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Archive for the ‘Blogging 101’ Category

Someone asked me how you go about embedding multiple videos from YouTube into the same post, and I thought others might like to know as well. Here’s what the WordPress Help Center says, though I haven’t tried it myself. Let me know if it works.

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Setting Your Time Zone

Are your blog posts showing the wrong time? You probably want it to be correct, if you’re ever in the position of posting on a Sunday, and needing that post to count for the right week.

back-to-the-future-machine

If it’s not showing the right time, go to your Settings. “Timezone” automatically sets to “0,” but you want “UTC-5” for US Central Time.

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Blogging 101

Here are a few things you’ll want to do in an average post:

  • Your voice should really come through on these posts. To paraphrase Montaigne, the subject of your blog is you. Your thoughts on psychology, or running, or cooking, or whatever.
  • Incorporate what others are saying about your topic. When you do this, include a link. Like this.
  • Embed a video from YouTube into your post. Like that.

For other questions, I’d suggest clicking on the “Blogging 101” category off to the right. Let me know if there’s something you’d like to be able to do, but can’t figure out how.

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This post is more about using conventions than providing tech help. Specifically, how do bloggers convey that they are quoting from somebody else’s blog?

First of all, some of you have noticed that on some of the blogs I’ve recommended, like Andrew Sullivan’s, many of his posts consist of a long quote, with a little intro and then maybe some response afterward. I recommend this as a strategy for coming up with topics: see what other people are saying, and respond to it. But you can’t just respond out of context; you have to let your reader know what you’re responding to. So here’s a very short example:

……………………

Christopher Hitchens wrote a fascinating column on Slate.com last spring, where he talked about British interrogation of German prisoners while the Nazis were bombing London. I had no idea they exercised such restraint. Quoting from a book about the subject, Hitchens described one incident where a German prisoner was being held, and a guard got too physical:

An external interrogator unused to the rules of Ham Common was exasperated by this initial stubbornness and “followed TATE to his cell at the close of that first interrogation and, in flagrant violation of the Commandant’s rigid rule that no physical violence should ever be used at Ham, struck the agent on the head. The incident led, on immediate representations by the Commandant, to the instant recall of [the offending officer] from the camp.” One blow to the head at a time when undefended British cities were being blitzed every night, and the brute was out of there for good.

Hitchens went on to explain that their reasons for being so strict about it was that they believed roughing up prisoners might get you information, but it was mostly bad information that you couldn’t trust.

………………………

Notice two things: first of all, I provide a link, so that an interested reader can go read the whole thing. Then I provide a block quote, which is indented. On Blogger, you have the option of highlighting text in your post and clicking the button with the quotation marks. The indentation signals to the reader who is saying what.

Also, doing this may have another benefit, by getting you to pay more attention to what others are saying, and making it easier to think of things to blog about.

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Note: This post has been updated with WordPress instructions.

If you want to include a video in your post, so someone can watch the video on your blog instead of just following a link to YouTube, here’s how you do it:

  1. In another browser window, open up the YouTube page (this also works with other online video providers, but it works a little differently with each). Under the video, there should be a “Share” link. Click it. Then there’s a box that says “Embed”. Highlight that text, and copy.
  2. When looking at the box where you’re writing your post, back on WordPress, there are two tabs on the upper right of the text box: “Visual” and “Text.” click on the “Text” tab. Your post should still be there, though the font may change. Don’t worry, it will go back to what it was when you post it.
  3. Paste the text you copied from YouTube into the text of your post.
  4. Finish writing your post. When you post it, the video should be there.

Some videos on YouTube have the phrase “embedding disabled by request” in the “Embed” box. These videos aren’t available for embedding, but you can still link to the video from your blog.

See? Easy as one-two-three. Four.

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Blogging 101: Adding Links

If you want to hyperlink part of a sentence you wrote–that is, allow readers to click on those words, taking them to another page–here’s the easiest way to do it:

  1. Write the sentence.
  2. In a separate window, open the page where you want them to be directed.
  3. Highlight and copy the URL of the page (the address at the very top of the window, which will begin with “http://”.
  4. Go back to where you were writing on Blogger Wordpress. Highlight the words you want linked.
  5. Click on the little chain-link icon.
  6. Paste the link into the little box and click “save” or “okay” or whatever it says.
  7. Bask in your skill.

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Blogging 101: Adding Images

Some of you are already using images in your posts. Like you. And you. And you, over there.

Since Blogger (and similar applications) make adding images pretty easy, you should consider using them if you aren’t. Not all the time maybe, but they can help break up long blocks of the text, and add not only color, but provide additional information, or convey things that are better expressed through pictures than words.

So, let’s say you were writing an entry about Henry David Thoreau. You might want an image of him, so your reader could visualize him while reading what you wrote. There are four simple but important steps:

  1. Find your image.
  2. Save it.
  3. Embed it. (That is, “put it in your post.”)
  4. Credit it.

Directions, and a story, after the jump. (more…)

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