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BlogHer 2014, the 10th anniversary celebration of the popular women’s blogging network, kicks off next Thursday, July 24th in San Jose, California. There’s still time to register, and we hope you do — we’ll be there, too!
This year, along with a Happiness Bar offering in-person support for your WordPress sites, we’re hosting a series of short workshops on the topics you care about most. We’re also excited to welcome some of the amazing WordPress bloggers nominated as BlogHer Voices of The Year — they’ll join us for a series of informal panels where we can chat all things blogs and blogging.
Interested? Here’s the schedule:
Friday, July 25
- 10 AM: Talking Shop with BlogHer Voices of the Year
- 11 AM: WordPress.com or Self Hosted: Which One is Right for You?
- 12:30 PM: Own Your Content: Tips for Switching Blog Platforms
- 1:30 PM: Talking Shop with BlogHer Voices of the Year
- 2:30 PM: Getting Great WordPress Support
- 3:30 PM: Master Your Domain
Saturday, July 26
- 10:30 AM: Own Your Content: Tips for Switching Blog Platforms
- 12:00 PM: Plugins: Taking Your WordPress Blog to the Next Level
- 1:30 PM: Fight for Your (Copy)Right: Intellectual Property Basics
- 2:30 PM: Get Social: Your Content, Your Networks
- 3:30 PM: Talking Shop with BlogHer Voices of the Year
The WordPress booth will have everyone from editors to developers to Happiness Engineers to VIP managers there to talk about every aspect of the blogging (and Automattic) experience. BlogHer ’14 is jam-packed with inspiring and educational programming, but we hope you’ll find a few minute to swing by — we’d love to say “hi!”
If you’re not able to be there but want to follow the fun on Twitter, follow #BlogHer14. We’ll also be tweeting with the #WPlovesBlogHer hashtag.
Filed under: Community
This class was kind of funny too. I came up with the idea with older kids in mind, but the way it worked out we were a group of 6-9 year old's. I had had great plans of room size fiber installations and free form crochet/knit/weaving projects, but for these smaller people we took it down a notch.
These snakes were knit on an oversized "knitting Nancy". Although a few of the kids grumbled a bit about the time it took to make them, as soon as the eyes and tongues were added they were in love.
The girl faces were embroidered on a hoop, then hand sewn into little pillows and stuffed.
By the end of the week everyone's patience and attention span had magically expanded and they were crocheting fools. (picture of the "magic tree" installation to follow later)
This was an adorable group of 5, most of them around the age of 3. We explored collage, charcoal, paint and sculpture projects and had some crazy times. To be honest, the water bucket was the most popular item, along with chalk paint and storytime projects.
Launched last month, Pictorico is a free theme that combines a dynamic portfolio-style home page with a simple, single-column layout for posts and pages. It’s great for pro photographers, casual photobloggers, and anyone who wants a sleek space for personal blogging.
Let’s take a look at a few sites using Pictorico:
British blogger Issy shares recipes at A Feast for the Eyes, a name that perfectly captures the focus of the site: food and photography. Pictorico‘s front-page grid displays her mix of dishes beautifully — her images are crisp and bold, while her plate setups are stylish and carefully considered.
Issy sets featured images on individual posts, adding color and sophistication to the header area. She also takes advantage of the theme’s clean, single-column layout, letting her images shine on the page:
The traveler and outdoor enthusiast at Ubuntu sets a wide custom header image, which changes the homepage look of Pictorico. The panorama of snowy, jagged peaks is the first thing you see, and captures the blogger’s wandering, adventurous spirit. Pictorico‘s custom header area accommodates images of at least 1180 pixels wide, so the visual effect is dramatic.
New Zealand-based photographer Blair Quax of Shine Studios uses Pictorico to publish his wedding photography, much of which captures the beauty of Waiheke Island. The front-page portfolio design of Pictorico allows Blair to showcase distinct wedding day collections at a glance. Single post layouts are elegant and uncluttered, so the focus is entirely on the couples celebrating their special days.
Blair activates the theme’s post slider as well, which adds another layer to the front page:
More Pictorico examples
Visit the Pictorico page for details, other examples, and to preview or activate the theme.
Filed under: Community
Blog: Liz Carmichael's Portal
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Last week was the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the start of the Allied landing in Normandy, France, that contributed to the end of World War II.
While some marked it with (deserved) pomp and circumstance, we observed it by reading the latest from some of our favorite veterans’ blogs on WordPress.com:
Then-infantryman Don Gomez served two tours in Iraq with the US Army in the early 2000s. After a stint in graduate school and a dissertation on the experiences of Iraqi soldiers during the Iran-Iraq War, he re-upped and heads to Afghanistan later this summer as a Second Lieutenant.
