Menston and Wilberforce have kept me away; many apologies for the long absence. First of all I was busy night and day (literally) getting a much-needed completely new website to its Beta form for the charity (Wilberforce Trust) for which I work, so it could be viewed by all the 70 or so staff for their feedback by the time I return from annual leave in early September. I’ll take into account the feedback then it can go live, hopefully that month. It’s a WordPress.org site so a lot more work than these wonderful free ‘wordpress.com’ sites. 

Menston village blog; screenshot with first post

Top of the new Menston village blog showing the first post

A glutton for punishment I suppose, I also decided to construct a new ‘unofficial’ website for the village in which I live – Menston. The site - menstonvillagewharfedale.com - a WordPress.com site of course, is in the form of a blog, on which ‘grumpytyke‘ will be commenting from time to time, starting today.  Have a look and let me know what you think, please.

There is an ‘official’ Menston village website, www.menston.org, but although it is now working after a long absence it is very out of date, much of the information being so out of date that it’s not very useful. It’s been promising a new site for a long time but so far it hasn’t materialised. However, its existence meant I couldn’t have a simple Menston name (menstonvillage also existed already) and you can’t have spaces in the WordPress user name unfortunately.

Bringing Menston into the WordPress community

That is only part of the reason I decide to create the ‘unofficial’ site. The ‘official’ one – shared by the local community association and the local parish council – is very institutional. I thought the village, a really friendly and cosy place, merited something a bit more friendly. Knowing what a great community WordPress bloggers are I thought the village should have a WordPress blog of its own.

The new blog was first ‘published’ in late July but really only went ‘live’ on 8 August when it was publicised. I’m delighted to say that in the three days since then it has had around 700 views.

Anyway, please have a look – menstonvillagewharfedale.com – and let me know what you think, with any suggestions. Input from all you great bloggers who follow ‘grumpytyke’ would be really valuable.

Yet another of my favourite blogs has announced a transfer from WordPress.com to WordPress.org; this time he not only announced it but did it within hours, and so has disappeared completely off the blogging scene (‘server error’ message only). I’m posting this ‘comment’ to both my blogs in the hope he and the others may see it.

But I don’t think bloggers contemplating this move realise that even when the new site works it is so much more complicated for people to ‘like’, follow and comment.

Another blog I enjoy following has also gone to WordPress.org but at least she has left the original site operational but says this is only temporary. If she does close down the original site I will be very sorry as I will not be able to comment (of course I am able to do it but will not go through the extra hassle).

Another blog I wanted to follow was set up originally on WordPress.org (for those who don’t know this means that it is not on the WordPress server) so I cannot follow it. I’m suggesting to this person they set up a WordPress.com blog even if their main site is on their own domain.

I understand very well the reasons for having a commercial site hosted elsewhere than WordPress.com, but I think it is a disaster for the kind of ‘friendly’ blogs which I like to follow.

I’ve been completely hooked by blogging but I’ve never felt the urge to create a Facebook page and, although I have a Twitter account, the only thing that is tweeted, automatically, is a new post here.

As far as Facebook is concerned, I have a strong aversion to it – born of my wife’s announcements like “?? says she’s sitting in ?? celebrity restaurant drinking her seventh vodka and ?? (celebrity chef) has just spoken to her” and then shows me a picture of said ?? obviously very drunk in said restaurant. Who cares?

Poster promoting the new Wilberforce Trust 'Living & Learning Zone' blog, Facebook page and Twitter

However, for promoting an organisation it’s a different matter so, having recently created a blog for a particular activity of the small charity for which I work, I’ve gone the whole hog and also created a Facebook page and a Twitter account for it. Now I’m getting out a flyer promoting the three communications media to all local libraries, community centres, etc.

The blog is very simple, it is just a weekly update of the activities in our specialised community centre, catering for people with sight loss and additional disabilities, posted every Monday as a reminder for the activities during the following week.

The Facebook page is used to post very short reports of activities with one or two photographs.

As for Twitter, I’ve now got participants in the courses and other activities doing live tweets during the sessions.

There have been some very interesting and helpful posts from WordPress in the past couple of weeks; I was particularly taken by one describing how a magazine, Beatroute, had used the Oxygen theme to make a ‘blog’ version of the magazine.

I’ve been pondering for some time how to distribute ‘electronically’ the quarterly newsletter I produce for the charity for which I work. Sending PDFs isn’t really satisfactory. The ‘blog’ magazine seems the ideal solution though it will be a lot more work than just turning my newsletter InDesign files into PDFs.

It’s worth mentioning that the text here is not in the typeface which is default for the theme. The default text is a seriffed typeface – like this

typeface

 - which can be very difficult for people with sight loss to read. I also bumped the size up a bit and immediately got some ‘thanks’ messages from people who would not be considered to have a ‘visual impairment’.

However, ‘electronic’ communication is often much better for people with sight loss as the computer and other devices can make things much easier, including of course speaking a text. Apple have excelled in this.

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