Monday, July 25, 2011

How to Add Google +1 to Your Blogger/Blogspot Presence

The Google Plus social network has been fun to play with so far, and I understand that even though Google+ has been growing really fast, it still has a ways to go before it catches up with Facebook and Twitter. Unlike the latter two, one thing that takes getting used to in Google+ is the lack of a system to send a direct or private message to who you're connected with. There is a work-around, where you can publish to your intended recipient's stream: you click on "Share what's new...", type something, but then when it comes time to 'Share', instead of specifying a circle, you type out the name of the person who you're connected to. Your message then gets published to that person's stream. The problem with this method of approximating direct messaging is, as Google+ warns:
Your content may be shared beyond the bounds which you originally intended if your post is reshared or if someone is mentioned on your post. For instance, if someone is mentioned in a comment, they'll be able to see the entire post even if the post wasn't originally shared with them.
So if you mention someone else in the content of the post, and happen to prepend that third person's name with a '+' or '@', then that person can now read your message, which defeats the purpose of a private, direct message.

That said, Google+ is still pretty cool, and one can argue that because there is this limitation of no direct messaging, Google+ is cleaner and leaner, akin to Twitter's self-imposed 140 character limit (which I, and Farhad Manjoo, think has outlived its usefulness, especially for Twitter conversations).

Before Google Plus came out, Google introduced +1, which is their version of the Facebook 'Like' button. In addition to Google's how to add +1 to your blog, for those on blogger/blogspot, here's what I did:

As stated in the Google document above, you need to copy and paste one of the following 3 possible pairs of XML elements into your blog template:
  • <script> and <g:plusone> elements
  • <script> and <div> elements
  • Two <script> elements, the latter of which makes a call to the render function, as explained in the section Javascript API
They all accomplish the same thing, but if you don't know which one to use, I'd go with the first, or the second, one, either of which are easy to copy, as Google provides the boilerplate for you, without the need for any additional changes from you. Our next steps are for where to paste what we copied:
  1. In Blogger's tabs console, click on 'Design'
  2. Click on 'Edit HTML', and in the section 'Edit Template', click on 'Expand Widget Templates'
  3. Paste anywhere inside. I recommend that you provision a section inside the template so you can keep track of all the changes you've made to the default.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Leccion de Español Tres o Spanish Lesson 3

The Yards (1999, directed by James Gray) with Joaquin Phoenix (as Willie Gutierrez) and Robert Montano (as Hector), where they are speaking in Spanish. Mark Wahlberg is silent onlooker.
Notice how Robert's character code-switches, i.e., changes the language he is using, from English to Spanish. In this context, Joaquin's character, who was conversing in the more familiar Spanish, reverts to English, to distance himself emotionally from the person who he was addressing. We later find out why, as Willie Gutierrez and his crew are, and have been, intentionally sabotaging the trains operated by Hector's company, in order to secure lucrative city contracts.

Hey, Gutierrez, quiero hablar contigo.
Yo tengo nada que decir, Hector.
Oye, yo soy tu amigo, chico. Yo se, uh, lo que tu estas haciendo.
<Willie reverts from Spanish to English>
Hey, nunca vas a ser tan blanco como ellos.

Back in February of last year, I was listening to talk radio, and had a chance to hear an interview with Audrey Nelson, author of Code Switching. I took some notes:
Code switching came out of linguistics, and it refers to someone who is good at and has knowledge of two cultures. Good communicators know how to switch gears. When speaking to audiences predominantly of one typical gender role, Audrey will use different styles; with men: statistics, research, be much more direct. With women: stories, relationship talk, very high level of disclosure within a couple of minutes, i.e., talking about your insecurities, fears and doubts. Women are in the business of social maintenance, to take care of people and relationships. Chit chat initiated by women before a meeting serves a purpose: to relax, make people feel freer, less on-edge, feel connected and bonded, be more civil to each other. When men chit chat, they talk about safe topics like work, sports. You spend more time at work than any other organization. If the verbal and nonverbal contradict, human nature is to base decisions on the observation of non-verbal behavior. Women are much better readers of nonverbal cues than men; excellence in social maintenance means excellence in observing people's feelings, relationships, emotions.
Although her book is mainly about how to communicate effectively in the workplace to a mostly male (or female) audience, the take-away message is to know the needs of your audience (which is what I was referring to in Why You Should Learn Black English). Ms. Nelson went on to state that we make 6 to 8 stereotype conclusions in the first 6 to 8 seconds that we meet each other. Assuming you are fluent enough to pull it off convincingly (one of the biggest hurdles of code-switching), once you demonstrate that you can speak their language, your audience will feel connected and bonded, and be more civil to each other, and more comfortable with you.