Blog Review: Mashable and BoingBoing

Assignment One: Write about a favorite blog and a blog you dislike. Cirque the two blogs using the principles we talked about in class.

Favorite: Mashable

I enjoy reading the blog Mashable – not daily, but often.

The blog is editorially sound with quality content across a range of topics all revolving around technology. The authors have established credibility and write in a manner that is simple to read – short sentences, bullet points and images. I think the quality of the content is high and enjoy the use of images and video.

Each post is easy to share with a button to share on Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Tumblr and email on every post. Even on the main page of all content has sharing capabilities for Twitter, Facebook and StumbleUpon. Mashable also makes subscribing to the blog easy with options to subscribe on Twitter, Stumble, RSS and YouTube. I actually follow Mashable more by following it on Twitter than visiting the site independently. The blog definitely caters to its large audience and many user preferences for social and sharing.

There is definitely a community on Mashable, which can be seen in the comments. The comments are usually thoughtful and there doesn’t appear to be many trolls, although there are a few. Whether this is due to the readership itself or the blog owner monitoring the content, I am uncertain, although I imagine it would be a combination. Although I don’t participate directly in this community, you could say I do when I share links to the blog on Twitter. There is also an offline community of readers – I often find myself having true, face to face conversations with friends about the content on Mashable.

I particularly like the structure of the blog – its clean, easy to navigate, and the advertisements blend in without distraction. Featured stories appear at the top of the home page along with trending and most shared stories. Then the blog follows below in a linear, easy to scroll format. The navigation at the top also makes searching for specific content by topic very easy.

Not So Much: BoingBoing

While I often enjoy the content on BoingBoing, if I have the patience to get to the content, the site itself is not a favorite of mine. It is hard to navigate and find content. And often times, the content is a summary and link to and external site. I use this site as more of a surfing foundation than actually reading the content. The content lacks credibility as it is mostly taken from other sources or comments on existing content, and it appears that just about anyone can submit a link to share.

The home page features essentially one blog post at the top, followed by a long page of posts. The posts consist of quotes from other sources, video from other sources, photos from other sources, and limited original content which is mostly a short summary of the borrowed content. While the posts are easy to scroll through, it’s all most too much. I think they would be better off using short blurbs of the posts to link to the longer versions than putting all full-length posts on the homepage.

Sharing content from the site is fairly easy – buttons exist to share to Facebook, Twitter and email for all posts – but I am not sure the content is necessarily worth sharing.

The site is also difficult to navigate. The right sidebar links to featured content but only using images which is almost a distraction from the rest of the text heavy content. The side bar features look like advertisements, although they link to internal content. Aside from the main page, the featured content page is just like the right side bar – hard to understand and navigate through the images – and the other pages are almost a replica of the homepage – text-heavy and hard to search.

Recommendations:

  1. More original content
  2. Simpler organization and structure
  3. Utilize tags and key words
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