joycechng

Posts Tagged ‘Wordpress

As the title explains, this is another short post about WordPress and the various difficulties I have encountered. This time, the problem was with WordPress automatically ‘eating’ up my line spacings.

A quick Google search ensured when I again, got annoyed that the formatting for this blog was strange i.e. does not live up to my exacting standards. As I found, a number of netizens have also faced this irritant and a fair number of forum postings have been used in the discussion.

For an example of what I mean, here’s one. Despite entering after each paragraph, before and after each inserted media, things still ended up like this:



The lack of line spacings before and after images! I suppose you would have to be a really oddball like me to care about such things, but there you go.

Thankfully, this time’s search for a solution was a pretty easy one. This website that popped up gave a simple, and most important, working solution.

My life is complete. For the moment at least.

References

Google. 2011.

JBS Partners. 2008, ‘WordPress strips / removes blank lines while I add empty lines’, JBS Partners, viewed 25 April 2011.

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This post will draw upon lecture content as well as readings from Week 4. The question to be discussed is as follows: Russell (et al.) compares elite media and institutions with bloggers and ponders the following question: “Do bloggers, with their editorial independence, collaborative structure and merit-based popularity more effectively inform the public?” (Reader, page 136). Do you agree? Use examples to illustrate your point of view.

While it’s true that mainstream media is not the only source of information, I still hold that mainstream media still more effectively informs.

In recent years with easy-to-use blogging tools like WordPress, Blogger, LiveJournal, and even Tumblr, mainstream media institutions have lost audience, mostly the generation who grew up with technology.

Russell, Ito, Richmond, and Tuters wrote that this occurrence is an unavoidable side-effect of the need for freedom of speech. In a society whereby only mainstream media producers get their views published, the average citizen is sick of this constraint and turns to blogging.

As discussed here and here, anyone with Internet and basic computer and writing skills can set up a blog.

Beside these obvious benefits, the blogger acquires “editorial independence”, through “collaborative structure” and “merit-based popularity”, which serve to inform and educate with information that may be an exposé of mainstream media news or a new news angle (Russell et al., 2008, p. 67).

Bloggers generally don’t have to answer to any higher management. An example is A Disgruntled Republican. He criticises the US government openly and is a prime example of how freedom of speech have led to a shared sense of community and merit-based popularity which is evident by this blog’s position on a list of best political blogs.

Another political blog is The Temasek Review. It’s an example which informs publics more effectively than state-run media simply it has editorial independence to publish news that wouldn’t be published in mainstream media i.e. news about Opposition parties, criticisms of the government, analysis of policies, etc. Despite attempts to shut this website down, it’s still continuing due to public donations, and ongoing support from netizens who want “an alternative to SPH” which is pro-government (Tan, 2011).

While such websites are relatively credible, there’re also blogs with inaccurate and untrustworthy information. However, some experts still believe that blogging is best. Andrew Nachison, Director of the Media Center, a US-based think-tank believes “blogs have become independent sources for images and ideas that circumvent traditional sources of news and information” (Belo, 2004).

The correct phrase to use in describing this phenomenon is “transition” (Belo, 2004). While it’s true that mainstream media has lost some potency, impartial reporting, the hallmark of traditional media is still not strong in blogs due to editorial independence. This leads to serious consequences like spreading incorrect information which is made more severe by the Internet’s dissemination speed.

Tthe advent of mainstream media blogs threaten independent blogs. For one, mainstream media blogs are perceived to be more credible. Secondly, teams of newsmakers behind the production of mainstream media blogs (and also in top independent blogs) show that manpower is necessary for the formation of good news (Owyang, 2008). Also, mainstream media blogs are still foremost in producing “deep, multi-source digs into a particular topic” (Sullivan, 2008). Sullivan cites these blogs for their insight:

1. Google and China

2. Google and USA

Thirdly, the lines between mainstream media and netizens blur, “mainstream media rejoins the people”, resulting in a completely different medium (Associated Press, 2006; Owyang, 2008).

As a Pew Research Centre paper found, blogs and mainstream media “embrace different agendas’ (Pew Research Centre, 2010). Blogs were also found to rely heavily on mainstream media information. 90% of blogs use mainstream media sources; 80% of blogs linked stories coming exclusively from major media outlets like BBC, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post (Pew Research Centre, 2010).

Hence the future lies in mainstream media blogs which combine credibility, budget, and freedom. I hold that mainstream media still more effectively inform the masses.

References

A Disgruntled Republican. 2011, viewed 24 April 2011.

Associated Press. 2006, Bloggers Join Mainstream’, Wired, viewed 24 April 2011.

Auletta, K. 2008, ‘The Search Party: Google squares off with its Capitol Hill critics’, New Yorker, viewed 24 April 2011.

Belo, R. 2004, ‘Blogs take on the mainstream’, BBC News, viewed 24 April 2011.

Blog Catalogue. 2010, ‘Politics by Award Winning Independent Political Bloggers in their Blogs’, BlogCatalogue, viewed 24 April 2011.

Owyang, J. 2008, ‘How Popular Blogs and Mainstream Media Appear The Same’, Web Strategist, viewed 24 April 2011.

