Archive for the ‘Accessories’ Category

Emoji Everywhere

Emoji? What are they?

“Emoji” is a Japanese term meaning “picture character.” It’s a standard for showing smileys and other little symbols inside text. But unlike traditional smileys that are made up of a sequence of letters like :) , every emoji has its own letter.

Longreads’ Best of WordPress, Vol. 8

We’re back with a new collection of our favorite stories from across all of WordPress.


1. Books for the Broken-Hearted

Hannah Richell

Hannah Richell’s husband Matt was killed in a surfing accident in July. In a recent post, Richell writes about finding comfort in reading words written by people who have also experienced the shock of losing a loved one — people like Joan Didion, C.S. Lewis, and Cheryl Strayed.

2. The Shame of Poor Teeth in a Rich World

Sarah Smarsh, Aeon

An essay about growing up poor in America, and the role of teeth as a class signifier.

3. Giving Up the Ghost

Lynn Cunningham, The Walrus

Lynn Cunningham smoked cigarettes for fifty years before making a decision to quit and get help by visiting the Mayo Clinic’s Nicotine Dependence Center in Minnesota.

4. The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out of Your Facebook Feed

Adrian Chen, Wired

Adrian Chen travels to the Philippines, where he meets the employees who work for content moderation companies that scrub objectionable content from social media sites.

5. ‘Before I Write a Word, I Need to Know Clearly What I Want to Say’

Ed Odeven Reporting

An interview with Baltimore-based author and sportswriter John Eisenberg.

6. Talking Shit about Hemingway and Thoreau with ‘The Toast’ Founder and ‘Texts From Jane Eyre’ Author Mallory Ortberg

Elisabeth Donnelly, Flavorwire

The beautiful thing about Texts From Jane Eyre, based on Ortberg’s original column for The Hairpin, is that it offers exactly what it says on the cover: the Western canon is parodied and spoofed through the silly modern invention of texting. Ortberg’s comedy is shot through with love and deep literary knowledge, highlighting the silly and outrageous subtext bubbling under classics from Lord Byron to Nancy Drew. It’s hilarious, wickedly smart work that also serves as a fantastic reading list.

7. Pot Kids

Kate Pickert, Time Magazine

Inside the quasi-legal science-free world of medical marijuana for kids.

8. On Modesty

Anna Vodicka, Shenandoah

An essay about modesty that recalls the author’s girlhood in a conservative community and challenges the mixed messages of women as both “Eve” and “Jezebel.”

9. One of Us

Jennifer J. Roberts, Boston Magazine

Memories of being a Southie kid and black in a mostly white neighborhood in Boston.

10. An American Dream Deferred

Eli Saslow, Washington Post

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Eli Saslow profiles Javier Flores, an undocumented immigrant who was hoping that an executive action by President Obama would prevent him from being deported to Mexico and forced to leave his wife and U.S.-born children behind in Ohio. Flores is now in La Mixtequita, Mexico, with few options to reunite with his family.


As always, you can find our past collections here. You can follow Longreads on WordPress.com for more daily reading recommendations, or subscribe to our free weekly email.

Publishers, writers: You can share links to your favorite essays and interviews (over 1,500 words) on Twitter (#longreads) and on WordPress.com by tagging your posts longreads.

Filed under: Community, Reading, WordPress, WordPress.com
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New Themes: Editor and Sequential

Today, we have two new free themes ready for you!

Editor

Editor theme: simple two column layout, lightly colored with left sidebar

Meet Editor, a new addition to our theme collection designed by Mike McAlister at Array. Geared toward personal bloggers and photo bloggers, Editor features big typography and images and a tab-based sidebar with a spot for featured posts, a site logo, and a social links menu. Editor makes it easy to put a personal stamp on your site or blog.

Learn more about the free Editor theme at the Theme Showcase, or preview it by going to Appearance → Themes.

Sequential

Sequential: Front Page

Crafted by Thomas Guillot, Sequential is a contemporary, clean, and multi-purpose business theme.

