I have embarked on a little beta-test to integrate some social networking into Dark Skies. At the end of each entry here, I have added a section that contains social networking links with some chosen networks. With my beta-test, I hope to explore the benefits of social networking on Blogdrive. In this entry, I will explain briefly how you can implement this on your blog and participate with me. I invite you to share your ideas and continuing comments here.
Some of you may be more familiar than others with this topic. Some of you may be more familiar with the various web services or may be more technically skilled. There are several things to learn, but they should be fairly simple, if you have the desire to learn them.
Rather than give you some marketing overview of social networks, it is easiest to explain by simply checking them out for yourself by following the links in the section below. It has a matrix of links for you to explore, each with its own little square icon.
The first icon I created is for audio. The links following the winamp logo icon and [headphones] are for streaming digital music. I have simply linked the hi-fi stream, the lo-fi stream, and the website where the stream originates. I include the website just in case someone needs a different audio format for their PC.
While not truly a Web 2.0 definition of social networking, I have included [headphones] audio links for a very long time. There are sites like last.fm for audio social networking, but I like to use this method for streams and MP3 files. I prefer full digital streams and full MP3 files to thirty second samples of already popular songs. I enjoy finding new bands and free MP3 files. Shoutcast can give you a nice selection of links for any music genre to use on your own blog.
The second icon is for Technorati tags. Technorati has been tagging the blogosphere (or world of blogs) for some time. Technorati is even used by the Washington Post newspaper now.
Tags are simply names for categories. While you can use any tag names for your blog entry, I try to use some common tags so that following the tag will lead you to more information about that topic, or category. Registering your blog with technorati will place your blog in their tag lists and could potentially increase incoming traffic to your blog. Follow some of the technorati tag links to best see how that works.
The third icon I created is for Blogdrive categories. Following the tagged links in the Blogdrive row will lead you to a list of other Blogdrive blogs that have selected those categories in their blog configuration. I have compiled a one page list of all Blogdrive categories on Web-Litter. I also explore the idea of linking to Blogdrive profile elements in this Web-Litter entry. Follow the links and see how that works.
The fourth icon I've used is for Flickr tags. Flickr is a photo social networking site. I've chosen to include links to their slideshow function for their most interesting images tagged with that particular category name. Follow a few links and you will see how to link to these slide shows. Registration with Flickr is free, and you can then upload and tag your own digital images with whatever tag name you'd like to use.
The translation flag row of icons is not specifically a social networking function, but I decided to include it because I thought it might be reasonable place to put those links. Language translation methods are not perfect, but it is in the spirit of social networking that I use them. Following those links should enlighten you to the syntax those links use. I chose to use the Google language tools for these links.
Happily, you need only know how to add images and links using HTML or the Blogdrive WYSIWYG blog entry editor in order to start including the various social networks into your own blog. If you right mouse click my icons, you can then "save picture as" to your own PC. Upload the images to your Blogdrive or PhotoBucket account to use these icons on your own blog.
Feel free to rip these icons and use them, but please do not hot-link them. I periodically move images around the server, so hot-linking them will only lead to your embarassment when they do not display for you. These are tiny graphics. If you like them enough to use them, you should like them enough to store them and link to them from your own location.
In addition, if you plan to use this social networking method, or some part of it, you can simply cut and paste this section in your blog entries. In your Blogdrive editor, the default is to "Save post to clip board," when you save a draft or publish your entry. You can then paste your entry into a local unformatted text file and repeatedly use the section by pasting it back into any entry. You would need only make minor edits to the links in the section for each entry -- changing the Blogdrive permalink or tag used -- depending upon the syntax of the link and content of your entry.
In conclusion, follow the links. You will easily understand how the various social networking sites can be linked to your blog. You need not use everything I have chosen to include in my matrix of links. Rather, you may chose to implement just one or two. If you primarily have a photo blog, link to Flickr, for example.
I would like to hear from anyone who is using social network site links on their blog, and anyone who would like to start including Blogdrive categories in their entries. Again, please feel free to leave a comment.