For many, blogging can be a laborious and frustrating process of pouring long nights into a publishing platform and receiving minimal feedback beyond spam comments and automated emails. Blogs can launch careers, especially for journalists, but attracting an audience is a slow and thankless task. Glipho seeks to change that.
"Imagine getting into a site, writing the first thing, getting three comments, getting people talking to you about what you write, getting more visitors and more feedback than you ever got on your blog," Roger Planes, founder and chief executive of the self-styled "social publishing engine", told Journalism.co.uk.
"Unless you're a big blogger and you actually make a living from blogging, like from having ads on your blog, this is a much better way to put your content out there. "
The feeling of community and interaction is what makes Glipho so appealing to users, said Planes, while integration with established social media and publishing platforms streamlines the process in making it a hub from which bloggers and aspiring journalists can publish and interact.
How Glipho works
When users create a free Glipho account they have the option to connect their existing networks from different social media platforms, currently including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Flickr, Picasa, LinkedIn and Pinterest.I see social publishing exploding in the fourth quarter of this yearRoger Planes, Glipho
Then, when it is time to publish, users can illustrate their articles, or 'gliphs', with content from their Instagram or Flickr accounts, for example, or automatically embed videos from YouTube.
"You simply search whatever you want and then drag and drop it. That works for Picasa, Instagram, Flickr, YouTube and we plan to keep integrating more things that you actually want to put in your content," said Planes.
Alternatively, if a user already has an established blog on Wordpress, Blogger or Tumblr, they can simply import the content from there. Users can like gliphs or follow other users, view popular or trending writers and topics to tailor the experience to their own tastes.
"Writers pitch stories and have excerpts of their novels or aspiring journalists write about politics or whatever they're interested in," Planes said of the types of content and users on the site, with publicly browsable categories ranging from fiction and lifestyle to showbiz and science. Some features have been stylised to make interactions even more social.
Rather than leaving an endless stream of comments, users start new discussions at the end of posts which can then develop into comment threads with notifications for new responses. Users can even create new versions of a post, letting different or complementary opinions sit side-by-side on matters like recipes, reviews, opinion pieces or sport previews.
"To be honest I think we created a fun website to use," said Planes, "that's what everybody brings up. So if we can make blogging fun and people enjoy it and people come back because they have fun then that's more than I could dream of when I started."
How Glipho started
Along with a team, Planes started building the platform in April 2012 after spending a number of years as a developer building tools for journalists and working on social media strategies. He decided to put this experience to use in combating his frustrations with blogging. After several months in beta the platform became publicly available in last month.It's what people are going to be doing in the next two yearsRoger Planes, Glipho
"When I've tried to create a blog I always find it a really lonely thing to do as when you first start nobody reads your work or comments on it so I got frustrated over time," he said.
"It seemed to me that it would be a great idea to bring all the tools and all the ideas that I was creating onto a platform where people could just sign in and write and publish, where you don't have to worry about designing social plug-ins or finding an audience and things like that."
By streamlining the publishing process for writers, fostering interaction between users and integrating social media tools, Glipho acts as a control centre for bloggers and aspiring writers to publish their work, get feedback and interact with their peers with ease. With a mobile app already in the works, Planes expects social publishing to take off and hopes that Glipho will be at the front of the movement.
"I think in the future it will be really useful for aspiring journalists to have all of their content in one place where it looks good and you don't have to worry about anything else," he said.
"I see social publishing exploding in the fourth quarter of this year because you can hear the rumours about it here and there. It's what people are going to be doing in the next two years."
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