As you know, I’m a fan of the WinExtra.com blog, authored by Steven Hodson and on his blog, I’ve noticed an area of his sidebar called Misc. Thoughts. For whatever reason, I always find myself going down the sidebar, reading these mini posts which looks familiar to the type of content you would find on Twitter. Instead of actually being on Twitter, Steven can posts these short snippets or thoughts and keep them local to his own blog. I asked Steve some time ago which plugin he was using to generate this part of his blog and he told me it was something called SideBlog.
SideBlog which is now up to version 4.4 was written by Katesgasis and is compatible with WordPress 2.3. SideBlog is one way of implementing “Asides” or “a series of short posts 1-2 sentences in length”. Sideblog4.4 is widget enabled which means it will be easy to place on your site if you use a widget enabled theme. Also worthy of noting is that, multiple categories can be published in the sidebar.
After you install and activate the plugin, you’ll need to create a new category which will be the category for this plugin. In my case, I created a new category called Random Thoughts. Once you create your new category, go into your OPTIONS area and click on SideBlog. A list of all the available categories will be presented. Check mark the box for the category you want to be displayed in the sideblog. In my case, I selected my newly created Random Thoughts category. Also on this same line, you can choose how many entries will show up in this sideblog as well as whether or not the content should be excluded from RSS Feeds. I chose 5 entries and disabled the content from being included with my feeds.
After you assign a category to the plugin, you’ll be able to see it in the Widgets area within the Presentation options. Drag the widget to a sidebar of your choice and apply the changes. Now, anytime you want a post to show up in this sideblog, make you select the appropriate category when you’re writing a 1-2 sentence post.
This plugin is great if you need to post some thoughts off the top of your head but don’t want to dedicated an entire blog post towards it. This is also a good substitute for Twitter if you’re not into that sort of thing. I will say though, the benefit of Twitter is that when you post your thoughts, you’re publishing them to a very wide audience. Using Sideblog, your limiting your thoughts from being seen by only those who are visiting your blog. But if you’re fine with that, SideBlog makes an excellent thought dumper.