Archive for October, 2010

Putting blog topics into a Navigation Bar in Blogger

5 October 2010

Don’t use Pages! Instead, use the Link List gadget:

Define your topic

1  make sure you have used consistent tags (‘Labels’ in Blogger) in all the posts you wish to include in this topic

2  Design > Page Elements > Add a Gadget

3  select Labels, make choices and Save; the Labels Gadget should now appear in the Sidebar of your blog

Get the url for the topic

1  in the Sidebar, click on the Label you wish to use

2  Copy the resulting url from the Address Bar at the top of the window (Paste it somewhere for safe keeping)

Set up the Navigation Bar

1  Design > Page Elements > Add a Gadget

2  select Link List

3  in New Site URL: Paste the url you Copied earlier

4  in New Site Name: write the title you want to appear in your Navigation Bar

5  in Title: you can name the Navigation Bar if you wish

6  don’t forget to Save before leaving!

7  in the Design > Page Elements screen, drag your new Link List Page Element to the position below the Page Header (if it’s not already there)

8  your link(s) should now appear as Tabs below the Header; they will follow the colour scheme of the Template you are using

9  you can always go back to the Link List gadget and add further tabs; you can also Edit, Delete or change the order of existing ones

Creating a Navigation Bar in Blogger

5 October 2010

If you have created static Pages in Blogger, you can link to them from a Navigation Bar at the side or at the top of your blog. To create the Navigation Bar,

1) Design > Page elements

2) if you have created a static Page, you should have a Page Element called Pages just below the Header – click: Edit within this section

3) this should bring up a: Configure Page List window – tick: Automatically add new Pages when they are published, or, just tick the Pages you want to display in the Navigation Bar

4) Drag and Drop to get the Page order you want to display

Creating Pages in Blogger

5 October 2010

A year or so ago Blogger followed WordPress in allowing you to create static pages – called Pages – to complement the periodic, chronologically listed series of postings typical of blog platforms. You can use these Pages for more or less permanent material such as an Introduction, Contact information, Guidelines. You can also use them for more dynamic ends, such as feeds from other websites.

1) Go to Design > Posting > Edit Pages

2) click: New Page

The new Page has a url that you can then use to link to from anywhere else.

Social Web or Commercial Imperative?

1 October 2010

Education and the Social Web. Connective Learning and the Commercial Imperative, recently posted by Norm Friesen, analyses the way in which some of the key structures of online social media are driven by  the needs of the advertisers that provide platforms such as Facebook with their income. Looking at Facebook in particular, he suggests that some of these commercially-driven features deliberately obstruct or even prevent some of the sorts of communication essential to educational and social processes.

It is nice to see him quoting from Raymond Williams’ Television: Technology and Cultural Form – written in 1974, Williams’ critique of commercial television can be applied almost word-for-word to the effect of commercial interests on the social web, both in terms of structure and content. An essential part of this process is the influence wielded by commerce over what we can or cannot see, or do, on online social platforms.

“The social Web realizes its control over users through informational design, architecture, and algorithm.”

“You are not Facebook’s customer. You are the product that they sell to their real customers ‐ advertisers. Forget this at your peril.” ‐ quoted from Steve Greenberg.

Friesen illustrates his argument with reference to a couple of Facebook features I have often scraped up against. What are ‘Friends’? How many ‘Friends’ can you have before the word begins to lose its meaning?? I bumped into a friend (small ‘f’) a couple of hours ago, in the local Food Market, and we had a chat for 5 minutes. I’ve just checked, and she has 579 Facebook ‘Friends’. I don’t even know 579 people :-).

Lots of my Facebook ‘Friends’ ‘Like’ something or other from time to time, and I do occasionally too. Sometimes someone comes up with something I definitely do not like, and I’m sure I must put things up that are not to the taste of some of my ‘Friends’, particularly in the ever-tricky areas of politics and religion. Yet whilst Facebook is keen to promote ‘Likes’, there is no button to ‘Dislike’, or ‘Disagree’ – although these are normal reactions, we have them all the time. Facebook definitely does not model the natural processes of human interaction, and there must be a reason. Friesen suggests the reason is money – advertisers’ money.

I use all the platforms displayed in the diagram above, and several others, both for personal and professional purposes, and actively encourage others to do so too. I am continually amazed and excited by the possibilities they open up. Friesen reminds us of the possibilities they close off, or hide away, at the same time, and of the commercial game we are are being sucked into as we use them.

NB: notice you have an opportunity to ‘Like’ this post below. But not to ‘Dislike’ it, of course.


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