The majority of folks that will read this likely have a Facebook account. With over 1 billion active users it’s by far one of the more popular social networks. Many treat Facebook as a semi-personal space, one reserved for family and friends to share photos and highlights of what’s happening in their lives. Facebook also supports “Groups” for sharing amongst a smaller set of individuals regularly, and “Pages” which are less personal and more public-facing profiles meant for organizations and businesses. There are plenty of applications that make it easy to publish a link to the work you do on your blog and your participation in other networks back into your Facebook profile. In general it’s a good practice and can often lead to interesting conversations with different groups of folks. This practice of publishing elsewhere and then feeding into Facebook is desired over the alternative, using Facebook for all content and then pushing it out to other communities. The main reason for this is that privacy concerns over how different people can view content on Facebook have changed often enough to leave users concerned. There’s also never any certainty of sustainability with any of these social networks (remember MySpace or Friendster?) no matter how popular, so publishing in your own space and then pushing out to others makes a lot of sense. The key takeaway is that Facebook is a great personal network and can also be the starting point for some of these larger professional discussions should you decide to use it that way.
You will lose access to your Create Digital domain after you graduate (or otherwise discontinue) from the University of South Carolina, so it’s essential that you back up your site content prior to leaving campus. You have a number of options: pay Reclaim Hosting to keep everything and migrate to your own domain, download your entire site to store on your computer, or move everything over to another hosting provider.
Using Reclaim Hosting
Create Digital is hosted through Reclaim Hosting, a company that started out of the University of Mary Washington. If you are leaving the college, you can migrate your webspace from Create Digital to our hosting provider, Reclaim Hosting. Detailed instructions can be found here.
Downloading a Backup of Your Site
If you’re not sure what you’d like to do with your website or content, you can download a full backup directly from your cPanel. This would also be the route to take if you’re migrating your site to a hosting provider other than Reclaim.
1. Log into cPanel.
2. Head to the Files section of cPanel, click on the Backup icon.
3. Under Full Backup, click Generate/ Download a Full Website Backup.
4. On the next page, select the Home Directory option from the Backup Destination drop-down menu.
5. For Email Address, select whether or not you wish to receive an email notification once the backup is complete. (You may also change the notification email address in the provided field if you wish.) Click Generate Backup.
6. Consider storing your backup in multiple places, like on a flash drive, on your computer’s hard drive, and also in a cloud-based account.
7. Contact your new hosting provider for instructions on how to transfer your content.
If you would like to move your WordPress site from your Create Digital account to either a free WordPress.com account or a different paid host, you can do so with the export system built into WordPress. Please see Exporting from WordPress.
Public domain works are free from copyright restrictions. This means that the work can be used by the public in any way and has no attribution requirement.
Through Creative Commons, a work can be placed into the public domain through the “No Rights Reserved” (CC0) license. This license is used by copyright holders who wish to release a work from copyright restrictions. For WordPress, this will typically be the most appropriate license for placing content in the public domain.
It should be added that there is another Public Domain license that Creative Commons offers. This is known as “No Known Copyright,” or public domain mark. This license should not be used by creators who wish to release their own works from copyright restrictions. For that purpose, use the CC0 license.
Adding a “CC0” License to WordPress
To use the “No Rights Reserved” (CC0) license, navigate to the Creative Commons Public Domain page. Under the “CC0” heading, select “use this tool.” This will bring you to a form that will generate code for your WordPress site.
On a WordPress site, you may want to add a Creative Commons license. Creative Commons licenses will allow others to share your work, making it more open and accessible. The amount of freedom that others have with your work is dependent on the type of license you select.
The Creative Commons “Choose a License” feature allows users to take a quick quiz to determine what license is best for them. For example, a license that Creative Commons offers is the CC Attribution License (CC BY 4.0). This license will allow others to share and adapt your work if attribution is provided.
Once a license is selected using the “Choose a License” feature, Creative Commons will generate code that can be embedded into WordPress. You can apply a Creative Commons license to a WordPress post or page, or you can apply a Creative Commons license to your entire site.
Adding a Creative Commons License to a Single Work
To add a Creative Commons license to a post on your WordPress site, you will need to embed the license HTML into a block on the post editing screen. To learn how to embed Creative Commons license into a post, see the following tutorial video.
