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What's the blogging platform I want if I don't really like to blog?
March 8, 2012 12:55 PM   Subscribe

I am too disorganized to blog consistently, but I'm also way too verbose for Twitter. Is there a blogging platform that exists somewhere between these two extremes? Is there a platform that's kind of like Facebook as a blog? Do I want a Tumblr?

For personal and professional reasons, I am trying to step up my blogging. I have a wordpress blog but am terrible about updating it: there is something about the platform that makes me feel like I need to write and edit long-form essays and preview them, and edit them again, which feels like real work, so then I just don't post anything. I have tried the press-this button but still feel this way.

I've tried Twitter, but I'm much too verbose and it's just not my bag.

Basically what I want is a blogging platform that feels quick and intuitive, like the Facebook update window (I know, we all hate Facebook, just go with me here): something that doesn't feel like it's expecting a long, well-researched article, but instead a quick "Here's a video about a dog eating peanut butter. It is awesome." or "I just watched an amazing human drama unfold in the produce section." kind of thing. I would like to use a platform that encourages me to update briefly (but like two-three paragraphs briefly, not 140 characters) multiple times a day, with the possibility for the occasional longer post.

Do I perhaps want a Tumblr? I've poked around other peoples' Tumblrs, but I frequently find the visual style cluttered and the navigation not very intuitive. I also wonder about the possibility for interacting with people on that platform: I really want a comment section.

Writing this out, I guess I literally want the blogging version of Facebook. Does this or anything like it exist? Free or paid is fine. Or, if you have tips about dealing with wordpress if you are a weird person like me who gets intimidated by their interface, that would be great, too. Thanks!
posted by thehmsbeagle to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Quick clarification question about this: "there is something about the platform that makes me feel like I need to write and edit long-form essays and preview them, and edit them again, which feels like real work, so then I just don't post anything."

Can you pinpoint what specifically makes you feel like you have to write long essays? Would it help if you could customize the posting form so that it's just a single box with a single "Post" button?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:00 PM on March 8, 2012


I've poked around other peoples' Tumblrs, but I frequently find the visual style cluttered and the navigation not very intuitive.

Then you need to poke around the themes that are available, or create one of your own.

I also wonder about the possibility for interacting with people on that platform: I really want a comment section.

Then you want to check out Disqus.
posted by desjardins at 1:00 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Any platform that you use can be tweaked to be visually more streamlined in it's design, so it could be tumbler--but you could be anything.
posted by marimeko at 1:02 PM on March 8, 2012


Basically what I want is a blogging platform that feels quick and intuitive, like the Facebook update window (I know, we all hate Facebook, just go with me here): something that doesn't feel like it's expecting a long, well-researched article, but instead a quick "Here's a video about a dog eating peanut butter. It is awesome." = totally Tumblr

I also wonder about the possibility for interacting with people on that platform: I really want a comment section. = Tumblr blogs have two functions for comments- there's a "reply" function that you can make available to your Tumblr followers; they'll be able to comment on your post or reblog your post and add their own comment (there's not a smooth way to have a back-and-forth conversation with a Tumblr follower in comments). Non-Tumblr followers can comment with Disqus. The most actively commented upon blog I read is Fosterhood; you might also enjoy the simple, easy to navigate layout (love that you see the number of archive pages so you now how many to go back to get to the beginning).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:02 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know everyone says it's dying, etc etc, but this is what Google+ is great at. Long-form content + the interactivity of Facebook (ish).
posted by bwerdmuller at 1:08 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Blogger is way simpler and more intuitive, in my opinion, than Wordpress. Of course, it's also way less customizable and flexible, but for straight-up blogging, it's super easy. And, you know, free.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:39 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some people use tumblr like this, but I think you'll be disappointed. Worth a try though.

Given you keep mentioning Facebook, I'd say go with Facebook. They've updated their status update maximums late last year so it should accommodate your needs.

I guess I can see how WordPress' backend could intimidate you, but I think it might just be you have a theme that emphasizes titles and permalinks and dates - you may want to look for a theme that is more open ended. I don't know of one offhand, but a theme that allowed you the option to hide titles and other blogging cruft might be just your thing.

Have a look at this scripting news page from 2002. You'll note that that appears to be a single day, and there are permalinks attached to even the smallest of content. Is that what you mean when you want the option for smaller content? There's something nice about a more minimal or nonexistent byline, along with smaller permalinked content.

Blogger is worth a look, but I don't see how it improves on the WordPress experience you already dislike / avoid.
posted by artlung at 1:49 PM on March 8, 2012


Just chiming in to second Google+ -- at least the way I've been experiencing it, it seems to lend itself to shorter (but longer than Facebook/Twitter) blog posts, and the auto-collapse makes it so longer entries aren't a nuisance.

I also agree with the suggestion to browse through Wordpress themes for designs that look best with shorter entries.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 3:33 PM on March 8, 2012


I really like tumblr. I have a wordpress blog I use for longer writing when I feel like it but for more casual day to day stuff it's great; I love the platform. (There is interactivity, you can add Discus comments which I don't think is hard, enable the "ask" box which allows people to ask you questions (or just communicate stuff to you), and enable replies for followers. Also people tend to reblog and respond really freely since it's quite easy to do.) You can definitely find themes that aren't awful to look at or navigate, though the archives still often suck -- and the internal site search is garbage, but I still can't imagine switching back to blogger.
posted by SoftRain at 3:54 PM on March 8, 2012


You can use Blogger and post by email. Easy as pie.
posted by chickenmagazine at 6:05 PM on March 8, 2012


You can also update Tumblr via email, for what it's worth.

This really screams Tumblr, to me, the way you're describing the environment you want. Look at "F* Yeah Eastern Europe," "Schlieffen," and "Medium Aevum" for examples of the kind of "sometimes I write a big post and other times it's a photo of my shoes" randomness Tumblr's community is very happy dealing with.

Disqus and replies are quite easy to enable/install. Here is an example of someone who has enabled "answers" - all you have to do is end your post with a question mark, and you can set it so that anyone can write a (short) response.
posted by SMPA at 6:44 PM on March 8, 2012


Perception things:

- Wordpress is very standalone. When you publish something, you put it into a box marked 'your blog', and that's it.

- Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter (having just noticed this connection is why I'm posting) all have a communal timeline as their basic interface. When you publish something, you feel like you're dropping it into some largeish container along with everyone else's posts. This is actually pretty encouraging - it feels like you're contributing to something that's always alive.

Tumblr is different to Facebook and Twitter in that you do have a standalone blog that looks very like a conventional blog, and nicely so. Then you also get the timeline view of those you follow. Best of both worlds. Warning, though - it's addictive for that.

PS - use ifttt or similar to spam Facebook with your Tumblr posts if you like! Tumblr itself can post to Twitter for you.
posted by lokta at 3:37 AM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


So many great thoughts here. Thanks for your responses!
posted by thehmsbeagle at 3:00 PM on March 10, 2012


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