Jul 02 2012

Blogging in the Mobile Era: Full Scale Blogging with Mobile Systems

Let’s face it: mobile devices are taking over every aspect of our digital lives. Why sit in front of a massive desktop tower, or lug around a 10 lb laptop, when a tablet PC, or even your cell phone, can do everything you need to do both on and offline?  With seamless integration into social networks and email, a person can quickly share and receive virtually anything, from virtually anywhere.  However, there is one domain that mobile devices seem to have not been able to touch on in the social internet: that is, blogging.

Blogs live in a separate universe from your normal social network. While a network like Facebook or Google+ can be used as a blog, they really aren’t designed to be used as such, and just don’t present themselves in the same fassion as a true blog does. WordPress, Tumblr, and other services and software creat a comprehensive and custom experience that compliments the content posted to such.

Content. That is the key element to a blog, or to anything on the internet really. However, blogs differ from social networks even in their content. While Twitter limits you to 140 characters, and facebook and google+, while allowing rather verbose posts, really arent designed for such as a focus, a true blog is designed with long posts in mind, and features in place to heavily customize each individual post, rather than the generally consistant formatting of your basic social network.

It would seem, then, that people with larger content to post, such as me, would enjoy the ability to post their long-winded rants from anywhere, as they think them up, without having to be tied to a more traditional computing environment, right?  Such might not be the case, when you go into the details of doing such.

Let’s stop and think for a moment about just how much content is in an average blog post. Take the twitter limit of 140 characters; this post alone will easily exceed 1000 characters. Typing such on a conventional keyboard, or, as I am now, a standard laptop, takes quite some time. Imagine having to do such on a touchscreen keyboard. Even with my slide out physical keyboard on my phone, anything over 300 characters, unless I am in a very heated text message stream, is just tedious. Generally, I will try to find the simplest proper way to say what I want to, and let that be that.  The idea of typing up an entire in-depth blog entry, from a mobile device, just sounds like a method of geek torture rather than something productive.  Granted, as an option, there are many speech-to-text methods out there that would help alleviate the typing issue, in practice these can be just as cumbersom as typing the article.

Research and secondary content are also tedious on a mobile device. Phones, tablets, etc, are designed to have the user engaged in one element at a time. While virtually all devices can multitask, and you can copy information from one app to another, in the end, taking a picture from wikipedia and posting it into a blog entry on a phone or tablet is a very time consuming task, not due to any changes in steps or methods, but in the time it takes to preform each task, as you cannot quickly go from step 1 to 2, to 3, nor can you really do something else in between these steps without just making things take longer.  Again, this is far more tedious than it needs to be, and is sped up on a conventional computer setup.

Next comes what app you are actually using to do your blogging. Since I use wordpress as my blogging software of choice, I use the wordpress app for android on my phone. I say use in a sense of I have it installed, and connected to Xadara, but I rarely, if ever, actually type anything with it; not because of flaws with the app itself, but due to the above stated issues.  Indeed, the app itself works amazingly well, for what I have tested it with. The issue of use is inherant to the idea of blogging from such a device; no matter how good the software, it is simply a rough experience.

To summarize, while the idea of writing in-dept articles while out and about sounds good, in reality, doing such on a current mobile device such as a tablet or smart phone is just more of a chore than it is worth. The effort to type up a decent article far outweighs the urgency driving someone to write under such conditions, and the information trying to be conveyed is better suited to either be taken down as simple notes, or sent out in short condensed forms via Twitter or another service.

Basically, blogging simply works best with normal hardware, under normal writing conditions, with time and thought put into the actual entries. A blog is simply not twitter, facebook, or any other service.  This is, of course, why such are often called “micro blogging” services.  They are like digest versions of what a full scale blog is.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.xadara.com/blogging-in-the-mobile-era-full-scale-blogging-with-mobile-systems/

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