Day Three: Visit the Neighbors

Today, explore five new tags in the Reader and follow five new blogs.
Blogging: Fundamentals, Day 3

WordPress.com makes it easy to find new blogs to read and sites to follow within the Reader.  You can use the Discover feature to find random posts, or you can search for specific tags.

Day 3 Deliverable:  5 Sites I Chose to Follow

The five tags I explored today were:  WordPress, coffee, Hawai’i, happiness, and blogging.  There are a handful of sites I already read that came up in the results, including some on WordPress and more general technology; I choose not to use those as my picks because I am already following them in a sense.  I wanted to find new stuff.  This led me to the sites listed below that I am looking forward to following.

  1. Choosing Kind: Creating space for awareness and joy in our messy everyday lives.
    • Why I Chose it:  It seems like Jen Johnson-the writer behind Choosing Kind-and I have a similar mindset.  I enjoy her take on things, her persistence to stay positive, and raise kids “right.”
  2. The Daily Grind:  A daily dose of coffee news, brew tips, shop talk, and more.
    • Why I Chose it:  I love coffee and The Daily Grind looks like they have a nice mix of information, tips, and some pretty neat photos.
  3. Hawai’i News Digest:  Hawaii news, analysis, and commentary.
    • Why I Chose it:  I love everything there is about Hawai’i and like to keep up on the news – and this site certainly shares a lot of it.
  4. Irish Music, Oceans, and God’s Love:  Finding God’s mercy in beauty and truth
    • Why I Chose it:  Ireland has always fascinated me.  This site has some really beautiful pictures and poems to accompany them.
  5. The GRATITUDE Life:  GRATEFUL & POSITIVE expressions of Life: Faith, Health, Fitness, Family, Entertainment
    • Why I Chose It:  As the name implies, Linda seems to be a truly caring person that helps others in various ways, including the basic but effective method of being grateful.

Blogging: Fundamentals Day 2 – Customize Title and Tagline

Today, update your title and tagline. Show us your personality!
Day 2, Blogging: Fundamentals

Title

My title is easy because it’s nothing I need to think up or be very creative about.  I simply plan to keep the title as the website address.

Tagline

The tagline takes a little more thought.  I was originally thinking about changing the tagline to something like “Providing Support with a Touch of Aloha” or “Aloha-Based Support.”  Although I may come back to something like that down the road, for now I want something simple that describes who I am and what I do.

Day 2 Deliverable

Title:  GeoffreyShilling.com
Tagline:  Support WordPress. Live aloha. Drink coffee.

 

What a Wonderful World [of Support]

Blogging: Fundamentals Assignment #1:

Today, publish a “who I am and why I’m here” post.


WHO I AM

geoffrey_and_big_minifigTHE PERSON.  My name is Geoffrey Shilling.  I’m married (to Julie) with a 9-year old son (Caleb) and two-year old daughter (Opal); family comes first in my life.  I’m Hawaiian-at-heart, love coffee – the darker the roast the better, and I can be a bit of a computer geek, but I love being outdoors as much as possible.

I think it has a lot to do with how I was raised, but I’ve always enjoyed helping people.  Some of the places I give my time to support and are likely to influence this site include:

  • Member of my local volunteer fire department
  • Volunteer moderator for the WordPress.org forums
  • Recently started volunteering on the WordPress.com forums to see how I can help there
  • Trying to spend a little time helping migrate documents for the HelpHub project

I also like having fun and am often told I have a very laid-back personality.  My wife likes to claim she has three kids, though we actually only have two.  I picked up the phrase “no worries” while I was stationed in Hawai’i and I use it often.  Things can and will happen that you have no control over; there is no sense getting upset over them.  And the things you can change?  Do your best and everything else will fall in place.

I started making HTML sites in the late 1990’s and began using WordPress at the end of 2009.  My first-ever WordCamp was Dayton 2015; I’ve since been to Ann Arbor, WordCamp US, and Chicago.  I already have my ticket for WordCamp US 2016 and am hoping to be able to attend Ann Arbor or Cincinnati in October.

