Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Get Wired!

Any bloggers out there, especially new bloggers like myself, might want to take a look at the latest issue of Wired, which features a very useful "How to ..." section. There is also some general useful advice in this piece.

Among the highlights:

  • How to Popularize a Meme: included in the six-part instructions, "Come up with a catchy name ... like crowdsourcing or folksonomy or affluenza or Jazzercise or metrosexual." Here's mine: heteroreflexive.
  • How to Arrange Your Action Figures (in your workspace): written by the head writers of Robot Chicken. Being a highly respected, well-published academic, I have my reputation to consider, so I don't have any action figures on my desk. Instead, they are in a drawer, ready to come out any time The Spectre and Dr. Fate need to go on an adventurous search for Hourman on the shelf of James Joyce scholarship (yes, I only keep JSA action figures in my office, and, yes, I do have enough James Joyce scholarship to fill an entire shelf in my office). In my home office atop a bookshelf, however, I have three vintage GI Joes in a jeep pulling Donny Osmond in a trailer. I'll let you fill in the narrative that fits this tableau.
  • How to Dress Like a Professional: advice from Project Runway's Tim Gunn, a man whose opinion I highly respect. However, I don't really need this advice. Since I have tenure, I barely need to show up for work in pants. I am happy to note, though, that the Dr. K ensemble follows this piece of advice: "Khakis and a white oxford-cloth shirt should be in everyone's inventory."
  • How to Get More Out of Flickr: I need to sign up for a Flickr account first.
  • How to Launch an MP3 Blog: this piece focuses on skirting the legal issues of posting music to your blog, and not at all about the technical side of posting MP3s to a blog. But that part isn't too difficult.
  • How to Get a Boost in the Blogosphere: these may be the most useful instructions for bloggers, especially new ones like myself, though I haven't done anything with Digg or Slashdot yet. The keys to getting your blog noticed, according to Wired: get into conversations early, add useful or significant information to discussions, and be funny. As Slashdot founder Rob Malda says, "Being a smart-ass will get you further than being smart" (this is especially true of a certain person I know, in a certain British Literature class I could mention, who happened to make a smart-ass comment in that class about a certain professor's quoting of a certain Rush song). Also, make jokes that can be "confined to a single sentence." There seem to be some bloggers who are better at this than others. My own personal advice on increasing traffic, after blogging for less than two weeks: 1) Participate in Bahlactus's "Friday Night Fights"; 2) Get your friends with more popular blogs to provide unidentified links to your blog.

The issue also contains an article where Warren Ellis interviews William Gibson about Gibson's new novel, Spook Country. That alone is worth the price of the magazine right there.


Phil Looney said...

I almost picked this up, but didn't feel like the info was a s useful as the last How To issue they did (with Stephen Colbert on the cover). However, I did just cash in my Coke Rewards for a subscription, so maybe they'll send me this issue since it is the latest.

Dr. K said...

I get a ton of magazines every month, but Wired is the one I read cover-to-cover. It's well worth the $10 subscription.