Sequential offers three custom page templates — including a few Front Page Template options — to customize your business, corporate, or professional site. In addition to other features, like a Social Icons menu and the ability to upload a Site Logo, you can also choose from several default color palettes.

Learn more about the free Sequential theme at the Theme Showcase, or preview it by going to Appearance → Themes.

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Vote in Today’s US Midterm Elections

i-voted-stickerToday, across the United States, Americans will go to the polls and vote in the US Midterm Elections.

Voting is our most fundamental responsibility as citizens — without it, our American democracy wouldn’t exist. WordPress.com is a platform that gives everyday people the ability to share their voice and we’re asking you to take advantage of this voice — by exercising your right to vote today — November 4th, 2014.

We want to provide our US-based users a set of resources to help them make a smart, informed decision when it comes to who they will vote for. We also want to provide a toolkit so that they can get more information on where to vote, which issues are at stake and of course, after voting occurs, a way to show their pride and encourage others to go get out the vote.

We’ve teamed up The Pew Charitable Trusts, who, along with Google, and election officials nationwide, have developed the The Voting Information Project (VIP). Together, we’re offering cutting-edge tools that give voters access to the customized information they need to cast a ballot on or before Election Day. The Voting Information Project is offering free apps and tools that provide polling place locations and ballot information for the 2014 election across a range of technology platforms. The project provides official election information to voters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and voters can find answers to common questions such as “Where is my polling location?” and “What’s on my ballot?” through the convenience of their phone or by searching the web.

if you’re eligible to vote in the US Midterm Elections, take advantage of these tools and share them with your readers.

It’s super easy using the [voterinfotool] shortcode. Just create a new post or page and drop the shortcode in (or click here to create a new draft with the embed prefilled). If you want to customize the experience a bit more you can drop in code directly from the Voter Information Tool with options like height, width, and colors and we’ll convert it to a proper embed code.

After you vote, either by mail, or in early voting, OR on Election Day, please embed the I Voted badge into your WordPress.com site or blog and share it with your audience, along with friends throughout your social network. Here’s how to install the I Voted badge:

  1. Go to your blog’s dashboard.
  2. Look under the Appearance menu for the “Widgets” option.
  3. Locate the “I Voted” widget and drag it to the sidebar of your choosing.
  4. Give the widget a title (optional) and hit the save button. Your badge will now be displayed for all your readers to see.

Be sure to encourage every eligible voter to exercise their democratic right to vote!

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2014 Midterm Elections, Get Out The Vote!

i-voted-sticker

Since 2004, WordPress has set out with an ambitious goal in mind — to democratize publishing and put state-of-the-art tools in front of publishers both large and small across the planet. We believe strongly in this vision because when more people have access to powerful tools on the web, that in-turn empowers them to do great things and publish amazing content. We feel the same way when it comes to democratizing, well, democracy — and in just a few weeks, citizens across the United States will have a unique opportunity to flex their political muscle and vote in the 2014 Midterm Elections.

For our part, we want to provide our US-based users a set of resources to help them make a smart, informed decision when it comes to who they will vote for. We also want to provide a toolkit so that they can get more information on where to vote, which issues are at stake and of course, after voting occurs, a way to show their pride and encourage others to go get out the vote.

We’ve teamed up with the good folks from The Pew Charitable Trusts, who, along with Google, and election officials nationwide, have developed the The Voting Information Project (VIP). Together, we’re offering cutting-edge tools that give voters access to the customized information they need to cast a ballot on or before Election Day. The Voting Information Project is offering free apps and tools that provide polling place locations and ballot information for the 2014 election across a range of technology platforms. The project provides official election information to voters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and voters can find answers to common questions such as “Where is my polling location?” and “What’s on my ballot?” through the convenience of their phone or by searching the web.

The only way a set of resources will be effective is if they make it into the right hands, so if you’re eligible to vote in the US Midterm Elections, take advantage of these tools and share them with your readers.

It’s super easy using the [voterinfotool] shortcode. Just create a new post or page and drop the shortcode in (or click here to create a new draft with the embed prefilled). If you want to customize the experience a bit more you can drop in code directly from the Voter Information Tool with options like height, width, and colors and we’ll convert it to a proper embed code.