Adding a Creative Commons License to an Entire Site
A widget at the footer of your site is the best way to apply a Creative Commons license. A widget will appear at the foot of every webpage that a viewer navigates to. See the following tutorial video to learn how to place a Creative Commons license into a widget at the footer of your site.
As mentioned in the opening paragraph, talking about social media is an ever-changing and moving target and this article can never be truly comprehensive. The goal of Create Digital is to have you thinking more critically about where you put your content, not that you don’t participate in these networks which still have a lot of value, but rather that you own the work you create. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others all have different audiences and the more places you push your content to, the more opportunities for discussion and feedback you’ll receive. The ability to network with an increased amount of people that isn’t reliant on face-to-face meetings is a powerful change in how we interact on the web and the value of it. As you begin to explore social media the best recommendation would be to choose a space you want to explore and really dive in. Follow as many people as possible, talk to them, respond to their work, and you’re more likely to get responses in return that start to build that sense of community for you.
LinkedIn is the professional resumé of social networks. It mixes the ability to keep an updated resume of where you work and what your accomplishments are with a social aspect of having people recommend you and comment on your work. Most users find LinkedIn helpful not as a day-to-day network they use, but rather when they’re searching for a new job and want to find people they know that might have connections. The old saying “It’s who you know” when finding a job or making a connection is particularly relevant here where those connections can be exposed to you (You know this person who works for the company of one of Bill Gate’s sons, and the VP went to high school with you).
While no longer the new kid on the block, Twitter has gained momentum. It doesn’t have the same user base as Facebook and the way people use it is very different. Twitter has focused on the short status message from the start, before Facebook even integrated the idea into their platform. Users are limited to 280 characters. It’s a conversational platform for interacting with people. It’s used heavily at conferences and many choose this as a social network for really networking with peers and others in their community as well as people they might not ever meet in real life. You can follow as many people as you want and it’s a great way of having a stream of information about “what’s happening” with people and groups you’re interested in. One powerful development of Twitter is that celebrities have begun to embrace it as a way to speak directly to their fans without having the message interpreted through other media and journalism with a slant. The ability to search various topics or hashtags (keywords) and see a running stream of what people are saying about that topic is also a very powerful way of gauging reaction to ideas and events. It’s a great idea to experiment with a Twitter account by signing up, adding a profile picture and information about yourself, following a group of people, and interacting with it daily. While the gratification may not be immediate, it’s one of those social networks where the more you put into it the more you will get out of it.
Embedding a Tweet
In WordPress, you can embed a tweet into a blog post. The tweet will be automatically formatted to match what it looks like on Twitter. In addition, viewers of your blog can interact with an embedded tweet, and even “like” it if they are logged into their Twitter account.
See the video tutorial below to learn how to embed a tweet into your post.
Embedding a Twitter Timeline
WordPress allows users to embed their Twitter timeline directly into a website in the form of a widget. Widgets can be placed in several areas of a site, and are easy for viewers to see and interact with from the site’s front page.
See the video below to learn how to embed a Twitter Timeline into a site.
In the early days of the Web, almost all Web sites were what is known as
'static sites.' Content (text, images, video, audio, etc), was placed or embedded in a file in which HTML tags were used to format it. If you looked at the actual contents of the file, you might see something like this:
The content and the tags lived side-by-side. To edit the page, you’d open up the file (on your own computer) in a program capable of editing HTML files and make changes to either the content or the presentation. Every page had to be edited individually, even if the edits you were making were for common elements that appeared on many pages (like menu bars).
From a technical perspective, accessing a static Web site is fairly straightforward. When your computer is connected to the Internet, you can use a Web browser to access files on a Web server (as long as you know the address). The Web server delivers the contents of those files to your browser, and your browser displays them.
Over time, as the Web became more sophisticated, new systems emerged for creating and managing Web sites. These moved beyond the model of having content and HTML tags live in a simple HTML page which your browser accessed and displayed. Instead, these systems were Web applications – software that literally runs on the Web server and makes it possible to manage a Web site, often with very sophisticated features. One feature of these applications is that they separate content and presentation by storing most content (your text, images, etc) and data about the site (the title, options, etc). in a database.
