Blogging Versus Facebook

Why I still prefer blogging over Facebook

Despite all the other web competition and especially despite the inroads of Facebook, my blog remains by far my favorite social media expression.   Here are a few of my reasons.

  • Blogging seems so much more suitable to a writer. The very idea of Twitter is just not me.  I desire to measure my words, not blurt out the first phrase that stumbles out.  Plus, how do I say it in 140 characters?   And if I want to banter on Facebook, I prefer it to be about something with substance like a blog article—or maybe a family picture. 
  • A blog is something I get to format. I determine the theme, how the post looks and how the pictures go with it.   I enjoy this creativity, even though it requires some continual learning of page construction.
  • A blog post seems more enduring than a Facebook post. The latter is quickly lost in the scrolling mass of input.   A blog post remains close to the top of my blog much longer.
  • A blog is an enduring resource for others on the topics which the blog’s creator chooses. Blog posts can be accessed quickly by category or tag.  Each blog adds to the internet’s treasure trove of info on the topics the writer chooses.
  • A blog post can be a source from which other social media can draw. It would not work the other way around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appeal to a writer

 

 

Page  Creativity 

 

 

Enduring quality

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook has taken over as the necessary advertiser for blog posts and the locus for blog comments. 

How Facebook affects blogging

There is no doubt that the biggest change since I started blogging is the rise of Facebook.  It provides strong competition to the blogosphere.  The fact that I wrote the last paragraph at all is an indication of that competition.  Here are some other ways I think Facebook has affected blogging.

  • Some less enduring posts are put on Facebook instead of the blog. This has the negative effect of lessening the amount and breadth of material on the blog but the positive effect of strengthening the quality and depth of material on the blog.  The longer and more thoughtful posts tend to go on the blog.  The lighter, more ephemeral stuff goes on Facebook. 
  • Unfortunately, for most people, much family and personal history may end up being more on Facebook since this is where people tend to note happenings in their lives unless they use Twitter or Instagram instead.
  • Facebook has pretty much taken over as the public relations place for a blog post. If I write a post and don’t note on my Facebook page that I wrote it, very few will read it.  But if I make a note about it on my Facebook page, then I get readers.   So Facebook has become the necessary advertising vehicle for posts.  The other day I allowed the Jetpack automatic feature to notify Facebook of my WordPress post.  It did so only routinely and did not use the picture I wanted.  It garnered one “like” all day. About eight hours later, I used a more related picture and wrote a short advertisement on Facebook for the same article.  Within a couple hours it had 5 “likes” and a comment. 
  • Facebook has also taken over the role that blog comments formerly played. In the last couple years, I have received nearly all my feedback on Facebook, not via blog comments. Considering all the spam issues and the maintenance required to keep blog comments open at all, I have seriously considered doing away with them.  I have not done so as some readers who are professionals dealing with the public, such as teachers, police, etc. do not use Facebook. 
  • I modify my choice of picture byte sizes according to what I think Facebook will pick up when it advertises my post. I don’t claim to understand the relationship but I know it often affects what I do. 

A Blogging Milestone

The 1000 Milestone

I noticed that the total count of my posts, pages, sermons and comments on my blog has passed the 1000 mark.  More than five hundred of those blog events are posts.  Just over one hundred fifty are sermon manuscripts of messages prepared since coming to Copper Hill UMC.  To be honest, I thought I would reach this 1 K milestone much sooner.  But with a semi-retirement pastorate and two wonderful grandchildren in my life, I’m been much busier than anticipated.  In addition, my personal blog now has much more competition for my computer time than it did when I began in 2010.  Now I have a busy Facebook presence and a Pinterest account, plus I manage a second blog for our church, contribute to our church’s Facebook page, and help my wife with her blog-style website as well. 

 

Posts + pages + sermons + comments > 1000

 

New categories

 

 

 

New Page Software

 

 

 

Better Pictures

Renewing my blog

One goal as I reach this milestone is to renew my blog.  Change is inevitable.  It takes intentional change to create a fresh face and keep progressing.  

Toward this end, I decided that two new categories would be helpful both to me in initiating new material and to my readers.   The new category called “Country Touches” will be pure fun—interesting pictures and observations.   Another New Category named “Best Five” will be a vehicle for passing on to my readers some quick lists of top five in my experience in any area that comes to mind.  I hope it helps others tap sources of wisdom that I have discovered.

