Archive for December, 2014
New to blogging? A new session of our introductory blogging course starts on Monday, January 5 — and all bloggers are welcome, whether you blog on WordPress.com, a self-hosted WordPress blog, or somewhere else entirely.
Blogging 101 is four weeks of daily bite-size assignments that take you from “Blog?” to “Blog!” — along with a supportive community to encourage you all the way through. At the end of the course, you’ll have a blog you’re proud and excited to publish, and that others are excited to read.
Here’s how it works:
- Assignments fall into three broad categories — publishing posts and pages, customizing your blog, and engaging with the community — and are designed to build on one another.
- We’ll post a new assignment here on The Daily Post each weekday at 12AM GMT. Each assignment will contain all the inspiration and instructions you need to complete it. Weekends are free (but we’ll suggest some ways you might want to spend them).
- Participants will have a private community site, the Commons, for chatting, connecting, and seeking feedback and support. Daily Post staff and Happiness Engineers will be on hand to answer your questions and offer guidance and resources.
You’ll walk away with six (or more!) published posts and a handful of drafts, a customized theme that reflects your personality, a small but growing audience, a good grasp of blogging etiquette — and a bunch of new online friends.
My blog has gone from being dull and plain to having widgets and all this shmancy tech stuff, and from having almost no followers to having a loyal following now!
Ready to kick start your blog? Sign up by filling out this simple form:
Note: you won’t receive an automated confirmation email immediately, but you will get a welcome email with complete instructions prior to the start of the course.
We’re excited to introduce Radcliffe, a crisp new free theme.
Radcliffe is a contemporary responsive theme with beautiful typography. It puts your content in the forefront, featuring gorgeous full-width header images.
Learn more about Radcliffe at the Theme Showcase, or preview it by going to Appearance → Themes.
Our editors dove into the archives to resurface top posts published on WordPress.com this year, from personal essays to comics, and photography to fiction. Here’s a glimpse of what you published — and what the community especially loved — in 2014.
“Ever Wished That Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Would Return to the Comics Page? Well, He Just Did,” Stephan Pastis, Pearls Before Swine
“Bill Watterson is the Bigfoot of cartooning,” writes comic artist Stephan Pastis of the legendary Calvin and Hobbes creator. This summer, Pastis collaborated — in secret — with Watterson. Their awesome idea: Watterson would silently step in and draw Pastis’ comic strip, Pearls Before Swine, for a few days, pretending to be a second grader. Pastis recounts the experience, offering a rare glimpse of Bigfoot.
Pearls Before Swine; Stephan Pastis; June 4, 2014.
“No Apology,” Mehreen Kasana
I will apologize for ISIS when every single white American apologizes for the mass incarceration of black and brown people in the United States. I will post an 8,000 word apology when English people email me individual apologies for what the British Empire did to the subcontinent. I won’t limit this to whiteness only; I will apologize when every single ethnic, religious group apologizes for whatever someone did simply because, under this debauched logic, they owe the world an apology for sharing an identity. When I start seeing these apologies, I will apologize too.
Until then, no apology.
In “No Apology,” Brooklyn-based writer Mehreen Kasana pulls no punches in a bluntly powerful post explaining why she refuses to apologize for Muslim extremists. Her post forces all readers to take a hard look at identity, nationalism, and how we pick and choose who we hold responsible for violence — and who we absolve.
“Meanwhile, Just Outside of Ferguson,” Don of All Trades
Life goes on, even when there’s chaos.
While much has happened in Ferguson, Missouri, since the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, this Don of All Trades post, published not long after the shooting, remains an intimate, resonant read. Don, a St. Louis police officer, recounts just another day on the job, in a town right outside of Ferguson, where life continues as usual and everyone — cops included — is invested in making the community better, safer, and more just.
“A Response to ‘Women Against Feminism,’” Hannah Collins, I Wanted Wings
So before you hold up your anti-Feminist placard proudly and smile at your own sense of empowerment, think not what Feminism can do for you, but what it can do for that one girl.
