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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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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

Yell ‘Marco,’ this app makes your phone yell ‘Polo’

(TECH NEWS) New iPhone app helps find your iPhone so you can find your phone to phone a friend. Are you ready to play Marco Polo on land?

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Do you ever find yourself taking your phone too seriously? Is your phone more of a business tool than anything else? Do you honestly not mind when you lose it?

When you think of your phone, what comes to mind first – April Nardini’s “silent German films,” or Rory Gilmore’s jaunts with the Life and Death Brigade? Consider spicing up your relationship with your phone with role playing! And yes, don’t worry. There’s an app for that.

It’s called Marco Polo, and you may have already guessed what it does, which in my book means it’s a pretty darn good name.

Once you install the app, you can literally shout the word “Marco” into oblivion and your phone will sing out “Polo” at the top of its smart little lungs.

Those who are looking to get themselves and their phones out of deep relationship ruts can endlessly customize the way they address their phone, and choose how it responds.

The customization possibilities seem endless. I suggest terms of endearment: when screamed into the darkness of your early morning bedroom, words like “Dearest!” and “Honeybunch!” are likely to open up a healthy dialogue between you and your phone by making it feel safe and appreciated.

It will then respond in one of thirty preset character voices with the words you’ve instructed it to say. Because phones don’t have free will yet, duh.

The Marco Polo app is extra handy when you don’t have a real live friend around you to call your phone for you, and when you’ve left your phone on silent or very low volume to block out the outside world.

It’ll boost your phone’s volume and light up its screen against its (not-free) will, no matter how carefully you’ve stifled it.

Basically, whenever you’re lonely or stressed and can only find solace in your misplaced phone, this app will be there for you like no one else can be.

The website doesn’t specify how nearby your phone needs to be, or how loudly you need to shout at it, so a little friendly trial and error will get your spicy new relationship up and running.

Marco Polo is only available on Apple devices but it's so worth it.Click To Tweet

Because it definitely isn’t 2018, and most of the entire world definitely doesn’t use Android. Come on, guys.

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The semantic argument of the phrase ‘Full Stack’

(TECH NEWS) As the tech industry knows, being able to classify your job qualifications is paramount.

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Semantics

A new debate is emerging in the web development world and it’s not about which framework is best, or which language is most marketable.

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In fact the debate isn’t a matter of code, it’s a matter of words.

It’s Not Just About Experience Level

“Full Stack Developer” is the title developers both new and old often use to describe themselves. According to a Stack Overflow developer survey touted as the “most comprehensive developer survey conducted” the title is among the top five respondents used to describe themselves.

However, not everyone thinks newer developers should adopt the title.

It would be easy to distill the debate to a matter of experience level, veterans earned the “full stack” title, while newer programmers haven’t. However, there’s way more layers to this debate.

What Exactly is Full Stack

First of all, a simple google search reveals several different definitions of “full stack.” There’s general consensus when it comes to the high-level definition. CodeUp sums up this definition, “The term full stack means developers who are comfortable working with both back-end and front-end technologies.”

When it comes down to the nitty-gritty of what exactly falls under back-end and front-end, there’s some disagreement.

Mastery level also matters, but again there’s disagreement over what’s acceptable. In one camp, are the proficiency pushers who require not only a breadth of understanding, but also a depth of understanding in multiple areas.

In this camp, it’s not just good enough to have exposure to SQL, one must have proficiency in SQL.

In the other camp, are the generalist. They also require a breadth of knowledge, but are happy with a basic familiarity of each stack element. When it comes to debating whether newer developers should adopt the full stack title, the lack of clarity on what full stack means in the first place is a major stumbling block.

Why Full Stack?

Besides clarifying the what behind “full stack” some folks are also clarifying the why. According to Indeed’s job trends, the number of postings and searches matching “full stack developer” on average has trended upwards since 2012 . The title’s popularity causes some to believe that new developers are adopting the title as a buzzword with no real care put into understanding what “full stack” means.

Android Programmer Dan Kim from Basecamp warns, “Just don’t fall back to labeling yourself with a bullshit buzzword that everyone else uses.”

For others, adopting the full stack title is a matter of mindset. As Web developer Christian Maioli over at TechBeacon writes: “To me, a full stack developer is someone who has the curiosity and drive to test the limits of a technology and understand how each piece works generally in various scenarios. Having this mindset will give developers more value and more power in dealing with new situations.”

In both cases, understanding why a new developer adopts the full stack title is connected to understanding whether they’re overselling their skills and how valuable their skills are to a potential employer.

Beyond Job Titles

Finally, this debate about whether new developers should use the “full stack” title brings up the need for alternative methods of measuring proficiency. This need isn’t limited to the web development world, as technology innovates job titles become convoluted.

A job title won’t be the most reliable way to communicate what you bring to a job or what you expect.Click To Tweet

Quantifying what you’ve accomplished in the past, along with what tools you used will be critical in a time where job titles aren’t trusted.

This story was first published here on April 7, 2017.

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We’ve all seen job listings for UX writers, but what exactly is UX writing?

(TECH NEWS) We seeing UX writer titles pop up and while UX writing is not technically new, there are new availabilities popping up.

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The work of a UX writer is something you come across everyday. 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 UX 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 a UX writer’s work, there are three traits an effective UX writer must have. Excellent communication skills is 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 UX 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 writer no longer intimidates you, go check out ADJ, The American Genius’ Facebook Group for Austin digital job seekers and employers. User centered 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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