Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Pencil Revolution

I came across a blog yesterday that I'd not seen before - the Pencil Revolution is at http://www.pencilrevolution.com/ but I'm not quite sure who's leading it. Its strapline indicates it's about pencil philosophy, wooden wisdom, product reviews and ephemera. It certainly contains an awful lot of information about pencils - if you can find it.

The site has received a 100,000 hits since July last year so it must be finding all those wonderfully nerdy people (like me) who are deeply interested in the merits and otherwise of different sorts of pencils. (Actually I think some of the reviewers might just possibly be a teeny weeny bit nerdier than me - only about pencils, of course!) They have various people contributing reviews across the whole spectrum of all things pencil - even the erasers and the sharpeners are getting a look in! I certainly learned a few things reading through past posts.

However, the main problem with the site is you can't find anything easily. Which is a bit ironic for a blog which aims to lead the pencil revolution and has the review of pencil products as part of its purpose. It doesn't list previous posts, doesn't have a link to any of the individual posts and doesn't appear to have got its categories sorted as yet so that it's really difficult to find anything without trawling through all the archives on a month by month basis. But it's an interesting idea, has developed a small community of people eager to share their knowledge about pencil products and has recently transferred from Blogger to Wordpress. I hope they get the blog logistics sorted out soon.

OK - so it's not yet going in my list of blogs on this site as yet but I'll be keeping an eye on it and if it starts looking like it works better as a reference source then I'll add it in. And I might just offer to review artist quality coloured pencils for them.............

By the way - to link to this post alone you should:
  • either click on the title - which has got an embedded URL link
  • or find the name of the post in the list of recent posts and then click on that.

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2 comments:

WoodChuck said...

Sorry you feel John's Pencil Revolution Blog is difficult to navigate. I know he's always thinking about how to improve the site and will take your comments as constructive feedback.

Selecting Reviews from the Categories drop down list gives you one way to get at all the reviews in chronologic order. Admittedly this can be cumbersome if you're looking for something in particular and don't know the time frame of the original review.

Each Revolutionary Review was originally listed by brand annd product description in the margin and this was a bit easier to find items by product. I gather as the list of reviews expands this becomes a bit more cumbersome however.

Alternately, you can use the search function provided, type in the name of the pencil brand your interested in and every post with reference to that particular product comes up. I do this for our California Republic Palomino now and then to see what new comments there may be from our fellow Palomino riders.

BTW - I really enjoy your pencil artwork.

Katherine said...

Hi Woodchuck - thanks for taking the trouble to respond and thanks for the comments about my work.

When I tried the site out yesterday a lot of the categories came up blank, hence my comments. Checking back again after your post I can see that they are now looking a lot more representative of their subject matter - with maybe a few tweaks still required to pull in stray posts. Which makes the site a lot more practical to use and I will now include it in the pencils section of my weblog (and add a post to my weblog to indicate this)

The loss of the reviews listing due to the switch of software is a pity - although I think listings are still feasible in Wordpress. Scrolling through the reviews works fine for now - however I do wonder if reviews are going to be the major component of the site whether some more thought needs to be given to how people can access info easily as the posts and information accumulate over the months and years.

In relation to the search function - I guess that will help for those who know names. However people like myself don't necessarily know the names of what they're after but just want to be able to browse - maybe helped by some helpful sub-categories within the pencil category?

I'm wondering whether the answer is to develop an associated website to act as a database of all reviews with the blog acting as the front end and "news and new information" portal into the site? I'll contact John with some info he might find useful in this respect.

Having said all that, the Pencil Revolution is very much a useful endeavour which adds to the sum of knowledge about pencils. I'm sure it will become a respected resource over time. Many new initiatives have teething problems and I guess that's all we're seeing here.



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