In Search of the Wild Topic

As a self-hosted WordPress user, I’m not familiar with the Reader. I haven’t subscribed to tags, nor have I followed blogs.

However, what I discovered from five minutes of study was that I could find and subscribe to tags (or, if you want a different word, topics) quite easily thanks to a WordPress plug-in I wrote a few years ago.

(For those who are on, plug-ins are WordPress functions that can be added to a self-hosted install to give new functionality. doesn’t have this option for its blogs.)

In 2010, I wrote a plug-in that would provide links to the tag archives — which happen to be what the reader follows — based on my own tags. If I liked to tag posts with “The Beatles,” my blog would provide me a link to “The Beatles” tag archive on Here’s what I wrote at the time:

One thing I like about (and I’m jealous of, frankly) is that blogs on the service are linked to each other through the tags used by the writers of various posts. If someone writes a post on, say, The Leisure Society (pulled at random, because their CD is on my desk here), then that post will be linked to other blogs also writing about The Leisure Society. There was a WordPress plug-in way back in early days called “Blogs of the Day” that did something similar and allowed blogs to be linked to other, related blogs automatically, but there’s nothing now that does that.

I had not used the plug-in in a few years, and I discovered when I reactivated it that it didn’t function any more. I took a look at the code, figured out why it wasn’t working (the big issue was that the URL for the tag pages changed), and then started recoding the PHP. I activated the plug-in, wrote a page template, and produced this page (after some bug hunting) — a tag cloud to, based on my blog’s top tags. Some tags I’ve used on my blog no one has ever used on, and that’s okay.

(If anyone wants this plug-in, let me know. It’s pretty basic. You can create a tag cloud with it in a page tempalte, and it also has a sidebar widget. If you’re on a self-hosted WordPress install, you might find it useful.)

Now I can start subscribing to tags. And I can find blogs on to follow. Now I have an easy way of finding topics that interest me on, based on the things that I’ve written.

I haven’t subscribed to anything yet. But I will. I have all day to decide. 🙂


2 responses to “In Search of the Wild Topic”

  1. JoHanna Massey Avatar
    JoHanna Massey

    And I am going to follow you!


  2. If I subscribed to any of the major tags in their cloud, like “politics” or “movies”, my email box would be too big to keep up with. I hate the new Reader. My current favorite browser isn’t even supported!


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