Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Aug 28

The In Crowd

I feel pretty euphoric right now. I feel so connected. Part of something bigger than myself. Like I’m helping to make something happen.

And while it may seem silly, there’s a very specific reason I feel this way. Tonight, I contributed to two crowdfunding campaigns. One for hilarious, nerd comedian Joseph Scrimshaw and one for rock band Adelitas Way’s new album.

Sure, there’s perks to these things, including some immediate song downloads, emails with folks whose work I admire and other prizes I didn’t opt for. It also feels pretty damn good to help ensure that the things I love will continue to be made. And if I can help in any way, it’s like the girl without an artistic bone in her body is a catalyst, as the very least. I will be able to continue to enjoying these things because I wanted it that much.

But there’s something even better. Can you believe that? It’s this feeling of connectedness. Of knowing that I’ve joined thousands of other people in pledging money, not to mention the people actually making these things. We want a thing. We are brought together by our love of it. The world isn’t so cold, lonely or harsh.

I wonder if heaven feels a little bit like that?

Nov 08

Let’s Bring Back the Button Wall

I’ve been spending more time aruond review blogs and the mommy review community in specific. It’s got some very unique traits that don’t transfer over to the blogosphere, for better or worse. There’s definitely more of a sense of community than the blogosphere overall. There’s more interaction and perhaps some of that is very shallow and is only dependent on giveaways and other superfluous content but even shallow interaction is more than some folks will ever see.

There’s also a lot of linkage going on in a way that reminds me of what it was like to have a blog 5 years ago. No, make that more like 10 years ago. It’s not a bad thing. For one, it boosts interaction and exposure and, for another, it helps Google PageRank which is something a lot of people are looking for when it comes to sponsoring items or paying for advertising. Linking is just another way in which the community is supportive.

And I don’t have anything bad to say about the principle of the thing; it’s just that the way people actually do it really isn’t helping. I know one of the reasons is because a lot of review blogs are Blogger hosted and there’s no good way to deal with linking blogs with buttons but… I’ve come across one too many pages which dozens and dozens of randomly sized buttons linking to others. To put it plainly: it looks like crap. If you do it, take a step back. It looks horrible and you are diminishing the value of your site. It’s the simple truth. If your content ends and the viewer has to scroll more than once because of a sidebar full of mismatched buttons, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

My suggestion? Bring back the button wall: a grid of neatly arranged, same-sized buttons all on one page. Hell, done well, it could even be added to a footer and look better than it does on most sites.

Of course, in order for this to work we have to go back to a standard sized button. It seems like 88×31 has seen its hey-day so 125×125 pixels is probably the solution; most people are already using it. Everyone else can just get on board.

Of course, Blogger doesn’t allow people to easily add pages so people have to work out it by creating posts (usually several years in the past so they don’t show up in recent archives) and then linking to it like a page. It’s not the prettiest solution but it is one solution.

And you know what else? It just might help PageRank to only have a few of your preferred links on the front page. Linking to tons of sites on every page can actually lower your PR. Moving all your links to a different page will not only make your blog look better but could potentially raise your rank. Not too shabby, eh? I didn’t think so.

Now get to it!

On a serious note, I really think this is an ideal solution to the cluttered sidebars I have seen recently and I wouldn’t mind if folks took the initiative to spread this post.

Oct 26

The Internet Has Stalled

I remembered 5-10 years ago when I was apart of countless forums where web design was all the rage. To me, to everyone, it seemed like the future was limitless and that we could do anything we wanted. Back then, being able to successfully call an image or make a link was cause for excitement. And I was hooked. So I took a bite of the possibilities and hopped on the blog train before they weren’t considered anything different than journals. I had affiliates, I made fanlistings and cliques and joined webrings and, for the most part, still maintain much of that. I made my own forums on Delphi. I dived in head first.

Then I took some time to weed out what it was I really wanted to do. I stepped away from cartoon dolls and trying to have my own forums. I slowly weened the list of projects to the ones I cared about the most and, of course, this site was always at the top of that list. I spent hours working on content which was all the rage. I looked up HTML help and tricks and CSS guides and Javascripts and shortcuts and includes and colour charts. I commented and linked and associated with very similar people with very similar sites. At that time, Web2.0 was far in the distance, everything was graphic intensive (and, usually, beautiful) and everyone and their dog had a site. We were all still learning and making mistakes together.

Then, something happened. Maybe people grew up. Maybe we just got to a point where we could comfortably do what we wanted without learning much more or anything more. I know I’ve been there for a while. I could make new themes, add new content and continue doing things the way I’ve been doing them without learning anything new. It feels kind of stagnant. Back then, I learned basic HTML, I learned tables, then frames, then divs then increased my understanding of CSS and it seemed like progression was obvious and logical but now I don’t know where I’d go even if I wanted to. I suppose PHP is the future and I’d gleaned some information here and there, especially using WordPress, but it doesn’t thrill me the way learning something new used to.

There’s not really anyone else whose thrilled either. I definitely think we all fed off the excitement of the group and it encouraged us to do more, go bigger. It’s harder to keep up the frenzy when you’re alone in it. But there’s this general trend of folks getting on with their lives and the internet just doesn’t play as big a part of that anymore. There’s school and work and families and stuff I have somehow managed to avoid and now I’m a remnant of something that will probably never come back and I miss it.

Of course, there’s people left who are still trudging on but now that the internet has made the transition to 2.0, I find myself alienated by the new trends. There is no inspiration for me anywhere; I do not want to do what people are doing and, even if I did, what they’re doing doesn’t feel remarkable the way everything used to feel. I guess I’m just not a big fan of function over form.

Man, I write all these posts where I am nostalgic for the past, especially when it comes to the internet. I’m not that old; how does that even work?

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