A few days ago, I read Jonathan Bailey‘s “What Will Eventually Replace and/or Kill WordPress?” He discusses forking, paradigm shifts, and a blurring of the distinctions between hosted and self-hosted platforms. All the while I was thinking, “Oh, God, do we really need yet-another-blogging-platform? Why?” I love blogging. I’ve tried most of the major blogging platforms. I get sucked in by all the shiny new Internet toys – dazzling distractions and time-sinks that they are. And we all love to hate Facebook; despite our threats and tantrums, that’s where we spend our evenings socializing. Yeah, you – I’m talking to you. You feign disdain, but I see you in my news feed over there. Sometimes, I think Facebook will be the blog killer. But no… blogging is far from dead, and WordPress is stronger and healthier than ever.
But some days, I long for simplicity. I whine “I wanna be Amish!” and compulsively teach myself to crochet:
What? You thought I was joking? At least I didn’t crochet a train last weekend.
I drag myself back from the brink by trying to at least find focus – something to tie it all together so that “my” Internet doesn’t resemble a toddler’s playroom full of broken toys, crumpled construction paper, and Sharpie-marker-tattooed Barbie dolls. And this morning, caught between worrying about things like “WordPress killers” and a cluttered, confusing Internet, I stumbled across Glipho.
What on Earth is Glipho and How Did I Trip Over It?
Glipho may be one of the best kept secrets of the blogging world, but not for long.
Naturally, I did this before figuring out exactly what I was signing up for. This is the “Oooh, shiny new thing!” phase of Internet discovery. It’s usually a short-lived manic burst, followed by a dolorous slog of disappointment. (Or, in non-literary-psychobabble terms, “One giant Jell-O filled pool full of ‘Meh.'”)
What got me hooked so fast? I have no idea. Maybe it was the repetition of the words “we love writers” on their front page… no, wait, they didn’t actually have that on the front page. But I “got it” almost immediately, and the banter on Twitter, had me feelin’ the love. What they actually said was, “Our goal has been really clear since the start: develop a platform where writers can focus only on the good things, such as writing and interacting with their readers and other writers.” There was that word: focus. A platform where writers can focus…
…as They Fall Right Down the Rabbit Hole
Yeah, I didn’t read another thing they wrote, till much later. I signed up on the spot. (Hey, BONUS – it’s FREE.)
Glipho is still in “beta,” but is surprisingly fast and bug-free. It took me about five minutes to register, fill out my profile, upload a picture, and connect all my social networks: Facebook (personal plus one page), Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, Tumblr, Picasa, LinkedIN, Instagram, and Google+. This adds a sidebar with attractive previews and links to encourage readers to follow you in other venues.
Ironically, Glipho could be that “WordPress Killer” precisely because it plays so nicely with others. Remember what I said about getting obstinate and rebellious when being forced to choose between friends? Glipho wisely doesn’t ask – and makes it easy to share between all the major social media channels.
What Learning Curve?
It took another three minutes to figure out how to create a new post, how to import posts from Tumblr and WordPress, and how to use the Glipho Desk to turn drafts – imported posts – into published posts on Glipho. Here’s a cool feature – right from your Desk, you can access images from your Flickr, Instagram, and Picasa accounts or videos from YouTube and embed them into your posts – or upload images directly to Glipho. Where Instagram and Tumblr favor the visual artists, Glipho slightly favors the written word – to share an image here, you still have to come up with at least 150 words to describe it.
There’s that word again. Right there in the Desk, there’s a little orange icon that looks like four corners of a square. Hover over it and you’ll see “Focus mode.” Click that to eliminate all the other distractions in your browser:
Glipho shows you only the basic elements of the post editor and keeps a running word count in the upper right hand corner.
Are you a veteran of NaNoWriMo? If so, I’ll bet that staccato sound I hear is the quickening of your pulse. (Or maybe it’s just my hard drive developing a death rattle…) Excited by the possibilities? So am I.
750 words or 1667 words, this site’s a natural for writers.
Syndication, Curation, and Promotion
I was glad to see that it wasn’t just another syndication site. I had to laugh – eager as I was to try out all the features of Glipho, I was nearly thwarted by the 150 word minimum. Yep – you can laugh. This is karma in action, and I’m fine with taking a dose of my own medicine.
Glipho can be your blog or complement your blog, and it can also act as a platform for more personalized and social content curation. It makes sharing easy, and it’s a great place to meet other writers. In fact, one of the lures they use to drag us in is, “Feeling alone in your blog?” Yeah, well, not for long… Start exploring the Writers tab, and you’ll quickly discover some very talented folks with varied interests and plenty to say.
So far, good content really is king, and I’m hoping it stays that way. It’s also very easy to follow content that truly interests you: what we typically think of as “tags” become “topics,” and topics are something you can follow.
Glipho feels like a much more mature site, until – with only four followers – you find yourself at the top of the “Trending Writers” and you’re featured on the front page. Until your Tweets are quoted in the site’s heading. That made me even cheekier. I set out to find out who had the most followers – I figured it must be @Glipho - Team Glipho" href="https://twitter.com/glipho" target="_blank">@glipho. Forgetting, for the moment, my “no more contests in 2013” vow, I Tweeted:
Don’t hang me out to dry, here, folks. At last count, I had thirteen followers. It’s a long way to 1.9K. I’m counting on you.
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