Blogging: WordPress vs. Blogger

A good friend from college asks:

I’m thinking of starting a blog. (Not sure how good of an idea this is but whatever, it’s an idea.) I was shopping around the different platforms and was wondering what your take is on them. You obviously use WordPress, why? What about Blogger? Any insight would be great as they both look to be about the same to me, having not used either.

Blogging, for me, is a great place to offload stuff from my mind and I find that’s it’s particularly helpful for the ADHD in me.

As for different platforms, a quick overview:

  • There is WordPress, which, as you pointed out, is what I use. You can host WordPress yourself of have them host it for you for free (WordPress.com)
  • The main competitor to WordPress is actually MovableType, which is free to download and host yourself, but you have to pay $5/mo to have them host it for you (Typepad.com)
  • Blogger is the lite weight version of blogging. It’s backed by Google and does pretty well. You can’t host it yourself, but it is free to use.

From this point on, the differences are more or less semantic. I like WordPress because it’s completely open source, they have a great community of developers that are constantly evolving the platform and making it better. The hosted (free) version of WordPress is very full featured, but not overwhelming. I particularly like that the URLs are date/title formatted. For example: http://example.wordpress.com/2008/04/22/the-world-is-just-awesome/, would have been posted on April 22,d 2008 with the title “The World is Just Awesome.” I also like the commenting system much better in WordPress compared to Blogger.

I don’t know much about Blogger because I haven’t investigated for a while now, however I do know that hosted (free) WordPress has lots and lots of themes that you can choose from.

Going down the features list now:

  • WordPress has a pretty spiffy tagging system (in addition to the traditional catagories) that I think are a superior form of content labeling.
  • This shouldn’t be a huge deal for you, but WordPress has (in my opinion) the best comment spam protection system.
  • You can have pages in addition to posts. Pages are basically the same as posts, execpt that they live outside of the normal hierarchy.
  • No advertisments.
  • Statistics. It’s nice knowing who your readers are and how many of them. WordPress stats are pretty full featured and very helpful.

I think you also get something like 5GB (yes, that’s gigabytes) of space to upload content. And of course, I use it. Which not only means that WordPress is the best ;), but that I can also help you out more if you ever need it.

Hope that helps.

Blogers Rights

More Inboxen™ cleanout time. However, this is something that everyone who blogs, or is thinking about blogging, should read. As a blogger you have many rights and you probably should know about them. From BoingBoing’s EFF’s blogger’s rights guide for students:

Do Public School Students Have Free Speech Rights under the First Amendment?
Absolutely. Both minors and adults have First Amendment rights, and according to the Supreme Court, public school students don’t “shed their constitutional right to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” See Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969). In the Tinker case, the Court said that public high school students had a First Amendment right to wear black armbands to class in symbolic protest of the Vietnam War. “Students in school as well as out of school are ‘persons’ under our Constitution,” the Court said, and “they are possessed of fundamental rights which the State must respect…”
But I’m a Private School Student–What About Me?
You also have First Amendment rights, but those rights only protect you from government censorship, not private censorship. As a general matter, you will receive no protection from censorship or punishment by a private school or college. See e.g. Ubriaco v. Albertus Magnus High School, No. 99 Civ. 11135 (JSM) (S.D.N.Y. July 21, 2000) (dismissing claim contesting private school expulsion for content on personal web site). However, as discussed below, some states provide private high school and college students with additional speech protections that go above and beyond the First Amendment. Furthermore, if your private school has an applicable written policy, the school must follow that policy.

Also keep in mind that even though your private school may have the right to enforce a stupid rule, that doesn’t make it any less stupid. So, if your private school is going overboard in trying to squelch online speech, contact EFF. Depending on the facts, we may be able to help you publicize the problem and hopefully convince your school to be more reasonable.

Link: The rest of the student blogger FAQ

Link: More Rights for Bloggers