Vox Love

From an interview with Jason Kottke:

When I first started putting my thoughts online in the mid-90s, there was little about my life that I wouldn’t put online, but now it’s almost the opposite situation.

What he said.

A year or two ago I realized I didn’t really feel like sharing everything going on with my life anymore. It’s got its upsides, but the drawbacks are many. Not to mention all the people that said too much about something or someone and later had it bite them in the ass.

After a few months of not blogging every little thing on my mind I realized I was missing something by no longer doing it — writing about your thoughts and life’s little triumphs and tragedies helped me work through my thoughts or understand the problems better. So I started blogging privately at LiveJournal and a dozen or so friends also did and I got a lot out of it. But LiveJournal has its limitations and all the little things I disliked about it eventually turned me off from frequent posting there. It’s a pain to login all the time. A pain to add friends. It used to be a pain finding the “write a new post” link anywhere on the site.

Vox came out and I’ve been playing with it for a couple months and enjoying it immensely. It’s still pretty streamlined and straightforward but it’s got the UI that never gets in my way (unlike LiveJournal’s UI). The friends and family blogging is the key feature and I’ve read a lot from people that don’t understand what all the hoopla is about.

It’s kind of like TiVo in that you have to try it out first, live with it a month or two before you realize it’s the greatest thing ever. Or think of it as an iceberg — it seems simple and not very useful at first but my god is that one little feature hiding a great deal of utility. I’m blogging at Vox now and a couple dozen people I see in real life and hang out with several times a year are also on it and on my friends list. If I want to ask them something or share an intensely personal tidbit, I can post it there for them and I don’t have to IM or call anyone and I don’t have to tell the same story 15 times as I see them throughout the year. And I don’t have to read about how I’m the biggest dumbass on earth on another blog as a result of the post. Don’t get me wrong — I have skin as thick as leather but after seven years of this, it gets old when someone that doesn’t understand you or your tone misinterprets something you’ve said. Blogging to friends means never having to explain the joke.

I kind of wish the functionality was built into my existing MT install I’m blogging with right now, but I’m ok with having a half public/private life on my vox site. I’m also a fan of the non-technical approach at Vox. If I never have to edit another blog template by hand again, I’ll die a happy man. Same goes for tweaking inline styles in a HTML view. Vox is great for writing and not having to worry about template tag attribute documentation or having to add a style=”text-align:center;” to an image ever again.

It’s funny how things come full circle — when I started out I hand coded blog entries, then I wrote my own CMS, then eventually I moved to a commercial CMS package and now I would prefer to never have to maintain a server or backups and I don’t really feel like designing my own blog templates anymore.

I just want to write and not have to worry about all that other junk. And I’d rather keep the personal stuff to a few close friends. Vox is perfect for both of those things.

9 Comments

  • I thought Y360 was going to be the thing. All I ended up keeping there is the *very* personal stuff that I lock everyone out of, like how that sore on my arm is healing. Just as well, since few of my friends use Yahoo for anything.
    I’m waiting for my “starter” account to become “standard” on Vox, but I’ve gone through much the same blog pains as you have, and think this might useful. Though it could use the same friends-level style as Y360.

  • “Blogging to friends means never having to explain the joke.”
    word.

  • Matt, could you explain a little more about how Vox differs from LiveJournal? I understand that it’s supposed to Just Work(tm) but aside from some simplified templates and other design stuff I’m not sure I see how it’s easier to use than LJ. The login issue you mentioned as a frustration has never been a problem for me, thanks to LJ’s very insecure “always logged in” feature, so I guess I just don’t quite see how Vox improves on that.
    Also, it’s just cruel to praise a product we common people won’t have access to for months–why couldn’t you fall in love with Friendster Blogs instead (you know, besides the obvious reason)?

  • This entry really sums up my current feelings in regards to blogging… Wouldn’t happen to have an extra invitation lying around would you?

  • Thanks for the info–last week I shut down my blog of a few years for the reasons you mentioned. I love writing and enjoy blogging, but I’d like some control over my content distribution.
    I signed up for an invite–fingers crossed! :)

  • Hi, this is interesting to me. This seems to be an attitude about blogging that could only come from an already established, experienced weblog writer with a large following. I guess it would boil down to exactly why a writer chooses the weblog format (which you’ve implied you are drifting away from), and a shift from writing for an audience (something weblogs make easy for everyone, maybe too easy?) to writing for yourself (and those closest to you)… It’s like being the Emily Dickinson of blogging. I’m going to start writing my blog posts on scraps of paper, then fold them up and stuff them into my matress I sleep on in the attic :)

  • So far I’m like what Vox has to offer. I got an invite from Anil. Anyway, very interesting setup. This could be taken the wrong way, but it’s sort of like a more grown-up, blogger focused MYSPACE – only infinitely cooler and better looking. Vox could be huge.

  • I can’t wait to try VOX as I’m tired of having to anonymize almost every post I make.

  • The more I play with Vox, the more it seems like the next level in community online communication. I am loving playing around in it and watching its communities blossom.

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