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Six new blogging platforms that have debuted in 2013

It is hard to keep up with all the new blogging platforms emerging this year after years of being stagnant, but here are six that are worth consideration.

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ghost blogging platform

blogging platforms

Blogging platforms are getting interesting

It seems like a new blogging platform is released everything month, but what sets one apart from another? Here is a look at a few of the most popular new releases and what makes one different from another. The overall theme of these new platforms: back to basics. They have stripped away all the overly intrusive features that keep you from doing what you need to do quickly and efficiently: write. Here are six of the most popular, new blogging platforms:

1. SETT

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SETT is a blogging platform centered on community, enabling new users to fin the right audience immediately and long-time bloggers can interact with higher quality commenters and contributors. SETT’s design is a bit fancier, a bit less basic, and a bit like WordPress. It has a top bar where you can track comments and private messages from other community members. From the first day you sign up with SETT, they begin referring readers to your site. It also has a word-matching system that will compare one post to another, so that if a particular reader likes one of your posts, it can recommend similar ones to them to keep them interested. Their site states, “blogs average 98% more comments after switching to SETT.” If your biggest obstacle in blogging is gaining an audience, or you just want to connect with other bloggers, SETT might be a good fit. There are four pricing levels for SETT, from free to $99/month. To see the features of each price level, click here.

2. Postagon

postagon

However, if you are looking for a simpler way to blog, getting back to basics, if you will, the next five selections are perfect. Postagon boasts you can “blog simpler” with essential features, no fluff, and no worries. Postagon appears clean on all devices and offers fast and reliable posting with no app required. You can join in forty seconds and it is free. For $4.99 a month you receive no promoted content and the ability to run multiple blogs, but in all other aspects, the free version will get you all of the features Postagon has to offer. There is a visual and markdown editor, Google Analytics, RSS feeds, social sharing, and Retina display support. You can also add your own cover photos to personalize, or brand, your blogging environment. You can share your posts via email, Facebook. Tumblr,  Twitter, Google, and Kindle. Postagon is very similar to Roon, in both layout and function.

3. Roon

roon

Roon’s difference is in its interface. You have a blank canvas that fades away when you start to write. There are a few options for styling at the bottom, but for the most part, it is pretty simplistic. You will need to download the app, however, if you plan to use it on your mobile devices. Roon allows your blog to be content focused; while you can link to some social media sites, it is still your writing that takes center stage. For example, you can share a post, but you cannot comment directly. You can only comment via Twitter. It also uses Google Analytics, likes, a few more simple features. It is free, but there will be paid upgrades soon. Currently, there is no plan to show advertisements on your blog, which is incredibly nice, as you well know, if you blog. Settings however, are a bit limited. But this goes along with the getting back to basics theme. You can add a short bio, one link, and your Twitter username (for commenting) and that is pretty much it. Sign up is simple: enter your name, email, along with a chosen username and password and you are ready to start blogging.

4. Postach.io

postachio

Postach.io is “the easiest blog ever.” You can publish any thoughts you have already captured with Evernote. No need to know CMS, simply select a notebook, add a domain name, and then tag notes as published to share your content. If you are not currently using Evernote, you can sign up for an account through Postach.io. The best part is, you stay in control of your data. Since your content stays in your Evernote account, no migration to a haven is necessary. Themes were inspired by Tumblr and are as easy as creating a single HTML page with inline CSS, however, this does mean you will need to know a little something about CSS or you will not be able to customize your Postach.io account. They offer you a little bit of help doing this here. They also offer Google Analytics, disqus commenting, and share buttons. And it is free as well. But, if you do not want to use/learn CSS, you may be better off trying another platform, although, once you try it, it is not too hard to learn.

