April Showers Bring May Flowers

Until recently I did not know that there actually is a translation for the German proverb “Alles neu macht der Mai”, but the British proverb in the title fits its meaning pretty well, I’d say.

I just announced my five years birthday and my blog goes down for a week some week (actually it’s not even May anymore – it was when I started making the changes to my blog). But as you can unmistakably see, this website has been changed a bit. I have written about the changes that I’d plan to do in my last entry, and after trying out a bit (for which I had to take off the page for a while – sorry for any inconveniences caused!) I came up with not only a design that makes me happier than the one before. I also found a solution to my wish to separate my blogs but making them appear together somehow. And I did some evaluation on how I used to blog, what I gained from it, and how I want to change it to achieve the goals that I pursue with my blogging activities.

So this is it, after five years of blogging, I finally did some major changes. Most obvious besides the layout change is probably that I switched back to English. Why? Because I feel better writing in English, when even today, years after switching from English to German, still 40% of my readers come from English speaking countries – and that’s a pretty stable number. I didn’t know that before, because wordpress.com just recently added a user map, showing an every days statistic on the descent of my readers. Also, to my knowledge most of my regular readers are  fluently in English. If you are not – I’m sorry, but maybe try to see it as an opportunity to improve your English?

In todays world English is pretty important – it is the most spread language in the world, 4,78% of worlds population are native English speakers and up to another 14% speak it as second language. That’s nearly 20% of worlds population – compared to the 3% that speak German (natively and as second language). Furthermore it is the language of science and commerce – and it is the de facto language of the internet. So why are you still waiting learning it?

For my private blog I’ll try to mostly blog in English, but if I don’t deem it best, I’ll switch to German every now and then. Please don’t be offended, but some entries wouldn’t be valuable to you English speakers anyway (e.g. information on local events, an analysis of a German poem, etc) – and I’m not sure yet, what to do about Blog Carnivals, and such – write an English entry on a German Blog Carnival? I don’t deem it fit, I guess. But I’m also okay with it if you decide to comment in German on an English entry, though I think that it would generally be nicer if the whole audience could understand you (at least I consider it more respectful to speak in the language of the majority of an audience). But I’m totally fine with you answering in German if that’s more comfortable with you. And, if you feel like it, you may also drop me a line or two in Spanish or French, which I’m constantly trying to improve aiming a level where I can also fluently talk and write in those languages (unfortunately I’m still far from it).

When someone explicitly talks about a private blog, then there’s ought to be at least one other (non-private) blog. And there is. In fact, there are two additional blogs, although you may not have recognized them at first glance. This blog redirects to two new blogs – as there is no way to have two blogs under one domain, I’ve been forced to open two additional blogs. But, for your convenience – if you are not interested in my private blog, and just want to read about my technical and hopefully also scientific entries, just directly navigate to pygospasprofession.wordpress.com to find my new profession blog. If on the other hand you just want to read about my reviews on different media (eg. comic books, music, movies, etc.) you’ll find pygospasmedia.wordpress.com the place to be as this is my new media blog.

But if you’re interested in all the things I feel I have to openly express my opinion on, for your convenience I’ve created a menu bar, that is same on all three blogs, allowing you to navigate between the blogs as if you are on one website. Each other blog consists just of it’s article page, all other links in the menu bar redirect to this blog. To on the other hand make you realize that you changed sites, each blog has it’s own header graphics and subtitle. Every blog of course has it’s own RSS-Feed so again, for those of you who are only interested in part of my articles, you can individually choose which you want to subscribe to. But for your convenience I’ve also created a feed including all feeds of all my blogs using feedstitch.com – just subscribe to http://feedstitch.com/1272/pygospasblogs.rss (and thank you to g4s3 for the tip using feedstitch 😉 ).

The blog on my profession will definitely be in English, probably all the time. As mentioned before, English is the language of science, and as I am aiming to become a scientist, this seems just fitting. My blog on media reviews on the other hand will be in German. Though I try to watch movies and series in English (given that’s the original language), most books and comics I read in my leisure time are in German. Also some of the Bands I like sing partly or as whole in German or are German-Based. Concerts I visit and other events I participate in will be in Germany and therefore I consider my audience to be generally more German-speaking than English (I can back this with the statistics data that wordpress collects.). Let’s see how this will work out – if there’s a high enough requests for me doing English reviews, I’d might consider it. So don’t be shy asking and commenting! Until then my guess is that my main audience on media will be German.