His blog, Carrying the Gun, is a mix of thoughtful essays on everything from modern soldiering to women in combat to the transition from soldier to civilian. Sprinkled throughout are photos and letters from his Iraq deployments — a fascinating portrait of the life on the front lines.
O-Dark-Thirty is a literary journal for veterans, current military personnel, and their families. Created by the Veterans Writing Project, it helps those who have served tell their stories — and makes sure those stories are accessible to the rest of us.
The magazine is home to The Report, which publishes unedited fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, and The Review, an edited quarterly journal presenting the best literary writing on the veterans’ experience. Browse the latest entries for a poetic take on the forgotten veteran, a fictionalized encounter between German and Russian troops, and a writer’s memoir of a day spent driving his wounded brother to yet another hospital.
O-Dark-Thirty accepts submissions year round — find their guidelines here — and the Veterans Writing Project holds workshops around the US.
For many soldiers, especially those who have served in combat roles, returning to “regular” life brings a new set of challenges. In Paving the Road Back, psychiatrist and Warrior Wellness Unit director Rod “Doc” Deaton gives those who serve our veterans a deeper understanding of the stresses of this transition.
Readers seeking information on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder will find analyses of the ethics of PTSD diagnoses and the relationship between PTSD and other psychiatric disorders, along with the stories of real veterans (fictionalized, to protect their privacy). “Doc” also provides the transcripts of his podcast, “Beam Me Up, Scotty,” and a variety of additional links and resources.
For more reading, check out:
- Firefight, blog of Rick Kurelo, who served with Canadian forces in Bosnia and Afghanistan and recently published a book on his experiences.
- Fever Dreams, the official site of Brian Castner, Iraq veteran and author of the bestselling book The Long Walk.
- Voices from War, which provides writing workshops for veterans interested in telling their stories.
- Jason Lemieux, a former Marine and current human rights advocate.
- True Boots, the blog of Army vet and frequent NPR guest Kristen Rouse.
- From the Green Notebook, where current Army officer Joe Byerly discusses military life and leadership best practices.
- Grand Blog Tarkin, a collaborative blog at the intersection of contemporary warfare and science fiction covering “the full range of war and warfare across the multiverse.”
Filed under: Community
A year ago today, we joined the world in shock on learning that governments were spying on internet users around the world. Tapping internet service providers’ undersea cables, intentionally and secretly weakening encryption products, surreptitiously collecting everything from call metadata to photos sent over the internet by US citizens — nothing was off limits.
Just as troubling as the revelations themselves is the fact that since last summer, little if anything has changed. Despite a lot of rhetoric, our three branches of government in the United States have not made many concrete steps toward truly protecting citizens from unchecked government surveillance.
Automattic has been a strong supporter of efforts to reform government surveillance. We’ve supported reform legislation in Congress, and participated in the Day We Fight Back, earlier this year. More importantly, we aim to make our own legal processes for securing the information our users entrust to us as transparent and protective as possible.
Be the change you want to see in the world — that’s why we’re joining the many other companies who are participating today in Reset the Net. In the face of intrusive surveillance, we believe that everyone in the tech community needs to stand up and do what they can, starting with their own sites and platforms. For us, that means working to secure the connection between users and our websites. We’ll be serving all *.wordpress.com subdomains only over SSL by the end of the year.
If we’ve learned anything over the past year, it’s that encryption, when done correctly, works. If we properly encrypt our sites and devices, we can make mass surveillance much more difficult.
We’re happy to be taking these steps and hope that the coming year brings real reform to end mass surveillance.
Filed under: Community
Twenty Fourteen is much more than a magazine theme. From blog to small business homepage, Twenty Fourteen does it all -- as these four sites show.
Writer and superdad Jerry Mahoney chats with us about his new book based on his popular blog, Mommy Man, and his experiences blogging on WordPress.com.
Download a free excerpt and test your WordPress trivia knowledge for a chance to win a copy of Scott Berkun's A Year Without Pants.
By: Michelle W.,
Blogging is about both publishing and finding a community. These three writers' hubs bring together bloggers from all over the world.
With International Museum Day approaching on May 18, let's browse the blogs of some museums on WordPress.com -- from premier art institutions to science and natural history organizations.
Today, a broad coalition of interest groups, websites, and people around the world are joining together to fight back against government surveillance. We’re supporting the “Day We Fight Back” on WordPress.com and have created a banner that you can easily add to your WordPress.com blog to get involved, too.
The “Stop NSA Surveillance” banner shows support for this important cause and provides a link to a page of resources to help visitors to contact members of the US Congress to support much needed anti-surveillance legislation. For more information, please visit thedaywefightback.org.
How to add the banner to your site
Here’s how to add the banner to your site in three steps:
- In your WordPress.com dashboard, go to Settings → Protest NSA Surveillance.
- Click on the checkbox labelled Protest Enabled.
- Click on the Save Changes button for the change to take effect.