 

I’m also experimenting with new page creation software by SiteOrigin.  The Country Touch post about my sister’s outside décor was the first to use that software.   It looks like a hit.  I’ve experimented with a program called Sway as well but it did not format well online and I think SiteOrigin will replace it. 

 It is a constant goal to use higher quality pictures and pictures that fit the content better.   I hope there is a new phone camera in my near future to help this goal along.

Three goals for future blogging

This milestone has also made me stop and review my blogging goals.  What do I intend to do with my blog going forward? 

More wisdom

I plan to continue the emphasis upon wisdom.  Learntobewise.com has become more than my blog address, it has become a mission.  Wisdom is so lacking in our world today.  In fact, in general I believe we do not have wisdom enough to know we are short of it.  Action is valued; adrenaline is sought; acting is pursued; sports prowess is idolized, but wisdom is neglected. So I pray that by God’s grace I can make my blog a place where words of wisdom are shared, both ones I write and ones I find and forward to my readers via my blog.  I pray that God gives me wisdom enough to do so (James 1:5). 

More fun

I want my blog to be a place for some fun, both for me and for my readers. Look for more posts in categories like Americana, Country Touches, and on subjects like being a Grandpa, vacation accounts, daylily galleries and Christmas train set pictures. They are all blogging fun for me and I hope for my readers as well. 

More public messages pages

I plan to continue building the sermon archive on my blog as a reference and resource for parishioners, other pastors and Christian workers.   Crafting sermon outlines and writing messages for our congregation comes relatively easy to me and if I can provide resources to others, I would consider that a privilege.  It fits with my goal about sharing wisdom and it would extend the use of my gifts and my influence as a Bible teacher and preacher.   I am especially humbled to note that many readers of my blog are international.    And I am aware from my missions trips that Christian workers in other places often do not have access to all the Bible education that I have had.   Besides, it is wise use of time and resources to edit slightly what I already write each week as a part of my pastoral ministry to also build my blog. 

 

 

  More Wisdom

 

 

  More   Fun

 

 

 Message Archive

Gather flowers before frost

Gather flowers before the frost

Last night was the first frost here in West Granby. So for me it was time for my annual tradition, going out and cutting armfuls of flowers for season-end bouquets. I especially associate this tradition with picking marigolds as they are not the easiest to arrange and they look better in the garden, that is, until you know they won’t be there anymore tomorrow. So I usually don’t pick them til frost threatens. So late yesterday afternoon I gathered bunches of the marigolds that my sister-in-law, Chris, had given me to grow and sat down at the table to arrange them in multiple vases. For me it’s a lot of fun as I put into practice the family knack for flower arranging that came down to me from my mother, Dorothy Jones, and my grandmother, Jessie Isaman. Here are this year’s results. All the bouquets this year are all-sided bouquets. The first bouquet, the largest, decorates the dining room table. It happily matches my wife’s fall colors. The second sits at her computer desk to cheer her spot. The third is on my chair side table along side my Bible, devotional book and notepad. There are full size marigolds and two colors of smaller ones along with a very hardy daisy type plant that blooms very late. Greenery is form a licorice plant and some shrubbery that grows out front that I have to trim anyway.

Migrating left without moving

Observing politics today is disconcerting

It is interesting and very disconcerting to me to observe what has happened in politics over the last ten years or so and what is happening this year.   I used to call myself a conservative Republican, and even voted on the Conservative line often to reflect that leaning.   But in this political cycle I find myself to the left of nearly all the Republican candidates.   I don’t think I have changed much, but in my perception, they have moved decidedly right, becoming more isolationist, out of touch with the poor and more libertarian.

Where am I

I’m still pro-life and pro-traditional family.  I distrust bigger government and prefer conservative constitutional interpretation, all of which are traditional Republican positions.

But I am also pro-immigrant, pro prison reform, pro traditional progressive income tax, pro-minimum wage increase, and concerned about racial justice.  I also supported increasing those included in health care but along with many feel that the result has been disappointing. Today these kind of positions are more often found among Democrats.

Currently, I believe I am somewhere in the middle of the American political spectrum and the current divide between very leftist Democrats and extreme right Republicans is leaving me and many others in the middle without a good political home.

To compound the matter, the poll-leading Republican candidates (Trump, Cruz, and Carson) are my least favorite candidates of the bunch.  Trump is so scary that I would vote for Hillary or Sanders before him.

What is needed

What is needed this year is a bridge-the-gap, common-sense party.  Neither Democrats nor Republicans seem qualified for that right now.

