Stay Calm – Feedburner is Not Dead (yet)

20120921 215401 Stay Calm   Feedburner is Not Dead (yet)

Despite the rumors on Twitter, Feedburner is not dead (yet).

I’ve written some tips and listed some alternatives on Archer Creative.

Revisiting “Instagrate to WordPress”… again

20120610 153624 Revisiting Instagrate to WordPress... again

I am so thankful for my iPhone and the ease with which I can stay in touch and take photos of so many moments that would otherwise fade into my foggy memory.

I use Instagram almost daily. I say ‘almost’ because there have been a half-dozen days or so, that I’ve missed since I posted my first photo on it October 16, 2010 (yes – I know the actual date) and the honest, non-exaggerating side of me wins out in this post.

Most of these photos tell great stories without a lot of words, and would make blogging easier if I could use them regularly. But I’ve had many complaints with the WordPress app. While they have made some good updates, I still find myself deciding to wait until I get home to post a photo and caption with it, only to not do it.

So I was thrilled when I found the “Instagrate to WordPress” plugin for WordPress, back in January. It takes your Instagram photos and creates posts from them, using the caption as the post title. The idea intrigued me, so I gave it a shot and was thrilled at first.

But I do take a lot of photos that I only share on Instagram, like when I post screen shots of what we are watching on Netflix. They really aren’t worthy of a post of their own, and might work better if I posted several in a post together.

Every single photo was getting posted to my blog as an individual blog post, and sometimes, what I wrote as my caption made for a real long and/or dumb blog title. I was having to edit my Instagram posts because of how I wanted them to post on my blog, which was a big ‘ol hassle… I became annoyed. So I deactivated it, and submitted a couple of requests/suggestions to the plugin author.

I’ve kept my eye on it, hoping that some of these changes would be implemented, allowing a bit more control of how things post (eg: the option to post several photos in a collage in a single post), and the number of accounts you can use on it (I really wanted to use it on Living the Life Fantastic and have both mine and Randy’s accounts linked to it). This past week I noticed that many changes have been made to it. I’m super excited to look into it more and see how they work. The drawback: many of the changes I want are in a premium version, selling for $35. Not sure if my laziness is work that or not :/

I’m curious if any of you have tried out the premium version, or if you have another way to easily make posts from your IG photos. Or feel free to tell me to just get over it.

This Week on LTLF and Archer Creative

IMG 7195 This Week on LTLF and Archer CreativeI’ve been working on my editorial calendar for both of our other blogs, so watch out! I’m gonna be on a blogging roll ;)

On LTLF: This month, I’m writing a series on Retro Living: How we make our small home work with a large family. This week: Big Family, Little House: We are a big family, living in a small house. Find out why, and how we do it.

On Archer Creative: Struggling with what to write about on your blog? This month I’m writing a series on blogging and how to find ideas for blog posts. This week: If you’ve been blogging for any amount of time, the answer is sitting in front of you. Recycle your old posts for new content.

SOPA and What You Need To Know

the internet needs you1 SOPA and What You Need To Know

The countdown is on, and SOPA is expected to pass through the Senate on January 24th. (*UPDATE 1/19/2012 : Key Supporters of the bill have backed down after Wednesday’s protest)

Tomorrow, January 18th, 2012, many of the most popular sites on the internet will be taking part in a ‘blackout’ of their sites to protest this bill.

While none of our sites are equal to Mozilla (Firefox), WordPress.org or Wikipedia‘s traffic (<<< those links will take you to posts on their stance on this bill), we are taking part, to show our disapproval of this bill in its current state.

Our own sites will be blacked-out.

While we sympathize with those who have their work stolen from piracy sites online, this bill is not a good compromise.

It will change the internet as you know it.

Please educate yourself on this topic (in addition to the links above):

Stop American Censorship
Strike Against SOPA
WIRED.com – Black out your site the Google friendly way
SOPA Blackout rebuffed by bill authors (*duh…)
and on…
and on…
and on…
and at this point of my list [not trying to be rude] but, I say, just do your own Google search on SOPA Blackout (see how there are currently more than 2600 (!!) news stories on this?)… There is so much info out there…

And if you are so inclined, please add these plugins to your WordPress sites:

SOPA Strike (you will see out black-out tomorrow, January 18th, 2012)
Stop SOPA Ribbon (you can see this in the upper right-side of this site)

On that note — all of our sites will be on ‘blackout’ tomorrow.

Educate yourself.

(*this post is being cross-posted on all of our sites: Archer Creative, Living The Life Fantastic, Karla Archer )

as always — please feel free to include your own links on this issue…

What good is blogging?

IMG 1550 300x300 What good is blogging?

Tonight I got sucked down a rabbit hole that placed me smack in the middle of my old blog posts.

Those journeys always start so innocently, don’t they?

All I wanted to do was check for broken links. But alas, I found myself thrust back into a different world that seems both a million years ago and yet, a mere second ago.

I’m not the first person to ponder the point of blogging, or what, if  any, value there is to it. Many have written about it way more eloquently than I will, but I couldn’t help but try to capture a bit of what I’m feeling right now.

Vulnerable: I was surprised by the rawness and openness that I had in many of my posts. Many of my posts were (are) soul-searching… seeking meaning and purpose in events that have occurred in my life. It’s hard to look over those sorts of things and not instinctively touch the spot where the wound has healed, no matter how invisible or ugly the scar.

Guilt: Blogging provides only a snapshot of a person’s life. As I read through some of those old posts, I cringed at the picture I portrayed of certain aspects of my life and the stories that weren’t being told.

Pressure: I always want to be moving forward and improving at the things that are important to me. Writing is one of those things. Yet, I sometimes put so much pressure on myself to write the next great blog post (heh) that no words come. I have a sheet filled with blog post topics and ideas. Dozens of unfinished drafts saved. I walk around composing blog posts in my head only to draw a blank when face-to-face with my monitor.

Comforted: While there are pieces missing on some levels, blogging adds a layer of richness to the legacy that we each have. While it may not be printed in a book that’s sitting on my shelf, the fact that I am leaving a trail of something that my children can one day read and, hopefully, understand me, and thus themselves more, brings me great comfort.

Grateful: I’ve had three computers die since I started blogging. I’ve lost hundreds of photos each time (excuse me while I try not to vomit at that thought…) Because I blog and share snippets of my life via photos, many of those photos were not gone forever. As I looked over photos I hadn’t seen in several years, I was flooded by the memories encapsulated within each image.

Encouraged: To be able to look back over experiences I’ve had and see how I grew from each is pretty amazing. (Along with that, I’m so grateful that I’ve written so much of these things down, because apparently, I have the worst memory ever. And who couldn’t use a reminder of how far they’ve come, once in awhile?)

All of these feelings flooded me tonight and it was important for me to sift through them and embrace each and every one.

Blogging has caused me to examine myself more. To see the importance in the stories that fill my life. To be grateful for all of the days I’ve had with my children, loved ones and friends, no matter how perfect or painful.

Is there value in blogging? Heck yeah.

(PS – if you dare venture back through my archives, be warned: while there is quite a bit of depth, there is also a lot of fluff. Oh, and if you see broken links, please let me know. I’d prefer to not have to head down the rabbit hole on a daily basis)