Make sure your YouTube videos are public before embedding

To begin with YouTube will upload your videos with private as the default setting.  This means only you can view them. Unfortunately you only get the “This video is private” message once you attempt to watch it.

This is also true if you embed a private video on WordPress. YouTube will let you capture the embed code and publish the video to WordPress where it will look like it has published correctly but when you click to play it you will get a “This video is private” message.

Always check that your videos play even if they look right.

The screen cast below explains how to change the privacy settings on YouTube.

 

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Resizing photos in WordPress

Making sure your images are the right size can make a big difference to the impact of your blog

It’s clear in the example’s below that the second version looks a lot cleaner and more professional than the first.

In the first version:

  • the subjects faces are barely discernible;
  • it too much blank space surrounding it; and
  • the caption extends over too many lines because of the width.

The second version matches the theme’s standard column width and sits comfortably in the frame.

Some themes insert smaller images by default but you can change this very easily – either when you upload the image (generally choose “Large”) or after you have inserted the image into the post.

The video at the bottom of this post explains how.

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The University of Wollongong Team at the recent Transforming Promotion Practices Conference in Melbourne…13 Universities gathered to talk about reward and recognition

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum

IMG_1617

The University of Wollongong Team at the recent Transforming Promotion Practices Conference in Melbourne…13 Universities gathered to talk about reward and recognition

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum

 

Scott Rosenberg’s 10 myths about blogging

Scott Rosenberg – co-founder of Salon.com and author of Say Everything: how blogging began, what its becoming and why it matters – sums up a lot about blogging in this five minute video.

 

This is an example of a simple video bookmark post – my links to Rosenberg’s blog and his book homepage provide pathways to a lot of information, so while the post is short and simple it provides value for the reader. In blog posts try to more with less.

Did you hear about Adrienne Rich?

I first heard about the death of feminist poet Adrienne Rich on twitter through the feed of cultural aggregation site Flavorwire:

The way that Rich’s death broke tells us some interesting things about the way news circulates in the new online news ecology.

The Flavorpill tweet took me to a brief in their books blog which sourced the news to a brief in the LA Times book blog, Jacket Copy. The purpose of both these posts was as an initial marker of the story. The LA Times report was a short, straight, summary report of her significant achievements with a note about some of the controversial elements such as her refusal of President Clinton’s offer of a major award. It noted that a full appreciation would follow in the La Times obit section. Flavorpill also provided a short summary of her life but significantly they added one other element:

Since the news broke, fans have been tweeting her poem “For the Dead,” which seems as fitting a way to remember this remarkable and iconoclastic writer as any.

Here Flavorfill both noted the reaction in the social media world as well as linked to an online version of one of Rich’s poems. When I first read the reports I tweeted a very simple announcement:

I then used part of her poem “For the dead” to tweet again, a more emotional response to her passing

This tweet was picked up by one of my followers and retweeted to her followers:

Both Flavorwire and Jacket Copy produced short reports to ensure that they quickly posted the significant news of Rich’s death and both publications followed up later with more extensive appreciations. Their follow-up articles reflect their relative purposes and styles. The La Times official obituary is one of the most detailed pieces on the her death and is written in the traditional obituary style which seeks to respectfully sum up a life. Flavorfill is a blog about culture which seeks to link to interesting events and tends on the web, they produced a guide to “The essential Adrienne Rich” which provided short introductions to six of her most significant books.

Interestingly the New York Times arts blog, Culture Beat, also took this approach, they were a bit later than the LA Times blog, but they produced a more detailed set of links to the Times reviews of some of Rich’s significant works. This points to the different ways that blogs are used in tandem with traditional articles by mainstream media organisations. While the LA Times used it’s blog to quickly bookmark a significant event, the New York Time’s used its blog as a window into its archive of stories on Rich’s life and career. Both followed up with long, detailed, traditional obits.

