i have been lamenting that the ole sidebar was looking a bit cluttered these days- and i undertook to try some new things to fix that. i am one who likes to try out new things- and my computer geek friend helped me out a bit- so, hang on. this is one ride that mr. toad would envy! :)
first off- i got rid of most of the links on my sidebar. they are all still there, but in different forms. i put all of my informational links- environmental, civil liberties, etc. on magnolia. so- if you want to find al gore's blog or climate crisis- click on the environmental tag in the cloud- and it will take you there. i belong to magnolia- which is a social sharing site. there are different groups that you can join if you are of a mind to- to discuss various topics and share information. it is absolutely free- all you need is a username and password if you choose to sign up. again, you don't have to in order to access my links.
i took the rest of the folks on the sidebar- all of you and your links- and turned them into files under grazr. i am not sure i understand exactly all of the features- but i took all of the links and turned them into opml files on my google reader (everyone has a google account if you have new blogger. you can use google reader for RSS feeds- which is what i did). i sorted all of the blogs into files and then exported them over to grazr. the hardest part was sorting the blogs into files. i may change some things around later- but for now, it cleans up the sidebar.
how to view the blogs? well, the blue box can be made bigger- like a window. click on the double boxes and it opens another window which can be made big. then- you can click on the folder you want and then the blog- and then the blog post. so- if i click on science- it gives me quasar. i click on his blog and his blog posts come up- most recent first. click on it and you can read the post. doesn't take you to the blog itself- but you can read the most recent post. however, if you do want to go to the actual blog- right click on the title of the post and open in a new tab- and it will open up the actual blog. pretty neat.
there are lots of social sharing places too- one of the coolest is ning- that's the site where sirens chronicles forum is through. absolutely beautiful site. again, everything is free. a site my geeky friend is in love with-- stumble upon. i haven't spent any time there- but it looks like a social place where discussions occur, pictures and information is shared- and folks look like they are having fun. check it out. i belong to shelfari and library thing also. you can put your library online if you want and talk to other folks about books or education or what have you. you could have your own book club online if you wanted. shelfari's site is still in beta so there are some quirks but the graphics are cool. library thing is more established so the groups are more dynamic.
i have been using delicious as a link list for my news items of interest but there are groups and discussions there also. it is a bookmarking site and i like it for my newsy kind of info. of course i have the technorati buttons too- i have been trying to favorite folks' blogs when i remember because it helps with ranking. so- if that is important to you- don't forget to favorite me too :)
this is by no means the only list of places to go and see- and feel free to share any that any of you have heard of. i recently got rid of the flickr badge because the flash was slowing things down but that was cool too. i find lots of these things by scrolling around other folks' blogs. sometimes when i am not in the mood to read and/or comment- i just tool around and look at what other folks have on their blogs. it is pretty neat. so- if you feel that way sometimes too- check out what other folks are doing. there are some new features to blogger too- i recently tried out the poll thing here- and i know c-dell has one up currently. check it out. bz at intrepid flame is another one who has some neat things. scroll around- and share!
update: you can also click on the grazr button and get a bigger window.