Enough said about the language of this blog. But why am I blogging anyway? And what goals do I want to achieve? Well I think the main goal is some kind of internet presence of myself. Todays world is determined by the Internet. When we seek consulting we ask Google, when we want to know what our friends are up to, we check their Facebook status, dates are planned and organized via Facebook Groups or using Doodle, event meetings are brought to life by Meetup. Instead of sending letters we nowadays use Email, instead of telephoning we video or voice chat and instead of texting, nowadays we use iMessage and Whatsapp – sevices also run over the internet.

One might argue that these are just services, but the Internet has become more than that. We leave marks, and these marks can be collected, they form a presence. Although we often ignore this fact, it is known to us. When you apply for a job, you’re googled. If they find you, and they are unhappy with what they read, then you won’t get the job. If they don’t find you, something’s awkward and you won’t get the job. So today, the Internet has by far outgrown its sole purpose as service. It is a community-driven information and presentation platform, and regardless of intentionally or unintentionally representation – you present yourself in one way or another. Writing a blog is an active way of presenting oneself – amongst many others.

So while considering how I started, where I am right now, and where I am going from today on, and comparing this to where I want to be, and how I want to see myself represented, I came to the conclusion to make some changes. Regarding my blog, this led to deleting 123 entries that I now, after years of writing them, consider inappropriate, too personal, or just not worth the attention anymore. That leaves only 246 entries left in my blog – not much for five years of blogging, but definitely entries that I find comfortable with, when others read them (regardless of who they are). From these 246 entries I moved 70 to my media blog and 45 to my profession blog. I was putting some thought into whether or not to actually move these entries, but finally I did – still I left the original link intact, so that any links will still find a target and be redirected to the new position.

While thinking about web presentation I did not only considered my blog. I also considered any other profiles one might find – Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc. In the beginning I was using Twitter a lot. This changed when I started using Facebook. I use Facebook the way one would use Twitter – pretty similar to some other (sometimes also Famous) people, e.g. Ma Sa Rati or George Takei. There are also a lot of content producing pages, which sometimes even consider themselves as blogs, e.g. I fucking love Science! While this kind of usage is somewhat especially common for (as due to my observations I would say) the American way of using social networks, it is rather uncommon and therefore often annoying for German users. I guess this is so because we grew up with services like StudiVZ, which are somewhat different, while Americans are more used to Twitter and Facebook. Of course if you use something that most people use and consider as circle of friends management system, to stay in touch with friends, it may be annoying if some people use it as sharing network. Though you can control which entries to show and which not to show, people seem to be annoyed by someone who shares a lot. Interestingly (at least for German users) such usage is more common and more accepted with Google+. Still, to me it seems that the original sharing network was Twitter and as such I will try to move my sharing activity back to Twitter. Facebook seems to be the stalking network for personnel managers, which is why I’ll try to keep that profile more professional. Also I will start to build up a similar professional profile on Google+. Why two social networks? Well, first of all I always was more impressed with Google+, though only few personal friends of mine use it; it has a lot of good working features, that Facebook still misses (or has just lately incorporated). On the other hand, there are a lot of developers that are on Google+ and prefer it to Facebook. Another thing that made me think is the philosophy behind Google+, which is not to add any automatic content producing interfaces, e.g. this wordpress blog. Instead of generated content, which may soon lead to spam and flooding, in Google+ only users can only share posts manually. Sharing means caring, and only content that is cared for, ends up in Google+ – of course that’s in an idealistic world. Still, there’s something to this philosophy.

Now I won’t close my Facebook page. Facebook works differently, and if you take into consideration that even Google Reader got closed by Google Inc. because of declining users, this shows that services such as RSS lose influence. Todays Internet is driven by social networks. Most of the articles you read come from somebody who shared them on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc. And having a connection to such sites makes sharing and being recognized easier. But I want to keep it an option for the users to do so. That’s ok with Facebook as it is a page that you have to like. For Twitter on the other hand until now I used one account for both, personal usage and for my blog. This will be changed as well – for now if you want to follow my blogs on Twitter, please follow @PygospasBlogs. If you on the other hand are interested in links, pictures, articles and 140 chars long thoughts of myself, keep on following @pygospa.

That being said, I’ll try to keep on blogging as often as possible, while trying to not decline the quality of my entries. I believe that quality is important, which is why I spent a lot of time on my entries. I think and hope that this is why I got so many faithful readers. To all of you: Thank you for your support and for your interest in my articles. It is really nice to get your feedback, and I got quite some feedback after taking my blog offline for such a long time. Again, sorry for that. I’ll try to blog more often, and as all major changes are done, I hope that this blog will stay up the next five years without any downtimes 😉

Please comment. I really enjoy your thoughts!

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