Rich was a beloved figure in the feminist movement and so it is not surprising that many women have blogged about her death and this shows how news circulates in specific ways within subcultures on the web. One of the first blog posts I read showed up in a general google news search I did as soon as I read of her passing:

Like many women of my generation I read Of Woman Born in college. Though having children was the last thing on my mind back in the 1990s, I was oddly relieved to find a feminist writing about motherhood. This was not a hot topic in the feminism of my youth. Motherhood was almost too messy and complicated to deal with. Mostly it just wasn’t brought up. We could take back the night. We could break the glass ceiling but how could we possibly talk about making babies in a positive way? Weren’t we trying to escape this role? Flee our wretched biology? Not be defined by our wombs? Or tits and asses? Our parts?

I will always be grateful to Adrienne Rich for going into that messy topic and making me feel and understand things I needed to feel and understand about my body and my . “Not biology,” she once wrote, “but ignorance of ourselves, has been the key to our powerlessness.”

This post by “Ceridwen” (a blogger I had never read before) is on a blog devoted to Pregnancy and brings a personal reflective tone to the appreciations of Rich’s life and influence. Ceridwen is not constrained by the conventions of traditional news reporting and simply ends her post with a series of some of her favourite Rich quotes.

The women’s blogging community BlogHer also quickly covered Rich’s death with a post from their executive editor Julie Ros Godar. Godar’s post links to the LA Times initial blog report and therefore does not repeat much basic information about Rich. This is for two reasons, Godar might assume that her community of women readers might already know the basic Rich story and if not she assume’s they can follow the link.  This embodies Jeff Jarvis’s basic motto of web writing “Do what you do bets and link to the rest”. What Godar does supply, that is missing in other reports, are links to YouTube videos of Rich reading her own poems and this shows blogging’s propensity to use multimedia content. The voice of a poet is incredibly important and this is an excellent use of the YouTube archive and I am surprised more sites did not do this.

 

Note how in this post I have tackled a very specific subject: the way different media – particular social media and blogs – covered Rich’s death and the way this influenced the circulation of this news. This is a very different and much more analytic post to my initial example (note here how I link back to my own previous post) which merely linked to a few different reports. The only significant comment of my own in the initial report was noting the way the non-US Irish Times report was more forthright in naming Rich’s “socialist” politics. Both these styles are OK in the mix of posts on an academic blog but this more analytic post is a more significant contribution because it has an originally developed argument.  It is also a good example of using multiple different media in a post from embedded tweets to video. See this post on how to embed tweets into your posts.

A note on video shortcodes

When adding videos the wordpress instructions say just grab the url and place it on a line by itself and the video will be magically inserted into your post. That will not always work if you copy the url from the browsers top address bar as that url will often include other details that indicate where the original link came from. What you need is the “share” url that you will find at the bottom of the video:

If you click on the share button the url you need will appear below:

Adding images and video

Learn.wordpress.com is an excellent series of tutorials for new wordpress users

All posts should have an image unless they are very short bookmark posts that link to another article with a brief quote. Even bookmark posts can be improved with an image.

The best introductory series of posts for wordpress newbies is at learn.wordpress.com and they have a very good tutorial on working with images and video which will teach you the basics of the latest wordpress system.

This video runs through the same process although they are using a slightly older version of wordpress so they don’t have the new drag and drop technology. But it shows the basics of uploading an image and other media.

 

Once you master that have a look at the video below which shows you how to add a slideshow to wordpress. Slideshows are a good way to tell a simple story with five or six key images. The video below uses an older wordpress system but the basics are the same in wordpress 3.0. You can also add captions to each of your images once they are uploaded. Click on “show” in the image lists and then you will see a place to add in a caption. Keep captions at about 20 words and they will display nicely in a single line in the slideshow layout. As with all other parts of the system remember that when you add captions or complete a change or series of changes of any kind you must click on the save changes button in the dialogue box to activate your additions or changes.