Accuracy in that environment is measurably collecting data. To determine accuracy, you might perform the same process several times, with only minor variants, to learn if your method is accurate.
It’s important. Troubleshooting a computer station, for example, requires accuracy.
You need to determine what changes have gone on before and after a problem has happened at your terminal. There is a joke about hapless computer users calling the Windows system crash the Blue Screen of Death, dire-sounding, but which means that you are losing your unsaved work, a bummer. By the way, I enjoyed computer science in high school a lot more than I enjoyed chemistry and physics.
If what you were doing meant nine out of ten times you got a system crash, and then one out of ten times it worked out, hypothetically speaking, you could, if the measurements were accurate, you’re determining that those nine times of system crashes mean that you can’t proceed in that manner. If five out of ten times, your computer works, and five times it doesn’t, you don’t have an accurate idea of what of your commands are leading to the system crash. The results aren’t too useful in that case.
You need to check variables that contribute to your procedure’s success or failure and come up with a more accurate idea of what’s going to work. Once you establish the variables that work out okay, by trial and error, you can figure out which instruction is awakening the Blue Screen of Death.
The second term in Yahoo!’s list is the word adept. Adept means are adroit. Critically, you have to be adept at forming interpretations.
Those I think of as the external–the external is the object or scenario you’re critically thinking about. You need to know what you’re examining, to form a critical judgement. I have two ways for you to do this, and you can read about them a little further in.
Like for me, to decide whether, say, a popular film is “good,” in the sense that the motion picture proves that everybody involved did a good job, you have to understand enough about what makes a good film to be adept at reviewing it. It would help if you’d contributed to the completion of a motion picture, to be properly critical, but it probably suffices to understand the structure of a film, the symbolism in the film visually, and previous attempts to make similar films.
The next term, the word analytical, this is a word like adept, but analytical is more about looking at a critiqued thing that calculates whether you should take it seriously or not. You know what the thing is and what it’s for, but being analytical towards it means judging it in a way that you can comprehend additional specifics about it, forming your external. What does it mean? is an analytical question that you might have about your object or scenario.
You would be analytical concluding that your problem works at all levels.
Next is creativity, a lovely word, for I feel I am creative, as would many bloggers regard themselves. Creativity is reworking an established idea and making it yours. It goes on constantly.
Like, back to film, when a successful film franchise follows up with a sequel, or a reboot, that’s an instance of creativity that is often quite impressive. As with, say, the 1978 horror film Halloween, directed by John Carpenter, when two years later in 1980 the sequel Halloween II came out, again starring famed actress Jamie Lee Curtis, the film continued the story of the first movie by showing a lot more of what happened later that Halloween night, when the mad masked murderer had returned, (ghastly!). However, John Carpenter was no longer directing the film.
Do you like horror films?
Halloween II has the same characters and the same locale and a continuation of the plot of the first film, all interesting for fans of the first movie, just with the point that somebody else is now directing. That’s the creative part, in this example.
Next, Yahoo! repeats the phrase critical thinking. I mean that Yahoo! includes critical thinking among the terms for critical thinking, which begs the question, Yahoo!. I interpreted that as meaning that critical thinking refers here to the overall level of ability the interpreter brings to the noun being thought through critically. It is having the skill to return to thinking critically, in a manner that applies other additional criteria.
In this case, we’re using the handy number ten. The words, I derive, make an agenda for surveying an item or a situation. It is redundant to include the phrase “critical thinking” in a list that explains critical thinking, pointing to a rabbit hole, a burrow that goes on and on when it opens.
You have to be firm with yourself what decisions you will make in the process of critical thinking or you will never conclude. I have a little more to say about that in the conclusion.
Detail-oriented refers to the organizer’s ability to put together a mental assessment of the details that have gone into the subject being thought about critically. A job interview often includes a question along these lines, as in, “If you were taking this job, would you consider yourself a detail-oriented person?” It means getting everything right.
Efficiency is the ability to get things done promptly. You don’t lose time by making redundant decisions; everything works. If you value efficiency, you want your scenario or your object to function smoothly, a swift external.
It means saving time. A lot of people who need to complete many tasks highly value efficiency.
Industriousness refers to having the initiative to take bold steps. Being industrious is good in that a person shows, say, leadership. If what you are critical of is a tool for industriousness, it lends itself to a nature that assists people who have a success rate at reaching goals.
