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Blogging 101, Day Four: Say “Hi!” to the Neighbors

Today’s assignment: follow five new topics in the Reader and five new blogs. A blog is just a diary unless there’s a community — start building yours.

Welcome to Blogging U! This course isn't currently active, but you can learn more about what we offer and register for upcoming courses on the BU home page.

Blogging is a communal experience; if you didn’t want anyone to read your posts or interact with you, you’d keep a private diary. Today, you begin of engaging with the blogging community, the first step of building an audience.

Today’s assignment: follow five new topics in the Reader and five new blogs.

Why spend time reading other blogs?

  • Because publishing posts is only half of blogging — engaging with the community is the other. Reaching out to other bloggers is the best way to have them return the favor.
  • Because considering what other bloggers write will inspire you and sharpen your thoughts.

Part of what makes blogging such a rich experience are the relationships we develop with people from around the world.  Those relationships only happen when we engage with one another — just look at The Commons.

The first step in making connections is finding the people you want to connect with. By following topics you care about in the Reader, you’ll discover a world of blogs. Some of them will become favorite reads, and some of their authors will become your fans.

Want to share your great finds? Visit The Commons.

To get you started, review our tips on using the Reader to find and follow blogs that speak to you. A few of our editors have also shared their favorite Reader topics. Add five topics to your Reader, so you can access them quickly whenever you feel like doing some reading. As you browse the topics, follow five new blogs, too.

The Blogroll on The Commons is another great place to explore. There are over 1400 of you participating in Zero to Hero — you’re bound to find some new favorite reads. Scroll through the list, and click on titles that intrigue you, seem up your alley, or make you laugh. (Adding the “zerotohero” topic to your Reader is also a great way to keep up with your co-bloggers.)

If you don’t blog on WordPress.com, you can still use the Reader if you have a WordPress.com username. If not, there are other ways to explore — your blogging platform may allow you to browse, or you can visit blogs you love and check out their blogrolls and commenters’ blogs.

Feel free to publish a post in addition to completing today’s task if you’d like! For writing inspiration, take a look at our prompts and challenges, or write a post reflecting on today’s task.

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  1. I don’t think my posts show up in the Reader. Anytime I use a tag and then search for the tag immediately up to hours later, I have never seen my posts appear in the Reader. Any tips for how I fix this?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hey Suzanne I am glad you wrote this, I asked about it a few days ago and I can’t seem to find my posts for my assignments either, I was thinking maybe they get lost because there are so many people participating?… if you find out can you let me know too. 🙂 thanks

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      1. Being a self-hosted WordPress blogger (I would use the term selfie, but then things would get so confusing), I believe my posts won’t show up in the Reader. Any chance either of you are self-hosted? Or are you blogging through wordpress.com?

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      1. Self-hosted is where I’ve registered my blog domain AND have it hosted by a company elsewhere by installing the platform from WordPress.org. You can still register your own domain name and use WordPress.com has your host should you ever want to.

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      2. thanks chris, that’s good to know, I have no idea the pros and cons of either but It’s good to have the convo in my head. hehe which sounds like I talk to myself, but don’t all writers. 🙂

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      1. @Krista – that’s what I figured. 😦 Oh well… as a selfie… err (that’s so confusing).. a self-hosted blog, I guess that’s the lot in life I will live with. Doesn’t mean I won’t participate until my keyboard breaks though.

        I suppose the reasons behind that though are long and illustrious?

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      2. I have a self hosted WordPress blog as well and my blog are not able to follow in the reader, just as RSS-feed, I have tried it myself. It is the only way if you use the reader for showing RSS, I think. My subscribers comes from my plugin with the “follow”-button in the corner of my blog. I think it is works but are a bit confusing to some WordPress users.

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    2. @Chris — I think (don’t quote me on this) that Jetpack-enabled blogs may eventually have an opt-in to have their posts appear in the Reader. I know this has been discussed, but I don’t know if it’s on the Jetpack roadmap at the moment.

