Blog Archives

Social media under the scanner


Government of India seems to be wielding the proverbial axes, most recently, against the social media platform, Twitter. The micro blogging site didn’t seem to pay heed to the previous notices from the government but on receiving an ultimatum of the blanket blockage of their site in the country, Twitter seems to have relented and blocked a few accounts/pages which were ascertained to be offensive by the government.

All this was a fallout of the unrest in various parts of the country sparked off by salacious comments and posts on social media platforms and SMS messages! It is actually commendable that the government is trying to combat flagrant misinformation being spread through social media platforms in an attempt to start ethnic violence in the country!! That effort is a complete thumbs-up to the government.

What definitely gets a thumbs down is the using the pre-text of blocking the cyber crime to shut down the opposition!! Democracy is all about getting the masses vote to stay in power and not use heavy handedness to eliminate the opposition’s voice! That is the starting of what is known as “dictatorship”. If you really want to block access to accounts which are a parody of the PMO and other key government areas, then setup a parliamentary committee consisting of opposition leaders to ascertain if blocking is the right way to go!

An old adage had once claimed “Actions speak louder than words” If you are so above reproach, then the actions of the government will show the country’s citizens that the 140 characters posts being propagated about the current administration is a farce and has not iota of truth in it. But reading the current papers and looking at the inflation numbers, you would want to think otherwise!!

The fundamental right of Freedom of Speech is a much talked about right nowadays. But the simplicity of this law is the evident. A citizen has the right to express his/her views as long as it doesn’t cause harm to another individual(s). Now that being said…. Blocking the accounts or pages which are catalysts for instigating violence in the country should be policed!! But the ones which do not pose a threat and are merely voicing their opinion  cannot be subjected to the same fate as the former!! If such a case were true, then all opposition parties should be banned from contesting during elections as they do not shower any praises on the current ruling party or coalition!

In this entire episode of censorship, the biggest source of embarrassment was that Twitter had suspended the account of the Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology!! Talk about a classic irony!! The account was later restored with an apology issued from Twitter for the mishap.

Making your WordPress Blog social friendly


I have tried quite a few blogging platforms and it is my opinion that WordPress is one of the best platforms imageout there. You can either choose to host your blog at WordPress.com or use WordPress.org to maintain self hosted blog. I maintain two blogs on WordPress, TroubleshootingSQL and  MyeScribblepad. Last week I decided to get over my lethargy and revamp my SQL blog.

The first step was to look for a blog theme which had a flexible width and was able to utilize the complete real estate available on your display medium, desktop monitor, laptop screen, iPad, PDA/Smartphones etc. and at the same time re-size based on the device and display settings being used. I browsed a bunch of themes and finally zeroed in on a two-column sidebar theme called Andreas09. This provides me with a wide column for the body which allows me to combine my posts with in-line screen-shots which I have started using a lot in my recent posts.

Next were the sharing buttons available under Settings –> Sharing options on your blog Dashboard. This makes it easier for your blog readers to share your blog posts in case they want to. You can also use the pre-configured Widgets (Appearance –> Widgets) to add a bit of pizzazz to blog home page by providing cloud tag, Twitter feed, RSS feeds, etc.

imageI like the Text widget which allows you to add arbitrary HTML tags to create your own fancy little sidebar item. I went to work on this using old school HTML tags like <a> and <href> and a bit of Adobe Photoshop handiwork to create my own social connection options for my Facebook page, Twitter account, RSS/Feedburner feeds, LinkedIN profile and Networked Blogs account.

The next step was to customize the Facebook page for my blog using RSS Graffiti. This Facebook application allows you to use RSS feeds from other blogs and post them on your page’s wall. I currently have the following blogs being subscribed through this application:

SQLServerFAQ – A MSDN blog where common issues encountered by the Microsoft SQL Server CSS team are blogged about.
PSSSQL – A MSDN blog where you will find valuable nuggets of information from the members of the Escalation Services team for SQL Server CSS including the likes of Bob Ward and Bob Dorr.
SQL Server Release Services – The official blog of the SQL Server Release Services team where you will find the information about all the latest cumulative updates/service packs and support policy information.
Data Platform Insider – The official blog on the Microsoft SQL Server team.
SSRS Team – The official blog of the SQL Server SSRS team.
SQL Azure – This is the official blog of the SQL Azure team.
SQLCAT – The official blog of the SQL Customer Advisory Team.

So if you like the Facebook page, then all the new posts from these blogs will appear in your Facebook news feed. The primary reason for creating a Facebook page for my blog was to prevent getting hate posts from my friends on  Facebook who are not SQL Server enthusiasts or who don’t want to receive updates regarding SQL Server on their social feeds. (You know who you are!! 😛 )

Along with all this WordPress also allows you to connect your blog to services like Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo and Live Messenger using Settings –> Sharing from your blog Dashboard. Once you have configured the connection to these services with your WordPress blog, WordPress can automatically post updates using these updates using the aforementioned social networks/tools. The social networks also provided various applications which allow interconnectivity between different social networks which allow you to cross-post the updates. 

WordPress now allows you to enable a mobile and iPad theme for your blog readers who use their cell phones or iPad to arrive at your blog. (Appearance –> Extras and Appearance –> iPad respectively from your blog Dashboard)

Within you a very short time, you can really increase your potential blog reach without having to manually post updates to multiple places once you decide to evangelize a blog post or article that you have found.

One of the numerous reasons I really like WordPress is their spam filter Askimet which keeps out a vast amount of junk, spam comments from my blog.

Happy blog customization!

What will they think of next?


Yet another post on Twitter! Found out about this through a friend of mine (SQLSoldier): A Tweet App for your dog called Puppy Tweets:

http://www.thinkgeek.com/homeoffice/pets/d5db/?cpg=143H&head

Now even your dog can tweet!! Imagine your dog having more followers than you… Smile with tongue out

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