THE SITE.  I launched GeoffreyShilling.com in 2008 as a simple HTML/CSS site and converted it to the self-hosted version of WordPress at the end of 2009.  It has gone through many changes since then, but never really had a clear direction.  You could have seen a post about a coffee maker built into a working desktop computer, code to do a neat trick with WordPress, SEO tips, live streaming of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, or a cool soccer highlight video.  On May 25, I made the big decision to move GeoffreyShilling.com to WordPress.com and start completely from scratch.  The rest of my sites will remain self-hosted.

It only took me eight years, but I think I’ve finally narrowed things down:  GeoffreyShilling.com is re-launching with a focus on support and happiness, which typically go hand-in-hand.

WHAT I’M WRITING

While you’ll quickly see there is a heavy focus on WordPress, I’ll also be sharing more general support and happiness topics as well.  I’m sure things will shift a little as I move forward, but right now I’m planning on the following major areas:

  • Blog.  I’m going to be writing about various WordPress features, support-related material, and general aloha/happiness.  I like quotes, so you’ll see some of those here as well.
  • Support (WordPress.com/WordPress.org).  As with any type of support, you often see a number of questions repeating themselves on the WordPress support forums.  I’m gathering my own list of “pre-defined replies” to common answers not just on WordPress.org, but WordPress.com as well.  While WordPress.org does have a list of pre-defined replies, I have expanded on that and tailored the ones I often use.  I’m very interested in customer service/support and will be sharing tips I come across for providing and getting the best support you can.
  • Reviews.  I’m always listening to a podcast or audiobook and I’ve also been trying to read more.  I find myself regularly taking notes.  If it’s useful to me, then I know there is someone else that can benefit as well.  These reviews will include the books I read, podcasts and audiobooks I listen to, and products I use that will help in customer service, general happiness, and productivity.

WHEN I’LL BE POSTING

I’ve never written consistently before, so this whole process is going to take some getting used to.  In order to get in the habit of writing and also get better acquainted with WordPress.com, I’ve decided to start the site off with the Blogging: Fundamentals course provided by WordPress.com.  “Blogging 101 is three weeks of bite-size blogging assignments that take you from’Blog?’ to ‘Blog!'”  Although the course doesn’t prompt you to post something every day, there is a daily action item to perform.  I think I’m going to post the action and what I did to complete it.  After I’m done with the course, I plan to post something new at least every Wednesday.

WHERE TO FIND ME

I’m physically located in Northwest Ohio, though my heart will forever be in Hawai’i.  I went to my first WordCamp (and second and third) last year and plan to attend at least three a year, schedule permitting.

GeoffreyShilling.com is hosted by WordPress.com.  Feel free to get in touch with me using either the contact form or one of these other places:

Twitter:  AlohaGeoffrey
WordPress.com:  GeoffreyShilling
WordPress.org:  GeoffreyShilling
Slack:  GeoffreyShilling
Instagram:  GeoffreyShilling

As you can see, if I’m online somewhere it’s probably as “geoffreyshilling.”  Of course Twitter has a 15-character username limit, so that is the one exception.

WHY I’M DOING THIS

I started writing my pre-defined support responses in Evernote a while back.  This method works fine, but nobody else will ever see them except where I’ve actually responded to a question on the WordPress forums.  Posting this publicly will make them more available to others and maybe even help someone that stumbles across the site.

I learn best by doing.  What better way to learn about WordPress.com than by using it for my primary site?  Since I’ll be updating things regularly, this will allow me to more quickly learn the features available and the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

HOW I PLAN TO DO IT

I’ll be working out an editorial calendar to keep things moving, which is something I’ve never used before.  The weekly posts might include WordPress tutorials, interesting things I find, processes I use to make things easier, or information about providing/receving support.

I’ll also be continually adding reviews, pre-defined support replies, and resources, though these won’t be on any set schedule.

Luckily for you and me, WordPress.com has great information that makes it easy to figure out how to use!

I will leave you with my favorite song of all-time to set the tone for what’s to come, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” medley by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.  Aloha for now!

New Blog Coming June 22!

I just wanted to let you know it’s been a little quiet around here, but that’s going to change soon.  I’m figuring some final things out, but plan to start writing next Wednesday, June 22.  See you soon!

Aloha,
Geoffrey