Today I thought I’d tell you a little about an integrated approach I’ve set up to make use of the online social networking websites, and also to share with you some different ways you can access the content of this blog. Basically I have tried to ensure that a few of these sites will work together for me, that each of them, therefore, will offer you another way to follow the blog, and, where possible, point you to other material I think you should be reading before mine.
Before I get into all of that, let me first name and shame one of my real-world friends. Ian Jukes, who hosts this site for me, committed a cardinal sin using one of these social tools. I caught him calling me “The Warlock.” Now I can tolerate all kinds of misspellings of my name—I have been called Adrian Wamoch, Warnick, Warnack, Warnoc, Warnok, and all kinds of other things. But Warlock, I have always hated, for obvious reasons! So call me anything, just not Warlock, all right? For some reason the nickname that has always stuck to me has been “Warnie,” which I think was something to do with “Arnie.” The thing is, with this blog it’s not so much that “I’ll be back!” as “I will never go away!”
On the subject of Warnies, I have made a significant change to the Warnie award system. I have decided that, as of today, I will award mini Warnies to specific articles that I like. Thus, the practical effect is that the Warnie Winners box in my left sidebar will now also include posts from other blogs and sometimes newspaper articles that I have come across and liked. If you spot one of your posts in the Warnie box, you are entitled to say, “One of my blog posts was given a Warnie today.” From time-to-time, I will still issue a Warnie to an entire blog, and from then on, all posts published on that blog will appear in the Warnie Winners box. Those blogs are also entitled to wear the “Warnie Winners” badge. That box is a great place for you to keep up-to-date on what’s going on across the Christian blogosphere. You will find all the posts from such places as Tim Challies, the Pyromaniacs, and Terry Virgo, among many others. It is worth saying that you can subscribe to the Warnie feed in a newsreader, and from now on the Warnies will also appear on Twitter.
The observant among you will have already noticed that I have now joined the ranks of the Twitterers. Thanks to something called Twitterfeed, you can also read my blog headlines over there. Twitter has an option to allow you to export all your “tweats,” so you can find them at Twitter, here on the blog, in my Facebook profile page, and at my rarely used myspace page.In addition, I use a program called MoodBlast to send some of my brief thoughts to both my Facebook status line and Twitter at the same time. There is also an option within Facebook that allows me to automatically import my external blog posts as Facebook notes.
Last, but not least, there are a whole range of ways people can read the blog using my RSS feed. All you need is an online or offline newsreader and you’re on your way. There is no doubt that my own favorite way to read other people’s blogs is by adding them to Google Reader. Google Reader allows you to subscribe to many blogs and scan their headlines each day looking for something interesting. If you want, you can befriend someone and share your favorite links with them. A few people have started doing that with me, and it sure helps me to find things to share (and as a result, put in my sidebar). You have to add someone as a friend to your GoogleTalk list in order to do this. Just search for me by my e-mail address — firstname.lastname@example.org. If you share blog posts with me like this, then they are just one mouse click away from receiving a post-specific Warnie!
When it comes to social networking sites, you very quickly have to make a decision. Are you going to befriend only those you know well offline? Or are you going to befriend a broad range of people, including many you have “met” only through cyberspace? It probably won’t be a great surprise to you to find that I’ve taken the second approach.
If you are a regular reader here and want to connect with me on any of the above services, feel free to do so. It’s always nice to know who’s out there reading the blog, and to interact with some of you as time permits. At the moment I can still manage to answer the vast majority of my e-mails and online “friendship” requests. There are a few, of course, that do slip through the cracks, but if you send your e-mail again, the chances are good that I’ll see it the second time around! This is truly a privileged position for me to be in—being able to connect to so many people, and yet not find myself swamped as those who are famous often are. I have enjoyed and benefited so much from my online friendships, some of which have eventually resulted in meeting face-to-face. So go on, don’t be shy! Add me as your friend—just don’t call me Warlock!