My relationship with "the machine" (and vicariously experiencing WordPress…)

Once again, I’ve been mulling over changing from Blogger to something else to support my official and unofficial blogs. As I’ve written here before, Blogger works okay, but there are glitches with the Mac and the Blogger interface (at least for me), and a part of me would really like to work again with some “cool” software. And something open source– maybe Drupal, maybe WordPress.

Anyway, that hazy thought was swimming around in my waking head when I came across this post about Mike at Vitia has been having problems with WordPress. I feel his pain, I cannot offer a lick of advice on what to do about it, and it certainly makes me think twice about attempting what he’s attempting.

Part of me feels like I should throw myself into something like Drupal or WordPress and “learn the code,” so to speak, and really get computer geeky, way beyond my means right now. Another part of me feels like what I should be doing is the work of a writing teacher, and as such, I should keep my focus on textual elements and on using tools that work.

The problem is that this seperation between “writing” and “computer” is frequently not so neat and orderly. Teaching even basic html and web authoring requires I teach my writing class students about html (of course), html editing software, SFTP (the protocol for the people.emich.edu server), a bit about image editing, etc., etc. And that’s just for super-simple web sites. When I taught “Writing for the World Wide Web” last winter, I tried to make it clear to myself and to my students over and over again that this was a writing course, that it was not a computer course. But ultimately, this separation was futile. I’m scheduled to teach the course this coming winter, and this time around, I’m not going to even pretend to separate the “writing stuff” from the “computer stuff.” The course will be both a writing class and a computer class.

Of course, there is “computer stuff” that I can handle (Blogger, SFTP, html, some basic Dreamweaver, some basic Photoshop, some basic CSS, etc.), and then there’s COMPUTER STUFF (PHP, advanced CSS, Flash, etc.). And right now, I don’t have the time, skills or desires to do COMPUTER STUFF. Maybe that will change, but it probably won’t change until school is out for the year.

Anyway, good luck, Mike. I might ask you about how to work WordPress once you have it mastered….

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