A few months ago, while I was taking a much needed hiatus away from Newsvine, I discovered Vox a blogging site put together by Six Apart. Click on the link and you will be taken to my Vox page. I am Phaedrus72 there, too.
So the question is... is Vox better than Newsvine? Well.. yes and no.
The reason I had left Newsvine for a bit was that I was doing some serious soul searching about my religious and spiritual beliefs and I was afraid of making all my Newsvine buddies and enemies aware of it. I did not want to be laughed at and scorned for once again changing my mind, so I wanted to be sure that I was..well.. sure this time.
It was then that I discovered Vox. And I fell in love!! The page layouts are just so beautiful to behold. And the set up is so easy a complete novice can do it, no HTML or CSS style sheets required, although there is the opportunity to take advantage of those things.
I set up my own page and started to blog. I found out that Vox was like Newsvine and it was also not like Newsvine. It is like Newsvine in that you can comment on other people's blogs and great discussions can ensue, but it is more of a blog than Newsvine is, people write about all kinds of things, not just news related, even personal stuff. I liked that, because I have been castigated on Newsvine in the past for writing articles that were not News and were actually more bloggy. I felt that I had much more creative control over my Vox page. I could say whatever I wanted to, there was no Emily or Calvin to delete my comments or my articles.I was totally free. And I loved it and I still do.
The only problem is that here at Newsvine I already had built up a community. I knew people here and people knew me, for better or for worse. On Vox, I had to start from scratch. I had to try and build up my community. Here on Newsvine if I posted the same article, it would generally receive plenty of comments. On Vox I had to build up my community and I am still doing that today and it is nowhere near the community that I have built up here.
That's not to say that it can't be done. I have discovered such things as groups on Vox but it takes more work to create a community there than it does here. I don't remember really having to work to build up a community here. I just wrote and they came. "If you write it, they will come", could be the motto here.
For the past month or so that I have been back on Newsvine, I have kind of let my Vox page languish except for the occasional cross posted article, but I have only a received a couple comments here and there on my Vox page.
I have met some really great and cool people on Vox. If the community was as extensive there as it is here, I would definitely leave Newsvine behind, because Vox really is superior. No one places any limits on what you can write, what you can talk about or how you can say it. I really feel like my Vox page is MINE. Here on Newsvine I always feel that I am just allowed to participate here and if I ever should say the wrong thing in the wrong way, my account could be deleted at any time. I don't like that. There is no big brother looking over my shoulder on Vox. If was to say something stupid then the community would let me know it. But ultimately my Vox page is my page and I can do with it as I please,within certain legal parameters of course. I can't espouse presidential assassination and wouldn't anyway. In other words, I have free speech there,something I don't feel I have here, but I still can't yell fire in a crowded theater.
Plus for all the talk about how much faster Newsvine is than it used to be,I simply have not noticed.The entire time I have been here, for several years now,since the beta, the pages have been always been extremely slow to load. Even at work where we have an extremely fast connection, it doesn't seem to matter. It always takes way too long to load pages here. Why, I don't know. I mentioned it one before to staff and was basically told that I was crazy. I can NOT be the only one who has noticed this.
Please don't misunderstand me, I am not bashing Newsvine at all. If I didn't get something out of being here, I wouldn't. But Newsvine does have it's serious faults.
1. Too much emphasis on News and hardly any outlet for personal blogging and/or creative expression. It is too much of a news discussion site and too much of that is political.
2. Pages extremely too slow to load.
3. Too much of big brother watching over my shoulder, censoring my every move. Awhile back I wanted to change my screen name, not to confuse any one but because I get tired of using the same name all the time. I even offered to do whatever I could, write an article, to let everyone know who I was. But ultimately I was told no, and was told if I didn't like it I could leave. I was told this not just by fellow Viners but by Calvin himself.
4. Not enough creative control over the look and feel of my column.
5. No multimedia capabilities, such as video and audio, and only limited ability for pictures.
Vox addresses every single one of those issues:
1. I can write about anything I want to write about. Vox is a blogging platform, after all. I can still write about and discuss politics if I so choose, but if I wanted to write something creative or something personal, I can do that too.
2. The pages load like a dream, extremely quick.
3. I've never even seen big brother on Vox. No one to tell that I'm out of line, even if I was out of line. No one to delete my articles or my comments. I believe that all of this should be left up to the community as well, but I believe in a different way than Newsvine implements it. Instead of allowing other members to delete other's comments and articles, if a person says something stupid continuously and is just a pain in everyone's ass continuously, well then that person will be marginalized and people will stop reading what they have to say. No one will like such a person and being marginalized they will eventually probably leave.
4. Plenty of creative control over the look and feel of my page. There are dozens of beautiful templates to choose from but even they are customizable.
5. Plenty of multimedia capabilities. I can insert video, audio, pictures, etc directly into a blog entry.
Does this mean that Vox is perfect? Of course not. I have suggested to them that they implement comment editing the way Newsvine has. I have not seen it yet, although I haven't really been participating all that much there lately.
In conclusion, I think Vox combines all the best features of sites like Newsvine and a regular ol' blogging platform. It is beautiful to look at, easy to customize and a breeze to load. I can load up 3 pages there in the time it takes me here to load up one page here. It has a huge community, you just have to work a little harder to introduce yourself and to make yourself known. The social networking aspect of Vox is well thought out and well implemented.
Oh and one of the biggest draws for Vox, which I completely forgot to mention because I don't really have a need for, is that you have full control over who can see your posts. You can mark people as either friends or family and when you write a blog entry you have full control over who can see it. Do you write some stuff about Atheism and don't want your family to know you are an Atheist? Just mark it for friends only. Or if you write something personal that you only want your family to read, then you can mark it family only.
If you would like to read more about Vox, read the wikipedia page, here
Or you can read all about it and take a virtual tour here
You could also google Vox and reviews and read about it that way.
Look forward to seeing you all there!