It’s a new era of blogging.
Gone are the days of brightly coloured heavily cluttered personal sites as found on yahoo’s geocities, or old school MySpace. Now it is about minimalism. Stark contrasts, bold headers or subtle grey tones.
LiveJournal had to move over some time ago for Blogger and WordPress.com (though I still LOVE my LiveJournal and think it is a far more communicative blogging community – I will keep it forever muahahaha) and although sites like Tumblr have gained popularity, WordPress.org has reigned as king due to the fact it can be self hosted and one can more easily own their own content as well as have an enormous resource of plug-ins to make their wee little blog into a full blown professional representation.
In the past few years some new kids have come to town.
Posthaven, which was created by two guys of Posterous fame. They claim they intend this platform to last forever. I saw little way to customize anything. That might come later, I don’t know.
Medium which is nifty but quite limited due to being an offspring of twitter. No customization and you must use a twitter or Facebook account. However the in-post options are really quite cool and if you don’t care about being ‘unique’ or ownership, its quite awesome. Id rather use IT than twitter.
Silvrback – a nice platform that is only 30.00 for a full year. One of the cheaper alternatives yet still very nice on the eyes and easy to use. More customization than the above two. Created by Damian Sowers.
Postagon – simple, easy to use. No customization but a nice little set up. Not sure why someone would want to pay to use it, at least not in my limited use of it.
Ghost – a new way to blog. The only one of these listed that can be self-hosted. Although many hosts don’t have the ability to run ghost yet, it can be run on non-shared hosting or through sites such as A Small Orange (which is what I use) or some others that you can find via this page. Ghost.org is probably one of the best places to be hosted as it is the foundation site and the site created by the devs themselves with the most up to date features.
And now, to Sett.
We had hoped that Sett would become a major blogging platform and would have either made enough money to sustain itself, or that it would be purchased by a larger company and that we could work with their resources to make it even better. We also hoped that we’d be successful in converting many big bloggers to it. In the end we failed at all of those things.
Well — now in fairness, although Sett charges for the more usable packages, even at free it is quite functional and encourages lots of interaction. I quite liked it. It wasn’t as fun to use in posting as Medium is, and is not capable of self installing like Ghost – but it worked hard to get people’s posts seen and had great sharing tools.
I think its disconcerting for users of a platform to see posts like Tynan’s. I guess it can go two ways – it can cause current users to start using paid accounts instead of free if the user likes it a lot and is worried about the possible demise. Or it can cause current users to say “screw it” and go off somewhere else.
Projects and companies close down all the time in this fast paced internet world. That’s one reason why I really like Ghost.
Ghost lets me install it somewhere of my choosing, or onto my own server – although one can also go to ghost.org and use their paid service of 10.00/month. That might seem like a lot to pay for a simple blog (thought it is similar to many others ) however I realize that this goes back into the project and Ghost is something I really believe in. When there is a project I believe in, I want to help when possible. (this is the reason why I contribute even a small amount to my Diaspora pod at diasp.org)
Ghost has some bumps along the way. There are a few simple-ish configurations that are recommended for mail settings when setting up Ghost. Currently there are limited add-ons but this is something always in progress and you can pop over to ghost.org to see what’s going on. There are some amazing themes at their marketplace, and instructions on how to add the ability for mail followers etc. I REALLY think, that even given what is there right now, that Ghost is my platform of choice. Remember that this a community project, there is no 24/7 service for it like you will find with something like typepad, or wordpress.com etc. However it is a vibrant community. And an excited one. I really think that finally something has come along to put blogging back into the hands of bloggers.