Innovative means thinking outside of the box. Someone innovative has solutions that circumvent traditional stop signs that cause headaches. Being innovative is positive. You should recognize when innovation is happening and that it can have positive results.
Logical thinking is great for being “right.” I first read a little about logical thinking in a high school English class. I was daunted at the time because I’d never known that logical thinking existed like that, and I doubted I could learn enough about it to become competent, bizarrely, I suppose.
I was a diffident youth. I wish I’d got that information earlier in life. My teacher, Ms. M., outlined twelve specific styles of logical thinking and in fact, I wonder if I as yet have that same document.
I should have read it again and again. At times I’ve been proud that I’m not completely obligated to be logical, but I don’t disregard logic. I value things like the structure of an external, and that, for example, requires logic.
Logical thinking when it comes to being critical of a specific external is very useful, for if you can make a logical argument about the nature of your object or situation, you’re external, you are on your way to answering a riddle about it. It is a regret I have that I didn’t take the introduction to logical thinking I got in high school more gravely and go to work at understanding it.
The ten criteria words stop at the letter L. This is all about setting your sights on critically interpreting an external and taking it apart in a way that you can better understand what it means. The terms are building blocks for evaluating your external.
There are some points where the process isn’t going to be scientific. Starting with accurate, you need to look at more than one external and compare them to see how accurate your method is. This word accurate is exciting because you can find parallels that aren’t necessarily immediately self-evident.
You are being analytical because you are trying to make a process occur that is accurate. Those two a-letter words work together to open a method of diagramming your external to better understand what it is.
The next word, adept, is applicable because you need to run your process with adept skill. What I’m doing here is being creative with Yahoo!’s list of critical thinking terms. I’m making the argument that they are useful.
The search engine believes it. So, too, should you. Together the terms have an impact that you can draw upon for inspiration.
It does bother my sensibilities that critical thinking could itself be a term for critical thinking, but as there is a connection between all three a-letter words, so too I noticed a connection between the two c-letter words. Critical thinking and creativity are two different sides of the same coin.
I’ve had to stir my reserve of critical thinking to identify what that means, but it is so. Creativity is letting reason fly in the wind, whereas critical thinking is unearthing the truth about your external that wouldn’t be evident if you didn’t possess some definitions that assist in critical thinking.
For d, we have detail-oriented, taking your analysis and better developing it.
For e, we have efficiency, reducing creativity in favour of a strategy that is more pure critical thinking and not as open-minded as the word creative would imply.
Next, we have i-letter words, industrious and innovative, words that strengthen the process of analyzing the external by accelerating the process. Those words apply to the analyst as much as they apply to the object or scenario being looked at. Being industrious is keeping at it and being innovative is keeping open-minded.
Both these reflect the analyst as much or more than the external being explored. Logical thinking is a phrase that means much the same as analysis. If you took these ten terms, you could assemble them this way: You have the creativity and you have critical thinking (the c-words).
If you want creativity to rule the process of investigating the external, what you have is industriousness and innovation for the matter at hand.
To proceed down the avenue of critical thinking that is more logical and detail-oriented, you can reduce your creative input and begin letting a process unfold without the benefit of a creative assignment. In either case, you need to be adept at thinking, and further, to return to the a-letter words, you are being more purely analytical and accurate if you pursue critical thinking without the requirement of innovation ruling your process. So, your basic process either follows one c-path or the other c-path, critical thinking or creativity and then to round out outreaching your external you have the accuracy, the analytics, the detail-oriented questions, the efficiency and the logical thinking; and down the other c-path, you have industriousness and innovation.
These are subcategories from the ten we started with.
The terms favour an analysis-heavy approach to critical thinking, meaning there are more components of more purely critical thinking than terms that include creativity. Where that leaves us is what I started with, the word hobby. A creative design is better for a hobby; analysis is better suited for more profound comprehension.
All the same, creativity can be as hard to comprehend as analysis. If you reach an external by analysis, it is beginning to fall outside the field of the hobbyist and more closely approach the realm of the expert.
A more complicated external lends itself to critical thinking; a simpler external is suitable for creativity. This isn’t always true, but that’s a guideline that you could start with if you are deciding whether you want to approach an external with a lens of more complicated and comprehensive critical thinking or with a simpler but also effective creative paintbrush, so to speak.
