Promoting & Upgrading the TLF

by on January 22, 2009 · 16 comments

First, let me just thank all the TLF readers who actively participate by commenting on the site.  We really value your participation in this community built on a shared interest in technology policy!

Readers who visit the site will notice two new badges at the top righthand corner of the site for the TLF’s Twitter and Facebook pages.  Please take a moment to follow us on Twitter and to become a fan of our Facebook page—and to “share” that page with your friends on Facebook.  Of course, we also have RSS feeds for the blog and the Tech Policy Weekly podcast (RSS or iTunes), which should again become more “weekly” this year.

I’d love to hear any ideas any TLF readers might have about how to increase the site’s readership or upgrade its functionality.  With the TLF’s five year anniversary coming up this August, we’re looking for ways to make the most of the blog as a tool for “keeping the politicans’ hands off the ‘net and everything else related to technology.”

Two quick tech tips for using the site.  First, regarding Disqus (“Discuss”), our Comment Management System:  If you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to “claim” comments made with your email address.  As Disqus explains, this will help ensure that no one else posts a comment under your name (something only someone as dastardly as, say, Jim Harper might do):

If you’ve made a comment on a blog using Disqus, you automatically have a profile. To claim the comments and profile, verify your identity by clicking “Claim” on the profile. Once the profile is claimed, no one else will be able to use that profile or email address to comment aside from you.

Second, Adam and I often post PDFs in our posts using the nifty iPaper viewer provided by Scribd (for example here).  Because it’s Flash, this tool allows you to see a PDF embedded on a page without having to download it or wait for the whole document to load.  A few of our crochetier TLF colleagues have complained that the Flash viewer is too small to read easily.  The simple solution is to click the rectangle-in rectangle button at the top right corner of the Scribd viewer, which will instantly expand the viewer to full-screen.  If clicked again, the viewer will revert to its original size.  This feature doesn’t seem to be as self-explanatory as the folks at Scribd assume.  

Again, thanks for reading and for your feedback!

  • http://fungibleconvictions.com Andrew W

    I can vouch for Scribd for another good reason: it processes metadata well so that a doc is more easily searchable than a PDF alone.

  • MikeRT

    Kinda ironic that you guys switched to WordPress right around the time that Movable Type started getting some serious performance upgrades and cool new features like Action Streams (which would allow you to share what you're reading and commenting on with your readers).

  • http://techliberation.com/author/berinszoka/ Berin Szoka

    Thanks for the suggestion, Mike. We use MovableType on the PFF blog and… well, let's just say that I don't have anything nice to say about it. Interestingly, it seems that ActionStreams is a MT knock-off of the WP plug-in Lifestream: http://wordpress.org/support/topic/154694

    I can see the appeal of such plug-ins for a personal blog. But has anyone seen such a thing implemented in a group blog? Mike, if you can point to any specific examples, that would be very helpful.

    I have explored plug-ins that would allow us to set up a stream of TLF tweets on the site, such as Twitter Feed but I'm not sold yet – http://alexking.org/projects/wordpress

  • Peter Twieg

    Actually, one thing which I found myself wanting the other day is that it'd be nice if the events that were plugged here were added to a Google calendar (or some other form of calendar) that could easily be added to one's own event planner. I'm hoping that this feature becomes increasingly ubiquitous over time.

  • http://techliberation.com/author/berinszoka/ Berin Szoka

    That's a great suggestion, Peter! We'll look into this.

  • MikeRT

    Well, a good example would be you can set up ActionStreams to track what you are reading/sharing on Digg, Google Reader, Slashdot and sites like that. There's some documentation that is helpful for getting started with that. You could create an Atom feed of your latest actions on news sites of interest to your readers.

    Thanks for the suggestion, Mike. We use MovableType on the PFF blog and… well, let's just say that I don't have anything nice to say about it.

    I feel much the same way about WordPress. I stopped using it after I read about the attitude problem displayed toward the developer behind Spam Karma when he reported some security holes to the WordPress developers and I had a chance to write a plugin for WordPress. Those two factors turned me off to it as a platform. Every time I see WordPress get forked to accommodate features that Movable Type handles gracefully, like multiple blogs or use as a forum, I feel more vindicated that WordPress is nowhere near as technically sound as its proponents suggest.

    And on that note, I'll just say that the WordPress developers had better hope that hosts don't start preferring PostgreSQL to MySQL because WordPress is so wedded to MySQL that a shift that simple would cripple it.

  • MikeRT

    I'm curious about what you don't like about Movable Type. Would you mind posting a comment here about what you don't like about it versus WordPress?

    If it's related to performance or spam in particular, I can tell how to quickly get rid of those gripes with the new features :)

  • http://www.guerilla-ciso.com/ rybolov

    Hey guys, your twitter stream gives me the same value as your RSS feed. I'll follow you on twitter when you do something different on it that I can't get out of a feed reader. =)

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    One thing you could do to increase your readership and enhance your credibility would be to add a link to Broadband Politics to your site. All the cool people read it.

  • dm

    Another curmudgeonly comment about Scribd: when I asked to save the document, I was prompted for a login. I'd prefer not to have to do that in order to view the document with a document reader that I prefer.

  • sib

    You might want to think about following some people on Twitter. It's not very conversational to collect followers but not to follow anyone in return…

  • sib

    You might want to think about following some people on Twitter. It's not very conversational to collect followers but not to follow anyone in return…

  • sib

    You might want to think about following some people on Twitter. It's not very conversational to collect followers but not to follow anyone in return…

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