The Magic Bookshelf
Imagine that you sit down at your machine one day to make something for someone, and you realize that there is a part of your project that you aren't sure how to complete. Imagine if you could then point your hands toward any bookshelf in your house and summon it to float through the air and rest softly next to your chair. Then, imagine pointing your finger at a whole stack of magazines and books on your bookshelf and being able to speak a magic phrase, like "free-standing lace", and a magazine or book pops into your waiting hands and opens to a lace project with full instructions and illustrations, provided by an expert. Sound like something from Harry Potter or Narnia? What would you say if I told you that, with only a small leap of your imagination, that's exactly what you're going to find here on Ann's new site -- your own little magic bookshelf.
AnnTheGran's New Mission
It's going to take us a little while to get there, and it's going to require a lot of your help, but at a time in the not-too-distant future, whenever you want to know something, whether your passion is machine embroidery, quilting, sewing, or some other creative pursuit you may not have even thought of yet, you're going to be able to come to Ann's site and find an answer to your question. My job, the job I would do a little more happily if Ann would stop calling me that silly name , is to tell you how we're going to get there.
What is a Blog?
As a former English As a Second Language teacher, I've always believed that the first step in just about any process is to never assume that those to whom you are speaking speak the same language, and so you should always define the terms you'll be using. So, with apologies to those of you who already know this, I am going to start with answers to some basic questions. What you are reading right now is a post (entitled Welcome to the Magic Bookshelf - What is a Blog?), and the post is part of a blog (entitled Magic Bookshelf), and the blog sits on a web site (entitled AnnTheGran.com). The word blog is short for weblog, and, as you'll know from numerous seafaring tales, a log is an updated journal that helps record the ship's passage over the high seas. So, for our purposes, a blog is an internet journal that is updated regularly and helps you navigate all that information out there on the Internet.
What are Tags?
As you may have noticed, blogs also have something called tags. I'll tell you more about tags and how to use them in a future post, but basically a tag is a word or phrase, created by the blog writer, so that readers will be able to see what the post is about at a glance, and will be able find it easily later. When you click on a tag, you'll see all posts that are related to that subject. For example, you'll see below that I have created the tags "magic bookshelf", "blogs", "tags" and "what is a blog" for this post.
Why We Like Blogs
A blog is good for writers and companies because it makes it very easy to keep in touch with readers. Anyone who can create a document in a word processing program like Microsoft Word can create a blog post -- very little technical knowledge is required. The fact that you are reading this is a testament to just how idiot-proof the blogging process is! As Ann mentioned, we have lined up some guest bloggers (writers who write on a blog) for your reading pleasure. They'll be giving you free projects, they'll be teaching you new techniques, and, most importantly, they'll be listening to what you have to say in response.
Why You'll Like Blogs
Which leads me to the main point of this post -- what the blog can do for you, the reader. A blog is meant to be a dialogue, not a monologue. On almost all blogs (and all of the ones on AnnTheGran.com), you'll see a link for Comments. If you get nothing else out of my post, please remember this. Nothing makes a blog writer more unhappy than to spend time creating a post only to find that nobody comments on it, as accepted wisdom among bloggers is that no comments means no readers. I've heard from some AnnTheGran users that they don't comment because they don't know the "rules", so let me set the record straight. There are no rules! Well, maybe a few simple rules of decency and courtesy (people who leave hurtful comments just for the fun of it are called "trolls"), but, beyond that, say what you want. That means that, if a post is missing some details, or pictures, or anything, let the blog writer know. If it's great -- if it made you smile or frown or cringe -- let the blogger know. Your voice is every bit as important as the writer's; all you need to do is use it.
Building the Bookshelf...
So let's call the blog the first piece in our new magic bookshelf. The blog is the part of the magic bookshelf that creates those books and magazines that you'll want to refer to, and tags are the part that help you summon the exact information you need just when you need it.
I hope you'll join me for my next post as I put the next piece in our magic bookshelf, the trusty encyclopedia.
And I'll be waiting for your comments...