Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Six Apart is Clueless about its Users

It really is. Even though the adult LiveJournal users have tried to educate them on their LJ user base, they still don't get it.

I have a Live Journal (actually more than one) and a Vox account, in addition to this blog and several other portals for my thoughts online. I like playing around with features to see what things can do.

And there is a reason I use Live Journal more. It is more useful. Don't get me wrong, I am fond of this little blog here, but it's rather limited in features and until recently, getting in to make a simple post required me to go through several pages until I could type in text.

The one thing I absolutely LOVE about LiveJournal is the LJ-Cut feature. This allows you to hide part of your post under a link that readers can click if they actually want to read more. Yes, I know, some of you use RSS feeds with just the first few lines displayed, so hiding large posts under a cut wouldn't make a difference to you, but that is the small view of this feature. You can also use it for punchlines, large images that may crash your low bandwidth visitors, NSFW stuff, or anything you really want people to skip over if they aren't that interested in it - like quizzes and memes.

And I like being able to read my friends journals, along with my rss feeds, on my friend list, without opening another application or going to another site. I'm not always at my computer, so it's nice to have something that is web based.

Now, does Six Apart recognize the niftyness of these features? Apparently not. Because their idea of a more adult version of LiveJournal is Vox. Where do I begin in my disappointment with Vox?

First off, comparably speaking, customizing Vox sucks. Your options are almost all pre-canned stuff. You can make some changes, but apparently as an adult you can't be trusted to add your own widgits without special help and you must abide by limits in posting book recommendations and such per post. It would seem that Six Apart believes that adult internet users are inept. And my neighborhood page is just too cluttery for reading. I am glad that they have something that tells me when there are new posts on it, because I almost never check it. I am even more grateful that my LJ doesn't have this feature because it wouldn't fit in one weekly email.

Don't get me wrong, Vox has done some improvements in the past year, but it's still more of an adult version of MySpace than LiveJournal. And I do wish I could use the autolink feature for books and albums. That is about the only thing about Vox I really am impressed with. But Vox needs something more than this to get adults to leave LiveJournal for it.

Though I still don't understand why Six Apart is so keen on trying to widen the generation gap more. Chase the regular adults away and what you get are the perverts who lie about their age. Keep us regular ones around and we can spot a fake a lot faster than some heart-broken teen. It's isolation that makes these kids vulnerable. Besides, I know families who use LJ to keep in touch with each other.

Why this little rant?

Well, today Six Apart lost power to their data center. Their first priority was their Typepad clients, which after looking at the costs for Typepad services, makes sense. Their second priority appears to be Vox, even though last I knew, there are no paid accounts for it.

I have a paid LiveJournal account. Even those account that aren't paid generate some revenue since they've added ads to them. So, why is Live Journal the last system they are trying to get up?

Because Six Apart in their ignorant snobbery assumes that LiveJournal users aren't as important. Even though many journals show competency in designing their own cascading style sheets, they think that geeks want to pay an arm and a leg for a blog or just have bare bores and adults want limited features. So LiveJournal users aren't worth their effort.

Someone need to get their head out of the sand. This ain't Logan's Run, people. Even not counting the middle-aged people like me on there, the teenagers have to grow up. Are we seriously expecting them to leave enmass to Facebook when they turn 18? And then go on to another product? Why this ageism?

I swear people are so stupid at times...