Post Shared Google Reader items in WordPress

You might be wondering what these “Shared” posts are. Most of my web surfing consists of reading my RSS subscriptions in Google Reader, all 146 of them. On a given day I might find one or two things that I think other people would want to read. Google Reader lets you share items with your “friends”, but there’s no way to have a discussion about the content.

A while back I was trying to figure out a way to share those “shared” items with a wider audience. I stuck a link in the sidebar to my shared item page, but I doubt anybody uses it. What I really wanted to do was have WordPress automatically create posts with a link to the content I mark in Google Reader. The WP-o-matic plugin does exactly what I want.

Setting up the plugin involves creating a CRON job on the server and setting up a feed to check periodically. You can customize the content of the post that gets created; I opted for a little blurb and a link to the content. I wanted to modify the title that gets created which isn’t an available option so I modified the plugin to do that for me. I also set it to save posts as drafts so I can assign a category and tags and maybe some of my thoughts before Google Reader gets a hold of it and caches it forever.

So these shared posts are really the cream of the crop of my subscriptions and I’d love to have people share things they find. I like the fact that whenever shared items show up in Google Reader from my friends they are of high quality and worth the read even though it might be outside my immediate area of interest.

Web host migration complete

Finished moving myself, The Blarg and Mike over to the new host. We’ve got lots of space and bandwidth so just have to find something to do with it. If anyone is getting tired of their Blogger or blogs and wants more flexibility I can hook you up. Blogger’s commenting system sucks so I would be happy to help migrate any converts.

Tags and Categories

Tags have become a big part of WordPress. Back in the day we had categories and that’s it. A user could search the site for keywords, but categorizing a post couldn’t be accomplished without a ton of categories. Recently I added a bunch of categories, reassigned my posts into them and ended up with a lot of categories with only a few posts in them. I had been resisting the movement towards tagging and wanted to hold onto my categories. In WP 2.5 tags have been integrated into the core and it is clear there is a role for tagging.

The main issue I was having with categories is that I was using them to say what a post is about. For example, if I had a post about our wedding, it went in the Wedding category. But once our wedding was over I had like 10 posts sitting in a category that would never be added to. With tags I can place those posts into “Life Stuff” and tag it with wedding. The category becomes a general bucket and the tags describe exactly what the post is about.

I’ve made some theme changes and added a list of tags on each post. I went back through all my posts, recategorized them into my core categories and added tags. Now I have 8 categories and over 100 tags which will be much easier to manage and will keep me from trying to stuff my posts into overly specific categories.

I Banish Thee Category “Uncategorized”

I went through my posts and found that more than half of them were simply dumped in the “Uncategorized” category that comes with WordPress. I realized that I didn’t like my categories and they were actually obstacles to me posting. I went through and added categories for what I had posted and want to post about in the future. I ditched a few and added catchall categories like “Life” and “Geek” to cover some of those miscellaneous posts. Also any post with a picture I took got stuck in “Photography”. I guess my New Year’s resolution for 2008 is to make my blog more interesting and cover more topics that I enjoy. For example, I love movies, but it seems I haven’t posted once about them. The Movies category is empty and having it there will encourage me to post on that specific topic.