In the good old days, the choices were limited. I am talking about the internet and social media of course and I am talking about a time when Orkut ruled the social media circus. Notebooks were made of paper and projects were managed in large box file folders. Not anymore!
I wrote about productivity tools a while back and it turns out that was just the tip of the iceberg. For the last few hours, I have been wrestling with Google to understand blogging platforms and what platforms such as Medium.com bring to the table. I dare not delve into the ridiculous details of the subject, however, I have experimented with my share of platforms and will summarize a bit just so that I can come back after a few months and slap myself.
The king of the blogging kingdom, it is fundamentally a content management system. It offers the maximum number of options, customizations and you can create your own personal blend of website, blog and what not using WordPress. I have been using this BFG for over a decade and looking back, I feel it is a great tool IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. Yes! I admit, I really did not know what I was doing when I started using it BUT at the time I had little or no other options.
Seth Godin once said in a TED talk that in a world with too many options and too little time, the obvious choice is to ignore things. Well, he clearly was not talking about geeks like me who want a slice of every proverbial pizza.
I love WordPress.com for a number of reasons…
- Habit. I am used to it and there is no learning curve for me.
- Options. I can move to a self-hosted site whenever I want.
- Branding. My blog feels like my own. It does not have anyone else’s logo hanging from the top.
- Organisation. Blog is divided into categories and referenced using tags
Surprisingly, that’s it. Over time, however, I have come to resent the platform in certain ways as well…
- The look. It is the same across all the themes and it is driving me crazy.
- Flexibility. I get sidetracked every time I see a new theme. ‘What does that button do?’
- Community. Really it is easy to get lost in the sea of giants.
- Mobile app sucks. Nuff said.
Makes sense? Let’s move on.
The new and slick kid on the block is Medium.com. Its appeal stems from the fact that it is everything WordPress is NOT. It is for people who don’t know what they are doing BUT do know that they want to blog. I am writing on Medium as well because it is something I don’t want to be a stranger to and here is what I liked about it.
- Simple. Just log in and start writing.
- Social. Likes are now ‘claps’ but the community is supposedly more verbal. I wrote one post and got a lot more feedback than on WordPress in a decade.
- The mobile app rocks! It has something called Series which is like nothing before and me likes! Unfortunately, it is currently only available on iOS and web UI.
And ofcourse the stuff I do NOT like.
- The Medium Logo on the top. I rarely remember who was the author of the story I liked, just that it was on Medium.
- HTML Backup. No export to other options but it’s not that bad.
People have an option and in mine that about covers my experience.
There is one more thing I tried out before I jumped ship.
For those who are customization freaks, Jekyll is a great thing. It takes posts written in Markdown and applies a template to them. This is great unfortunately it also made me realize that I was spending a lot more time customizing and a lot less time blogging. In short…
I get control over the blog but…
I have to customize everything! I mean everything!
So what do I do?
Here is my solution to the problem. I still blog on WordPress for the most part. Truth be told, the mobile apps and web interfaces have caught up and I can really blog either way. Once I have a post up on WordPress, I ask Medium to Import it. This is because I cannot do that with WordPress as effectively without losing the formatting.
I am still exploring the stream feature on Medium and will have an update once I have posted at least one complete story there. Social sharing is still limited since I am still figuring out what I am exactly doing and that is the truth.
Other Internet Inconveniences
Social media is important if you want to brand something. Facebook is to social media, what WordPress is to blogging. Twitter is a great tool as well but it does not have the audience that FB has. Instagram is a lot more hip and I have set up a ifttt to post my Instagram posts to my facebook profile. I have a facebook page which gets a lot of likes but everything is so diverse and unstructured and that is the point. Too many options driving me nuts.
I think the next step should be to ignore certain things since you cannot have everything. Instead of going door-to-door or at least platform-to-platform, it may be a wiser choice to just start with a shopping mall outlet. That way you can focus more on selling rather than finding that perfect spot.
Let me know in the comment what you think and how one should use blogging and social media. I am gonna take a walk and clear my head. Thanks for reading.
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