Shai Sachs over at MyDD posted a interesting article on the use of Drupal as an alternative community blogging platform to Soapblox. Soapblox, a community blogging platform popular among progressive bloggers, has had some issues recently, there have been ongoing financial concerns, and the platform was recently hacked. This has raised a red flag for many progressive bloggers about the prolonged sustainability of the platform.
Shai goes on to talk about Drupal as as a community blogging alternative, presenting three very strong arguments:
First, Drupal's out-of-the-box features include user-specific diaries, moderated comments, and the capability to front-page a diary - those are all key features of Soapblox. What Drupal lacks is the ease-of-use of Soapblox, but as OnSugar demonstrated late last year, it's entirely possible to run a hosted, easy-to-use blogging platform on Drupal. Second, Drupal is one of the most popular content management systems in the world, which means it has an enormous user, developer, and support community; there is no single point of failure in the Drupal community, meaning that a near-meltdown like Soapblox's is nearly unthinkable. Finally, there is already a considerable degree of cooperation between the Drupal and progressive communities.
There are a large number of publishing platforms that have used Drupal to power news and media sites, including The Onion, Air America Radio, MTV UK, The New York Observer, and US Weekly. The diversity of sites currently using Drupal underscores the flexibility and scalability of the platform, as Drupal can handle even the high traffic of progressive blogging communities such as Daily Kos.
OnSugar, a community blogging platform built on Drupal, was launched last year as is currently competing with Wordpress's hosted blogging platform. Because of Drupal's flexible architecture and robust set of features, the site offers many features the hosted Wordpress service does not:
- Private messaging between site users
- The ability to follow posts by other bloggers
- The addition of chats, polls, and quizzes to your sire
- Custom themes and a wide selection of pre-configured themes
- The addition of custom multimedia content (photos, videos and audio files)
- Multi-author management per blog
- An API for posting and pulling data from your OnSugar site
Drupal comes with multi-user blogging functionality out of the box. With the addition of a few standard modules, one can replicate the ability of any hosted blogging platform currently on the market. The key power that Drupal provides in contrast to other platforms is the ability to add social networking functionality that strengthens the community within the site: with features like groups, private messaging, relationships, chat, forums, custom user profiles, and activity feeds. You can take community blogging to the next level by empowering bloggers to have more control over blog content, such as voting on post, moderating posts, ranking users, and collaborating and editing blog post content in a wiki fashion.
Trellon has built a number of rather advanced publishing platforms for organizations and media companies over the years. We would love to see the progressive community come together to provide a hosted online blogging community and we can contribute some expertise in the development of such a solution.