some blog sites I’ve tried…

I’ve been a blogger since 2003.

Blogs have evolved a great deal since then.
I’m not going to give you a history of blogs (back when they started, they were “weblogs”). Instead, I’m going to review some blog hosts I’ve tried recently; now that I’m, you know, blogging again…

Over the years, blogs have grown from online diaries to web-based writing that wields tremendous influence. In the wake of such growth, a number of free and not-quite-free web-based hosts have sprung up to provide emerging influencers a platform for their deepest, most riveting thoughts. This week’s sampling, critiqued through a very opinionated lens:

Wordpress: why does everyone love wordpress so much? I freakin hate it. That may be because I don’t need any of those fancy shmancy features, and other people do. I’ve tried to love it several times over the years, and I still can’t get past the confusing and complex interface. I seriously would rather use LiveJournal. Yes, it’s HIGHLY customizable, yadda yadda…but to me, she’s just a high-maintenance girlfriend who just sin’t worth it in the long run. I used Wordpress.com (YES I know the difference between the .com and .org version) most recently as a blog for my yoga teaching site, but ultimately called her an uber and sent her home after she bitched at me for “tags” and “categories”. I’m busy, hon.

Blogger: Ah, Blogger. My very first blog site. I was on Blogger before it was acquired by Google, and have a hoodie to show for it (true story). I must’ve used Blogger for 15 different blogspot blogs over the years; personal blogs, business blogs, blogs for my students when I was a schoolteacher, blogs for my grad school classes that no one read, a blog I once wrote in my pet rabbit’s voice…yeah. Blogger, though, still has an old-school feel to it (probably because it’s no longer being developed by Google)–it’s like the AOL Hometown of blogs…or maybe the Geocities of blogs. Regardless, I still use it for my site on research paper writing, and there are a lot of reasonably-priced templates available on the web.

Tumblr: oh yeah, of course I have a Tumblr, but it’s (sadly) mainly for cross-posting Insta pics. Tumblr full of mirth and lightheartedness with a dash of serious social awareness, and a great place to search for blogs (or “tumblrs” as they are called in Tumblr-land) with the words “fuckyeah” in the title (e.g., fuckyeahbunnies, fuckyeahyoga, etc) Very, very image-focused (by that I mean visual images, not status images). Yes, it’s tweeny, has the best and most searchable repository of gifs, and has an extensive community, but I have yet to see it used as a serious text-based blog (and I’m sure commenters will prove me wrong in 3…2…1). With Yahoo‘s recent acquisition by Verizon, who knows what the future of Tumblr will be.

Medium: ah, here we go. The Serious Writer’s blog. I always get a little nervous when I’m about to post to Medium, like I’m backstage about to give an address in the school auditorium (although such jitters haven’t prevented me from posting—see link). Medium always seems to end up on a “best of” blog list, and yet I have a hard time thinking of it a a blog…to me, it seems like a user-created magazine. When I start creating a Medium post, I feel so much more like I’m crafting an article than penning a blog post. Maybe that’s because the definition of “blog” and “blog post” has evolved over the years? Anyway, I love reading writers on Medium, but if I was doing something highly specialized and serial-based (like my friend Beth’s blog, Upstate Oddities) I wouldn’t choose Medium as a platform.

Svbtle: Disclaimer: I’m drafting this on Svbtle right now. It’s not free, but I’m taking advantage of the free trial. I love the simplicity of the interface and how easy it is to save a draft and use the “ideas” mode. Not so sure that I, an early-adopter of blogs but still a digital immigrant, feel about writing in Markdown. I guess I could get used to it…
No. didn’t get used to it. Read on…

Posthaven: Elegant, classy look. Minimalist interface, for those who just want to post. Blissfully simple to use. Worth $5 a month, with the Posthaven brand label still hovering at the top? Eh, not quite sure, but it feels like when you spring for the $5 bottle of kombucha: somehow, you can just feel it doing it’s magic…somehow…
In any case, forking over the price of a latte each month buys you the insurance that the site will never shut down, ever. Is this a real concern? Mmm, maybe ask anyone who onec had a blog on Posterous? I had three before Twitter acquired them in 2012 and shut that shit down. Plot twist: Posthaven was created by Posterous co-founders. (Note: Posthaven ended up being the winner–I am now a proud subscriber!)

Postach.io: Brace yourself, now–a blog linked to your Evernote account. Yes, I have already shut the front door. Why would you want to post to your blog from Evernote? Not really sure, except that people do use Evernote as a sort of notepad/ideapad (guilty as charged), so why not? I have to say, the Postach.io blog it creates for you is already very slick looking, complete with a groovy stock photo at the top (mine was photo of a camper van on the beach–how’d they know?). Free for one blog, then paid tiers for more. The direct connection to Evernote does seem to encourage a focus on the drafting stage of writing.

(Honorable Mention) Livejournal: why include it? Because at one time it was an AWESOME community. It still is for some folks (and George R.R. Martin), but my friends and I stopped using it not long after we left the old Myspace for the old Facebook. Livejournal really was, if you think about it, the Myspace of blogs: you had easy access to your friend’s latest ramblings, and yet could just as easily branch out and link to other communities and LJers, forming a network of digital pen-pals. No doubt many relationships got their start through LJ. Just like AIM, I couldn’t wait to lure my friends away from it and toward newer, fresher platforms; now, I kinda wish I could go back.

 
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