I occasionally reflect on choices I have made in my life.  Joining the WordPress community and creating this blog was one of my better choices.  I find writing posts to be joyful and I love reading other people’s posts.  WordPress has become a healthy addition to my life.

The WordPress Community Is Healthy

The three things I like best about the WordPress community are the:

  • Worldview that the many international authors provide (and thank goodness for the translate function on some blogs).  Even if I don’t agree with every opinion, the cross-continent perspectives being shared can and will make the world a better place.
  • WordPress community is supportive and respectful of each other.  I don’t see blatant and personal disrespect to authors.  I don’t see cyber bullying.  I do see manners, encouragement, honest questioning and healthy challenges, and people caring.
  • Content creators (that is, us bloggers) are thoughtful in our content.  Quality wise, what is published on WordPress compared to other social media platforms is amazing.

It’s pretty simple: Writing and reading are healthy. Photography is healthy.  Learning and thinking are healthy.  WordPress is healthy.

Getting Started

It was a year ago – Thanksgiving break 2016 – that I created a WordPress account, learned to use the tool, and wrote a few posts – one about my cat, and a couple about big cats in Africa.

For perspective, in September 2016 I went to Botswana and Zambia (flying upper class on the wonderful Emirates airline). Came back a happy and insightful person.

But then by early November 2016 it seemed the bottom fell out of our country – nothing was good and the vileness among people, friends, relatives rose to disturbing levels.

In the mean time, a lot of people asked to see my Africa pictures, so over the Thanksgiving break I stood up a WordPress site to share them – a needed distraction.  Not really knowing how WordPress worked (it’s a form of Social Media duh), I guess I figured only people that I gave the URL to would ever see my pictures.

I got 33 views that weekend, mostly from Japan, and thought, “Why are people in Japan looking at my website?!?  Why is anyone looking at this?” and I immediately set the status to “Private,” with only me being able to see the site.

It wasn’t until Dec 29, 2016 that I made my blog public again, having creeped on looked at a bunch of other people’s WordPress site and having enough comfort with my own content.

As an aside, much like I wrote  Paul Sees The World is 6 Months Old Today on June 29, 2017, I will write my anniversary post on December 29, 2017 – the anniversary of when this site stayed public.

Facebook and Other Social Media Platforms

Regarding those Africa pictures a year ago, I was challenged by someone I new, “Just put your pictures on Facebook so we can see them.”  I answered, “Probably not,” to which I was told, “You never put anything on Facebook anymore,” which was true.

Honestly I think Facebook over the past few years has too often become toxic, lonely, and unhappy.  I do currently use Facebook to promote my posts – and it works, maybe because it leads people to the kind of rich content that Facebook had at one time.

Twitter – I do not use Twitter as a social media platform (though I do use it as a public information platform for example to see updates to train schedules from the Rail Authority).  I find that Twitter holds too many of the same negative characteristics as Facebook with the US government being allowed to set the unpleasant tone from the top.

Instagram – I do use Instagram to promote my posts (and it works even better than Facebook for that purpose). I think Instagram is also healthy and remains generally positive (and often humorous).

Snapchat – Until recently I pretty much thought that Snapchat was primarily used to celebrate the exposed human body and to share anomalies of life (a nice way of saying to share nude pictures and screwball things people do).  I am told by young twenty-somethings it is the social media place to be, and used for everything these days.  And to any young twenty-somethings reading this, do not worry, I am not on Snapchat.

Bad WordPress Habits

I have one bad WordPress habit (and I doubt I am alone).  I admit I check my WordPress stats far too frequently, sometimes obsessively.  I am working on this.  I remember when I was at maybe 9800 views, I must have looked every 5 minutes to see if I hit 10,000.  (It actually happened in the middle of the night while I slept courtesy of my followers in Asia, thank you very much lol).  Again, I’m working on it.

Net Neutrality

My blog is not political but also it is not ignorant of political realities.  I expect that the United States net neutrality rules will be overturned in the next few weeks.  I am not sure what this will mean to WordPress sites, especially those of us who use a lot of pictures.

My anticipation is that we will have to pay more (maybe much more) or else our blogs will be very slow to load and less prominent to find.  It may end up being that readers have to pay to read WordPress sites. The big ISPs like Time-Warner, Verizon and Comcast will get richer at the expense of our community and an open internet.

Backlash? We shall see what happens.

Promoting the WordPress Community

Two nice things about the WordPress community:

  • You don’t need to have a blog to join it.
  • You don’t even need to join it to see it. But joining it helps a whole lot (it’s just a simple signup with your email and creating a password) then you are free to follow, like, comment, search, and much more.

If you are reading this and not a member, consider joining (oh and it’s free right now).  To my all my followers and occasional readers, thank you.  And to my fellow bloggers, keep doing what you are doing.  Each and every one of you is amazing.