When I first decided to start up a blog, back in January 2012, I had two main options: WordPress or Blogger. Actually, there was no choice involved; I already knew I was going to use WordPress. Maybe it was the name (word and press both relate to writing and publishing, after all), or maybe it was that I had already played around with a couple of blogs on the Blogger platform previously and I didn’t like it much.
But this isn’t a post about the relative merits of one blogging platform over another, so if that’s what you were looking for then you can quite happily click away and find something more interesting to read. I prefer WordPress, I like the interface and the look of the thing; others prefer Blogger. Whatever. What I want to talk about is how once we choose a particular blogging platform, it suddenly becomes really hard to mix with the other.
I regularly take part in blogosphere community activities, such as Insecure Writers Support Group day, and I love to click around and find new sites and new people to connect with. But when one of these blogs is Blogger-hosted, my heart sinks just a little bit. Why? It’s a simple matter of laziness. If I want to comment on a WordPress blog it’s super-easy. I’m logged in, I’m part of the community, I can follow or like at the click of an easy to find button at the top of the page, and my comment not only takes seconds to make, it also comes with a handy link back to my blog – and a photo of me to boot! But if I want to comment on a Blogger blog, first of all the blog seems to take ages to load, then when I comment I have to chose a profile to use, put in usernames and passwords, then there’s usually a CAPTCHA code (or whatever they’re called) to figure out, then the screen refreshes and I have to check the comment has actually worked, and there have been many times when it’s just disappeared.
Now, this is not a criticism of Blogger – I’m sure if I also blogged there the whole process would be seamless. But I don’t. And that’s my point. WordPress and Blogger (owned by Google) are very clever at keeping you inside their own community. It’s in their interest that you find your own platform more comfortable, that you recommend it to other people and set up additional blogs within it, hopefully moving to a paid-for or otherwise revenue-producing service in time. And I’m a sucker for that kind of thing, because I’m inherently lazy!
In-Group Out-Group What?
My husband’s a psychologist and knows far more about this than me, of course, but there is a powerful force in social interactions, noticeable from as early as our school days, and now employed by all sorts of clever people trying to manipulate us and sell us things. Put simply, social identity theory says that to improve our self-image we enhance the status of whichever group or groups we belong to: the in-group. Anyone who doesn’t belong to this social group is in the out-group. Whether it’s the country/city/town you were born in or the football team you support (or the blogging platform you choose), people seek out the positive qualities and affirm them, while looking for the negative in the out-group status to further improve self-image. This is the root of the ‘them and us’ way of thinking.
I did it myself, earlier. WordPress is easier, nicer to look at, has a better name. Blogger is problematic, clunky, awkward. Of course, none of these things are actual facts, just my perception – and perhaps my attempts to improve the status of the group – WordPress – to which I belong. Fascinating stuff! (Well, I think so!)
And the point is …?
The point is, I’ve given in and signed up for a Blogger identity. This will make it easier for me to comment on all those lovely, easy to navigate, attractive (I’m doing my best!) Blogger blogs I come across, and also give me a presence on the web via both platforms. I won’t be blogging with Blogger, though – I’ve got enough to do! I’ve just set up a holding page which directs readers back to here. Back to my group, where I’m most comfortable. And which also happens to be the best …
So, over to you – which blogging platform do you prefer? And can you say why? (Be honest, now, remember the psychology!)