Here are some tips for speeding up the process of making simple posts to a Glow Blog

Preparation 1. The Post Editor

One of the nice things about the WordPress Post Editor is you can customise the elements that you see on the screen.

Blogs Post Screen Options

To make my posting simpler in mobile I’ve removed some elements and dragged the Featured Image section to the top of the right hand column. This makes it appear right under the post content in the mobile view.
Blogs Post Featured
You can also collapse section of the editor you don’t need all the time, I’ve notice my pupils do this when using their e-Portfolios.

Preparation 2. Bookmark New Post

On my phone I’ve bookmarked the New Post Page on blogs I want to post to.

New Post Add To Homescreen

Im my case I’ve saved it to my home screen so I don’t even need to open my browser and go through my bookmarks.

This means that I can go straight to the new post page. If I am not logged onto Glow I am taken through the RM Unify password screen first. I use the save password facility on my phone to speed this up.

Featured Images

Editing a post with images and text can get a little messy, and therefore slow, on mobile. If I want to make a quick post, I don’t put the images in the editor, but use the featured image feature. This adds an image, typically, to the top of your post, and keeps it clear of the text.

Putting it All Together

Using my home screen icon, saved password, simplified new post page and a featured image means I can post a twitter sized post and picture in around 90 seconds.

Twitter too

In case you are missing the interaction and publicity of twitter you can of course auto post your blog to twitter using several free services, dlvr.it, IFTTT and Microsoft Flow (using your glow account.)

Replied to William Jenkins on Twitter (Twitter)

“ Tried to get educators to adopt @Declara in 2015/16 and @Giveandtakeinc since last Christmas.

…In my experience It’s a challenge moving edu folks to other platforms.”

I don’t want to move educators. I’d like to spread the understanding that platforms that you pay for with your attention, and then that attention is manipulated, may not be the best place to direct our pupils data and attention.

A start along that path might be to think of a blog that you either own and control or is owned by a benevolent entity (Scot Gov in this case) is the best place to store your data, memories etc. From there, they can be sent out to social networks.

Ideally, IMO, there would be a benevolent network or system that would eventually work well enough to replace commercial but free, services.


A follow up to yesterday’s post, where I figured out how to extract the source from a list of tweets.

I asked a few folk on twitter if they had lists of schools twitter accounts by LA in twitter list. Andrew Bailey gave me an Angus one and Malcolm Wilson pointed me to William Jenkins who has a pile of lists. I quickly grabbed 18 LAs alone with Andrews to make 20 to run through my script.

The results are above.

I am interest in the result only tangentially. Partially is my idea of fun to figure out how to write the script. Mainly  I am interested in thinking about encouraging folk to use Glow Blogs as a primary place they post school and class news as opposed to twitter. I’ve been told a few times that teachers use twitter because it is easier. I want to explain how blogging can be a lot easier. This indicates that mobile devices are the way to go.

graph of number twitter clients used by schools

I’ve talked to a fair number of teachers who find it easier to use twitter than to blog to share their classroom learning. I’ve been thinking a little of how to make that easier but got side tracked wondering how schools, teachers and classes use twitter.

If you use twitter on the web it tells you the application used to post the tweet. At the bottom of a tweet there is the date and the app that posted the tweet.

I’ve got a list that is made up of North Lanarkshire schools I started when I was supporting ICT in the authority.

I could go down the list and count the methods but I though there might be a better way. I recalled having a played with the twitter api a wee bit so searched for and found: GET lists/statuses — Twitter Developers. I was hoping ther was some sort of console to use, but could not find one, a wee bit more searching found how to authenticate to the api using a token and how to generate that token. Using bearer tokens

It then didn’t take too long to work out how to pull in a pile of status updates from the list using the terminal:

curl --location --request GET 'https://api.twitter.com/1.1/lists/statuses.json?list_id=229235515&count=200&max_id=1225829860699930600' --header 'Authorization: Bearer BearerTokenGoesHere'

This gave me a pile of tweets in json format. I had a vague recollection that google sheets could parse json so gave that a go. I had to upload the json somewhere I could import it into a sheet. This felt somewhat clunky. I did see some indications that I could use a script to grab the json in sheets, but though it might be simpler to do it all on my mac. More searching, but I fairly quickly came up with this:

curl --location --request GET 'https://api.twitter.com/1.1/lists/statuses.json?list_id=229235515&count=200&' --header 'Authorization: Bearer BearerTokenGoesHere' | jq '.[].source' | sed -e 's/<[^>]*>//g' | sort -bnr | uniq -c | sort -bnr

This does the following:

  1. download the status in json format
  2. passes it to the jq application (which I had installed in the past) which pulls out a list of the sources.
  3. It is then passed to sed which strips the html tags leaving the text. (I just search for this, I have no idea how works)
  4. next the list is sorted
  5. then uniq pulls out the uniq entries and counts then
  6. Finally sorts the counts and gave:
119 "Twitter for iPhone"
  28 "Twitter for Android"
  22 "Twitter Web App"
   8 "Twitter for iPad"
   1 "Twitter Web Client"

This surprised me. I use my school iPad to post to twitter and sort of expected iPads to be highest or at least higher.

It maybe that the results are skewed by the Monday, Tuesday holiday and 2 inservice days, so I’ll run this a few times next week and see. You can also use a max_id parameter so I could gather more than 200 (less retweeted content) tweets.

This does give me the idea that it might be worth explaining how to make posting to Glow Blogs simpler using a phone.

Update, Friday, bacn to school and NLC looks like:

 74 "Twitter for iPhone"
  51 "Twitter for iPad"
  18 "Twitter for Android"
  10 "Twitter Web App"
   1 "dlvr.it"

I gave presentation/workshop to a few groups at the UWS this morning about Glow Blogs. Rather than use a presentation I made a blog: Glow Blogs – An Introduction This goes over some of the basics about Blogging and a few tips. Far too much to cover in an hour.

It may be useful to you if you are learning or explaining about Glow Blogs.

Some of the pages are pretty sketchy, but it was made to be expanded on in person.