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  2. I like Grace’s comment. I’m followable.
    In my case, I am absolutely amazed that people have already started following me, especially since I only have two posts up and my blog is but a mere infant.

    There’s only 10 follower but those 10 are my new blogging buddies and start to my community.

    Looking forward to finding more kindred spirits and wonderful writers.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. ha ha. Thanks for the comment Chris (and for reinforcing the idea in my head that I don’t know how to work this WordPress thing).
        Yep, the SueTidau site is me.

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    1. Don’t sweat it! You’ll get the hang of it all soon enough and seeing as you’re already well ahead of me and others with the quality of your content, you’ve got it “made in the shade.”

      Which means something I’m sure…

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    2. So glad to have found someone who most definitely shares my penchant for the sarcastic!! I think we’re quite similar in the way we view the world… and then write about it! Your posts did make me smile. P.S, I think revealing them on your blog is the only way to handle government secrets… 🙂

      If you fancy a read my blog is http://lauragabriellefeasey.wordpress.com

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      1. Hi Jill. Thanks for stopping by my place and the follow.
        I read your post from the first assignment and really liked that you write about “those things that make me gasp and wonder and question.”
        I’ve wanted to visit New Zealand for ages! For now I’ll just have live with seeing what you post. Please do keep posting, I want to see what it’s like across the world. Hugs to you from Texas.

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  3. Always fun reading other people’s posts!:-) my wordpress link is: galacivilization.wordpress.com My blog is about my travel experiences, and a little on experimenting with food.:-) I look forward to reading Anne following new blogs!:-)

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    1. Well Graeme, my blog is probably not one for you tp follow but I many of my trips abroad were as a result of Town Twinning which is a great community development vehicle. I’ve run or been part of conferences in Russia, Poland and Kenya as well as UK with young people. I now am part of a Women’s Institute (WI) which has enhanced life for so many women in our local community. I also spent 25 years teaching in a community with multiple social problems. But my blog started when I was retired so I do see the world through rose tinted glasses!

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    2. Hi Graeme,
      Mine might suit you a bit, I write about my life and experiences with the community on the North Slope of Alaska. I haven’t addressed it yet in my blog (I’m just getting started), but environmental stability/sustainability will be one of many topics I touch upon as the Slope is a big contender in the oil/natural gas market and it is having significant effects on the environment and the culture of the slope. Here it is:

      http://fasttimesinalaska.wordpress.com/

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      1. Hi there Graeme,
        The first link below is a post that I wrote recently where I started reflecting about the likely impact of Fracking on our local environment. And the second link is to a blog I follow – which I found in the Reader at the very same time. He was commenting on Fracking in Oklahoma – I thought you might find his blog interesting if you haven’t already come across it – Fracking is only one of a range of environmental issues he tackles in his blog.
        While my blog isn’t specifically about environmental sustainability, as I explore my region and the world it is an issue I expect I will come back to again and again.

        http://jillscene.com/2014/04/04/in-search-of-a-beach-and-an-ice-cream/

        http://jamietommins.com

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      2. Thanks for that. I used to run playgroups with children living in caravan parks and have written about playgroups as a foundation for working with hard to reach families https://sustainingcommunity.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/playgroups/. You’ve might also be interested in the Kids’ Vegies on the Verge my partner and kids have started in the street. It has really transformed relationships in our street. https://sustainingcommunity.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/not-just-a-garden/

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    1. Hi Joan — did you sign up to participate in the challenge? The Commons is a private area for participants to discuss progress, ask questions and share posts.

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  4. This is absolutely right. This is one main reason to move to wordpress.com from another blogging platform. Using wordpress.com, it is easy to follow other blogs and to be followed.

    I am now following about 100 blogs, and i have more than 100 followers. And the nice one is we are commenting each other’s blog post.

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      1. 🙂 Thank you so much! I have spent a lot of time working on how to say what I want with the presentation of the site as much as what I have to say in it. Thank you so much for noticing.

