Thursday, December 20, 2007

Help, Call for

I have a dilemma. Not a huge, mind-bendingly awful one, but one that I've been avoiding for awhile, about four months to be exact.

In August, after returning from vacation, I suggested to the rest of my family that we should set up a family website to collect all the good family stories, and also to keep in touch with one another, and post pictures and so forth. Clearly, some of us (ahem) will be a little bit ahead of the curve on most of that, but here's where the dilemma comes in: what software platform to use?

I've done a little reading (emphasis on "a little") on different social networking platforms. Of course, I use Blogger for my regular blogs. I also have an account on LiveJournal which has languished for most of this year because I told someone about it IRL which limits my freedom of expression about that person. But I'm also looking at TypePad and WordPress and any others of that ilk.

The important stuff that I see that we'd need is, in no particular order:
  • Access for (unlimited?) multiple logins, around 20 potentially, but certainly at least 5.
  • Free. This is important. I know we could pay the $10-75 as a family to do this, but it makes everything easier if it's free for just so many reasons!
  • Easy. Since I kick-started this thing, I will at least start out being the Administrator. I don't want to spend every waking moment tweaking it, rewriting code, learning new programming languages, etc. It also has to be something that people who know NO coding can sit down, log in, and just go.
  • It would be wonderful if there were multiple "sub-blogs" for each family. The idea being that each of my siblings' families could have their own Family Page, as well as the main trunk of the family tree. It would be good if the main page could link to updates on the individual "sub-blogs" a la or newsfeeds in general.
  • We don't have a domain name. We could get one (but see above re Free), but for the time being I'd be fine with using the host site with the option for moving everything to a domain later.
Part of the reason I'm suddenly thinking about this again is that Elizabeth, my oldest niece, is trying to plump up her resume in order to change jobs. She's feeling the need to 'get with the program' re Web 2.0 (ack) and specifically Library 2.0 (major ack). Even though she's been doing web design for about 15 years for the libraries where she's worked, she has not had the time or interest to explore the vagaries of Facebook,, BlogLand, and the whole social net that has developed over the past 4 or 5 years. She's been spending her time instead teaching kids how to access material using the catalog and databases in her libraries, driving to satellite campuses to do BI, and just generally trying to keep her head above water. There is, apparently, an enormous divide between public universities and private in terms of expectations. She has never been tenure-track, and the position she is looking at IS. [I'm so glad I'm a public librarian!!]

OK, anyway, Elizabeth can help with the techie stuff, but I still need to pick a platform.

And that's where you all come in, with your ideas, suggestions, comments, complaints about your experiences.... If you don't want to put them in comments, you can email me (there's a link in the sidebar, or leave a comment that you can't find my email addy and I'll contact you). By the way, this kind of stuff is welcome from people who have online journals AND those who only comment on others' blogs/journals. The interactivity thing will be important, so if you really hate (or love) navigating certain platforms for whatever reason, that's good to know too!

I'll still dither around for awhile--it's what I do best!--but I would love to get this show on the road by early January.


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