5 thoughts on “Typepad vs. Blogger – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
task-attention.png
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.
 

  1. I’ve been using Blogger (Pro) since Nov 1999; have bought into Typepad too but will probably cancel my membership. I disagree with most of your gripes about Blogger (details below). Some of it probably comes down to how technically inclined you are. I have never needed more documentation than is already available, and have never needed to access a discussion list for help, and I’m a medical doctor, not a computer type. Some of it comes down to spending enough time to get far along the learning curve. You’ve been at it for 6 months now; doesn’t seem like enough. I would probably not have peeled off to Typepad if it had been available at the six-month point, but it changes the equation and makes it so easy that I understand your preferences.

    Some quibbles:
    –template customization is one of the best things about Blogger. You can spot a MT/TP blog right away, because of some of the constraints on design factors.
    –I think it is a misunderstanding to think that your weblog will get viewed more often simply because you use Blogger rather than MT/TP because of the former’s user base. A weblog’s popularity is utterly platform-independent, it seems to me, unless you’re thinking that many people get their other weblog referals from blogger.com’s “notable” or “most recently updated” blogroll or whatever it is called. I don’t think many people pay any attention to that list at all. The visibility of the platform has nothing to do wth the visibility of a weblog built with it. If you take a look at the blogrolls of experienced webloggers and click ’em one by one, you’ll find the weblogs they refer you to use all sorts of blogging software. A blogger weblog is only more likely to refer you to a blogger weblog because, statistically, there are more of them.
    –At the end of your essay, you return to this question, requesting that TP publish a directory of TP blogs. Again, I think it is a fundamental misunderstanding of the weblogging world to yearn to build a community of TP blogs specifically. Do you only send email to people using Eudora v.5, or even feel more affinity to them than Outlook or Thunderbird users? You’re operating on the wrong level of abstraction. Sure, if you want a user’s group to help you with support questions, like hte Yahoo group you accessed for Blogger questions. But from a content point of view, why in the world do you want to read weblogs generated with TP any more than those made with other platforms? Do you only want your weblog read by those with TP? This makes no sense.
    –Blogger’s publishing has been at times flaky but not as bad as you describe. I’m always at a loss when I read about people who complain, as you do, that posts have disappeared into thin air when they click on “publish.” This has never happened with me in almost four years of voluminous, daily weblogging. Sometimes a publish fails but TRANSPARENTLY — Blogger tells you it did not publish successfully. I’ve also never experienced a mysterious lagtime before publishing. Could it be that the Blogger Pro publishing engine is so much more sophisticated than the free Blogger one?
    — RSS works without a hitch, and takes virtually no puzzling to configure in Blogger. Not clear to me what your difficulty was.
    –Sure, customer support is sparse. For much of its existence, Blogger was one person. IMHO, he deserves enormous praise, not cavilling, for the pioneering work he has done. People that have stuck with Blogger can be proud to have played a major role in developing the phenomenon of weblogging from scratch into virtually commonplace.
    –I’m not a photoblogger, but perhaps 1-2 hrs of studying a HTML manual will teach you everything you need to know to write a template and learn to control graphics placement on your page. Granted, you could struggle for a long time to learn cascading stylesheet-based layout design, but that’s another story, for the purists among us.

  2. Eliot: Thanks for taking the time to write such a comprehensive response to my blog post. I think it’s fair enough that you have a different experience with Blogger than I. I’m glad that it works so well for you. I think Blogger is a great service for folks like you who understand the underlying fundamentals of html, css, programming, etc. While I know quite a bit about this (nowhere near what you do), I don’t know enough to run a blogger blog effectively. I know a whole helluva lot, but it’s not enough. And that bugs the hell out of me because I don’t think it should, or has to be that way. And TP proves my point.

    I think you make a fundamental mistake in assuming that your own experience with Blogger is “normative,” in other words that your experience should be (or is) what others experience as well. I applaud you & your level of expertise. But to assume that no one else can or should have a bad experience with Blogger is blissfully ignoring the fact that many others do not experience it the way you do. And the simple fact that these frustrated Blogger users have far more glitches, crashes, blips than you, doesn’t mean that they’re using the software wrong or don’t know what they’re doing (as you come close to saying). I don’t deny the reality of your experience w. Blogger. Why do you deny mine? Just because you never experienced the problems I did doesn’t mean that those experiences didn’t happen to me or that they were my fault.

    >>You wrote:

    >>I’ve been using Blogger (Pro) since Nov 1999; have bought into Typepad too but will probably cancel my membership. I disagree with most of your gripes about Blogger (details below). Some of it probably comes down to how technically inclined you are. I have never needed more documentation than is already available,

    I’m glad that you’ve never needed more Blogger documentation than is already available. I’m guessing that makes you an extreme minority among Bloggers.

    >>and have never needed to access a discussion list for help, and I’m a medical doctor, not a computer type.

    I think you don’t realize that your scientific background, training and inclination give you tremendous advantages over others (including people like me who come from a humanities background). Sure you may not have a professional programming background. But you understand scientific/technical concepts & this gives you a tremendous head start over others.