In a response to the #womenagainstfeminism movement, Hannah Collins says why she is a feminist and explains, especially to those who feel they don’t need feminism, that many people around the world still need it.
“Football the Religion,” Tony Burns, Shooting the World
During a visit to Myanmar, freelance travel photographer Tony Burns documented Buddhist monks playing football on the grounds of their monastery, after a day of classes. His photo essay, “Football, the religion,” is a standout in our photography archives this year.
“Why Nerd Culture Must Die,” Pete Warden
When I look around, I see the culture we’ve built turning from a liberating revolution into a repressive incumbency. We’ve built magical devices, but we don’t care enough about protecting ordinary people from harm when they use them. . . . We don’t care about the people who lose out when we disrupt the world, just the winners (who tend to look a lot like us).
“A Pale Blue Glow,” Shane L. Larson, Write Science
This emotional attachment and personification of machines seems disingenuine to some people; spacecraft aren’t people, they are collections of wires and circuits and nuts and bolts — they don’t have souls to become attached to. I dunno. I think they do have souls. They are the embodiment of every one who ever imagined them, worked on them, or stared at the data and pictures they returned. These little robots, in a way, are us. They are our dreams.
On the collaborative blog Write Science, astrophysicist Shane L. Larson pens a thought-provoking piece on the spacecrafts we’ve sent into the outer solar system, including the Voyagers and Pioneers, that will eventually die. Larson celebrates our human achievements in space, explores our relationships to the machines we build, and reminds us of the beauty and mystery of the cosmos.
“An Earthly Guide to Sainthood,” Giovanni De Feo, Cease, Cows
You cannot answer prayers with miracles involving direct deliverance of suffering. However, you can bring joy. Lottery wins are usually the most simple. The miracolati will later dream of you, which will all go to the glory of our kind. They don’t have to be big wins, we actually encourage little ones, as it keeps them hoping.
In this earthly guide to sainthood, Giovanni De Feo, a speculative fiction writer living in Genova, Italy, offers a glimpse into the rules of an afterlife and the responsibilities of a saint. Published at Cease, Cows, a journal of short fiction and prose poetry, De Feo’s piece encapsulates the writing you’ll find here: strange and exploratory.
“What My Bike Has Taught Me About White Privilege,” Jeremy Dowsett, A Little More Sauce
This is what privilege is about. Like drivers, nice, non-aggressive white people can move in the world without thinking about the ‘potholes’ or the ‘gravel’ that people of color have to navigate, or how things that they do — not intending to hurt or endanger anyone — might actually be making life more difficult or more dangerous for a person of color.
In his popular summer post, Michigan-based pastor Jeremy Dowsett explains how riding his bike has helped him to understand privilege. At once personal and accessible, the piece resonated with a wide audience (and was later republished on Quartz).
“August 14,” Optional Poetry
This isn’t my home,
I am a temporary resident
and my family ties are
but things are soaked
in history here,
you can’t take a step
without stepping in it
In 1963, Medgar Evars, a black civil rights activist, was assassinated in the driveway of his home at 2332 Guynes Street in Jackson, Mississippi. Catherine’s poem, set at the Evars family home, is a subtle but powerful tribute to Evars and his important work with NAACP — and an indictment of a society that is still struggling to realize the dreams and promises of the civil rights movement.
“Deaths in the Iliad: A Classics Infographic,” Laura Jenkinson, Greek Myth Comix
At Greek Myth Comix, artist and classic civilization teacher Laura Jenkinson brings the classics to life through comics and infographics. In “Deaths in the Illiad,” she presents an impressive illustrated infographic of Trojan and Greek deaths, battle stats by hero, notable battle performances, and more.
