Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Old Brain, New Challenge

It’s lonely out here in blogland, even though I know lots of you are reading my postings. I check on Ancient Gardener’s statistics from time to time. Several hundred of you checked out the two holiday greetings. Between 70 and 80 of you are following “Deer Country” postings. But near zero of you have posted a Comment.

Now I’ve gone through much pain and agony and added a “Reactions” line under each of the postings. You can now just click on “Like” or “Dislike.” In addition to the general “page views” statistics, I’ll get some feedback about what kind of postings you appreciate.

It sounds so simple—that I added the “Reactions” line. But it took me about a month to work that out, not because of the complexity of how to do it but because of my kindergarten-level computer abilities. I speak various professional jargons, but not “computerlingua.”

I first noticed the problem when I discovered that you were commenting about specific blogs on my Facebook page scores of more times than you were on my blog. Why? The obvious answer, to me anyway, is that Blogger makes it “uneasy” to post a comment. Blogger continues to improve, so maybe there’s hope the software someday will make it as easy to comment on my blog as it is to post a comment on Facebook.

But over time I tried to figure out how you can post an opinion on my blog without using words, something like Facebook’s “Like” button. Well, it took me a while to discover on the Blogger “Help” pages that there is a Blogger “Reactions” widget that works like the Facebook “Like” button.

I carefully studied the directions and followed them—and saved the changes on my template—just like the instructions said. “Reactions” refused to appear. After a few days I reread and redid—nothing. After another week I reread and redid—nothing.

Then I went back to the “Help” pages and discovered lots of Blogger users have had that problem—for several years. I looked in awe at the suggestions posted by users. Go to the HTML and delete this and add that after this but before that. No, no, no—not this Ancient Gardener. As far as I knew, HTML means His Template Made Lethal.

Tonight I went back and reread all the “Help” postings on the problem and noticed that one is labeled “Best Advice.” All I had to do was to backup the blog and reset the defaults.

Backup the blog?

Reset the defaults?

Is that English? Well, for lack of a technical translator, I had to research each of those directions. I’d never backed up a blog before—but I did it. I’d never reset defaults before—but I did it.

I held my breath and hit the preview button.

There it was, the “Reactions” line—and where I wanted it.

Heavy sighing. Deep breathing.

Did I really do that?

Yes, I did it. And it only took four weeks.

Smile, you young-uns who grew up with computers.

But please do me a favor when you read one of my postings and don’t want to post a Comment. Just hit “Like” or “Dislike” on the “Reactions” line below the posting.

I’ll like that—even if you dislike the posting.


  1. Testing, testing . . .

  2. If you read the feed for the blog instead of going to the blog itself, there are no like or dislike reactions choices available at the bottom of the feed.

  3. If you read the feed for the blog instead of going to the blog itself, there also is no invitation to leave comments and no place to do so.

  4. Just goes to show...you can teach a _____ new tricks! May be tech savvy slower...but he did it!

  5. California J: Thanks for working through the maze!

    Anonymous: I'll research to see why feeds don't have comments or reactions. It may take a while, but... :-)

    West Virginia J: Woof, woof. Loose translation: Thank You.

    Gladys: Maybe not great going, but at least slow going. Slow going definitely is better than no going.

  6. Anonymous: I've checked several places online and it seems that if you read a blog via a feed, you cannot comment. To comment, you have to click "View Online," where you then can post your comment. Feeds apparently are just shortcuts to reading new blogs. I haven't found a shortcut to comment from feeds yet, but I'll keep that question in mind, and if I ever find a way,....