Blogging is Too Difficult
[Posted to Random Bytes on April 26, 2003 11:31 AM| Links to this post ]
I've come to the conclusion that blogging is too difficult. And, unless something drastically changes, its never going to be more than a content management system for nerds and technophiles (like me) that want to use overly complicated software to keep track of their online diary.

Don't get me wrong, the tools are all great - MovableType, Radio, w.Bloggar, Newzcrawler...etc.

But they're *hard*.

For instance, the way that bloggers look at templates is a bit screwed. Typical users think of templates as pre-packaged goodness that will make whatever it is they are working on, look better. Blog templates are slightly different. They are pre-packaged, but in a different way. Its almost as if everyone that has every designed a blog tool or a blog template has decided, "Well, this should do them to start, but they really should know HTML to do anything fancier." - Like changing the background color, adding a logo or changing the font.

Adding outbound links or pictures to blog entries are just as poorly tended to. Both require users to get under the hood and explicitly do this, that and the other thing before the link or picture will show up on the web.


Everything that the old Userweb suffered from (remember "home pages") has been carried over into the new Userweb. Yuck. I still need to upload "pages" to "servers" by wrestling with "FTP", or worse, some poorly designed abstraction that is supposed to do it automatically for me, but requires me to know all sorts of things that I don't. Cascading Style-Sheets? Ummm...

exumel arpeecee? Hunh?

Like Winer said, "Pfui."

This is all very wrong. A Big design gap. Toolmakers need to stop building tools for me and start building them for my dad. And the challenge doesn't stop there. We also need to figure out better ways of explaining our metaphors and primitives.

The term "trackback" is probably the best example of this. No one really knows how and why this concept matters. I'm sure it has great utility otherwise it probably wouldn't have emerged as a feature. Problem is, we've done a shitty job of explaining what its true value is - why it matters to those that should be using it.

Until and unless the features get more appropriate for everyday users and the real value proposition is dragged out of the technical mud, the blogoshere is destined to become a curious footnote in the development of the web.

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