That’s the rabbit hole, that if you don’t have a handle on your creativity, flights of fancy can take you far afield of a suitable stopping place. That’s why creativity isn’t a super useful strategy for analyzing an external that’s become complex. That’s when your critical thinking approach needs to take over.
I’ve enjoyed writing about this, my first post since the April Discover challenges ended. Do you like the idea that a simpler object might benefit from creative analysis and a more complicated object require a more detailed critical analysis? You’re welcome to follow and/or to comment.
Ben Huberman again has the reins of the April 2020 WordPress Discover challenges. Today’s theme is light.
I think of feeling light when I look at the effect upon myself by something as kind as a few words on the Internet, from a person I respect, as is the case with the blogger behind the Beauty Beyond Bones blog. Her blog is one I enjoy reading, perhaps paying her a compliment at times when it is more appropriate, to someone who is a talented writer and who gives back time. She is a proud Catholic blogger, as well, and, as today is Easter Sunday, I know this will be a challenging day, given the circumstances of the holiday this year.
Her blog is about her experience in life celebrating Jesus, and she sometimes recounts current events and her response to those, or sometimes how life continually gives back to her and what she, with her perspective and intent, makes of it. There are qualities in her that I admire, and some of the design elements of her blog appeal to me when I look at what she thinks to assemble. Her blog is here:
I want to also include a found photo of the hospital located in Fort Erie, not too far from where I live, in Canada. You can see the light about the place. It is an alternative interpretation of the word light and a symbol of triumph, all the more so south of the Canada-U. S. border, where, the news is saying, the crisis is mad.
I hope that the blogger who writes Beauty Beyond Bones gets through unscathed, as I hope every American who I think is the bee’s knees likewise manages to pull through the current troubles without being afflicted.
The theatrical release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is two months away and today is Force Friday, a retail shopping day for Star Wars fans.
The Rise of Skywalker is one of the biggest film releases of 2019, as you probably know. Movie director J. J. Abrams has returned, who in 2015 helmed Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The Force Awakens resumes after the original trilogy in 1977, 1980, and 1983, and the Star Wars prequel trilogy, in 1999, 2002, and 2005.
While this is familiar film history, what’s striking is that the Disney company, which now owns the brand, is launching Disney+ in November, when Star Wars will again be newly available. Disney+ is an offering of classic animated features, as well as reboots and the Avengers franchise. Both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi were tremendous hits, but the box office failure of the expensive one-off Solo: A Star Wars Story diminished the profitability of the franchise for Disney, and the success of Disney+ would surely benefit from the continued success of Star Wars.
Disney+ will have much better chances of lasting if Star Wars is reinvigorated by another blockbuster film. There isn’t much question that Star Wars: The Last Jedi divided the fan base. Last Jedi director Rian Johnson dispelled some of the magic of Star Wars by reinventing Mark Hamill’s character of Luke as an old cynical hermit, rather than staying true to the bold Jedi warrior hero who defeats the Empire in Return of the Jedi.
Star Wars fans turned out for Mark Hamill’s reprise of Luke Skywalker after what happened in the original Star Wars trilogy, and instead, Luke in The Last Jedi nearly couldn’t be roused to continue the fight against the Dark Side of the Force.
YouTube’s Looper has tapped into a mega-spoiler: by their account, actor Harrison Ford has returned as Han Solo for a scene in The Rise of Skywalker. It’s understood that Ford had been reluctant to return to Star Wars without a movie script handling his character adequately, as the actor was absent from the cast of The Last Jedi.
There have been announcements about Star Wars that fans ate up. Prequels actor Ewan McGregor will be in the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi, not for The Rise of Skywalker, but a Disney+ series picking up after the events of the prequels.
Disney has also announced that Kevin Feige will do a Star Wars film. Feige’s involvement is good news for people who believe in Star Wars, as the Avengers films largely speak for themselves in terms of popularity and quality. With the promise of a bang-on Star Wars film after the Skywalker Saga, there is more reason to believe that Star Wars will again succeed, and if it does, a future with Disney+ is all the more likely.
The other spoiler from Looper is that, contrary to expectations, at least expectations I had, the Force will redeem the character of Kylo Ren when he gives up his allegiance to the Dark Side. Based on the love-hate intensity of their relationship, I held the impression that in The Rise of Skywalker Rey will defeat Kylo Ren and destroy him. The trailer for The Rise of Skywalker seems clear that the final battle will be highly personal.