“A Veteran Teacher Turned Coach Shadows 2 Students for 2 Days — A Sobering Lesson Learned,” Grant Wiggins
But in shadowing, throughout the day, you start to feel sorry for the students who are told over and over again to pay attention because you understand part of what they are reacting to is sitting and listening all day. It’s really hard to do, and not something we ask adults to do day in and out. Think back to a multi-day conference or long PD day you had and remember that feeling by the end of the day — that need to just disconnect, break free, go for a run, chat with a friend, or surf the web and catch up on emails. That is how students often feel in our classes, not because we are boring per se but because they have been sitting and listening most of the day already. They have had enough.
This fall, education writer Grant Wiggins shared an account from a veteran high school teacher who shadowed tenth and twelfth grade students for two days. The experience was eye-opening, while the post generated an overwhelming response via comments and emails.
“The Eroticism of Placelessness,” Cody C. Delistraty
Those who choose to remain placeless find that next to us lays either an empty pillow or a body that we feel little affection for, merely a vessel for countenancing this intentional loneliness. Eroticism is not an antidote; it is a Band-Aid.
Cody C. Delistraty, a writer and researcher based in Paris and Oxford, writes about culture, psychology, and the human condition. In “The Eroticism of Placelessness,” he muses on placelessness — inhabiting in-between spaces — and its connections to freedom and romance, but also loneliness. We appreciate Delistraty’s blend of essay, research, and commentary and eloquent discussions to bigger questions.
We’re proud of the global community of bloggers that publish on this platform each day. You’re welcome to browse recent editors’ picks on discover.wordpress.com.
We look forward to reading you in 2015!
Automatticians, the people who build WordPress.com, participate in events and projects around the world every day. Periodically, they report back on the exciting things they do when not in front of a computer — from talking about making great products to using design to tackle social challenges.
Recently, Story Wrangler Cheri Lucas Rowlands and Happiness Engineers Carolyn Sonnek, Deborah Beckett, and Jen Hooks attended the third annual BlogHer PRO ’14 conference, an event for professionally minded bloggers looking to take their blogs, brands, and businesses to the next level.
A conference is a great way to dive deeper into your passion of blogging. You invest in specific skills you want to hone and get inspired by big ideas, and also take a break from that glowing screen. It’s fun to immerse yourself in an inspiring setting where avatars become faces and Twitter handles become real people.
Image by Jen Hooks
BlogHer PRO ’14 was a relatively intimate conference — about 200 attendees met in Redwood Shores, California, just south of San Francisco, to talk about how to grow their platforms and products into successful brands, identify their strengths and effectively tell their unique stories, and reach their audience and potential partners. Over two days, bloggers attended info-packed talks and presentations — from a chat with entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki and Simply Recipes blogger Elise Bauer to a keynote conversation between BlogHer’s Elisa Camahort Page and Findery CEO Caterina Fake.
Bloggers engaged in sessions on monetization and video trends, high-impact advertising and alternate revenue streams, mobile site optimization, and putting together a comprehensive marketing plan. Hands-on workshops on building media kits and tackling book proposals, among other topics, helped attendees get up and running.
As a sponsor of the event, we met many people at our WordPress.com booth, and were happy to see that a majority of attendees were self-hosted WordPress users. On day two, Happiness Engineers Carolyn and Deborah took the main stage to talk about the benefits of Automattic’s products and services for self-hosted WordPress users, including super plugin Jetpack, security and backup service VaultPress, anti-spam service Akismet, and poll and survey tool Polldaddy. These products provide self-hosted WordPress users the power, security, and functionalities available to our WordPress.com bloggers.
We were on hand to answer technical questions, offer tailored advice to attendees (from tips to improve site performance to choosing the right themes), and connect with existing and potential users.
If you’re serious about the business and marketing side of blogging and are interested in learning more about BlogHer, visit the BlogHer network. There, you’ll also find wrapup posts about this conference, as well as information on BlogHer’s other conferences. (Our very own Michelle Weber recapped this year’s BlogHer ’14 as well — check it out!)