    >>Some of it comes down to spending enough time to get far along the learning curve. You’ve been at it for 6 months now; doesn’t seem like enough. I would probably not have peeled off to Typepad if it had been available at the six-month point, but it changes the equation and makes it so easy that I understand your preferences.

    You make a serious mistake in assuming that I’m a total newbie as far as Blogger is concerned or that I haven’t spent a lot of time trying to master its intricacies. I would estimate that I spent an average of 4 hrs. a day 7 days a week from February through July (I think that comes out to somewhere over 500 hrs.!) trying to understand how it works and trying to get my blog looking as I wanted it to. I might’ve spent 40-50 hrs. trying to resolve a single problem. I spent far more than 1-2 hrs. doing an html tutorial (as you recommended). As a result, I know something about html. But all that I’ve learned (& as I said Blogger gave me a great educational experience) simply isn’t enough to make me a happy, effective & proficient Blogger. I gave Blogger my all & it let me down. It wasn’t the other way around (though you appear to believe it is).

    >>template customization is one of the best things about Blogger.

    I agree & I think I said as much in my blog post. I like the fact that Blogger’s template feature is right up front in the user interface (unlike TP’s). I also like how easy it is to go in there & work the code. But I just don’t seem to have to level of confidence & expertise that you seem to have. BTW, I think my level of experience is far more ‘normative’ than yours (at least from the correspondence I had w. BP discussion group posters). I believe that the use of software like Blogger’s should not be an arcane discipline best left to the initiated like yourself. I believe that software (if its developers want it to be used by lots of people) should be masterable with a certain amt. of hard work (but not hundreds of hours worth). I can hear you say (in my mind): “but it didn’t require hundreds of hours of work for me to master it.” That may be so, but you’re not the average Blogger user. You’re the exception (& not the one who proves the rule!).

    >>You can spot a MT/TP blog right away, because of some of the constraints on design factors.

    Again, I’m not arguing that Blogger doesn’t provide more opportunities for advanced users to express themselves in code. A blog produced by someone like that may be a technical wonder to behold. But I actually like the way my TP blog looks better than the way my Blogger blog looked.

    I’m not making an argument that TP is more technically advanced than Blogger. I’m just saying that TP is more functional and that its developers have thought through better how their average user is going to use the software and what tools that user needs to get the job done. Blogger seems to me to be a product created by a guy for whom it was a passion. But if he thought at all about the end user he wasn’t thinking about the real user who uses Blogger. He was probably thinking of someone like you.

    >>I think it is a misunderstanding to think that your weblog will get viewed more often simply because you use Blogger rather than MT/TP because of the former’s user base.

    In saying that Blogger blogs might be more visible on the web than TP blogs, I was assuming that search engines & other services which bring viewers to blogs might more readily pick up blogs originating on the blogger server because there are so many of them out there.

    >>A weblog’s popularity is utterly platform-independent, it seems to me, unless you’re thinking that many people get their other weblog referrals from blogger.com’s “notable” or “most recently updated” blogroll or whatever it is called. I don’t think many people pay any attention to that list at all. The visibility of the platform has nothing to do with the visibility of a weblog built with it. If you take a look at the blogrolls of experienced webloggers and click ’em one by one, you’ll find the weblogs they refer you to use all sorts of blogging software. A blogger weblog is only more likely to refer you to a blogger weblog because, statistically, there are more of them.

    >>At the end of your essay, you return to this question, requesting that TP publish a directory of TP blogs. Again, I think it is a fundamental misunderstanding of the weblogging world to yearn to build a community of TP blogs specifically.

    Talk about fundamental misunderstandings: you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the TP blogging experience. Have you viewed the TP UserGroup, TPResources or Everything TP sites? These are incredibly rich TP resources which not only help TPers do what they want to do with their blogs…they also help create a sense of community among TPers. You may pooh pooh this phenomenon & say it either doesn’t exist or (if it does) has no real meaning. But I see it otherwise. TP is a new product. I believe it is a rich & powerful product. The vast majority of TPers are tremendously enthusiastic about TP. If you read the comments on the TP User Group site & compared them to the bloggerpro site there’s a lot more griping & hair tearing at BP than there is at TP. TPers love their product much more than a similar group of Blogger’s would like theirs. Yes, that’s not a scientific observation & you can discount it if you wish. But it rings true to me. Now, perhaps in 5 yrs. this will no longer be so. But for now there is a TP community & I like that there is.

    >>Do you only send email to people using Eudora v.5, or even feel more affinity to them than Outlook or Thunderbird users? You’re operating on the wrong level of abstraction. Sure, if you want a user’s group to help you with support questions, like the Yahoo group you accessed for Blogger questions. But from a content point of view, why in the world do you want to read weblogs generated with TP any more than those made with other platforms? Do you only want your weblog read by those with TP? This makes no sense.

    I didn’t say that I only want to read TP blogs. That would be absurd. But the fact is that if someone in the TP user group answers a troublesome technical question for me (& seems like a nice person to boot), I’m a lot more likely to view his/her site than I would go out to google & find an anonymous site whose owner is unknown to me.