The Joy of Singing in the Choir

Bering Memorial United Methodist Church Choir from Houston sings during morning worship at the denomination's 2004 General Conference in Pittsburgh. Houston will be the host city for the 2008 General Conference. A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose. Photo number GC04247, 5/7/04
Bering Memorial United Methodist Church Choir from Houston sings during morning worship at the denomination’s 2004 General Conference in Pittsburgh. A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.

Choir singing is not as popular as it once was except perhaps in black churches.    But my wife and I have always tried to bring people together to sing as a choir for special holidays and events.   JoAnne arranges for and directs the choir while I sing tenor or in later years, bass.

I have always enjoyed singing in choir.   I have been reflecting upon why.

1.  I simply enjoy harmony.   Whether created by multiple vocal parts or multiple instruments in an ensemble,  harmony is a pleasure to hear and even more pleasurable to be part of making.  If you have the ability to sing harmony, it is very fulfilling to do so.

2. Church choir singing gives the added blessing of filling one’s mind with inspirational songs.   I often find myself singing the choir song we practiced in my mind on other days of the week.  There aren’t very many time investments that help put a song in your heart like choir singing does.

3.  There is a great deal of camaraderie in a choir.  Like any other task-oriented small group, it provides a place to belong, some wholesome banter, a growing relationship with fellow group members, and a sense of purpose and identity.   In fact, in a small choir, one feels quite close to your section singing partners as you strive together season after season to sing your part.

4.  For a church choir, there is the joy of presenting the number we have practiced during church service.   Sure, we may be a bit nervous about doing well, but we are most interested that those who hear are inspired by the message we are trying to bring in music.   When we receive feedback that our work has inspired and encouraged others, we are blessed by that.

5.  Singing in choir uses a gift I have.  By contrast, right now I am not using the gift of trombone playing that I have and I feel bad about that.   My ability will slowly deteriorate.  But on the other hand, when I sing in choir, I use my singing ability, I keep up that skill, so that I am ready for new opportunities to use it.  As a Christian, I believe I am accountable for using my gifts for the benefit of others.

6.  Singing in choir expands my knowledge of Christian music.  Many of the songs we learn are fresh and vibrant expressions of our faith that I have not heard before learning them in choir.

7.  Being a part of the choir has been a starting point for invitations to sing in numerous other types of groups.  Men’s quartets are a riot.  I have sung in a massed choir where choirs from several churches joined together, a great experience.   I was asked to sing the solo part for “He’s Alive” on Easter Sunday while the choir provided back-up, an experience I will never forget.   One year our choir was videoed and put their Christmas cantata on television. I have sung for live nativities and on “living Christmas trees.”  All these experiences and more came to me because I sing in choir.

Increasing organization a little at a time

 

I hope I can learn to get organized better
My goal is to get better organized!

I have been concerned lately that my desk and my shop seem to be getting more cluttered.  I’m not one of those naturally neat people, yet I like things organized.   Busyness, accumulating stuff, and time pressure seem to conspire to increase the disorder.   I am busy enough that I very seldom find time to just stop and organize my space.  So I have adopted a new strategy.   I am seeking to increase organization on the fly just a little at a time.

When I see a book on the desk that I am no longer using, I pick it up and put it away rather than looking past it to find the one thing I was searching for, as I used to do.   If, while I take a phone call, I see a scrap of paper that has lost its usefulness, I toss it rather than ignore it.  I’m hoping in this way to make progress on decluttering my desk.

In the same way, when I am looking for something in the shop, rather just push something around on the loaded bench, I try to put it away while I have my hands on it.    Yesterday, while searching my little storage bins for a particular type of nail, I noticed several possibilities for consolidations that would open more spots to use.  So I consolidated a few drawers while I looked.   I’m hoping, before too long, I will have a cleaner working space in the shop too.

I guess I am onto something as I was reading advice from a specialty blogger who recommended 7 ways to get organized for those who have no time to do so.    Number two in her list was to “Make progress in small slices of time.”  http://www.simplify101.com/organizing-tips/get-organized/no-time-to-organize/.   In fact she suggested setting aside very short blocks of time, like 10 or 15 minutes and just doing what you can do to make progress in that time, deliberately resisting the idea that you need to do the whole job.

I just put one notebook back on the shelf where it goes; a notepad into the drawer, and a scrap in the circular file.   There goes a book and a file folder.  Yes, progress!