Tuesday, December 2, 2008

23 Things Vol. 1: Blogging

The first 23 Things module (actually its the 2nd, but the 1st is a introduction) involves creating a blog. They recommend beginning with services like Blogger, Typepad or Vox. (They have a list of around fifty different services which shows the blogging has become more mainstream than niche.) I have some experience running my own website, and had used the free blogging service at Blogger and Livejournal. Rather than continue down the same path as before I started trying something new. As that is really the reason behind the 23 Things project. I ended up trying a couple different services before falling back on Blogger and then again onto my traditional web creation software: Rapidweaver


  • Typepad: A Six Apart property (I think) for the professional blogger Typepad has several different service levels aimed at meeting the needs of several different client-types. I had heard go things about the service and the home page looked professional (i.e. shiny). I started down the set-up path which was particularly painless. However, I came to a screeching halt when the site warned told me about the exciting 14 day free trial and how afterward my credit card would be charged the initial set-up fee. I generally don’t like trial periods that then shift into payment. I am always afraid that I am going to forget to cancel the service or I am paranoid about getting comfortable with a service and then priced out of said service.
  • Vox: Then I tried Vox which I had heard about from a poplar tech pundit whose podcasts/netcasts I enjoy. The Vox page looked rather spiffy like its counterpart on Typepad so I started down the set-up path. Vox seemed like it had a particular focus on video blogging and sharing other media beyond traditional text blogging. The set templates were rather limiting and I had no interest in video blogging. Broadband is still largely unavailable in large parts of the country and dial up is still rather kludgy when it comes to video. Secondly, I have no interest in splattering my image across the internet (Though I have friends from library school who enjoy the occasional video blog.)
  • Blogger: I finally fell back to the blogger service because I already had an account and the service was a variable that I understood. I decided to test different blogging clients from some 3rd party developers to further add to the learning process. The blog I created on blogger doesn’t have much information. It originally had this very post in a drastically different format and slightly different topic coverage. The client I used to enter the brief entry on the test blog was Macjournal from Mariner Software. (They also Winjournal for the other 95% of the population where Macjournal doesn’t apply.)
    • Macjournal: While not a dedicated blogging client Macjournal does have a blogging component that made interaction with Blogger and uploading content relatively painless. There were some interesting moments when I was trying to find how to insert a link into the entry. Since Macjournal is note built solely to shoot text up to the web I had to track down the feature through a couple of menus. In the future I hope to try a dedicated client that works a little more seamlessly in creating the blog post. (A swiss army knife is great when you don’t know what you need, but sometimes when you know you need a cleaver it is nice to use the cleaver.)
I rather enjoyed the exercised and look forward to completing the other 9 different modules. I want to complete them all by Dec 15th 2008, but I don’t whether that will be feasibly with the day job and other factors built into the schedule. Though I will try and document my progress on the blog throughout the experience in addition to any other thoughts on the information science/librarianship world.