If instead Kylo Ren changes his allegiance, it will make for a different future in Star Wars. Although audiences believe that the Light Side of the Force triumphs in Return of the Jedi, this time, in 2019, it is possible to think, the Light Side will, at last, have victory.
If you have the opportunity to enjoy The Rise of Skywalker, I hope you have one of the best nights you have ever had in the company of Star Wars’ villains and heroes. It should be a wonderful occasion. I appreciate you very much thinking about it with me. Maybe I’ll see you again come wintertime as momentum for The Rise of Skywalker continues to build.
I’d been focusing when I could on five more ways you can dispense with some of the time you’re putting into video research. If you do anything like that and if you think of consuming video content as being video research, then increasingly I don’t think there’s a consensus that anything like video research is useful. I’m looking back in time when there were different attitudes to video. I mean that it wasn’t as accessible as it today. It occurs to me I should argue that if you are committed to any research activity utilizing video, and there’s a ready workaround, you should concentrate on the workaround.
The first part for this post, about chasing an adherent to research, left off with points how you can turn some of your conclusions into blog posts. Or if you don’t have a blog, there’s somewhere you could start. I would like to make the point that the best conclusions you can form from watching a lot of videos can indeed be put somewhere, like in a blog, or a podcast, etc. For example, on Patrick Bet-David’s Valutainment on the internet, I watched Bet-David and Robert Greene discuss Greene’s latest bestseller. Bet-David pointed out that Greene sat down with three hundred books to write his latest book, for the pay-off. That’s the traditional sense of research that I don’t think you should disregard in any way. There is no way that you can eliminate the process of reading the page, or perhaps your Kindle, from the actual work of doing research. Sad but true.
The traditional sense of video is taking a video camera to a wedding and then selling it to the wedding party. The best research you can cultivate from a video of that kind is whether a particular family member was in attendance, or perhaps how the bridesmaids looked when they were standing side by side. Do you see many wedding videos, apart from celebrity weddings, that make it onto the Internet? I am not sure there are, particularly as the advent of the handheld video camera has given way to the smartphone camera. If you are a young person reading this, and you don’t relate to the idea of a videographer at a wedding, it isn’t that different from a professional photographer taking pictures. It is just that the videographer mingles with the wedding party and gets a little movie of the wedding.
I’m writing there about commercial consumer video, not expensive TV productions. The thing about the video you watch is that when it is a pricey production, I don’t think you can count on it for insight. Particularly when focusing on video production for TV, in the nineteen sixties, seventies, and eighties, when the technology was useful enough to shoot material for television, and before computers were beginning to infiltrate it, there just wasn’t a lot of purely informative video. The novelty on being on video overshadowed a requirement, to be honest. As soon as the camera was recording, everybody was immediately acting at all times. That sounds like a polarized argument, but ninety-nine percent of the time if you were being paid to appear on camera, you were acting to do it. Speaking jovially, you had to nail it.
What happened in the mid-nineteen-eighties? Computer effects were beginning to be integrated into more and more of the ready video, which starts to become interesting for the possibility that more and better information could be communicated by video. With more information is born the reality that better information begins to come across. Purists might disagree, but fast-forward fifteen years and amateur video is not only more accessible but could also be edited on par with the best of people in the trade in previous decades. There had been an explosion of video on cable TV which meant more ways to deliver information by video. Did that mean you could derive better conclusions in the sense that by better I mean better located in reality? I think so. You always want the past back, once you’re past a certain age, but there is some logic, or I am doing my best to apply logic here.
The apparent irony is that the development of the computer industry accelerated at a much faster pace than did the growth of video. I’m tempted once more to stop, but it’s true that by the time video was in its golden years, the computer industry was spritely, pardon the pun, spritely and skyrocketing for many, many people. I don’t want to mislead you unfairly, but surely some blame for some of the big, really bad troubles that have hit people where there is free access to information lies with what’s just bad information. That caution gets sounded frequently, and where before I was tempted to stop then and there, now I really am going to stop.
I have promised one more post on the subject, with five remaining ways you might want to dodge video. You’re welcome to like, comment, and/or follow.
I am humbled by the attention I receive and I shall make some effort to reciprocate interest if I am lucky enough to make a tiny ripple in this pond. We need to go back to the future