I received an invitation this morning to try out Six Apart‘s Vox service. So off I went and created my own Vox blog and started playing around with it. My initial impression is that Vox is what Yahoo! 360 was when it launched. The interface is much more Web 2.0 than TypePad, the platform for this blog, and is clearly aimed at people who want to set up very attractive social blogs/networks with their friends and family. I can definitely see myself enjoying Vox if I was new to this whole blogging thing and wanted a way to link to my friends, show off my photos and other media and blog to my little heart’s content.
Unfortunately Vox doesn’t have much to offer bloggers who are accustomed to and who use feeds, blogrolls and want to be able to add flexible content to their sidebars. At present there is no way to subscribe to feeds from other Vox posts outside Vox itself or to set up blogrolls incorporating external blogs. Vox is pretty much self-contained on that front.
On the other hand Vox has some features which I wish I could have elsewhere. Vox incorporates media from sources like Flickr and Amazon really seamlessly and easily. My only real criticism here is aimed at the Flickr integration and the reason for that is that it does not appear possible to import photos that are buried in albums or older pages. What I like very much is the ability to add books (as well as music and videos) that you enjoy by running searches for the titles on Amazon.
I’d like to see “traditional” features like RSS feeds, trackbacks and the ability to add blogrolls to Vox as a next step. Heck, I’d like to see some of these features find their way into TypePad as well.
BusinessWeek took a look at Vox and made a good point that was so obvious I didn’t think much about it till I saw the following:
The innovation is how much they have simplied blogging. And I think that this is finally the thing that might get my mom or cousin to blog. You never see any HTML and you don’t have to search through your directories for images or on YouTube, because they create handy image driven storage places for your pieces of art. It shows what they have learned from their LiveJournal acquisition.
It is amazing how Vox is being used by people in the blogosphere. Blogger Angela Booth has offered to give her one invitation to join Vox to a person who would take Angela on as their blog mentor:
Since Vox is in preview beta now, I’ve only got one invitation to Vox to share. I thought it might be fun to give the invitation to someone who’d love to become a career blogger, or blogging entrepreneur, and who wants some (free) guidance — a mentor, in short.
Would you like me to be your blogging mentor?
If you would (I’ll help you to get started as either a career blogger, or blog-entrepreneur) please send a message to email@example.com with BLOGGING MENTOR in the subject line.
Just tell me why you’d like a mentor. Tell me what blogging goals you want to achieve, and a little about yourself.
If I choose you to mentor, you need to agree to having me blog about the process. (I won’t mention your name if you don’t want me to.)
I’ve been blogging for a long time, and it’s really hard for me to get “beginner’s mind?? on blogging, so you’ll be helping me as much as I hope I can help you.
I’ll leave the offer open for a week from today; until July 18. I look forward to hearing from you!