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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

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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.

Tech News

Australia wants Facebook and Google to pay media royalties

Australia seeks to require Facebook and Google to pay royalties to media companies for use of news content on their platforms.

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Australia is in the process of requiring tech giants, Facebook and Alphabet, to pay royalties to Australian media companies for using their content. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the move the day after the US Congressional antitrust hearing that put the CEOs of Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon, and Apple back in the regulatory spotlight.

In addition to the pressure from the United States investigation into market control by these companies, global leaders are calling for similar regulations. Though none have been successful, media companies in Germany, France, and Spain have pushed for legislation to force Google to pay licensing fees to use their news content. Some companies have been pushing for this for years and yet, the tech giants keep dragging out their changes, even admitting their actions are wrong.

In 2019, the Australian government instructed Facebook and Google to negotiate voluntary deals with Australian media to use their content. The Australian government says the companies failed to follow through on the directive, and therefore will be forced to intervene. They have 45 days to reach an agreement in arbitration, after which the Australian Communications and Media Authority will create legally binding terms for the companies on behalf of the Australian government.

Google claims the web traffic that it drives to media websites should be compensation enough for the content. A Google representative in Australia asserts that the government regulations would constitute interference into market competition – which would be the point, Google!

According to a 2019 study, an estimated 3,000 journalism jobs have been lost in the last decade. The previous generation of media companies has paid substantial advertising fees to Google and Facebook while receiving nothing in return for the use of its news content. Frydenberg asserts the regulatory measures are necessary to protect consumers and ensure a “sustainable media landscape” in the country.

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Tech News

Onboarding for customers and employees made easy

(TECH NEWS) Cohere enables live, virtual onboarding at bargain prices to help you better support and guide your users.

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Web development and site design may be straightforward, but that doesn’t mean your customers won’t get turned around when reviewing your products. Onboarding visitors is the simplest solution, but is it the easiest?

According to Cohere–a live, remote onboarding tool–the answer is a resounding yes.

Cohere claims to be able to integrate with your website using “just 2 lines of code”; after completing this integration, you can communicate with, guide, and show your product to any site visitor upon request. You’ll also be able to see what customers are doing in real time rather than relying on metrics, making it easy to catch and convert customers who are on the fence, due to uncertainty or confusion.

There isn’t a screen-share option in Cohere’s package, but what they do include is a “multiplayer” option in which your cursor will appear on a customer’s screen, thus enabling you to guide them to the correct options; you can also scroll and type for your customer, all the while talking them through the process as needed. It’s the kind of onboarding that, in a normal world, would have to take place face-to-face–completely tailored for virtual so you don’t have to.

You can even use Cohere to stage an actual demo for customers, which accomplishes two things: the ability to pare down your own demo page in favor of live options, and minimizing confusion (and, by extension, faster sales) on the behalf of the customer. It’s a win-win situation that streamlines your website efficiency while potentially increasing your sales.

Naturally, the applications for Cohere are endless. Using this tool for eCommerce or tech support is an obvious choice, but as virtual job interviews and onboarding become more and more prevalent, one could anticipate Cohere becoming the industry example for remote inservice and walkthroughs.

Hands-on help beats written instructions any day, so if companies are able to allocate the HR resources to moderate common Cohere usage, it could be a huge win for those businesses.

For those two lines of code (and a bit more), you’ll pay anywhere from $39 to $129 for the listed packages. Custom pricing is available for larger businesses, so you may have some wiggle room if you’re willing to take a shot at implementing Cohere business-wide.

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Tech News

Smart clothing could be used to track COVID-19

(TECH NEWS) In order to track and limit the spread of COVID-19 smart clothing may be the solution we need to flatten the curve–but at what cost?

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COVID tracking clothing

When most people hear the phrase “smart clothing”, they probably envision wearables like AR glasses or fitness trackers, but certainly not specially designed fabrics to indicate different variables about the people wearing them–including, potentially, whether or not someone has contracted COVID-19.

According to Politico, that’s exactly what clinical researchers are attempting to create.

The process started with Apple and Fitbit using their respective wearables to attempt to detect COVID-19 symptoms in wearers. This wouldn’t be the first time a tech company got involved with public health in this context; earlier this year, for example, Apple announced a new Watch feature that would call 911 if it detected an abnormal fall. The NBA also attempted to detect outbreaks in players by providing them with Oura Rings–another smart wearable.

While these attempts have yet to achieve widespread success, optimism toward smart clothing–especially things like undershirts–and its ability to report adequately someone’s symptoms, remains high.

The smart clothing industry has existed in the context of monitoring health for quite some time. The aforementioned tech giants have made no secret of integrating health- and wellness-centric features into their devices, and companies like Nanowear have even gone so far as to create undergarments that track things like the wearer’s heart rate.

It’s only fitting that these companies would transition to COVID assessment, containment, and prevention in the shadow of the pandemic, though they aren’t the only ones doing so. Indeed, innovators from all corners of the United States are set to participate in a “rapid testing solutions” competition–the end goal being a cheap, fast, easy-to-use wearable option to help flatten the curve. The “cheap” aspect is perhaps the most difficult; as Politico says, the majority of people have a general understanding of how to use wearable technology.

Perhaps more importantly, the potential for HIPPA violations via data access is high–and, during a period of time in which people are more suspicious of technology companies than ever, vis-a-vis data sharing, privacy could be a significant barrier to the creation, distribution, and use of otherwise crucial smart clothing.

There is no denying that the Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated, among other things, technological advancement in ways unseen by many of us alive today. Only time will tell if smart clothing–life-saving potential and all–becomes part of that trend.

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