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  5. This was one of the elements of Zero-to-Hero that I really enjoyed. I never really spent much time reaching out to other bloggers and it turned out being fun and rewarding. I learned a lot from other people who were in the same position as I am. You can find me at http://raynorshine.co/

    PS – I follow back 🙂

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    1. Lovely sentiment! I, too, am enjoying discovering new blogs…but I didn’t have the great idea that you did to mention it! (Note to self: be more willing to share thoughts…) Lovely blog, too. I appreciate your heart.

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  6. I am fairly new in blogging world, and I am really lucky to meet a lot of great bloggers and the team members of WorldPress, from them I have been learning new things each day.

    I usually spend couple of hours after work or weekend to read others’ posts to get inspirations. Even though I have noticed that WorldPress allows posts with other languages, for example, Chinese, I have not been able to identify any other bloggers who are blogging in Chinese.

    In my blog, http://cxianliu.wordpress.com/, I have written some posts in Chinese (see the titles listed on the side bar “The List of My Posts”). As a result, I really love to connect with the bloggers who are also writing in Chinese (either simplified or traditional).

    Thanks!

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  7. I don’t want to be obtuse, but where will I find this Reader? I’m distracted because I’m in the middle of a job search while I also finish my latest post, the inspiration for which is outside of this “class”.

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    1. Hover over the “W” in the upper left corner, a pulldown will appear and “reader” is the second choice. You can enter urls of blogs or you can click follow on fellow wordpress people. This is an easy place to see all of the people you follow with one click. 🙂
      OR you can click on the icon to the left of your name (in the upper right) and click view archive and then choose reader.

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    2. If you’re logged in to WordPress.com, you can type in WordPress.com into your browser’s address bar. You’ll be taken to your Reader by default.

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  8. By the title, you can tell my blog is about art. I’d love to meet other people blogging about their artwork or doing art tutorials or even just posting up pics of their homemade masterpieces! I’ve found a few through zero to hero but I know there must be more out there! You can find me here fracturedarts.wordpress.com so please stop by if you have an art related blog so I can find you as well!

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    1. This made me chuckle as I read your name as Fracture Darts not fractured arts!! Sorry but it also made me stop and take notice so that’s ok. Will search your posts out!

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  9. I started exploring the Reader a couple of weeks ago and came across some pretty interesting blogs and stories. It’s amazing how many talented writers are present on WordPress!!

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  10. Well that exercise was fun. I found several fascinating blogs that I look forward to following. Several links aren’t working though.
    It is amazing how we can find a blog that on first sight is written by someone we would never normally interact with in work or socially, but it turns out that there is a great connection at some deep level that means we can have a dialogue.
    This has happened to me often in blogging and it spans all ages, cultures and genres. It is one of the things I enjoy most about blogging.

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  11. I usually check the reader a couple of times a week…it’s fun finding new voices, and replying to other people’s posts is a great way to build your own followers. Feel free to check my blog out…

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  12. I really think building up a community, meeting other bloggers and their thoughts, and generally making virtual friends is one of the pros of blogging, but it can also easily become a con. It was the many blogs I followed, the many comments I wrote, and also the many people who wrote comments in my blogs which needed answering that made a time-out necessary for me last November, to rethink my blog to rethink my blogging activities and only now I have taken up blogging again, greatly reducing my activities on blogs of others, though.

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  13. Would love to get to know some like-minded lifestyle bloggers 🙂 I’m aiming to write posts centred around living a healthy/happy lifestyle – clean eating recipes, DIY tutorials, home decor, productivity, beauty, style. Very general I know haha, but I guess the overriding theme is focused around wholesomeness and wellbeing. Would love to check out/follow any similar blogs! https://happilypolly.wordpress.com/

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    1. well i would not be much help with the eating healthy thing because, i think everything is better with bacon grease, but i am a big time diy person, and i recently learned how to build furniture out of wooden palettes.

