I’m sorry, but I can’t help but blog about Typepad’s new "Vox" blogging platform that they are previewing now. I got an invite — like the 11 million other typepad junkies — to try out the vox interface and I’ve been playing around with it this evening.
It’s got some fun tools, I have to say. I think if my mom were ever to express a desire to start a blog, I might point her to Vox.
The pitch from the Typepad folks is pretty interesting:
You may be thinking, "Wait a minute, I already have a blog. Why would I need another one?" Good question. TypePad is great for the power, customization and control you need to build a great-looking, ad-free blog. It also helps you manage an active community of commenters, and to grow your audience to thousands or hundreds of thousands of readers. Vox, on the other hand, is designed for personal use — it emphasizes simplicity, privacy and building community with family and friends. We are finding that many professional, passionate and business TypePad bloggers are enjoying Vox with their friends and family, in a more private atmosphere. We hope you will, too.
Basically what this means is that Vox enables the blogger to set up a list of "friends and family" who can view their blog posts, photos, videos and other content, while also supporting broadcasting your public stuff to the world. It combines some of the privacy of Livejournal with the publicizing and aggregating features of Typepad and Moveable Type.
Vox has a lot of ajax-y goodness, with a basic WYSYWIG text editor, Web 2.0 tagging, and simple tools for adding multi-media content including photos, music, videos and and book links. The blogging interface can pull in content from Amazon, Flickr, YouTube, PhotoBucket, and, of yeah, your computer. There are lots of pretty templates, but few customizations beyond whether you will have two or three columns on your site.
The "explore" function is a nicely done section, allowing you to find other Vox content that interests you. If you like what somebody posts, you can add them to your "neighborhood" which acts as an aggregator. I like that better than having to say someone is your "friend" or on your "buddy list" since you don’t want a relationship, you just like what they post.
I’m not ready to abandon Typepad yet. Vox is still too beta, and not customizable enough for me. I don’t really need to be posting my thoughts to a privileged group of friends and family to read. I’m a click-whore and want all the page views I can get, frankly. The aggregating tools are nice, but they are just pulling from within the Vox user base, not the larger world of blogs writ large. So, not so useful.
Still, some of the functionality is pretty cool, like the photo and video import feature. I”d love to see that come into the Typepad interface. Apparently Typepad is looking to add the most popular features to their regular Typepad service, which is good news for me, and lots of others who have been paying for this service for awhile now.
You can check out my messing around with Vox at http://rikomatic.vox.com.