After you vote, either by mail, or in early voting, OR on Election Day, please embed the I Voted badge into your WordPress.com site or blog and share it with your audience, along with friends throughout your social network. Here’s how to install the I Voted badge:

  1. Go to your blog’s dashboard.
  2. Look under the Appearance menu for the “Widgets” option.
  3. Locate the “I Voted” widget and drag it to the sidebar of your choosing.
  4. Give the widget a title (optional) and hit the save button. Your badge will now be displayed for all your readers to see.

Voting is our most fundamental responsibility as citizens — without it, our American democracy wouldn’t exist. WordPress.com is a platform that gives everyday people the ability to share their voice and we’re asking you to take advantage of this voice — by exercising your right to vote. We’re asking you for your help to spread the word, encourage participation and get out the vote on November 4th, 2014.

If you have any questions, please let them in the comments and we’ll be sure you help wherever we can. Thanks!

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Blogging U.’s Photo 101 Course: Post a Photo a Day

On The Daily Post, we host the popular Weekly Photo Challenge each Friday, and we’re always excited to see your snapshots from all over the world. We thought a free photoblogging course mixing the spirit of these photo challenges with bite-sized shooting tips would be a fun way to get you taking pictures and meeting your daily posting goals.

Introducing Blogging U.’s Photography 101 course

Photography 101 is an intro-level course, open to all. You might be a totally new blogger, an amateur photographer, a veteran photo challenge participant, or a pro-shooter. Or, you may be someone who wants to participate in the daily posting madness of November, alongside NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo enthusiasts, in a more visual way. Self-hosted bloggers and photographers on other platforms are also welcome to join us.

The basics:

  • A month-long course, starting November 3 and ending November 28. Weekend participation is optional.
  • No prerequisites, other than your camera.
  • We love all devices! Use your cameraphone, compact point-and-shoot, dSLR, or other equipment. (You can shoot with a film camera, but note the suggested goal is to publish an image on your blog each day. Alternatively, film photographers are welcome to use the themes as inspiration, and all are free to participate in a way that works for you.)
  • The course tag is photo101, which you can use to connect with fellow participants and see their submissions in the Reader.
  • If you shoot mainly from your iOS or Android phone or tablet, download the WordPress app (for iOS | for Android) if you don’t already use it. We’ll also watch the wponthego tag for images you post from the app — we want to see your photography on the go!

What to expect each day:

  • New assignments are published on The Daily Post each weekday at 12AM GMT.
  • Each assignment includes a daily theme and tip to inspire you to take a picture and publish it on your blog. Browse our past Weekly Photo Challenges for the types of themes to expect.
  • The daily tip consists of basic shooting and editing advice: we might share tips on composition, working with different types of light, or cropping and rotating an image. Each tip complements the daily theme, but you don’t have to incorporate it into your shooting or posting process.
  • 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.
  • This course will remain separate from our Weekly Photo Challenges on Fridays. You can focus on this course, or participate in both.

Interested in joining Photography 101? Register now! If this course doesn’t sound right for you but you’re itching to join a Blogging U. course, consider Blogging 101, which focuses on the nuts and bolts of blogging. You can register for either course — or both — below.

You won’t receive an automated confirmation, but you’ll get a more detailed welcome email before the courses begin.

Please note that if you’re clicking over via email and receive a security warning, remove the “s” in “https” in the link and refresh. Alternatively, just fill out the embedded form at the bottom of the post.

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Filed under: Better Blogging, Community, WordPress.com
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The NaMos are Coming! The NaMos are Coming!

November is one week away, and that means NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo are, too!

If you’ve been thinking about reinvigorating your blogging or are finally ready to stop procrastinating on that book you’ve always wanted to write, these two great events (and communities) can give you the jolt of motivation you need.

NaMo what now?

NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo are short for “National Novel Writing Month” and “National Blog Posting Month,” respectively. In the first, writers commit to writing a 50,000-word novel between November 1 and November 30; in the second, to posting every single day in November.

