Jeremy Keith’s post on owning his own words has reminded me about the importance of running your own blog in your own space that you control. Of course, I’ve long been a supporter of this idea, but I’m afraid the ease-of-use of Medium has pulled me over to the dark side where I’ve recently been more prolific. Of course, the “barrier to entry” that Jeremy cites is not the only reason I moved to Medium. It is easier to compose there, largely because of the great work they’ve done on a web-based editor. But the main reason I started posting on Medium has been engagement. I simply get more engagement (views, ??s, comments, re-shares, tweets) on my Medium posts than I ever did on my blog. Case in point: I wouldn’t have read Jeremy’s original post if I hadn’t seen it on Medium (sorry, Jeremy). There’s a value to the platform that Medium provides. But there’s also a value to owning your own words. I’m also a little disappointed that Medium keeps trying to push their app on me when I’m on mobile devices instead of building a great progressive web app, but that’s a different story. I run this blog on a self-installed WordPress. So today I’m experimenting with a WordPress plugin for Medium which may allow me to have my cake and eat it too. I’m going to use the blog as the primary platform and see whether I can still get the same level of engagement on Medium. Update: After making this post, …

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Ok – I realized recently that I hadn’t posted on this blog since January of this year. However, I have been very active in putting my voice out there in other social media. I’ve been active on Twitter, I’ve been active on Facebook, and (surprisingly, to me) I’ve been increasingly active on Google+. I say surprisingly because I, like many others, was initially pretty skeptical of Google’s foray into the social networking scene. However, after using it for quite a while, I’ve found myself gravitating over there for the kind of expression that used to take place on my Blog. Google+ seems to work well for longer-form content, and especially as as a place to generate discussion. There also seems to be a good critical mass of people there. However, I’m not comfortable having Google+ be the only record of my longer-form posts. So, as an experiment, I’ve installed the Google+ plug-in and as of today I’ll be automatically importing new (public) messages I post to Google+ into my blog here. This through the magic of the Google+ API. That way I figure I can have the best of both worlds: people can view, comment on or link to any of my posts on Google+ or here and I can keep a record of everything I’ve said here in my self-hosted WordPress instance.

Betavine (Vodafone R&D’s developer community portal), with some help from the inimitable folks at Carsonified, have laucnhed a new blog dedicated to Mobile Widgets and Web Apps.  The idea is to get as much information out as possible about what Betavine and Vodafone are doing in the widget space and what’s going on with the latest widget standardization efforts. We’ll also be featuring information on upcoming events, like the W3C widget camp at WWW2009 in Madrid next week and the upcoming Vodafone Mobile Widget Camp in Amsterdam on May 2nd. We’ll also be posting on Twitter on @MobileWidgets on Twitter. Stay tuned!

So what does WordPress’s application for iPhone give you that sets it apart from just blogging through the browser?First and foremost, it allows you to blog while off-line. I’m writing this while sitting in the Tube, under the streets of London where network signals are not in abundance. Having the option to compose offline and then seamlessly publish could be a boon to people like me who often find themselves offline. The mobile app also let’s you take photos, a feature that I am testing in this post, so more on how well that works later. [Update: there was an error sending the picture so some bugs still need to be worked out.] On the downside, the app doesn’t have any spelling tools (actually a problem with all iPhone apps). The auto-correction software built into the iphobe can be both a blessing and a curse in this regard, both fixing up obvious mistakes and introducing insidious errors you don’t catch until it’s too late. (iPhone 2.0 has started to auto-correct ‘its’ as ‘it’s’ which can be particularly problematic). One wish-list item for me would be geo-tagging of posts using the Skyhook-supplied location platform demonstrated at this month’s Mobile Monday London (and built in to the iPhone). I doubt even Skyhook, though, could locate me 200 feet below Tottenham Court Road. One more note on location: all iPhone apps now prompt the user for permission when they try to locate you. I believe this is a function of the underlying software – and if that’s the case …

Offline Blogging and Location Read more »

[ad] So I’ve been doing some research on mobile blogging, trying to find the best solutions out there. The situation is pretty dire. So far, it looks like the best solution out there is actually from Windows Live (née MSN) Spaces. Windows Live actually lets you register, create a blog and start publishing it all through the mobile browser. In contrast, Blogger has some information on mobile blogging that involves a convoluted “email to post” (which only works with U.S. carriers by the way — HELLO PEOPLE – THE WEB IS GLOBAL). TypePad claims “industry leading” mobile features but doesn’t seem to have any way to sing up or create a blog from the mobile and it’s also e-mail based. You can use Nokia Lifeblog with Typepad but you need to have a Nokia phone to do this. WordPress is likewise a wash. Vox doesn’t have obvious mobile support either. What’s going on here? It’s pretty easy to write a Web form that accepts a blog post. Even Microsoft can do it! I thought we were further along here, as a society I mean. Am I missing something? Are there other turn-key solutions out there for mobile blogging?

I will be “off the grid” for the coming week as I take my lovely and charming wife to an undisclosed location somewhere in the Greek islands to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. Back on the 25th, hopefully rested, relaxed and rejuvinated.