Review: Six Apart's Blog It Facebook App

UPDATE: Bryan Tighe, the app developer is helping me out. I think we have got it working. 

It seems that there is an issue with MT 3.35 where it puts in extra spaces on the published page, even though if you login to MT and republish, things look fine again. The problem I was having (consistently) was that I had not changed my Web Services password from the default one. Once I did that, everything was peachy again.

So, I need to upgrade Breaking Windows to MT 4, and Blog It needs to support Categories. Then this will be a Facebook application that I would use on a daily basis.

Read full, original, review, after the break.

REVIEW: While I would normally post a tech review to Blogcritics Sci/Tech, I figured that this was a good enough reason to keep it exclusive to Breaking Windows -- and Facebook. Yes, I am using Blog It to review Blog It. How novel is that? If that is too geeky for you, you are with the wrong crowd.

Facebook has had an explosion of apps. I would say it is suffering, and dying from, the glut of absolutely crap apps. Some have been been picked apart, and shown to have security flaws. I will be the first to tell you that I miss the old Facebook, the ones sans apps.

Of course I have a unique outlook on the entire social networking explosion. Somehow, and I really cannot explain it, I managed to get through high school and college* without a MySpace or Facebook account. In fact, my first networking account was on LinkedIn.

I did not get a MySpace or Facebook until a past co-worker suggested I do so for the business networking. It was sage advice and something that I do not regret doing.

You might be thinking it was because I was afraid of the loss of privacy or identity that comes with such things. HA HA, no. That cherry was popped ages ago when I first stepped into the world of stalking, I mean surfing. I came to the realization years ago that there is no such thing as privacy on the Internet. And your identity? That is a constantly moving target.

Facebook has a number of apps that allow you to blog. They even allow you to connect to your blogs. But they all make the cardinal sin. Well, they make some bad mistakes, and make the cardinal sin. Those mistakes are too long to list here, but the sin is that they post the entirety of the post here on Facebook. No, that is not the point people. If I wanted to post a blog on my Facebook I would go to my MySpace.

Blog It allows you to cross post to TypePad, Blogger, LiveJournal, Movable Type, Pownce, Tumblr, Twitter, Vox, WordPress.com and WordPress.org sites. It then posts an excerpt to your Facebook mini-feed. Which is exactly what I have been looking for in a blog posting Facebook app. Thank you. Someone out there thinks like me (you are in danger).

You can even be selective about it. I am not posting this to my WordPress.com blog, or Tumblr blog, for example.

For Twitter, it automagically adds a TinyURL to your blog post. This is all going well. Something must be wrong. This is an initial release, after all.

The snags are here, but not too bad. My biggest issue is that there is no Categories support. My Wordpress.com and Movable Type blogs would benefit from having their categories set. I hope to see this added soon, and that it is a high priority to the team who developed this wonderful Facebook app.

Although it launched with no support for formatting at all, Markdown was quickly added. We can all thank John Gruber for Markdown, something that comes pretty naturally to many bloggers after years of typing in weirdly understandable syntax. I hope they go one step further and add TinyMCE or some other WYSIWYG.

This is not that I don't like typing Markdown or HTML, it is entirely because I am a lazy bastard. Or for those of you that I work with, a Lazy Bastard Operator from Hell.

That last snag is something that I hope I am doing wrong. Errors that happen between the keyboard and chair are the most fun. When the post shows up on my blog, it has too much space between graphs. It is as if It puts one or two extra BR tags in there -- and it does. I got a tip from Bryan Tighe (Thanks!) to try setting Blog It to use Markdown, which I actually decided to try for the first time on this post as it is. So lets hope that fixes that problem.

In short, Blog It is the single most useful app on Facebook not authored by Facebook. Before today I would say the Twitter app held that distinction. But since Blog It works with Twitter, it has by default been stomped on by Blog It. Not surprisingly, a faint "tweeeett" was the last thing heard coming from that light blue guy.

While many of us are on Facebook far too much for our own good, (or the good of our employer, ahem) this app provides a Beacon (HA HA couldn't resist) to our many friends on our many different social networking circles.

Blog It has nothing on throwing sheep, but it does provide a very useful function to my Facebook page. Three cheers for Six Apart. Maybe I should buy them a beer. Oh damn, I don't have that app installed.

*by "get through" college I mean I went to college for six-ish years, failed out, and started my own web development business. But you get the idea.

Note: In the true sense of blogging, I did not edit this. If there are grammatical or spelling (Hey I spelled 'grammatical' right on the first try, +1 Spelling for me) errors in here, you are gonna have to deal with them. Heck, I didn't even proofread, I just hit the blue Post button.

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