The banner will remain on your site until midnight on your blog’s time zone. Here’s what it will look like:
Filed under: Community
At WordPress.com our raison d’être is to do everything we can to help you make your blog the very best it can be. Over at The Daily Post we’ve got daily writing prompts to give your muse a friendly nudge, we publish articles on how to grow your traffic and community, as well as tips and advice on how to take great photos, no matter which gear you choose.
We’ve compiled a ton of great material into three new ebooks, made with love, for you. And, they’re free. They come in three fetching formats so we’ve got you covered no matter whether .pdf, .epub (iBooks), or .mobi (Kindle) is your jam.
365 Writing Prompts
So you want to write but you have trouble getting started? Writers’ block a perpetual, unwelcome guest? With 365 Writing Prompts we’ve got a different writing prompt to jumpstart your muse each and every day of the year. Looking for more writing inspiration and practice? Be sure to check out our weekly writing challenges.
Chock-full of inspiration, technical tips, and practical ideas you can apply right away, Photography 101: The basics of photography and the power of visual storytelling will help you take and make beautiful photographs and school you on post-processing so that your work can shine, no matter whether you’ve got a monster-sized DSLR or a trusty cameraphone in your pocket. If you’d like more practice with your camera, c’mon over to The Daily Post and participate in our weekly photo challenges. We provide the theme each week, you interpret it with your camera as you see fit.
Grow Your Traffic, Build Your Blog
Most of us write, shoot, and blog for the love of it, though it’s always a great feeling to get a Like or a comment, or participate in a great conversation with someone who shares your interests. If you’d like to attract more traffic and nurture a community around your site, take Grow Your Traffic, Build Your Blog: Tips and Tricks for the Tenacious Blogger for a spin.
Filed under: Better Blogging
No matter where you are in the world, you’ll find people working on WordPress.com: Developers deploying lines of code. Designers tinkering with themes. Engineers working one-on-one with users to help make their websites just so. (Want to join in? We’re hiring.)
One cool thing about Automatticians? We care about WordPress.com so much that we’re always thinking about ways to make it better, online and off. Here’s a glimpse at the 230 Automatticians around the globe — and things we’re working on and thinking about right now.
We blog about WordPress (naturally!)
At Automattic, we’re constantly communicating, breaking and fixing, and iterating and improving. Communication tools like the P2 theme, Skype, and IRC channels allow ideas and conversations to flow at all times, while our own blogs are spaces to reflect on and share the things we’ve learned.
In Moscow, Code Wrangler Konstantin Kovshenin works on the Dot Org Team, writing themes and plugins and contributing to WordPress Core. On his personal blog, he shares tips, code snippets, and even videos of his talks at WordCamps, like WordCamp Sofia 2013 in Bulgaria.
Colorado-based Automattician Greg Brown works on search, natural language processing, and machine learning; his team wrangles data (and launched the Related Posts feature last November). On Greg’s blog, you can follow his recent posts on Elasticsearch, indexing, and the future:
Humans express their dreams, opinions, and ideas in hundreds of languages. Bridging that gap between humans and computers — and ultimately between humans — is a noble endeavor that will subtly shape the next century. I’d like to see Elasticsearch be a force in democratizing the use of natural language processing and machine learning.
We blog about the web and technology
At Unencumbered By Facts, Code Wrangler (and Linux Geek) Jason Munro muses on a mix of topics, from programming to data, and even on moving from Wall Street to WordPress.
Over in Taipei, Taiwan, Growth Engineer Ben Thompson focuses on attracting new users to WordPress.com, and improving their experience, on Team Triton. Ben actively writes about technology from a strategic perspective at Stratechery, like his recent thoughts on messaging on mobile, and his follow-up piece on this week’s Facebook and WhatsApp deal.
On ebeab (or eight beats equals a byte), Marcus Kazmierczak publishes newsletters about trends around open source, web development, Linux, and more. Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, Marcus works on Team Tinker — a team focused on creating new products — and covers more than just your usual technology news: his latest edition dives into the world of crypto-currency and Dogecoin, and past editions focus on productivity and hacking and security.
Over on the east coast of the US, Sheri Bigelow (who snapped the images you see in this post) is a New York-based photographer and designer who strives to make the WordPress.com theme and customization experience the best it can be, and shares techniques and ideas on her site, Design Simply. We especially like her tips on photography workflows and themes.
Likewise, it’s cool to read design ideas from Theme Team Lead Ian Stewart from Winnipeg, Manitoba, whose crew of wranglers launches the new themes you see in the Theme Showcase.
This week, Ian ponders the principles of good design, but he also writes on general best practices and other interests, like writing. If you’ve not seen it, Ian’s talk at WordCamp San Francisco 2013 resonates as an inspiring, big-picture, yet personal talk on themes and web design.