For more updates from the WordPress.com and Automattic team, follow us on Twitter (@WordPressdotcom and @Automattic) and Facebook (WordPress.com and Automattic). We’ve got many events and conferences lined up in 2015 — stay tuned.
Last week, we announced a few updates to the WordPress.com interface, including faster stats and enhanced site management on both desktop and mobile devices.
Our push to make all WordPress.com sites faster and easier to access and manage continues. This week, we’re thrilled to unveil a few brand-new features that allow bloggers, publishers, and business owners to run their sites and manage their content from one central hub, no matter what device they’re using.
From new blog post and page management tools to Jetpack site integrations, we hope you enjoy the latest additions as much as we do!
Centralized post management
You can now access all your posts from one convenient location, whether you write one personal blog or publish on multiple sites. Quickly sort through published, scheduled, drafted, or even trashed posts for one or all of your sites at once!
A visual preview of each blog post lets you scan your content to edit, view, publish, or trash from a single list. Another new functionality we’re excited to introduce today: while “Blog Posts” is selected, you can hop to another blog’s post list using the site selector in the sidebar.
Easy access to pages
For many site administrators, managing pages is just as — if not more — important than post management, so we’ve extended to pages the same functionality that lets you review all your posts from one place.
You can look up any of your pages, and then publish, un-publish, or trash them, all directly from your WordPress.com dashboard. Editing pages is also just one click away, regardless of the number of sites you run.
One WordPress dashboard for all your sites
We also have great news for those of you who have both self-hosted WordPress sites and WordPress.com sites. The new WordPress dashboard gives you access to all your Jetpack-connected sites as well as to sites hosted here on WordPress.com, and allows you to manage your posts, pages, and plugins from the same central hub.
Tell us what you think!
For some, individual-site management in the classic WP Admin dashboard will continue to be the go-to. That said, today’s updates include some entirely new features that are only accessible in the new dashboard. To tap into multi-site posts and pages lists and manage all your WordPress sites under one hood, we encourage you to try out the new interface.
We want to thank all of you who’ve shared constructive feedback with us — it helps us immensely in our effort to make the experience even smoother. Whichever dashboard you fancy, we hope you’ll take the updates for a spin and continue to share your thoughts with us!
Here’s more great reading for you: five stories we love from across all of WordPress.
An account of one traveler’s stay in Iran:
On my second night in Iran I was invited to a party in a middle-class area of Tehran. Since we were a mixed gendered group with a foreigner (yours truly) in their midst, we had to be reasonably inconspicuous when we stepped out of the car and onto the street. As soon as we stepped over the threshold of the house, however, we were no longer in the Islamic Republic.
The full story of how Paul Thomas Anderson created his first masterpiece—and turned Mark Wahlberg into a movie star.
An examination of how the neighborhood of Highland Park in Los Angeles is quickly gentrifying. The team at Marketplace interviewed current and former residents, business owners, and investors and developers to paint a full picture of what’s occurring.
“I tell people all the time I never really drank the water, but of course that’s not totally true.” Recollections of a former cheerleader at a Texas private school attached to a Baptist megachurch.
How basketball great Larry Bird almost walked away from the game.
It’s that time of year again. The snow has started falling in northern countries, friends are gathering together to exchange presents, and it’s time to launch a beautiful new annual theme for WordPress.
Hello World, Twenty Fifteen is here.
Twenty Fifteen is all about the details. Everything you publish is elegantly set in Noto Sans and Noto Serif, keeping the design harmonious and balanced in multiple languages around the globe. That polylingual pixel perfection is matched by its responsive design. From device to device, Twenty Fifteen will look smart and polished.
The attention to detail is reflected in the menu design. Check out the descriptions under the links in the demo and the screenshots above. Learn how to add menu descriptions on the theme showcase page.
