Thank you for joining me for our fourth weekly update. Since we last spoke, Victor and I combined to publish five new articles and a new page for the website. Furthermore, I have some exciting developments related to site improvements and The New Leaf Journal’s social media presence to share with you. Finally, I will go through some things we have to look forward to as the site continues to grow. Without further ado, let us begin.
Articles from the Week
What is The New Leaf Journal?
Victor and I worked together to craft a more clear answer to the question: “What is The New Leaf Journal?” First, I published a new About page for the website. You can access our About page from the header and from the side-bar (below the content on mobile devices) titled “About The New Leaf Journal.” Victor discussed the search for a concise definition of The New Leaf Journal in his own post, Defining What The New Leaf Journal Is. We showed that no matter how many mean names we call each other, we can accomplish things through petty bickering.
A Memorial Day Tribute
For Memorial Day, I published an article remembering one American soldier, Second Lieutenant Carleton Burr, who died in service of his country in France during the First World War. Mr. Burr was noted in several articles in 2018 because the grandson of one man who served under Mr. Burr and revered him had made a trip to lay flowers on his grave. Mr. Burr’s sister wrote of his death: “In the land he loved next to his own he will always lie, content that he gave his all to a cause that was so near to his heart.”
A Second Look
Earlier on Memorial Day, I published a second look at the joint Blue Angels-Thunderbirds flyover of New York City in late April. It is a second look because this version of the article contains better versions of my three photos of the flyover – courtesy of Victor.
On the Chinese Communist Party and Censorship
Finally, I published two articles about what I view as the Chinese Government’s pernicious influence on American society. In the first – “Against Chinese Government Propaganda” – I recount the Wuhan origin of the novel coronavirus with numerous links to news sources and offer criticism of members of the Senate who have proposed a resolution denouncing references to the origins of the virus as being racist. I argue – compellingly, I hope – that these efforts echo Chinese propaganda designed to exploit the virus that its government unleashed on mankind. In my second post, I criticize Google for, by its own account, inadvertently censoring phrases critical of the Chinese Government on YouTube videos.
New Places to Follow The New Leaf Journal
Last week, we introduced our Facebook page, run by Victor. Victor used feedback that he received from Facebook to help craft our new About the Site. Although he correctly noted that I do not use Facebook and do not plan to start doing so, I will grant that it has benefitted our site thus far. To the 105 people and counting who are following our page – as of the time of the writing of this article – Victor and I thank you all kindly for the interest. If you have questions, comments, feedback, or ideas, please do not hesitate to share them with us on Facebook.
After we set up Facebook, I worked to implement several other social pages for our site. Desktop users can see the icons for our new pages under the site’s search bar (mobile users will generally see them under the content). Now, going from left to right, I will explain each of our social media and follow pages.
I must confess that I never had the faintest idea how Pinterest works. However, after making our page, I think I started to get the hang of it. I have organized The New Leaf Journal pinterest board into several sub-boards, some based primarily on picture content and others based on article content. For example, our Brooklyn NY board surprisingly features pictures on our site from Brooklyn. Each pin includes a link to the article from which it came.
(Editors note for June 18, 2020: The New Leaf Journal’s Flipboard account is inactive as of today.)
I never heard of Flipboard until about two weeks ago, when I followed a mysterious social media icon on a New York Post article. Flipboard is a sort of web magazine with thumbnails for articles leading back to the original article. You can also make personal Flipboard magazines and flip content into them. Our Flipboard updates every time we post a new article on The New Leaf Journal. If you are a Flipboard user, consider it another way to follow our content.
I created a Medium profile to share excerpts from our articles with a broader audience. Here, I will periodically post parts of some of our older content – as well as occasional older pieces in their entirety – to help people discover The New Leaf Journal. While we are not using Medium to post much original content, followers of the site who already use Medium may find it to be a good way to discover older posts that they may have missed.
The last two icons are tied to our RSS feed. The first goes to our Feedburner feed – which I discussed last week. The second goes to our raw RSS feed if you would like to put that into your favorite RSS reader.
Social Sharing Icons
Finally, we also have social sharing buttons under posts (you will only see these at the bottom of individual articles). At the moment, I have featured six: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flipboard, Email, and Print. The sixth button in line leads to 95 additional sharing options. Now, some options such as Instagram are not compatible with our content. Other options such as AIM, sadly, are no longer with us (but seeing it did make me feel nostalgic). However, there are some other popular services among the share options – including, but most definitely not limited to – Reddit, Linkden, Skype, Telegram, Line, Digg, Mix, and most important for users in 2020, MySpace. You can see the full list below:
If you like sharing our content, but your preferred sharing option is not featured, please let us know at Facebook or on an on-site contact form that we hope to implement in the near future. While I cannot promise that I will add any particular option to the featured bar for fear of making it too cluttered, we certainly have room for additional ones requested by readers.
While we are grateful to anyone who wants to share our content, our first concern is publishing content that is worth sharing at all. We know that if our content is not “perennially virid” as our motto promises, there would be no reason for anyone to share it. This is why we decided to put the sharing icons only at the bottom of our posts. We assume that people will only want to share content that was interesting enough to read to the end.
Miscellaneous Site Improvements
I spent some time over the last week implementing changes behind the scenes to improve our site’s performance. To this effect, I changed our caching system for a third – and I hope, final – time. This change, in conjunction with some other tweaks, has greatly improved our site’s performance on speed tests. I hope that those of you who are returning visitors notice an improvement as well. As always, I will keep looking for ways to improve the look and performance of our website.
First, I promised last week that I would post our third Emu Café article yesterday. Unfortunately, work intervened, so I was not able to finish the article that I planned sharing with you. In my defense, however, I did post our second Emu Café article earlier in the week – the tribute to Carleton Burr, a man whose life was too short but definitely well-lived. I will reserve the article that I had planned for yesterday for a cozy read on Friday, June 5. I do, however have some other content ready for you this weekend that I hope you will enjoy.
More generally, Victor and I are still working on setting up our email newsletter system. I am unsure if I will have time to do all the work to implement it this week – between my job and posting the kind of content that would make people want to subscribe in the first place – but we are still on target for having it ready in the near future. The same goes for creating a type of on-site contact form.
Thank You, As Always, For Reading
Thank you as always for reading and following the development of The New Leaf Journal. During our first month, we have posted 31 articles and counting (including this one and the About page), changed our entire site template once, and implemented several other features and improvement to improve our site experience. Going forward, we will continue improving the site and its content to make following us worth your time. If you are a new reader, we hope that you’ll have a look at our April and May archives to see if any of our earlier content that you may have missed piques your interest.