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Exploring WordPress Reader Part 2 – Conversations, Likes, and More

This is part 2 of a pseudo tutorial on the use of the WordPress Reader. If you missed Part 1, you can find it HERE.

Today I will introduce you to some other helpful features in Reader. Hopefully, these tools will help you organize even further and allow you to be more efficient with your time.

Conversations – When you open the conversations on the left side of the screen, WordPress will open your recent posts in the right column and any comments or ‘conversations’ related to that post. Here you can respond to commenters much like you can when you click on the notifications bell. If you click on the ellipsis (…) in the upper right hand corner you will open options to 1) follow or unfollow the conversation, 2)  visit the post (where you can also reply to comments, and 3) edit the post (in the block editor).

Conversations Window in Reader

Likes – This window will show all the posts you have ‘liked’. You again have the option to click the ellipsis (…) and open the menu to 1) follow or unfollow the site and/or the conversation, 2) visit the post, 3) block the site, and 4) report the post. You can also visit, share, comment and like (or unlike) the post at the bottom of each displayed post.

Lists – The WordPress documentation says this feature does not work, but it works for me. Lists are a way to gather similar posts together. For example, if you have a group of bloggers in one country, you could group them together. Likewise, if you follow bloggers that share recipes, you might want those grouped together. Sometimes you might just want to peruse bloggers that only post beautiful photographs. Those could be grouped together. For purposes of this demonstration, I combined a group of bloggers from Europe and a group of bloggers who write about music. When creating the list, WordPress often recognizes the name of the blog you wish to add if it is a WordPress site you follow. This makes compiling the list easy

To create a list, you must first create the list itself, then add the blogs as desired.

Creating the List

Select the list, then click on the gear to add sites

Adding sites to the list

Tags – This is the place you can organize blogs associated with a specific tag. For example, I enjoy Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Song Lyric Sunday, and our own Throwback Thursdays posts. You might be a member of a weekly writing prompt or maybe like to join in on a link party. This is the place to gather all those similar posts together based on the tags used in the post. If want to unfollow a tag, just click on the ‘following tag’ in the upper right hand corner (circled in yellow in the image that follows). To follow a tag, simply enter it in the box at the bottom of the left column of the page.

Adding a tag to follow

Have fun exploring reader and getting your daily blog reading a little more organized and enjoyable.

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Exploring WordPress Reader Part 1 – Followed Sites

If you are like me, you may find it hard to keep up with all your favorite blogs. Wouldn’t it be nice to organize all those blogs so they weren’t all crashing together in Reader? That’s exactly what Reader is designed to do so let’s explore.

What is the WordPress reader? Simply, it is an aggregator – a place where you can pull all the blogs you follow (non-Wordpress sites, too) together in one convenient location.

When you first click on the reader tab, you are taken immediately to all the blogs you follow. They will be sorted in the order in which they were published, the post showing at the top the most recent.

Reader view – Followed Sites

From here you have several choices. Most bloggers are familiar with reading comments by clicking on the notifications bell at the top right hand of the screen – but there is more.

Options within Followed Blog View of Reader

Followed Sites: If you click on ‘Followed Sites’ on the left menu, it will open and show you the titles of the blogs you follow and the time their last post was published. If you click on the blog name, the reader view will change and show you all the reent posts for that specific blog.

Detail of a specific site followed

Inside the circle at the top right hand corner of the image you will see three items 1) the number of followers the blog has, 2) indicator you are following the blog (if you click on it, you will unfollow the blog), and 3) settings (if you expand this box you will get all the options for notifications).

    Notification Settings

Search – From the “Search Bar” you can search for a specific word, phrase, or name. I searched for fellow blogger Fandango and the view now shifts to show the results of my search.

Results of a Search in Reader

The results will show both posts (left column) and sites (right column) that contain the search term. In the site column, you will also see the box that indicates if it is a site you follow (followed sites are green, unfollowed sites are blue).

Manage – Click this red/pink button to manage or add sites you follow. In the search box you can either enter the URL of a site you wish to follow or search for an existing site. This box is very important if you wish to add non-WordPress sites to your reader. You will not be able to comment on those sites from Reader, but you can add them. You will note in the following image, there are no notification settings for non-WordPress sites.

If you click on the ellipses (… above the sites you follow) you can export your list of followed sites.)

Manage Reader sites

Help – At the bottom right of the reader, you will see a circle with a blue question mark. If you click on the question mark, it will open the help screens for reader. The question mark will change to an ‘X’ which you will use to close the help screens.

Reader Help Screens

There are a few other things to note. From within Reader, at the top right of the page there are four icons. 1) Write – you can compose a post from here but it will be the block editor), 2) Number of draft posts you have you can also edit from here, 3) Your profile photo when clicked opens your WordPress profile, and 4) Notification bell indicating any comments, likes, etc. waiting to be read.

Reader Icons

Whew! That was a lot. But there is so much more to learn about the Reader. Come back tomorrow and learn about Conversations, Likes, Lists, and Tags!

MY THANKS TO THE BLOGGERS WHO APPEAR IN MY SCREEN IMAGES USED FOR DEMONSTRATION!

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The Ugly Side of the Internet

Day 111

You know how you just cruise along in your own little cocoon of a world where everything is just hunky-dory? Then one day something unexpected rears its ugly head and you realize you’re not in Kansas anymore?

Well, that was me this morning.

I have been weening myself off of Facebook where things are so divisive and political. Instead, I have been spending more time reading other people’s blogs. I enjoy a place where people use words to convey ideas. I have made a lot of new acquaintances who may, over time, become friends.

The blogs I read may not necessarily be penned by like-minded individuals, but I usually find commonality with people who share similar interests or maybe just write compelling blogs that give me something new to consider. Always healthy I think.

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One way of finding such blogs is to search the WordPress reader. That has been fine until today when very unexpectedly — WHAM — I was confronted with some very unexpected and unwelcome images.

I am very much a ‘to each his/her own’ kind of person, but I like to control what comes into my world. Not always possible, I know, but generally, it works well for me. Until today. Today a very innocent search using a tag I have used in my blog many times uncovered some VERY adult images. Thankfully, I did not need to see the entire post, but the images were a little too graphic for morning coffee.

So, I tried to block the sites (there were about 4) in WordPress Reader which did not seem to work. I was receiving an error that something went wrong. I tried this several times for each site and eventually, they disappeared from the reader.

Last week when I was contemplating moving my blog to a self-hosted site, I did some research on how to include my blog in the WordPress Reader. My understanding was using JetPack, it could be done except that tags would not carry over. Hmmm. WordPress has a way to report free WordPress.com hosted sites, but from what I saw, they cannot block or remove a site that is self-hosted. (I’m a little fuzzy on the details.) This made me wonder, then, how these sites came up after using a tag search. Still not sure about how that works so maybe I need more research.

The point of my blog today is just the grim reminder that this Internet we all love so much contains the same cross-section of people and society and likes and dislikes found in the broad spectrum of life. I do not always agree with censorship, but I do like to choose if and when I see or hear certain things. Today I was gobsmacked to have this encounter here and in this space — I was being naive.

So, just a reminder that even the most innocent of words or ideas can be construed for any purpose or to attract anyone. I appreciate all the people who take the time to express ideas, work through difficult times or even share their personal successes. For me, however, I need to do a little research and see if there is a way to filter the content that gets presented to me.