Pew Research Centre. 2010, ‘New Media, Old Media: How Blogs and Social Media Agendas Relate and Differ from Traditional Press’, Pew Research Centre Publications, viewed 24 April 2011.

Russell, A. Ito, M., Richmond, T., & Tuters, M. 2008, ‘Culture: Media Convergence and Networked Culture’, Networked Publics, ed. K. Varnelis, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, pp. 43 – 76.

Sullivan, D. 2008, ‘Blogs & Mainstream Media: We Can & Do Get Along’, Daggle, viewed 24 April 2011.

Tan, A. 2011, Ex-Singaporean sponsored an additional server for The Temasek Review’, The Temasek Review, viewed 24 April 2011.

The Temasek Review. 2011, viewed 24 April 2011.

Thompson, C. 2006, ‘Google’s China Problem (and China’s Google Problem)’, The New York Times, viewed 24 April 2011.

Just a post about my experiences with WordPress again. This time i was bored with my past theme and set out to find a spanking new one!

As a person obsessed with straight lines, things fitting without weird, unnecessary spaces, and things being exactly where I want them to be, it really irks me when I don’t get what I expect. For instance, with a WordPress theme, I’d want my sidebars to be on the right column, my posts to be fully justified, aligned in the centre and so on.

Hence, the logical thing to do would be to apply a theme which fits my criteria. And the thing good about WordPress is that it lists out its themes’ features. For example, two sidebars, one footer, fixed widths, and things like that, it’s really nifty I have to say. Settling on one theme I liked, I proceeded to my home page to check how it looks. Lo and behold, things were definitely not good.

My promised “fixed width, right-aligned sidebar 1” was all the way at the bottom of the page. And the sidebar didn’t even have the decency to I don’t know, spread out a little and resemble a footer. Maybe I have unreasonable demands, probably the CSS code isn’t even equipped to handle unexpected problems like that, but it is very irritating nevertheless. Furthermore, previously in my dashboard, I have re-dragged all the widgets I want to have in my sidebar already, and when my sidebar promptly decided to move to the bottom of the page, only two out of my five widgets appeared. This phenomenon is something that irritates me to no end.

Maybe there is some way to prevent this and I being an IT noob just don’t get it, but it does seem that everytime I change my WordPress theme, I have to re-insert all of my widgets into my new sidebar? All my widgets end up in this table at the bottom of the dashboard page, labelled as ‘Inactive Widgets’. Is this supposed to help me? Is this supposed to make my life easier? Although it is not a big problem to scroll all the way down to choose my widgets again, isn’t the point of the Internet to facilitate matters, and make it generally easier to go about things?

One suggestion I would like to make to WordPress is either:
#1. reverse the order of the widgets tables, put my previously used widgets up at the top of the page so that I can re-insert them into my new theme’s sidebar easily and quickly
or
#2. Do not even take my previous widgets out and stick them in a table called inactive widgets at all! Why can’t it just be an automatic process where the widgets I choose are already in the new theme’s sidebar, then should I want to add or delete anything, I’ll do it manually?

Back to my point about flexibility now.. After fiddling for over half an hour and choosing numerous themes to try to solve the issue of the wayward sidebar, I gave up. At that point, I was basically fine with any theme at all, as long as my sidebar got back to where it was supposed to be. Function over form for me I suppose. Not one theme came close to putting my sidebar where it belonged, so out of desperation, I turned to the ever trusty Google.

In a matter of minutes, I discovered the answer. Ironically, in a WordPress forum which then led me to a Help page filed under the WordPress Support section. The problem of a sidebar gone astray is apparently the small issue of html coding. As mentioned, I am a horribly anal-retentive person when it comes to certain things. My downfall was the code I used for justifying my posts. Just because I did not add a closing code to the end of my previous post, everything went haywire. Upon adding that simple function at the end, everything went back to normal.

After heaving a great sigh of relief, I started to ponder about this so-called flexibility options offered. While it is highly useful to those who know more to be able to customise according to personal preferences, for laypeople i.e. noobs like myself, this could be frustrating.

I would really be grateful if someone could add into the WordPress code some action that forces the layout of the theme to remain unchanged unless someone specifically requests to customise it. Additionally, WordPress can also implement options for left, right, centred, or justified alignments. While it might take away true flexibility, this will afford users some measure of customizability.

This article here is chocked full of information. While really pretty lengthy, I feel that the content is quite useful and true. Having used some of the tools as illustrated in the article. I confess that I have never had a hyperlocal blog before, so I cannot tell at this stage if using WordPress enables me to add “power, flexibility, or professionalism” to my curent space. I’m open to comments though!

References

Google. 2011, viewed 23 April 2011.

HyperLocalBlogger. 2009, ‘How Do You Define Hyperlocal?’, HyperLocalBlogger, viewed 23 April 2011.

Online Journalism Blog. 2011, Which blog platform should I use? A blog audit.’, Online Journalism Blog, viewed 23 April 2011.

Urban Dictionary. 2011, ‘Noob’, Urban Dictionary, viewed 23 April 2011.

WordPress.com Forums. 2011, ‘My blog side bar has fallen down, help Pls!!!’, WordPress.com, viewed 23 April 2011.

WordPress.com Support. 2011, ‘Appearance: Theme>>Layout Issues’, WordPress.com, viewed 23 April 2011.