Categories
Technology

On Social Networks

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, especially with the introduction of WT.Social, a new social network from the co-founder of Wikipedia, which boasts about being a better alternative to the mainstream social networks. We all know those mainstream networks, and we’re all probably on them. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, but there’s a lot more out there, and sometimes I wonder if that’s becoming a problem.

Originally, Facebook introduced itself as the only social network you’ll ever need. Almost 14 years later, it doesn’t seem like that has happened. Smaller players have joined and left the field, even big players have. Google’s own Google+ lasted 7 years, and let’s not forget Apple’s own iTunes Ping which lasted for a mere 2 years. But, others are hanging in there, like Tumblr, Reddit, and even WordPress.com has a social network element. They thrive on a loyal user base that prefers their product over others, and as Facebook continues to land on the wrong side of privacy, security, and marketing, no wonder other social networks are still thriving.

In the old days, we’d check probably just 1 social network probably just once a day, but now it’s more like 4 or 5 social networks 4 or 5 times a day (likely more). Is that a problem though? Is there an issue with having access to your friends and family, and a whole world of information, at all times? I believe that social media fatigue is real, so I suppose it all comes down to how you use them.

For me, I consider Twitter to be my primary social network, I’m on there and engaging the most, largely thanks to Twitterrific. I’m also on Instagram for photos, LinkedIn for business-y things, and reluctantly Facebook because that’s where I can connect with the most people I know. WordPress.com is in my life too, but that’s where I work, so I still consider it work. I do have my eyes set on Tumblr, but someone has squatted my username, and after winning Twitter and giving up on Instagram, I don’t think I’ll bother right now.

I have joined and thoroughly enjoy one alternative social network, MLTSHP (pronounced Malt Shop). It’s just a place where folks share fun images, GIFs, or videos they found around the internet. Think of it like a curated Tumblr or Reddit. It’s not free, there’s a small $3/year membership fee to keep all the junk out, and it works! Everyone there is kind and supportive, you’re immediately one of them just by joining, and anyone who joins with ill will is usually within hours of violating MLTSHP’s Code of Conduct anyway. The mainstream social networks are free and powered by advertising, you’re the product. MLTSHP is powered by that membership fee (and a $24/year upgrade for folks who want a few extras) and it’s entirely open source. You’ll never be the product at MLTSHP, and you could always fork it if it ever shut down, which is actually how MLTSHP was born from the ashes of MLKSHK (pronounced Milk Shake). You can follow folks there (like me), but the total membership is only in the hundreds, so you can go through the entire incoming feed once a day easily.

For me, MLTSHP makes up the missing piece of my social network collection. Twitter for engagement, Facebook for connections, LinkedIn for business connections, WordPress.com for work, and MLTSHP for fun. While I long for the unlikely days of 1 altruistic social network to rule them all, I think I’ve struck a good balance with these 5. Social networks will come and go. You should definitely try new things, but the best thing to do is to watch out for fatigue, however you handle that.

(Photo by Merakist on Unsplash)

Categories
Technology

WordPress 5.3 Released

WordPress 5.3 has been released! Along with new features, refinements, and accessibility improvements in the editor, this release introduces the new Twenty Twenty default theme, Health Check improvements, verification for admin email changes, PHP 7.4 compatibility, and 387 bug fixes. For specifics, check out the changelog.

645 volunteers contributed to this release, lead by Matt Mullenweg, Francesca Marano, and David Baumwald. At the time of writing this, WordPress 5.3 has been out for about 1 hour, and has already been downloaded 290,235 times!

All users can safely update from Dashboard -> Updates or download and update manually, though you should probably backup first just in case, unless you’re already using VaultPress, which you really should be.

If you run into any problems, stop by the known issues first, and please let us know if it’s not covered there!

Categories
Technology

WordPress 5.2 Released

WordPress 5.2 has been released! Along with accessibility and privacy updates, and new blocks for the editor, this release introduces a new Site Health system, which will help you debug common issues and help you collect crucial information for support requests. PHP Error Protection joins the party to help you fix or manage fatal errors, such as those caused by plugin or theme installations and updates. As of this release, WordPress now requires PHP 5.6.20 or higher. This is a big leap from the old PHP 5.2 requirement, but considering that even PHP 5.6 reached its end of life 4 months ago, it’s definitely a necessary move.

327 volunteers contributed to this release, lead by Matt Mullenweg, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, and Gary Pendergast. At the time of writing this, WordPress 5.2 has been out for about 1 hour, and has already been downloaded 147,717 times!

All users can safely update from Dashboard -> Updates or download and update manually, though you should probably backup first just in case, unless you’re already using VaultPress, which you really should be.

If you run into any problems, stop by the known issues first, and please let us know if it’s not covered there!

Categories
Science Technology Video World

Earth Day, 2019

Today is Earth Day, a day to reflect on our home, and a great day to start saving the environment for free and donating to Trees for the Future.

While you’re doing that, please ways you can help the environment yourself with just a few changes, like using LED light bulbs, walking or biking to closer destinations, taking a train or bus whenever possible, planting a tree or two, and even something as simple as properly separating your recyclables from your trash.

Please spend some time outdoors, or enjoy this video if you can’t, and do your part to help our planet thrive.

Categories
Technology

A Search Shortcut For Any Theme

Sometimes you find a WordPress theme you love, like Twenty Nineteen, but it’s just missing something you really want, like a search bar at the top. I’ve covered my other Twenty Nineteen tweaks in an earlier post, but folks have asked about this too. Since it works for pretty much any theme, I figured a separate post would be more appropriate.

Since you don’t have a search bar in at the top of your site, you’re probably using WordPress’s built-in Search widget. The first thing you’ll want to do is right-click the widget’s title, choose Inspect Element (or similar, it depends on your browser) and copy its section ID. In my case, that is:

<section id="search-3" class="widget widget_search">

so, the section ID is search-3.

Now, edit your site’s menu. Here you’ll add a Custom Link to your menu, enter only # followed by the section ID as the URL, in my case #search-3 and enter whatever you’d like for the Navigation Label. I went with a magnifying glass emoji 🔍 , and if you choose an emoji too, please enter “Search” in the Title Attribute field so folks with Screen Readers know what the link is for.

(Photo by Francesca Tirico on Unsplash)