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      1. Hey – I like your blog too! Now following :-)… I can definitely relate to your experience of having an accent different from the “norm”

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    2. Chocolate counts towards my daily vegetable requirement, no? Hee hee. Love your blog! Mine is BashRRR.com, let me know what you think…

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      1. Following! I was just reading your blog about relationships with offsprings. I do not have any children yet but I really loved the mention of ijebu garri and kuli-kuli. 😀 I used to eat those as a child!

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  14. I started blogging in January and still learning how to build an audience. My blog has a big focus on eating disorder recovery, but I from time to time blog on my spiritual side (being a Christian and how it helps my recovery), as well as my yoga practice, life as a dancer, and my Southern Belle roots 🙂

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  15. hey everybody, i write about all kinds of different issues from addiction and abortion to family and zombies, and i love to read other peoples posts as well. my blog is mommyx4boys.wordpress.com if you like it you can follow and i will follow back. thanks

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    1. Addiction is never easy to overcome and unfortunately those who have never dealt with it or have someone close to them dealing with will never understand that it’s a life long recovery. Go Bless you and your family. Look forward to reading more of your posts.

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  16. I’m an old broad, wandering-wanderer who writes a lot about birds, nature, travel, art, writing and daily life. I read a dozen or so blogs a day, and hand out a daily Bean Pat to my blog pick of the day, I always check out the blogs of those who like me (when I have time, which of course is not always) but I like only the blogs back that I truly like, and then follow some of those, and comment when I have something appropriate to say.

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    1. Hello! Even before I finished reading your comment I dropped by your blog. I love, love your nature photos. Living in the city (Singapore!) I have few chances to find nature around me, it was refreshing to read your blog (and am following too!).

      Belated happy birthday!

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  17. Hey, I just met you. And this is crazy! But here’s my blog link, so follow maybe?

    C’mon.. you have to give me some credit for having fun with that! 😀

    Anyhow, while I dig through the Reader to leave some of y’all a comment or two.. if you reply to this you’ll see me show up in your comment stream. Saavy? That’s right, you don’t have to go comment on my blog… just reply to me here.

    http://www.leftcoastbydesign.ca/

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    1. Credits to you Chris for the beginning line. I genuinely thought you meant it as it is, even till the third phrase, and then I saw the last one. And I laughed. I took a look at your blog, and I really like the design of it 🙂 Take care!

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  18. Until I figure out how to browse blogs via the Reader, please tell me or contact me if your blog is about cinéma, men’s style, multiracial identity, great books or international affairs, and if it’s cogent. Then I’ll consider following it.

    I just finished my latest piece,”Men of Color Thumb Their Noses at the ‘Fashion Police'” at http://WillWright.me In addition, I revised its title and header to bluntly describe why you should read it. I am available at MLeCharmant at gmail

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  19. In the first short few days we have been doing this I have started following 23 of you, and it’s only day 4! I bet I will find many more of you in the next 26 days. So many of us are amazing people and have wonderful things to share.

    My blog is mainly about me learning to garden and moving toward having a sustainable life. But I also do book reviews, talk about learning to wood work and do stained glass (totally different process than I thought), steam punk adventures (just getting into this as well) and whatever else inspires me. I’m new to many of these ideas and just started blogging on February 23rd. Check it out and comment if you have suggestions, advice, encouragement. Thanks!

    http://prestonperfect.wordpress.com/

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    1. Hi Tara, I enjoy gardening, love books and once did lead lighting and worked in a furniture factory so your site was a must visit for me! I’ve visited but i couldn’t find a follow button so that I can get email notifications of new posts – apologies if I’ve missed something obvious, didn’t look hard enough. I did click the follow link at the very top of the page so you will appear in my reader from now on. I like your site, the green background is very apt, I thought.

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  20. I’ve started following a number of blogs since zerotohero started. And I have people reading me! Here’s my post today. I’m hoping a lot more people will read my blog:)..A lot of women have been commenting and reading and I’m hoping a few men will read and give their perspective on my post today. I know they’ll love the title “High heels and a push up bra!” 😉

    http://humpingheart.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/getting-back-the-ex-step-2-high-heels-and-a-push-up-bra/

    Like