BlogIt doesn’t cut it

BlogIt is a new application by SixApart for Facebook – the idea is to let you post to your blogs hosted at various services (,, Typepad, Twitter, etc) from within a single interface integrated into your FB account. The idea is a good one but there are serious flaws in the implementation.

For one thing, the tool does not support tags or categories. This means that you will have to log into your blog via the usual Dashboard/admin panel to add these anyway. The omission of tags and cats is practically a deal-breaker all by itself, though the lack of categories is more surprising given that these (unlike tags) are at least supported by the metaweblog API.

The blog post editor interface is also too spartan. No auto-save, quicktags, or draft support. This means if you make any errors, or your browser crashes, or any of a number of things, you lose all your work. It also means that you have to type in all your html links and formatting by hand. These kinds of goodies are what we take for granted nowadays with modern blog software. Admittedly, draft support might be complex, but auto-save and quicktags should be low-hanging fruit.

However, the biggest problem with BlogIt is that it’s a one-way function. The essential functionality for this to be a true blogger’s killer facebook app would be the ability to post all blog entries, not just those created with BlogIt, to the user’s mini-feed. BlogIt does add a Posted Item to your minifeed, for those posts authored in BlogIt only. For posts you write outside of BlogIt, you still need to manually post that entry to your minifeed.

This is a more serious limitation than it appears. The basic value of a blog app in facebook is to leverage the audience of your social contacts into readers of your blog. Posting your blog items to your minifeed is the main problem of convenience that a blogger needs to solve if they want to tap into that audience and make reader conversions. The now-defunct app BlogFriends was an excellent tools for this, slurping the RSS feed from any blog you specify. There are other apps that do similar things, though none as well as BlogFriends did. These apps were of course also one-way functions, but the direction (blog -> facebook) was more useful than the direction that BlogIt offers (facebook -> blog). And even in that regard, BlogIt is suboptimal (see above). Where then is the value proposition in using it?

BlogIt has great potential. In my ideal world, Six Apart would buy BlogFriends and revive that functionality as a part of BlogIt. Adding a simple quicktags toolbar (bold, italic, blockquote, link, etc) and an auto-save are the bare minimum for routine usability. And in addition to categories (which is a no-brainer), if Ecto can support tags, why not the software ninjas at SixApart? Were BlogIt to improve in these ways, it really would be indispensable.

4 thoughts on “BlogIt doesn’t cut it”

  1. Getting some of the “yeah, we all agree the composition interface is basic today” out of the way…I don’t disagree that if you’re doing a lot with tags, editing entries, etc then today Blog It isn’t the app for you. All of that sort of stuff is easy to add along with support for drafts, auto-saving, and the goodies we take for granted in most blogging clients (obviously blogging to TypePad or Movable Type from within Microsoft Word is a bit different than our normal expectations, though works great for a certain group of people).

    Believe me, a profile box pulling in your content has been something we’ve been talking about since Blog It originally came up as an idea. That said, we had to choose where to start so for a variety of reasons chose content creation over aggregation at the beginning for within Facebook. Also, apps like FriendFeed are already doing a great job of that within Facebook. A lot of that decision was really looking at what we’d need to build from an infrastructure perspective to make that possible on the scale needed to help make blogging better for everyone. Not only are we planning to build that infrastructure, but also to release it as open source like we’ve done with memcached, Gearman, and even now Movable Type.

    What I really believe in are the social aspects of Blog and feel It is those features that truly create the value. We were one of the initial launch partners for Facebook Beacon, but implemented it as opt-in from day one. On TypePad we saw a great response; bloggers want to tell people they know about their new posts. While we certainly will be adding features to the posting interface, I’d be much more interested in doing something much larger such as adding SMS posting for every blogger no matter the blog platform they use via Blog It. For more on my thoughts there, see my post “Why I Care About a Facebook App”

    While today Blog It has a utterly simple composition interface, that will change, and we’ll also be adding more ways to get the word out about your content whether you use Blog It to post or not.

  2. David, I appreciate that you took the time to respond.

    I wantto clarify something though – what BlogIt does *not* need is another profile box, but rather the ability to post to the user’s mini feed (and hence, show up in their friends’ news feeds). There is a very big difference between a profile box and the mini feed. Frankly, a profile box is rather useless from the perspective of pushing your blog content out to your facebook friends’ eyeballs, because most of a user’s time is centered on the news feed, not the profiles.

    Its a shame that BlogFriends app is down because that app would have been a great demo for you to see what i mean. There are other blogger apps on facebook that pull in content from blogs and publish them on a profile box, so if BlogIt were to add that functionality it wouldnt make it stand out much. Profile boxes dont matter.

  3. Was just looking on for people still talk about BlogFriends and found this post. Thanks for the compliments; glad you liked the app whilst it was running 😀

    Jof Arnold (the company behind BlogFriends) (the coders behind BlogFriends)

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