Thursday, January 06, 2005


My boss has asked me to tell her about blogs, to which I airily said, yes, suuuuure. After all, I read loads, and I've got one myself, and all that ... except that I don't, really, do I?

I have a Livejournal. And I've never even playtested others (apart from Flickr, but apparantly, that's a game, not a blog) . And that's not a real blog -- as one friend put it "everyone looks down on people who have livejournals". Whether that's because most livejournallers are kids, something I would never have guessed (which, in a sense, is the point of Livejournal), or because of some science vs. arts reason, I don't know.

Some my friends use moveable type so I've heard quite a bit about that. Ditto, which has an enthusiastic convert in pdc. Others build their own, but they can safely be left to that. But my chief blogger friend never discusses her material, only her subject.

Now this, to me, is a good mark in a blog. Endless ramblings about the shortcomings/and or inadequacies (or alternatively, the potentials and sheer awesomeness) of the medium is a surefire way to have me zizzing on my keyboard. But it's kept me a bit ignorant of blogspace.

Right here I want to find out:
  1. How easy is it to make one? Is the interface flexible and intuitive?
  2. How much trouble is it to look after one? Are there big problems with, say, comment spam, for example?
  3. How intrusive is that advertising on the free service? How does the paid service compare?

Or am I just kidding myself over this? Is this just the result of a morning of frustration at the abruptly inadequate pretend-friend-iness of Livejournal leading me to pettishly start a new blog? Anxiety over the sale of Livejournal to Six Apart driving me to poke fitfully at the competitors?

Well, I shoudl probably seed this with some personal information, too. Here's a good one. I just received the Global Youth Work Project update through from a colleague because she felt that the "information and resources relating to tsunami and global poverty" included might be useful.

Top of the list of resources was Oxfam's Dealing With Disasters, which deals with the basics of what makes a disaster, and why poor people suffer more from disasters than the rich. It was also the first educational resource I ever converted for online use. ?Six years and at least two major template changes later it's looking ragged, but I can still see my hand in the graphics.

Looks like, as of today, they've updated to a tsunami-specific activity -- I wonder if that will last as a strategy? There's something to be said for having grouped teaching resources relating to current emergencies.

I sometimes wonder how I ended up where I am, job-wise. Is is a career arc, or is it more like a long stumble backwards into a ditch marked "witter"?

1 comment:

Pete Ashton said...

I said that about LJ a few years ago. ;)

For what it worth and from where I'm sitting, and some other qualifiers, if you're wanting a full bells and whistles blog Wordpress seems to be the leader. MT is aiming more a business blogging and feels a bit cludgy as a tool these days.

For someone who just wants to blog, Blogger seems to be on a bit of a resurgence, not that it ever went away. I just set up a blogger blog for the first time in years and it was a breeze. I've often noted that those non-techy blogs that seem to get attention tend to be on Blogspot with standard templates and I think that's quite telling - the words are the thing, not the platform. Blogger is good for getting words out there in a clear and structured way with no mess. It's also very easy to set up group blogs.

LJ still seems to be leader if you want community. There's a lot of noise about MySpace but I can't see anything sustainable coming from that. LJ is very personal though - I wouldn't recommend it for a blog on a specific subject.

Interestingly the offerings from Yahoo and Microsoft don't seem to be getting any traction. Vox is very hip but it seems to be more for families and close knit groups of friends than wider blogging. I'm still undecided about what it's really for.

If someone asked me where to start blogging I'd say get thee to Blogger. Which oddly is what I would have said 6 years ago. Some things don't change.