310,095 participants started the month of November as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

- NaNoWriMo 2013 at a Glance

Although the two events are separate, they share a history: NaBloPoMo started in response to NaNoWriMo, when a group of bloggers who lacked the time or inclination to write a book, but loved the idea of a communal blogging challenge, coalesced. Both challenges now have their own vibrant communities of writers and bloggers who inspire and support one another.

If you wait until the Muse shows up and inspires you to write, you may end up writing nothing at all. Whereas if you’re sitting there every day in November churning out your thoughts and photos and shaping them all into something readable, if even 33% of what you’ve posted veers toward greatness, that’s 10 great posts you came up with that you might not have otherwise.

- NaBloPoMo founder Eden Kennedy

Hundreds of thousands of writers and bloggers participate each year, making new friends and writing things they never thought they would.

How do I get involved?

Easy! Just decide to do it. All you need is an idea, some commitment, and a place to write.

Take the NaNoWriMo challenge, and proudly display the Viking crest!

Take the NaNoWriMo challenge, and proudly display the Viking crest!

Getting involved with the larger communities is almost as easy:

  • To be listed on the official blogroll of NaBloPoMo participants, head to BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo headquarters at the beginning of November — there’ll be a sign-up post where you can add your blog, along with a list of suggested blogging prompts for the month. You can also grab the official badge for your blog.
  • For NaNoWriMo, mosey over to the project’s official website to sign up and access features like word count tools and forums where you can connect with other budding novelists.

On WordPress.com, you can also tag your posts with “NaNoWriMo” or “NaBloPoMo” to help other participants find you.

I’m not sure I can blog every day for a month, help!

Sure you can, and we can help. Along with the prompts NaBloPoMo provides, we’ve got our own daily prompts and weekly writing and photo challenges to get the creative juices flowing. For those of you who prefer to blog with images, we’re also kicking off a new Blogging U. challenge in November, Photography 101, to help you snap and post every day.

If prompts aren’t for you, try creating your own manageable posting strategy for the month. Posting every day doesn’t have to mean writing 1,000 words a day — it can be as simple as:

  • A photo a day
  • A list a day
  • A sketch a day
  • A haiku a day
  • An observation a day
  • A thank you a day

For more help making it through, check out our blog event survival guide or our roundtable with seasoned NaNoWriMo authors. And there’s no better motivation than encouragement and engagement, so visit one another’s blogs and leave a comment when you do.

You’ve got a week to prepare. Get ready to get writing!

Filed under: Better Blogging, Community, Events
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New Themes: Minnow and Cols

We’re happy to introduce two brand new free themes today!

Minnow

Minnow WordPress Theme

Designed by Mel Choyce, Minnow is a light, simple theme that puts your social presence front and center. A social links menu is displayed prominently below the site title and logo, so readers can easily find you on your favorite social networks.

When activated, the optional Custom Menu or Widget area appear in a slide-out sidebar, making secondary content accessible while keeping the focus on your content.

Learn more about the free Minnow theme at the Theme Showcase, or preview it by going to Appearance → Themes.

Cols

cols-featureimage
This theme is designed by yours trulyCols is a novel theme that lets you tell your stories without the layout getting in the way.

Standard-format posts are displayed in a newspaper-like layout, with three columns on large monitors, two columns on medium-sized displays, and a one-column layout on small screens like phones. Other supported post formats — Aside, Image, Video, Quote, Link, and Chat — are displayed in a simple single-column layout.

Learn more about the free Cols theme at the Theme Showcase, or preview it by going to Appearance → Themes.

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Longreads’ Best of WordPress, Vol. 7

Here it is! A new collection of our favorite stories from across all of WordPress.

As always, you can find our past collections here. You can follow Longreads on WordPress.com for more daily reading recommendations, or subscribe to our free weekly email.

Publishers, writers, you can share links to your favorite essays and interviews (over 1,500 words) on Twitter (#longreads) and on WordPress.com by tagging your posts longreads.


1. What Happens When a Veteran High School Teacher Becomes a Student for the Day

Grant Wiggins

“I waited fourteen years to do something that I should have done my first year of teaching: shadow a student for a day.” A high school teacher learns some sobering lessons about how kids experience a typical day — and the amount of sitting required.