The fine details and strong structure make Twenty Fifteen look even better with a bit of customization. We have five featured color schemes carefully adapted to blend seamlessly with all the amazing color palettes available with Custom Colors.
Add your own custom header and you’ve got a stunning, personalized site.
Handcrafted by designer Takashi Irie with incredible testing, support, and contributions from the many passionate people that make the WordPress community, Twenty Fifteen is now available for you and your readers. If you’re managing your own WordPress installation you’ll see Twenty Fifteen arrive as part of the new version of WordPress set to release later this month.
Have a happy new year with Twenty Fifteen.
It’s hard to believe the year is already coming to a close. As 2014 ends, it’s time to celebrate the holiday season with our WordPress.com tradition of teaming up with talented artists to create a cheerful WordPress illustration. This year, Mads Berg has dreamed up a scene of togetherness to capture the spirit of the season.
As in previous years, we’ve created a new seasonal theme for you based on the beautiful artwork. Automattic’s David Kennedy has adapted Mads’ illustration into a theme called Together. It is now available on WordPress.com, and will continue to be available even after the holidays.
The theme showcases the beautiful illustration in the header. Elements from the artwork are pulled in throughout the theme, like the sparkles glittering on sticky posts.
Together is the perfect theme if you want to spread a little holiday cheer. Gather with your friends and family this season, and share the moments on your blog or website.
You can read more about Together on the theme showcase, or preview it on your blog by going to Appearance → Themes.
We’ve also created some radiant digital wallpapers for your computer, tablets, and smartphones. They’re available in multiple sizes to best fit your device of choice:
- iPhone 4/4s
- iPhone 5/5c/5s
- iPad, Android devices
- Desktop – Small (1280 × 720)
- Desktop – Medium (2560 × 1440)
- Desktop – Retina Displays (2880 × 1800)
- Desktop – Retina 5k Displays (5120 × 2887)
A tip: Choose an image larger than your screen size, and set the position to “center” or “fill screen” (not “stretch”).
Let it snow!
Finally, no matter what theme you’re using, don’t miss out on a seasonal favorite: falling snow! You can enjoy snow flakes gently floating around your WordPress.com site until January 4, 2015. Just go to Settings → General in your dashboard, and check the box next to “Show falling snow on my blog” (you can uncheck it whenever you want, of course).
We’ve been updating WordPress.com to make it faster and more powerful behind the scenes. We’ve now introduced some changes to the WordPress.com interface as well, making website, blog, and content creation more intuitive and consistent across devices. Here’s a roundup of some of the enhanced functionality that you’ll see in WordPress.com starting today, with more updates coming next week — stay tuned!
Millions of people use WordPress.com on mobile devices, and to ensure that our mobile users have a first-class experience, we gave the WordPress.com navigation interface a little love. It’s responsive across devices, and its simpler, more streamlined design lets users find or create amazing content from anywhere.
My Sites updates
My Sites is the hub for creating blog content, organizing website pages, adjusting look and feel, and managing any and all WordPress.com websites and blogs tied to a user’s account. We announced initial updates to My Sites recently, and have since acted on wonderful user feedback to make My Sites more streamlined. Your sites will now appear in an easy-to-search sidebar, and you’ll have access to stats, posts, and themes for any and all of your sites with fewer clicks.
My Profile is the new destination for managing account settings. Get there by clicking on your Gravatar picture. In addition to handling administration settings like basic account info and billing history, users can add Gravatar images, view WordPress.com milestones and achievements, or tap into social networks to expand their blogging community.
Support documentation is also accessible from My Profile for those who seek more guidance, and friendly live support is just a click away when our Happiness Engineers are available.
We’re continuing to make WordPress.com faster, more powerful, and more user-friendly across devices for all our users — those with a single blog and those with multiple WordPress sites. To that end, we are listening to user feedback and rolling out updates when they’re ready. Give the new navigation and enhanced stats a whirl, and let us know what you think!