Glogster brings glitter graphic blogging to the masses
Is this the next revolution of blogging tools? Probably not, but it's pretty.
Glogster is a new publishing tool that's been making the rounds over the last week. The service is focused on letting people create "posters" of various bits of premade and user-generated content using a Flash editor. Unlike some blogging platforms, Glogster has no inclination to go after people who want to write something every day. Instead, the site is geared toward the tween crowd, or anyone else who enjoys partaking in glitter graphics, or those strange greeting cards with dogs and cats that have been Photoshopped to have enormous eyeballs. That being said, using the right tools, Glogster users can create classy looking stuff with a distinct visual style, even if it's got a single-use, disposable life cycle of something like an e-card.
Glogster's editing tool is simple to use, although a little flawed from the get go. Its categorization, which divides up all the content you can place onto a Glog, places a limited number of items together that the user must then sort through one piece at a time. Considering the amount of preproduced content that can be placed on the page, it's an exercise in patience for people to find what they're looking for. In comparison to what I consider a comparable Flash editing environment, video mashup tool Flecktor and competing scrapbooking service Scrapblog do a far more graceful job at putting all the options in one place. The one saving grace is that anyone can dive in and start making a "Glog" without having to register with the service, which is a great way to get a feel for things. Each premade item is also a vector graphic, meaning you can resize it ad nauseum and it won't get pixilated.
Besides being a niche publishing platform, Glogster doubles as a social network of its own. Users can add each other as friends, and each Glog gets its own place for comments and a five star rating that can get it featured on the "top glogs" section. Users can also embed a Glog elsewhere (example), although for some strange reason you can't pick out how big it is, so it looks enormous nearly anywhere you put it.
While there's no integration with some pre-existing photo and video hosting services to help users pull down media they've already had to upload, my guess is that Glogster will add that later down the line. In the meantime, you're required to upload both pictures and videos, the latter of which requires a fair bit of processing after upload before you can add it to a Glog. Scale that to three or more video clips and things get tedious.
I'm not quite sure what to think about Glogster. It's certainly not ugly, but it can be in the hands of its users, who have already created a wide array of Glogs that fall mostly on the side of visual overload. It's amazingly simple if you're just sticking to images with text captions, although compared with Scrapblog, it's missing some of that panache and easy integration that I think keeps users coming back.