So I have bowed to public pressure (and expert opinion) and left my Weebly behind in order to branch out into new and supposedly better places. I have spent the last couple of weeks reflected on my digital identity and have found it somewhat lacking in inspiration, focus and pizzaz. I have some experience with WordPress from a previous university course but it ended badly with the entire site being frozen and then completely disappearing. Months of work gone in a single poof! Not good for someone who wrote directly on the blog and didn’t back anything up. In despair I fell back on a Weebly blog, as I already own and maintain a classroom site. But, having been challenged, I am now a little more savvy and ready to get back into the game.
First step was signing up for a free WordPress account. No problem. Next step, picking a theme. Usually I just scroll around for something that looks nice (preferably in my favourite colour- blue) and try to copy it, but this time I took the time to read the WordPress tutorial and boy have I been missing important information. According to the tutorial before choosing a pretty picture it is important to consider:
Time and Energy
“Pick a theme that says you.” suggests the tutorial. Wow, I could take a lifetime trying to figure that out! Who am I? A wife, mother, teacher, student. Do I want to appear hip and cool or teachery and clever? I have different identities for different parts of my life. Do I need more than one blog or do I create a hybrid entity that encompasses bits of me? The site recommends looking at existing blogs to find one to emulate. I quickly lose track of time and find myself engrossed in an endless range of witty, pointless and highly entertaining sites out there. You really can write about just about anything! My favourite part though was reading the blog titles. They were all catchy and aimed at getting your attention like “Truth and Cake” “Highly Irritable” “Harmless Drudgery” or my personal favourite “Aging Gracefully My Ass”.
After going a bit cross-eyed after looking at all my options I decide to bite the bullet and pick something knowing that if don’t like it I have the option to change later. Wilson is listed as a “clean, simple and bold theme”. A tad boring perhaps but simplicity is appealing at this point. I feel bold just having made a choice – perhaps my theme is working already. Now for the customizations. One good thing about going for the free version is that choices are limited. Colours are set unless I want to upgrade and pay. I continue reading but start to glaze over at all the details. I have now been on the computer for over an hour and only have a blank blog with a bad title. Decide to switch to the “Get Going Fast: A Checklist” page. The fact that the page exists tells me that I am not the only one with a life.
To tell the truth, it is a bit overwhelming to suddenly realize how little you know about a topic. The funny thing is, some of my colleagues at school think I am rather tech savvy because I have a class blog and use Twitter. I am beginning to feel like a fraud and a wannabe. I realize that I have very surface level knowledge and that I need to invest a lot more time and energy into really understanding what a WordPress blog can offer. So please don’t laugh at my new site with the sidebar containing features I still have no idea about.
Stay tuned. I am planning on adding a few new features every week. It currently feels like a block of stone full of potential just waiting to be discovered…
Update: I have discovered the perfect MOOC- A WordPress Boot camp offered by http://edtechopen.com that promises to teach me:
WordPress basics and how to create more than “just another Blog” and creating a website with more. Share links, connect networks, manage themes, styles, widgets and plugins– and have a rich discussion about all the ways this tool can be leveraged for personal, professional and educational uses.
P.S I love the proofreading button I just found