Using WordPress

This morning I gave a presentation to a group of communications directors from some of the NCI-designated cancer centers, about how we used WordPress to redesign the NCI Benchmarks website.  I also discussed the differences between, and, the latter being what we used in the office.

Here’s a copy of the presentation:

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My #SocialMedia New Year’s Resolutions

In addition to the traditional resolutions of a personal nature, the turn of the year is also a time for examining professional goals — or at least it is if you are a federal employee and (at least in HHS) required to participate in the Performance Management Appraisal Program (PMAP).  As I think about the things I’d like to learn in order to improve my job performance, productivity, yada yada, this year I’ve come up with this list of social media-related New Year’s resolutions.

1. Choose and commit to using a proper RSS reader

I use twitter, almost more than any other source, to get my information, and often come across tweets about useful blog posts regarding social media, public relations, and/or health news.  If the blog seems particularly interesting, I will bookmark it in my browser, but to be honest, I NEVER go back to those bookmarks.  I use google desktop, which has a “web clips” feature that pulls RSS feeds, someone randomly it seems sometimes, into the side bar, but it isn’t at all organized and it’s easy to miss things.  I’ve decided I really need to find a RSS reader and use it to organize all these great information sources that I come across and subsequently forget about.  I’m thinking I’ll use Google Reader, but let me know if you have a better one.

2. Conquer my fear of social bookmarks

StumbleUpon, Reddit, Digg and the other social bookmarking communities are completely foreign to me.  They all have these intricate subcultures (David Harris said being popular on Digg was like being in a gang), and I find the whole thing overwhelming.  When they first started popping up, I was certain that they were a trend that would quickly fall away, so I didn’t bother learning much about them.  Well, clearly they are here to stay, so I feel that I must learn more about them — if for no other reason than to figure out how to use them to disseminate information/articles for my employer.

3. Become more active on LinkedIn

I know people who LOVE the site, but for me it still seems pretty useless.  I feel like it has potential, but I haven’t had the time (or desire) to truly explore it, other than finding people I know and posting my résumé.  I’ve joined a bunch of groups (probably too many), but I never actually read the postings.  This year, I need to explore the usefulness of that platform.  For now it just seems like Facebook, but way less fun.

4. Continue to share with and learn from others

Okay, maybe this one is cheating, but I always like to include a resolution that I know I can meet because I’ve already been doing it.  It makes the list seem more surmountable. In this case, I want to continue to seek out people who are doing exciting things in this area and learn from them.  At the same time I hope, through this blog, twitter, and the various other channels, that I can continue to be a resource to others who are learning along the way.  That is, after all, kind of the point of social media, isn’t it?

Happy New Year and Best wishes!


My new diggs

Today I moved my blog to, so that it’s easier to update.  With iWeb, you have to be on the computer where you created the site in order to update the blog.  This isn’t exactly conducive to free flowing expression.  So I’m using for the blog, and leaving the other pages on iWeb, with links between the two. With WordPress, I can even upload the blog from my iPhone, if the mood strikes.

Ideally, I would have used the downloadable software available on for the blog, but my site is hosted on MobileMe, which isn’t compatible with  So, for now I’ll use, and perhaps convert it later if a) Apple decides to cooperate or b) I get tired of the limitations and decide to switch to a more cooperative host.

What’s the difference between the .com and the .org, you ask?  Well, the .com offers free hosting, and doesn’t require any understanding of how the web works in order to get up and running.  In return for the free space and ease of use, WordPress will occasionally put ads on your page, and will not allow you to manipulate your page beyond it’s pre-set settings (that means you can’t change the CSS, or do much HTML), or put ads on your page that earn income for you.

The .org has software that you download, and install on your own hosting service.  You can buy hosting for as little as $7 a month, but you need a host that allows for MySQL and PHP (if you don’t know what those are, you should probably stick with the .com version, for now).  This is the problem with MobileMe is that it does not allow for these things.

I like Mobile Me.  It provides an email address, 10 GB of storage that you can access anywhere (even on my phone!) and for iPhone users, provides that wonderful new feature called “Find My Phone” which will track your phone using the internal GPS so that you can locate it if it’s lost, and if it’s stolen, you can send a signal to the phone to erase all of your private data, so at least the thief can’t get into all of your accounts.  If they would just allow for the MySQL and PHP support, it’d be perfect.

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