I have to admit, my stomach sank when The Daily Post first loaded in my browser. It appeared as though I had been sent to review an entire weblog community with the likes of LiveJournal or Xanga. Instead, I quickly discovered The Daily Post to be made up of a handful of webloggers aiming to create an ‘international flavour’ to their site. Other than that unique facet, there was nothing particularly stunning about the site itself – a pretty standard looking template-design divided into the weblog, a photoblog, and ‘bits and bobs’ which is the English (and, as usual, more eloquent) equivalent of ‘miscellaneous’.
The setup of the weblog is still something of a mystery to me. While the front page lists seven members, I could only find three of the members’ entries readily available on the site. And those entries were combined into one weblog with no apparent way to view each user’s comments separately. This was a little frustrating since the members’ all employ different uses for their weblogs. Some are extremely political, while others are simply thoughts and comments on their current life situation. In addition to this hodgepodge of entries, some unidentified entity posts news briefs throughout the weblog. Having such diverse elements all piled into one category makes for a considerably choppy read. One minute I was hearing about the users promotion at work and the next minute I’m being spoon fed another user’s views on feminism. Each is fine in it’s own rite, but to try and combine these elements into one is illogical. The writings in the weblog – no matter what the subject material – do appear to be well-thought out and well-articulated. However, I feel like their writings have done nothing to further their goal of an international theme. It is no more international than any other group of weblogs that have members from various countries. After reading through the entries on the main site, I did find links to “members’ weblogs” on the members page. Upon discovering these links to members’ weblogs, I couldn’t help but wonder what I had been reading for the last 10 minutes on the main page if not the members’ weblogs. Upon visiting these sites I found an even more diverse selection of weblogs with no underlying theme. I will say that one member’s site was closer to achieving the goal of weblogging from an international perspective more than any other. She spoke, quite well, on the excitement and nervousness of traveling to a foreign country and growing up in the process. This site was definitely the highlight of my time spent sifting through The Daily Post. Another interesting feature outside the weblogs was their Alpha Bio system. They claim to have pioneered this technique in which the members use each letter of the alphabet to describe something about themselves. I found this to be a very clever twist on an old idea and a point of pride for the site.
As far as the design of The Daily Post, it’s very straight-forward and easy to navigate. The template is a familiar one, coming from Movable Type. I did find their variety of content to be appealing. I spent at least an hour maneuvering through the various aspects of the site with little repetition. Navigating the site was not bad, but there were enough small flaws in the link hierarchy to make it frustrating at times. I expected the site’s main logo to take me back to the main page every time, but it took me to various pages depending on where I was at the time. Also, the inability to separate each individual user’s contributions was very frustrating.
I would like to point out an unintended aspect of this weblog site that I found to be the most intriguing. I was able to observe the birth, movement, and growth of this weblog community via the brief background information and the various admin. posts. Perhaps my fascination by this was underscored by my relatively little experience in reviewing weblogs, but I found this site to be a perfectly documented example of how the weblog organism evolves over time. They originally had been hosted by a different, larger weblog community and, eventually, broke off and created their own domain. On that same note, it was fun to see that this community isn’t done growing. In their quest for an international community, they are now offering free web hosting and other perks to join the ranks. It will be interesting to watch this site grow and (hopefully) flourish into a larger, more international community.
Overall, I simply wasn’t that impressed with this site. Perhaps some of my disappointment was due to the initial promise of an ‘international flavour’ which was not fulfilled. More likely, though, my disappointment came from the lack of each user’s separate identity dramatized by the over-abundance of different weblog themes. If they decided to combine all the users’ entries, some sort of congruousness among entries would have helped lock the reader’s interest in the site. While I simply couldn’t maintain much interest in this site, I haven’t given up on it. It is apparent that this community will continue to grow and evolve as more members sign on. I can only hope that it eventually grows and evolves into the weblog community it purports to be!The Daily Post