On the Web server, the Web application installs files that are written in some kind of programming language. The server reads this code and obeys any requests in it to access data in the database (which lives on a separate server) and displays it according to the instructions in the code.
Essentially, the data for the site (living in a series of tables in a database on the database server) is entirely separate from the actual presentation of the site (living in the code of the programmed files on the Web server). Special software on both the Web server and the Database server enable the two to speak to each other and work together.
One of the benefits of using a Web application is that you usually don’t need to touch (or even look at!) the code in order to make changes to your content. In addition, editing the site usually involves accessing some kind of control panel through your Web browser and filling out a form, instead of having to download and access files in software on your own computer.
Dynamic vs Static Content
Sometimes when we talk about the difference between dynamic and static content we get bogged down in the idea of whether or not the content is “fresh” (dynamic, regularly updated) or “old” (static, never updated). How frequently you update your content has nothing to do with what kind of system you are using to manage your site. You can manage a static Web site (as described above) and update the content every day. You can also have a dynamic Web site (running something like WordPress) and never change the content after you create it.
Generally speaking, it IS easier to regularly update content on a dynamic Web site because the Web application just makes it easier. Sometimes, even when you just want a very basic page or placeholder, it’s easier to install a Web application (and only put up a single page) then to manually create an HTML page and upload it.
A Side Note about Separating Content from Presentation: Style Sheets
Another aspect of separating content from presentation involves the use of
'Cascading Style Sheets' (CSS). These are special files that live on your Web server and are linked to your Web pages. They contain information (written in a special markup language) about how to make elements on your site look. They allow you, for example, to define in a single location what all Level 1 Headings look like on your site. They are an important aspect of understanding how to separate content from presentation, but they’re not really an aspect of the difference between static and dynamic sites. Both static and dynamic sites can use style sheets.
Domain mapping, simply put, is deciding where visitors should be directed when they visit various pieces of your website. Domains and subdomains can be mapped directly to folders located within your webhosting account, where you may have installed WordPress, Omeka, MediaWiki, or other web applications.
When you sign up for UofSC Create Digital, you get space on a Web host that is associated with the project. There are a few things you need to know about the Web host that will make it easier to understand what you can do with your new space.
The Web Server
The Web server is the main computer that is associated with the Create Digital hosting account. It is literally a computer – a computer that has special software on it that allows it to be accessible via the Web. The files that run your applications, images or video you upload, or any other files you upload into your Web space are stored on this server.
(For comparison’s sake, your desktop or laptop computer, by default, doesn’t allow this; I can’t access files on your computer through a Web browser by default. You CAN actually install Web server software on your own computer, essentially making your files accessible over the Web.)
In order to run, a Web server has an operating system installed and some kind of Web server software. The Create Digital server runs the
'LINUX' operating system and an
'APACHE' Web server.
The Database Server
In addition to the Web server, there is also an associated database server. This is another computer, but it is configured with software that allows it to host databases. It is also connected to your Web server so that your applications (hosted on the Web server) can retrieve data (from databases hosted on the database server).
Databases come in LOTS of varieties. The kind of database you can use for a Web application depends on the kind of software that’s installed on the database server. The Create Digital server can run
The Programming Language
When you install open-source software on your Web account, it’s going to be written in some programming language. Your Web server has software installed on it that allows it to understand different languages. If you install software that’s written in a language that your Web server doesn’t read, it won’t work.
The Create Digital server has software installed on it that allows it to understand
Add it Together: LAMP
If you take a look at all the descriptions above, you can determine that we are running what is known as a LAMP server for uofscreate.org:
Linux (operating system)
Apache (Web server)
MySQL (database server)
PHP/PERL/PYTHON (programming language)
Applications that are written for LAMP environments will, presumably, run on the server. HOWEVER, some applications do require additional extensions or libraries that aren’t included, by default, in a LAMP environment. The applications you can install via Installatron (in cPanel) should work just fine.
What makes LAMP environments special is that all of the component parts are open-source. Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, PERL, and PYTHON are all open-source programs or systems. Anyone can download them (for free) and install them. Anyone can also modify them and redistribute them. As a result, there are lots of online resources for using these systems that have been built by their communities of users. But, also as a result, since you’re not paying for these systems, you can’t just call up a company and ask them to fix a problem.