A Daily _______

Publish daily small challenges for people to respond via twitter


About the Daily Blank

The Daily Blank Wordpress Theme for a site that works like The ds106 Daily Create (TDC) which has been publishing creative tasks every day since January 2012. Unlike the original version where responses needed to be posted to social media sites, for the Daily Blank participation is via sending a tweet to a dedicated account with a specific hashtag for each day's challenge.

The idea is that small, open ended, low/no stakes creative challenges helps people learn new ways to create media, to try things they might think they cannot do, and to express themselves in digital art.

See the DS106 Daily Create #TDC1667 shown above. Or better yet, create a response to it.

Examples in the Real World

Explore some different examples where the Daily Blank has been used:

Take a Ride Before You Try to Tame That Web Horse

We have a demo site that was created the same way here on StateU as you can or will do. A Daily Blank is set up to explore it's structure and functionality. This is exactly the site you will see when you install it in your own StateU space.

And you will get the same sample "thing" that includes the instructions below on configuration options.


How to Build Your Own

Now you can build a daily blank site of your own. The instructions below are available (at least for now) only via the StateU site. Anyone can create an account there to try this pre-built Daily Blank site. If you want to try this on your own domain, you can get the theme and instructions from GitHub. It will take a few more steps there.

Like you did when setting up your first Wordpress blog, start at your StateU dashboardand under Applications click Wordpress.

Click the Install This Application button. This time we will set up the Location settings to put this Wordpress site in a subdirectory of your own site. Because we already have a Wordpress sitting at the root of our domain, we will put this in a subdirectory. You can name it whatever you like, it will become the URL for your site too.

So in this case the site creator wants a blog at the url http://xxxxxx.statu.org/dailywhat so dailywhat is what they enter for Subdirectory (feel free to name it whatever you like):

The next section is called Versions. Under the Content heading you will see a few options for the template to use; choose The Daily Blank to install a version of Wordpress with all of this functionality built in, and most of the site set up for you.

Now scroll past a few sections until you get to Wordpress Settings. You can edit your own admin user name and password, but it's not necessary-- you can log into your directly from this interface later. So you can leave the random generated values for now.

The only fields you might want to change Website Title and Website Tagline to something that better represents your new site (you can also edit this later in the Wordpress settings).

That's it! Now click the Install button in the bottom right, and just watch the progress bar dance along the screen.

When it's done, you can try the first link to see your site. You will find there, just like the demo, the first one is a sample entry with the instructions you also will see below.

Daily Blank Configuration

If you left the site title with the default My Blog on the installer, you can change that in Settings -> General. The majority of changes you need to consider are available from the Daily Blank Options link at the top black admin menubar.

Check the documentation tab for help and the more detailed explanation on the GitHub site. Below we summarize the important settings to consider for your own bank site.

What is the Challenge Done?

That's the big question, what kind of things will you put out every day? Ideally, they should not be too demanding, but also, not to easy or trivial.

Categories are not critical in this site, but if you would like to organize your dailies, you can set them up under Daily Blanks -> Daily Blank Categories. The site expects a parent category (All on this site) for all of the Dailies, so make your categories a child of that category.

Authenticating a Twitter Account

Then you will need to figure out what twitter account you will use as the one people tweet to with their responses. You can use your own, but I always create a new twitter account just for this site. To have a web site tweet for you, it needs some special authorization codes from twitter.

This template will come set up using one of my spare accounts @auntysocial; and you are welcome to use it while you learn how to set up the site.

But if you have another account, you will need to log in at https://apps.twitter.com/ and create a new twitter "app" that will provide the necessary API keys. The access is okay with Read Only permissions.

Four of the keys are necessary to configure this site, two Application Keys and Two Access Tokens:

  • Consumer Key (API Key)
  • Consumer Secret (API Secret)
  • Access Token
  • Access Token Secret

You will need these to enter in the screen located at Settings -> Twitter Feed Auth

Daily Blank Options

Review the settings specific to the Daily Blank found from the Daily Blank Options link in the top admin menu bar.

The first field defines the name of the things done, the word that comes after The Daily _______ -- for DS106 it is Create; for the UDG Agora one it is Try, for the Stillweb it is Stillness.

The fourth field is important too- it defines the "base" name of the tag; the site will append an incrementing integer to it for each new daily _____ published. Shorter is always better. You do not have to worry about making unique tags-- to be picked up by your site, a tweet must include both the twitter name you are using as a target and the hashtag for one day's challenge.

The When to Publish option defines the time of day each new one is published.

You can find full documentation on the settings when you are in the Daily Blank Options screen.

Making Daily ______s

You can create new challenges directly from the New menu item in the Dashboard (like creating a new blog post). When you save a draft or publish, the site will add several things to your post-- a hashtag in the title, a tag with the same hashtag, it will queue the Daily to be published in the future if there is a queue present, and it will append a prompt to a site visitor on how to respond.

The site also has a form where the public can suggest challenges to include. These will show up under Daily Blanks -> Submitted Daily Blanks. You can just edit them (they are technically Wordpress Drafts and when saved, all of the steps above are done for you.

Lastly, when you have a good collection built up, you can "recycle" past Dailies as new ones; the content is copied, and a new tag and scheduled publication date is set.

Checking Tweets

The site is set to check twitter only once an hour- you can force a check for new mentions via the Look For Tweets button in the Daily Blank Options.

All of the tweets that it finds are store locally as Responses in the Wordpress site. You can edit them if someone mis-tags their response, or you can add ones directly if you can locate all the information it needs by looking at older responses.

More Customizations

The site comes with a number of "short codes" that can be used in pages and widgets to show the number of Daily Blanks that have been published, total number of responses, a list of top responders, and a list of the people who have submitted the most Daily Blank ideas.

You will find more suggestions on the GitHub site, including how to set up a service to automatically tweet your newest published "daily"

Now go experiment with setting up your own daily _______ (what's in your blank?

Animated GIF created with Giphy GIF Maker from the YouTube video of How The West Was One (1962 movie trailer)