    >>Blogger’s publishing has been at times flaky but not as bad as you describe. I’m always at a loss when I read about people who complain, as you do, that posts have disappeared into thin air when they click on “publish.” This has never happened with me in almost four years of voluminous, daily weblogging. Sometimes a publish fails but TRANSPARENTLY — Blogger tells you it did not publish successfully.

    That’s a laugh (again, I’m glad this is your experience). I can’t tell you the number of times that blogger “disappeared” a post with nary a whisper of explanation. I’ve used scores of software programs & I’ve never suffered as many hairy, strange behaviors as I’ve seen w. Blogger.

    I assume that since you read my post to the bloggerpro group that you read that group. Over 6 mos. I’ve read scores, perhaps more than a hundred despairing, frustrated posts from blogger users who either can’t figure how to do something or who can’t get one or another of blogger’s services or features to work. On the day I posted in the bloggerpro group about my Typepad v. Blogger post I saw 5 or more posts about Blogger archives being down for days. This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as my experience goes.

    >>I’ve also never experienced a mysterious lagtime before publishing. Could it be that the Blogger Pro publishing engine is so much more sophisticated than the free Blogger one?

    I’ve had posts not appear for an hour or more after publishing them. I don’t know how or why it happens. I don’t know anything about one blogger server or another. I just know it happens.

    >>RSS works without a hitch, and takes virtually no puzzling to configure in Blogger. Not clear to me what your difficulty was.

    The blogger site does not tell you on the rss configuration screen what your RSS url is. It doesn’t tell you in FAQ or anywhere else. I know the reason it does not is that people have all manner of configurations, folders, etc. & ea. blog rss url could be different. But my quarrel is that the rss configuration screen doesn’t tell you how to figure out what the url is even in theory. I spent 2 wks. posting to the bloggerpro group before I figured out the url with the help of Phil. So much for the configuration issue taking “virtually no puzzling to configure.” It was that way for you, not for me. You shouldn’t make the mistake of assuming your experience is the one every other user is having.

    >>Sure, customer support is sparse. For much of its existence, Blogger was one person. IMHO, he deserves enormous praise, not cavilling, for the pioneering work he has done.

    I’d replace “sparse” with “non-existent.” MT & TP were started by 2 people. But they did their homework IMO better than Blogger’s creator did. TP’s creators have a different ethos than Blogger’s. Even w. 2 people, they managed to answer almost every customer service question posed to them. I might not like every answer, but at least I get one (as opposed to Blogger). In this day & age, you simply can’t have a web product with no customer service. Maybe you can, but it’s not a product I’d want to use.

    >>People that have stuck with Blogger can be proud to have played a major role in developing the phenomenon of weblogging from scratch into virtually commonplace.

    Yes, blogger was a great start to the blogging phenomenon & those people should be proud of what they, and Blogger have done. I salute blogging “pioneers” like you for getting us to this stage. But I’m not so sure that Blogger will continue its preeminence & dominance indefinitely. Blogger seems to be run by smug people (perhaps that’s only how they appear to a user who never heard from them & so thought they were indifferent) who are sitting on their [Google] laurels. If they’re not careful their competitors are going to eat their lunch.

    When I last viewed the bloggerpro discussion group site I read a post wondering why the number of posts had dropped so precipitously for the bloggerpro group. Another smart aleck replied “they’ve all moved over to TP.” Yes, that’s a smart aleck comment. But there is truth in it nevertheless.

    >>I’m not a photoblogger, but perhaps 1-2 hrs of studying a HTML manual will teach you everything you need to know to write a template and learn to control graphics placement on your page. Granted, you could struggle for a long time to learn cascading stylesheet-based layout design, but that’s another story, for the purists among us.

    It’s mind-boggling to me that you believe that “1-2 hrs of studying html will teach [me] everything [I] need to know to write a template & control graphics placement.” I’ve spent far more hrs than that on this & I still haven’t mastered it. Yes, I haven’t done this study in a systematic way; haven’t attended classes, read books. But I don’t believe that to understand the physics of how the world works you should need to be an astrophysicist.

    I abandoned my Blogger photoblog and found an infinitely superior photoblog format at Pbase. Blogger, as far as I can tell has no interest in encouraging photo bloggers to use their product. If they did, they would tweak & fine tune Blogger to give photobloggers features they need. Pbase has done that work well & has a product that Blogger will not have until they feel that photoblogging is a significant factor in the blogging community. I think they’re missing the boat on this, but that’s their decision.

    Continued success & fulfillment with your blog…

    Richard

  3. Hi,
    I am struggling with this very issue and I’m still not sure where to go. I thought that Blogger Pro essentially being discontinued would help but it hasn’t. The bottom line is that I want an easy way to configure my blog so that it looks good without spending all my time mucking about in HTML, which I do know a bit about. After all, the whole reason that I am doing this is to write about rock and roll. Eventually I might move to MT but right now, TP seems to have all the features I need in a form I can easily use. That’s what I assume I am paying for.
    Thanks for the comparison.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link