There are a few platforms open to bloggers in the current climate. You can choose to use Google’s Blogger, WordPress, Typepad or less well known sites like Blog Hub. The one I didn’t mention that seems to be slipping under the radar is VOX. Vox is a blogging platform from Sixapart, the company that brings us Moveable Type, Live Journal and of course Typepad.. Unlike Typepad a blog on Vox.com is free. Let’s take a little look at this exciting new service.
Some weeks ago when I first navigated to Vox.com I immediately found that the front page was slightly confusing and took some getting used to. The layout was in a word “hip” It seems that Vox as a service has a target audience at the less professional bloggers. Not sure what a professional blogger really is? Well, neither am I but Vox has that sort of “everyman” feel that WordPress doesn’t. WordPress has a do it yourself from the ground up attitude, yet Vox has the hand-holding approach that a lot of people seem to need with new internet applications. I must admit that the hand-holding isn’t so bad, even for a experienced blogger.
When I decided to sign up for an account with Vox, the idea was to review the service within a couple of days, but I found out very quickly that writing on Vox and writing on WordPress are two very different beasts. Vox feels more like the MySpace of the blogging world with ads about uploading your latest blog entry or photo via your mobile phone, eccentric colour schemes and a youthful overall feel. I am not in any way criticizing this approach to blogging. The way that the service has what seem to be channels for the content is extremely innovative for a blogging medium.
The user experience when you have finished the easy process of creating your account is somewhat mixed. I quickly realised that blog posts about internet security or the fundamental problems I have with those who are already abusing Windows Vista are simply not the kind of content that is on Vox. It is out of place. Vox would appear to be a great place to blog about life, the blog about taking the dog for a walk. Unless the community there changes, I suggest if you are interested in blogging tech or interviews or anything else like that choose a medium like WordPress or Typepad. Vox again like WordPress is of course free.
The posting process on Vox is a little clumsy. You will find that you have to really think outside the box to resize your image as there is not a simple handle on the image, but you have to go through menus to find that part of the application. Vox has several “channels” video, audio, photos, posts, books and people. It is a great multimedia blogging method. You can upload your media in those categories and display your favourite items in your sidebar. They have even gone as far to have a YouTube system built into the site that allows you to display videos you currently have uploaded to your YouTube account. The books also has the feature of buy from amazon.com” – an excellent feature. WordPress might be able to learn a few things after all.
One thing that I like more about my Vox blog than WordPress is the sidebar. I love the way it has integrated contact me settings. My Skype status is being displayed on my blog along with my MSN and Yahoo IM. There is a small subline just under the “find out more about me” link.
Something unique and extremely social about the Vox system is the Neighborhoods. The Neighborhoods allow you to have “buddies’ on the service, people you know, readers of your content, whoever they are, if they have a Vox blog you probably want them in your neighborhood. With a simple search of “podcasting” I was able to search out and find other podcasters and podcasting enthusiasts on Vox including the illustrious Leo Laporte. I added Leo to my neighborhood and sure enough, he shows up just beneath my name on the sidebar.
So what’s the upshot?
Vox is a great blogging service and I think over time, the more serious bloggers will take a stand on Vox and make it a blogging medium with names as prominent as the ones that currently reside at wordpress and Typepad. Vox has a great understanding of what is cool, and has wonderful multimedia capabilities. The community is growing fast and as it does the website will become more well known and widely spread. I definitely recommend, even to serious bloggers, to go and check out Vox. Try it out, post a couple of articles there. See what you think of it….who knows maybe you’ll stay.