Monday, February 05, 2007

Blog Bling

Just recently, my friend Amy sent me a link to an article about blog widgets.

Firstly, let's just take a moment to appreciate what a fun, funky word "widget" is. We should all find ways to use it more often.

Secondly, for those who may not be aware, widgets in the virtual world are "a component of a graphical user interface that the user interacts with" (so says wikipedia). For bloggers like me who consider themselves "writers" foremost and techies only because it's the cheapest way to make the most people read your writing, well, widgets are kinda scary.

There's widgets to put pinpoints on a map for the location of all your readers. This reminds of the early Interweb days, when everyone included visit counters on their pages, which usually only served to point out that the page was visited once in a blue moon, and that only occurred because a search term was entered incorrectly into Altavista. (Ha! Remember the days before Google?)

There's two widgets mentioned in the article I thought I might be interested in: one to show what books you're currently reading or meaning to read (ah, such different categories!), and one that showcases your musical interests. These are things I usually tell people about anyway, and I thought a subtle widget might be a less annoying way of telling people how cool I am than what I do now, which is tell them that I'm cool because I'm reading this book or listening to that CD.

So then I decide to blog about blog widgets ... and realized that since I don't have much interest in them, I don't really know what's out there, other than the 3 mentioned above. I took a trip to (cited in the article) and discovered there's widgets for:
  • A Flash Web counter that shows the # of visits on your site (Ha! It's also one of the most popular; guess I was wrong about the days of posting low-visit shame being over)
  • Free Poll Widget: Post your own polls. Do you like taking web polls? Answer now!
  • YouTube Videos: If I wasn't so worried about getting lost for days in the morass of brain candy that is YouTube, I might be tempted.
  • Flickr Sideshow: See a slideshow of photos from Flickr. This has potential ....
  • CuteCaps Mini (Cute Overload): I'll let the blurb speak for itself, I'm busy vomiting, "Hey! Not enough cute on your blog or website? Add your own CuteCaps Mini! Cute Overload scours the Web for only the finest in Cute Imagery." Many MANY kittens and puppies.
  • Internet Traffic: I don't have any use for this one, but I'm posting it because the blurb is an antidote to the Cute one above: "Show your visitors how clogged the tubes currently are."


Amy said...

I, too, heart the word widget. Widget, widget, widget.

I like the idea of the book/music widgets, but I have to investigate how much time/energy they require for setup/maintenance.

Also, sometimes I have things on request/on repeat that I am ashamed/embarrassed to admit that I enjoy, which is why I haven't posted a link to my Amazon wishlist or made more explicit links to my Pandora stations.

For example: After the stockboy in the next aisle busted out a spirited rendition of "Longfellow Serenade" at the grocery store last night, I have this uncontrollable urge to listen to Neil Diamond.

M. Lubbers said...

Good point about not really controlling who sees your Wishlist. I think that, if I were to do it, I'd shamelessly pick and choose what I put up (not just link to a wishlist) so as to make myself appear smarter/funnier/better-looking to all web surfers.

And now that I blogged about how much I don't need widgets? I'm fascinated! There's so many out there! I blame this all on you, Amy.