Monday, 11 July 2011

State of the Blog: drop-down

Monday, 11 July 2011

For any newcomers reading, State of the Blog is an irregular feature where I recount changes/improvements to the blog, and announced plans for DMD's content and development. For readers, it's also a good place to leave comments that are off-topic, or just ask questions that don't fit anywhere else on the blog.

I haven't posted a State of the Blog for awhile, but there's actually been quite a few changes around here. The navigation bar now has snazzy drop-down menus, which means it’s much easier for readers to access particular areas of DMD, rather than relying on the cluttered Label Cloud (which has itself been trimmed down to only display recent/active TV shows). Another big thank you to Alan Woodward for creating said drop-downs, because they're a brilliant addition. Labels within posts have also returned (having been lost in the change to "DMD3" in January), which should make it easier to access relevant archival posts.

You may also have noticed the quantity of posts has decreased lately. This is mainly because there isn't as much to review during summer, but it's also a conscious effort to ease off my workload. I'm more comfortable doing fewer posts of higher quality, than busting a gut trying to ensure there's more content—that's not always up to scratch. And some of the posts that are relatively easy for me to do (Talking Points, Polls, etc) have proven quite popular, so I'm satisfied that readers aren't purely here to read reviews all the time.

In light of my Jump the Blast feature coming to an end after six-months and 21 editions, I'm also open to suggestions for another recurring feature. I have a few ideas I can trial and see what's popular with readers. I may revive Short Film Saturday, too, for those who remember that feature from 2008. Other suggestions welcome!

Having upgraded to a HTC Wildfire phone recently, I can now reply to Disqus comments using a GMail app, so that's handy. Just don't expect extensive replies during working hours (as my texting speed is pitiable compared to my typing speed!), but at least I'll be able to respond, briefly, to any pressing comments during the day.

Posts will continue to go up after 5PM GMT because Blogger isn't compatible with IE6 now, but occasionally one will be written beforehand and auto-posted for the next morning. So please don't think DMD is always devoid of new content until after 5. That's not always true. It's a shame I'm restricted like this now, because there are times when breaking news I’d usually pounce on has to wait for hours, but it's out of my control. On the plus side, this new schedule has actually given me extra time to write reviews (a whole day, not just a morning!), which helps keep the quality good.

Also, a quick reminder than you can donate money to DMD by clicking the PayPal button at the top of the sidebar. I know money's tight for many people nowadays, but if you're a regular reader of DMD and have enjoyed the content over the past 5 years, I'd appreciate whatever you can afford by way of a one-off thank you. And thanks to those who have already donated some money, I really appreciate your kindness.

A quick bit of self-promotion! I'm on Twitter. Did you know? If you join and follow me you get DMD blogging alerts there, plus I try to be funny. I sometimes even succeed. Just lately I spent a few days posting various Amy Poehler puns. See, funny. I didn't lose as many of my 759 followers as I expected to, either. Come join the fun, even if you have a weird aversion to social networking. I was exactly like you once, but I've really enjoyed my two years on Twitter: it's a genuinely helpful tool for writing/blogging purposes, for making contact with important/influential people (plus the odd celebrity), and just very enjoyable on a personal level. It's the ideal place to tweet a brief thought or joke that would ordinary just sit in your head, or make a handful of friends laugh in a pub.

There are people who comment here that aren't on Twitter, and I feel they're missing out. So please, give it a whirl. You can always cancel your account after a few months, if it's really not for you. It does take a few months to really "get it", I'd say.

And finally, I assume everyone's aware of my TV Calendar now? There you'll find the premiere dates for new/returning TV shows from the UK and US. These are primarily shows that interest me, or appeal to the blog's readership. I'm sure it's a handy resource for people, if you want to bookmark it. It gets updated very regularly, but I don't call attention to that fact very often. Well worth revisiting for the latest updates.

That's it!

As I said above, this is a good place to ask questions or discuss something off-topic--so if you want to do that, have at it below! I'll reply to anything directed at me when I can.