5. Ghost

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And perhaps the simplest of all: Ghost. Ghost is built by John O’Nolan, who worked for two years as the deputy head of WordPress’ interface team, but wanting to bring blogging back to basics, Ghost was created. You may remember Marti Trewe at AG Beat, bringing you the story about Ghost in May. Ghost is simply a blogging platform with a beautiful dashboard that shows you everything about your blog, in one place. It has a split screen writing function where Markdown is on the left and active preview is on the right. You can also drag and drop images to your post and they will appear exactly where you dropped it in your final post. Adding tags is simple and easy, just click at the bottom and add what you need. It is optimized for all mobile devices. as well. Ghost is based on three principles: Ghost is built for users; Ghost is completely free, no restrictions on content, plugins, or conferencing ability); and Ghost is being made for love and not profit. The last principle is especially important because it impacted how the software was designed. O’Nolan states, “do we want to make millions and sell to Facebook, or do we want to make something that’s genuinely good and serves its users, not investors and shareholders.” They opted with the latter, as Ghost will be set up as a not-for-profit organization. This platform gives writers the tools they need to push blogging and journalism into the next level with a level of simplicity that allows you to simply write, with nothing in between you and your words. Ghost has yet to launch, their site says it will be launched at the end of the Summer,  but if it is anything like what they have planned, it could prove to be quite the contender in the blogging platform arena.

6. Posthaven

posthaven

AG Beat told you how to back up your data when Posterous was acquired by Twitter after being touted as a simple blogging platform. One of its signature features was that it let you post to your blog from any email account or mobile device, so prolific bloggers could add new content all the time, quickly and easily. And this is what current blogging platforms are seeking to recapture in one way or another. Basic, quick, easy publication of your content. If you really miss Posterous, Posthaven, made by Posterous co-founder, Garry Tan, is available for $5/month. But, Tan has promised this site will never shut down, although I believe Twitter made the same promise when they acquired Posterous.

Since WordPress has made a move towards web sites and content management, it is refreshing to see there are new platforms emerging to offer some competition and avenues to get back to the basics of just blogging without a plethora of bells and whistles.

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Kashyap Joshi

    October 31, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Hello Jennifer,
    These all 6 sites are new for me. I love to join them. Thanks for sharing cool info. 🙂

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Tech News

Microsoft to become 3rd largest gaming company after Blizzard acquisition

(TECHNOLOGY) Microsoft will not be left behind in the Metaverse. The tech giant plans to fully acquire Activision Blizzard by 2023 for $68.7 billion cash.

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The front of the Microsoft office with large Microsoft logo.

Microsoft announced plans to acquire the video game publisher, Activision Blizzard, on January 18, 2022, in an all-cash transaction reported to be valued at $68.7 billion.

The deal gives the tech giant popular game franchises, such as World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Overwatch, Diablo, and many more to add to its arsenal. This acquisition sets Microsoft up to be the third-largest gaming company by revenue.  Microsoft expects the deal to close in the 2023 fiscal year (which begins in July of this calendar year) once the customary closing conditions have been completed along with the regulatory review and Activision Blizzard’s shareholder approval. Both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard’s board of directors have already approved the deal.

This deal comes in hot on the heels of an avalanche of issues surrounding sexual harassment where 37 employees have reportedly left Activision Blizzard according to this article on The Verge. Microsoft states that Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and he and his team will maintain their focus on driving efforts to further strengthen the company’s culture and accelerate business growth. Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming.

Phil Spencer, the CEO of Microsoft Gaming, posted both Activision and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently until the deal is complete with Activision Blizzard then all business will be reported to Spencer.

“Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO, Microsoft. “We’re investing deeply in world-class content, community, and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive, and accessible to all.”

Maybe you noticed the not-so-subtle hint regarding the Metaverse by Microsoft’s chairman and CEO Satya Nadella, but it seems everyone is quick to mention to the public and or other companies listening that they are gearing up to bring their A-game to the Metaverse. Whatever that ends up being.

In the meantime, we can predict some of the possible changes to come from this buyout. Microsoft currently has Game Pass, their subscription-based model for Xbox, which recently hit 25 million subscribers. Now’s the time to sign up for the Game Pass subscription before prices go up to match the revamped gaming inventory. Microsoft could potentially lock down new releases and not deliver them on other platforms, i.e., PlayStation, giving them exclusivity and driving subscription sign-ups.

Whatever ends up happening, Microsoft is making big moves to not be left behind in the gaming world or the Metaverse.

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Tech News

Want to save snippets of a Zoom meeting? Listener makes it possible!

(TECHNOLOGY) Listener lets you screenshot or bookmark important sections of live meetings, as well as curate a playlist of snippets, to share or playback.

