How to Use The Cowation

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My fine readers,
In the last month I have been growing The Cowation and have made several changes to the design and other aspects of the site. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight those changes and give new readers a primer on how to use this site. Veteran readers (I prefer that term to "old"), I would love to hear your thoughts on the new design and how you find the site as a whole. Please share your favorite posts, pictures, or just wacky stories of how you met me/connected with the site. It's all appreciated here!

Here are the changes:

First, as you can see in the right sidebar, I have now been accepted into the BlogHer ads network. I will be receiving revenue from BlogHer for displaying their ads and when someone is directed to the ad from my website. In order to preserve transparency, I will also indicate when one of my posts includes links or provides me with revenue, whether that is in reviewing a product or through links.

Second, I have now included a New Here? page for people to get acqauinted to the site - you can check out that page for some of my favorite posts and to access this primer.

Third, there are now multiple ways that you can connect with The Cowation: you can subscribe via RSS or email, Tweet me @thecowation, Like the Facebook page, go to the related Tumblr and DeviantArt, or listen to me talk on SoundCloud. These are all on a deck of buttons that are to the right of the screen. Since they can be pretty overwhelming, I am including a breakdown of how each of these options benefit you after the jump! Also after the jump, there is a primer on how to use the site if you're just starting out.

All of the following information and more can be accessed at the page How to Use The Cowation, which is also linked right above the Labels dropdown menu and in the New Here? page.

Here is a breakdown of each of their functions:

1.Subscribing via RSS allows you to bookmark this website and get updates in the bookmark section (called a Live Bookmark). When you check your bookmarks, you will be presented with a list of my posts from newest to oldest if you hover over The Cowation.
2. Subscribe via email is a method that allows you to get an email update whenever I put out a new post; you can set this to receive either an email every time I post, a weekly digest of posts, or headlines of posts rather than full text.
3. Tweet me directly @thecowation to respond to any question I post on the site, give me feedback, or just to talk. I always enjoy hearing from you!
4. Liking The Cowation Creativity Blog on Facebook allows you to see my On Location pictures from various events, such as the Seattle Pride Parade, and lets you in to the community of other readers where you can talk to each other on my Wall and post comments of your own.
5. Tumblr and Deviantart host my other works. Tumblr acts like an extended Caught my Eye post, where I gather media I love from around the web. Deviantart is where I put my artwork and writing that are sometimes highlighted in the Creative Every Day series, but sometimes are not.

6. Soundcloud hosts my speaking projects including one that I did for a zine series that I sell over at my Etsy shop called J's Extemporaneous Speaking Project. You can listen and read the comic zines together for the full effect there.

And here is a refresher course on using the site:

1. The New Here? button is not just for newbies! It has an ever-growing, ever-changing list of my favorite posts, so you can navigate through all of my site through that page alone.
2. Labels and archives are used to navigate posts through time and content. The Labels menu is where all the tags in my posts live - so if you type 'feminism' you can see not only how many posts I've written on the topic, but generate a roster of them to click through. Neat, huh? You can also use the archives to sift through my posts - if you want to look up what I was doing in June 2009 by opening the archived tab and clicking on the 'June' segment. Easy! Both of these options are located right below the About this Blog blurb in the left hand sidebar.
3. I always interlink in my posts, so if you see a link in the body text, you can click on it and get a list of related topics or be directed to another post. Remember: these are not ads! The links that direct you out of the site are clearly marked and if they benefit me, I will always add a disclaimer.
4. The About this Blog blurb features other blogs/forums I use. Thought I was only blogging for The Cowation? Think again! You can check out where else my work is featured at the Other Blogs link in the About this Blog blurb. You can also buy stuff I’ve made from my Etsy shop there and connect with me on SheWrites, a forum for women writers.
5. The "Read On" button expands to show the entire post. The purple and orange button at the end of each post is clickable and allows you to get the rest of my writing and/or other hidden goodies!

6. To get back to the homepage, just click the header image. The header image navigates you back to the main screen.

I now accept BlogHer ads, which are featured in the sidebar and may occassionally pop into your screen. I will always alert you when I am getting paid for something I write - otherwise, everything on this blog is still the same and is completely owned by me.

1. Reader participation! Other than getting involved with the ways listed above, you can always comment or answer a question I've posted. Comments are the liquid gold that keeps this machine running sometimes, and I love to hear and respond to what you say! And even if you're not commenting, I love to get your feedback on the website and how it's doing, so let me know by responding to a poll/question/emailing me about anything under the sun.
2. Links in any form - I love it when you link back to my site from your own, but do send me your links! I am always open to putting your stuff up, whether its in the Caught My Eye section or on Tumblr.

1. Making things difficult on readers. Period. If you are having any trouble with the site, please contact me via email ( and I will respond as fast as I can!