It is a truth universally acknowledged that websites are like sharks: they must continually move forward or die.* So it’s time for AustenBlog to make with the fin and big teeth.
Those who have read Deborah Yaffe’s delightful book Among the Janeites already know that I have been planning to shut down AustenBlog for a while now. (Like several years.) I haven’t, though, out of a combination of laziness and sentiment. But I’m sure everyone has noticed that I’m not posting as much.
I want to keep AustenBlog going–and I plan to–but things are going to change up a bit.
I’ve made a couple of attempts at doing something more low-key, such as sharing links and things through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr. I like the simplicity of posting links through these methods, rather than having to sit down and write a blog post when I simply want to share something. At night, I’m tired, I’m not going to be clever, and quite honestly these days my energy is conserved for my own writing projects. However, none of these methods were entirely satisfactory.
So Many Social Media Platforms
Facebook is an easy way to share links, but not everyone is on Facebook, and with their recent shenanigans with taking away “Likes” of people who don’t “engage” (and hiding posts from those who don’t pay to “boost” the post), it’s not the best way to inform a wide audience. I adore–and I mean adore–the Google+ posting interface, but very few people are on Google+. (You should give it a try. It’s sooooo much better than Facebook.) Tumblr is also easy–I really like the super-simple posting interface. If I want to share a link or a photo, I can just post it and not worry about writing anything about it, but if I want to write something, I can. But Tumblr has a few drawbacks, the main one being that it’s harder for my Gentle Readers to post comments without joining Tumblr. Not that there’s anything wrong with joining Tumblr, but I don’t like to make people join a site if they don’t want to. Twitter has a similarly limited reach. I also didn’t want to lose AustenBlog’s many followers and friends, not to mention the archives back ten and a half years. (HOLY CATS)
Then I realized that it’s possible to set up WordPress to be almost as simple as Tumblr. The advantages to such a setup are legion: easier commenting, familiar interface, keep the followers. However, I had to change the blog template (which dictates the “look and feel” of the blog) to use what WordPress calls Post Formats; thus the different look on the blog.
I didn’t think of it till later, but I also had to switch to a responsive theme that works on mobile devices because of Mobilegeddon. Well, I didn’t have to, but it was a good idea.
Swimming in a New Direction
The types of posts will be changing, too. There will be more simple sharing of links and less writing; AustenBlog will be more of a microblog style than a true blog. However, the Cluebat will still be around, have no fear, but in a different way.
I’ve started a new personal blog called This Delightful Habit of Journaling, where I’ll be writing about all sorts of things, including Jane Austen. That is probably where the Cluebat will be wielded when necessary. If so, I’ll be sure to reblog it over here, as I did for the Plotting Lady Susan post.
Stay in Touch with AustenBlog
There will be lots of ways to follow AustenBlog (and HaJo, as I’ve taken to calling the new blog).
- You can sign up to get an email whenever there is a new post. Look to the left (or scroll alllll the way down, if you’re on a small-screened mobile device) for the space to type in your email address.
- If you have joined WordPress and are logged in, you will see a bar at the top of the page where you can follow AustenBlog with the click of a button. There are quite a few Austen-flavored blogs here on WP.com, and you can follow them all that way; you will see new posts in your reader when you go to WordPress.com. And did you know that you can get a free WordPress account even if you don’t have a blog? You can still use the social aspects, and it makes it easier to comment.
- I’ll also be publishing each post to Tumblr, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, if you use those services. (I’ll be publishing HaJo posts to the same links as well, but to a different Tumblr.)
- Or just kick it old school with an RSS feed.
Still feel free to send links and info and stuff if you like. However, I may not reply, and may or may not post your thing. Time and energy, Gentle Readers, are in short supply. I am sorry to be driven to rudeness. I may also repost via social media.
Speaking of Social Media
Speaking of social media–I’ll be using it for sharing the more ephemeral links, like free ebooks and that sort of thing. You may see in a link below that I shared a link to an ebook that was only free for a day or two. The way blogs work, such links aren’t a good idea, because the blog post is still around when the book is no longer free. That sort of thing is better shared on social media. I’ll try to share such links to the four main social media sites I use (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and G+) so if you follow me on one of those sites, you’ll still get those links.
I am hoping to post more often, but I can’t make any promises! But perhaps some of the old features will return, like the Sunday Austen Meditations. I probably won’t be doing as much book reviewing (and if I will, it will likely be on Goodreads, or the other blog), and I’m no longer accepting books for review at all. I’ve been moving towards this for a while. I’ve long been uncomfortable in reviewing as an author. I know lots of authors do it, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with it, but it’s not right for me. If I write about books in future, especially those to do with Jane Austen, it will likely be just to share something I particularly liked. (And that doesn’t mean if I don’t blog about it, I didn’t like your book! It could just mean I was too lazy or busy to blog about it when I read it.) I post about all the books I read on Goodreads, mainly just as a way to keep track of them, so do feel free to follow me there (though I don’t always post reviews). If I want to read a book, I’ll buy it myself or borrow it from the library or a friend, so please don’t send review copies.
In conclusion, welcome to the new AustenBlog, which is, like Uppercross, “in a state of alteration, perhaps of improvement.” I hope you stick around to see what is to come.
*Apologies for the tired P&P first-line reference but I’m a little tired myself today and was unable to resist its siren call.
This post brought to you by the Teal Deer Society.