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Listener for Zoom tool landing page on laptop.

We live in a very computer-mediated world where the bulk of communication is done virtually. Many of us spend a great deal of time – whether for work or pleasure – on video calls connecting with people that we’re unable to meet with in person.

Zoom became the unofficial mascot for the pandemic and has shown no signs of going anywhere. So naturally, people are looking for ways to put this to even more of an advantage – like by creating messaging extensions to utilize in lieu of live meetings.

Now the folks behind Listener are getting in on the action by creating Listener for Zoom.

The new tool allows users to bookmark important moments of Zoom calls in real-time and easily turn long recordings into bite-sized video clips.

As founder Nishith Shah puts it, “Zoom meetings just got more productive!”

Listener allows users to do a myriad of things, including live bookmarking to create short video clips; ability to transcribe your entire meeting; edit video clips by using transcripts instead of struggling with video editing tools; share video highlights with your team; create playlists from video highlights across different Zoom meetings to tell powerful stories; use projects to organize your meetings and playlists.

Founders say that Listener is designed for pretty much anyone who uses Zoom. In early testing, the founders found that it is especially helpful for product managers and UX researchers who do customer interviews.

They also reported that early-stage founders have been using Listener to add powerful customer videos to their investor pitch decks. It is also helpful for recruiters and hiring managers who search transcripts across hundreds of hiring interviews to remember who said what and to pass on important clips to other people in the interview process.

The tool is also beneficial for teams and hiring, as customer success and sales teams create a knowledge base with Listener to train and onboard new employees. They also use it to pass on customer feedback to the product teams.

This could also be great for clipping video elements that are appropriate for social media use.

On January 11, 2022, Listener was awarded #3 Product of the Day on Product Hunt.

Listener for Zoom is free while in Beta. The tool works only with licensed (paid) Zoom accounts.

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Opinion Editorials

Job listings are popping up left and right, so what exactly *is* UX writing?

(EDITORIAL) While UX writing is not technically new, it is seemingly becoming more and more prevalent. The job titles are everywhere, so what is it?

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UX writing

The work of a UX writer is something you come across every day. Whether you’re hailing an Uber or browsing Spotify for that one Drake song, your overall user experience is affected by the words you read at each touchpoint.

A UX writer facilitates a smooth interaction between user and product at each of these touchpoints through carefully chosen words.

Some of the most common touchpoints these writers work on are interface copy, emails, and notifications. It doesn’t sound like the most thrilling stuff, but imagine using your favorite apps without all the thoughtful confirmation messages we take for granted. Take Eat24’s food delivery app, instead of a boring loading visual, users get a witty message like “smoking salmon” or “slurping noodles.”

Eat24’s app has UX writing that works because it’s engaging.

Xfinity’s mobile app provides a pleasant user experience by being intuitive. Shows that are available on your phone are clearly labeled under “Available Out of Home.” I’m bummed that Law & Order: SVU isn’t available, but thanks to thoughtful UX writing at least I knew that sad fact ahead of time.

Regardless of where you find these writer’s work, there are three traits an effective UX writer must-have. Excellent communication skills are a must. The ability to empathize with the user is on almost every job post. But from my own experience working with UX teams, I’d argue for the ability to advocate as the most important skill.

UX writers may have a very specialized mission, but they typically work within a greater user experience design team. In larger companies, some UX writers even work with a smaller team of fellow writers. Decisions aren’t made in isolation. You can be the wittiest writer, with a design decision based on obsessive user research, but if you can’t advocate for those decisions then what’s the point?

I mentioned several soft skills, but that doesn’t mean aspiring UX writers can’t benefit from developing a few specific tech skills. While the field doesn’t require a background in web development, UX writers often collaborate with engineering teams. Learning some basic web development principles such as responsive design can help writers create a better user experience across all devices. In a world of rapid prototyping, I’d also suggest learning a few prototyping apps. Several are free to try and super intuitive.

Now that the UX in front of the writer no longer intimidates you, go check out ADJ, The American Genius’ Facebook Group for Austin digital job seekers and employers. User-centric design isn’t going anywhere and with everyone getting into the automation game, you can expect even more opportunities in UX writing.

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