We blog about other stuff, too
Automatticians write about all sorts of topics — from tread desking to fatherhood to musings on love and life to gaming to reading and writing. And even if we’re not working on WordPress.com, we bring the same curiosity and motivation to our other passions — and find that much of what we do and enjoy here overlaps in side projects.
Isaac Keyet, a Product Designer living in Sweden and working on the Data Team, writes on a variety of subjects. In his recent post on light, color, work, and sleep, he talks about the types of light that affect our sleep/wake patterns (and recommends f.lux, an app that changes your screen temperature to best fit your location).
Karen Arnold, who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and works on the Happiness Team, started a blogging class as an experiment for a homeschooling group. (Karen also led a workshop last fall at the Digital Family Summit to teach kids and their families how to get started blogging on WordPress.com.)
Further north in Quebec, Canada, Kathryn Presner, a member of the Theme Team, recaps her experience mentoring students at Ladies Learning Code. Being a Happiness Engineer and WordCamp speaker, educating others is nothing new to Kathryn — it’s a perfect example of open source education in action, and how the skills and passions of Automatticians aren’t restricted to “the workplace.”
Are you interested in working alongside these and many other talented folks? We’re hiring for numerous positions — consider applying!
Filed under: behind the scenes
From behind the scenes at the TSA, to book deals, to captivating illustrations and fascinating musical analysis, WordPress.com bloggers are making their mark on the world.
On Friday, March 21 at 2 p.m. EDT, editors from our Ohio office will answer reader and community questions on Reddit. We’re conducting the “Ask Me Anything” session in /r/writing, Reddit’s writing-discussion-only community.
If you are already a redditor, you’ll likely know how this process works: We will announce our AMA on Twitter with a link to the Reddit post; registered users will be able to leave questions in our thread and editors from the magazine and website will be around to answer and address that commentary in real-time on Friday afternoon. You can ask us just about anything: questions about craft, marketing, publication, magazines, our magazine, books of all shapes and flavors … anything writing- or reading-related is welcome.
If you are not a Reddit user yet and you would like to participate, you will need to register and create an account
. It’s free and anonymous (you don’t even have to supply an email address). Once you’ve finished the 30-second process of creating an account, you can join discussions on thousands of topics with millions of people all over the world.
In the days between this post and the official beginning of our casual AMA, we recommend joining Reddit
and participating a bit to familiarize yourself with the site’s format and function. Some great subreddits we love are /r/books
This post will be updated with a link to the event on Friday, March 21.
Please note that questions left on this post and directed to our Twitter feed are not part of the AMA and we can’t guarantee that they’ll be answered satisfactorily during the allotted time period. For in-depth answers, we recommend jointing the AMA; 140-character limits don’t allow for comprehensive feedback.
By: Cheri Lucas Rowlands,
From thoughtful commentary on the history of science to an entertaining blend of science and humor, these blogs have very distinct approaches to science but have one thing in common: a driving curiosity about the world around us.
With millions of users around the world, we're an international community of writers, photographers, and more. Enjoy these recent snapshots and soundbites, from Moscow to Cairo.
Group blogs like Long Awkward Pause shine on WordPress.com -- and now you can say you knew this comedic confab before they hit the big time.
Blog: Liz Carmichael's Portal
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Another month is in the books! The WordPress.com community made March a month to remember with an avalanche of great achievements. Here's a look at some of the highlights.
Just can't get enough...notice the bird has caught a fish!
...just powering through spring break, teaching art camp for kids ages 6-12. What an amazing group, it's never been this fun! The theme of the week is paper, and we've made our own, played with pulp, made some marionettes and today built a complete paperland. Here's a peek:
I'm so proud of these guys (and the ones I didn't show are great too), awesome job, and kind of inspiring...
Ecologists and entomologists. Natural history buffs. Bloggers with green thumbs. We're among many WordPress.com users focused on nature and the environment. Today, let's celebrate the work of some of these bloggers.
Hey YALSA members, I want to hear from you!
In recent years, the President and Board of Directors have held virtual town halls to hear great ideas, get feedback on activities, and talk through goal areas in YALSA’s mission. On May 7th at 2 pm EST, we’d like take the broad view and talk through your overall YALSA experience. Specifically, we’ll be covering the following four questions:
- What is it about the organization that has earned your loyalty?
- What does YALSA do that frustrates you?
- What are three things that YALSA could do that would add the most professional value to the career of teen librarians?
- What are your three biggest concerns or needs?
Your thoughts can help YALSA become an even more responsive and relevant organization, so please, speak up! We’ll be meeting via this Adobe Connect space. Chat and audio will be available, but virtual bonus points will be given to those with a microphone too! Feel free to log-in at anytime in the next week to test your device’s capability and setup.
Thanks and I look forward to talking with you.
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One WordPress.com staffer challenged the others to a month-long blogging challenge... and you'll never guess what happened next! (Spoiler: we blogged a lot.)