2. No Apology

Mehreen Kasana

The truth about being Muslim in America:

In the eyes of those perpetually seeking an apology from Muslims, I am a Bad Muslim. I don’t put hashtag-suffixed apologies online for what someone else of my faith does. When 9/11 happened, I was as shocked and terrified as anyone else was. We scary-looking Muslims experience human emotions, too. … We Muslims react to unexpected loss of life like any non-Muslim would. We cry, we mourn.

3. The Rise and Fall of Public Housing in NYC

Richard Price, Guernica

A “subjective overview” of the history of public housing in New York City from the novelist Richard Price, framed through the lens of his own upbringing in the North Bronx’s Parkside Houses.

4. Ways Men In Tech Are Unintentionally Sexist

Kat Hagan, This Is Not a Pattern

How our behavior and language can have a harmful impact — and how we can fix it. “Small, simple changes will build the foundation for a better tech culture.”

5. Gone Girls: Human Trafficking on the Home Front

Mike Kessler, Los Angeles Magazine

Kessler talks to survivors of child prostitution, as well as law enforcement officers, judges, politicians, and advocates working to prevent the sex trafficking of minors.

6. The Evans Family Is Living in This World

Linda Vaccariello, Cincinnati Magazine

A community comes together to help a family after a tragedy:

“The reality hit me like nothing I’d ever experienced,” McDonald says. “She had no one. I couldn’t imagine what that was like.” McDonald went to Ao, threw her arm around the sobbing woman’s shoulders, and said, “We’ll help you.”

7. The Plunge

Carl Schreck, Grantland

The story of Shavarsh Karapetyan, a Soviet swimming champion who dove into Armenia’s Lake Yerevan and saved dozens of lives from a sinking trolleybus.

8. How Pixar’s Gurus Brought the Magic Back to Disney Animation

Caitlin Roper, Wired

A profile of John Lasseter and Ed Catmull, whose intense focus on storytelling helped revive Disney’s animation studio with hits like Frozen and Wreck-It Ralph.

9. ‘I Am Darren Wilson’: St. Louis and the Geography of Fear

Sarah Kendzior & Umar Lee, Quartz

St. Louis is a city long on the run from itself. White flight has spread from suburbia to exurbia, while decades of black demands — for better jobs, better schools, better treatment—go unheeded. This is a region deprived of resources, forcing residents to scrounge for more fertile terrain.

10. Stephen Powers Puts the Writing on the Wall

Neima Jahromi, Bklynr

From the magazine Bklynr, a profile of the street artist behind some of Brooklyn’s most recognizable murals.

Photo: dystopos, Flickr

Filed under: Community, Reading, WordPress, WordPress.com
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Just Released: New Blogging U. Ebooks

Our recent Writing 101 and Writing 201 Blogging U. courses were a huge success — so we thought you should be able to enjoy them even if your schedule didn’t allow you to take them in real time.

We’re happy to announce that both courses are now offered as free ebooks, available for download in .pdf, .mobi (Kindle), and .epub (iBooks) formats. While conceived with nonfiction writers in mind, fiction writers (we know you’re out there, NaNoWriMo participants!) could find both courses just as useful.

Which ebook should you choose?

Writing 101: Build a Blogging Habit was initially designed as a four-week course. It includes 20 writing prompts, each with its own (optional) twist to push your writing in new directions, from improving your descriptions to thinking about voice and pace. In ebook form, now you can follow the course at your own rhythm and in any order you wish.

Writing 201: Finding Your Story, an intensive four-part course, focuses on editing your unpolished or unfinished drafts into compelling narratives. Loaded with advice and practical tips, this ebook will help you hone some fundamental storytelling skills, like creating powerful openings and writing engaging scenes.

Of course, you don’t actually need to choose — why not give both a try? (Did we mention they were free?)


While you’re ebook-browsing, don’t forget our other available titles365 Writing PromptsPhotography 101, and Grow Your Traffic, Build Your Blog.

Filed under: Better Blogging, Resources, Writing
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