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What's the best platform for bloggers?

I've met many people over the last few months who are interested in starting blogs.

They are idealistic about the process and have specific ideas about what they want to write about online. The catch, though, is that most of them are not terribly Web-savvy and have no idea where to begin.

It's not nearly as tough to get started as many beginners might think. You've basically got four platform options for starting your blog. They are Blogger, Wordpress, Typepad and Movable Type.

They are all free and relatively intuitive to use.

So which one's the best? I asked a few talented local bloggers for their thoughts. They had plenty to say about their platforms.

"[Movable Type] is probably the most extensive blogging platform out there that has the widest range of capabilities and flexibility," said Rook, of Rooks Rant.

He said that he's been blogging since 2003 and switched over from Blogger a few years back. But, Rook warns, that while he loves Movable Type, it may overwhelm beginners.

"It is capable of much more than I have the ability to tap into," Rook continued. "Which is another reason I like the program, it gives me a challenge to expand my late blooming inner geek."

Bonnie Obremski uses Wordpress on her new Representative Journalism Project blog. She was exposed to it while contributing to the community news site Locally Grown Northfield.

She said she really likes the attractive templates on Wordpress and has already recommended it to a family member. However, she gets very frustrated with trying to embed .html code of videos and slideshows from other sites onto her Wordpress blog. The process is not smooth, she said.

Roz at Roz Wound Up likes Typepad, but has complaints about specifics on the user interface.

"When you select an item to have italic or bold, and then add color to that type, the formatting disappears. That means you have to add color first and then the string of formatting you want," said Roz, who reviews art supplies on her blog.

"The copy editor in me wants the formatting that I want when I want it. I do find it irritating to have to restate what I've already done as this is wasted time."

And then there's Blogger, perhaps the most popular and widely used blogging platform worldwide.

"The thing that I enjoy the most about blogger is its integration with Google, all of my accounts can be managed in one spot which makes it a plus...Adsense, Reader and iGoogle," said Brian, of Brian In Minneapolis.

Brian added that he was stunned at how quickly he was able to get online using Blogger.

Bl@ck Coffee at the Uptown Mpls. blog also raved about the ease of getting rolling with Google's platform, saying it literally only took seconds.

"For me, the hardest part was picking out a user name and coming up with a URL that wasn't taken."

Highlights and lowlights
Amy The Mom calls for more outrage over the California octuplets who have been in the news recently. Her commenters provide requested outrage.

Redhead Ranting blogs at length about the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder in a post that many of us can probably relate to right now.

Pastor Pam at Living Word By Word says, "What digital transition?" 

Katie at Camacho Watcho writes about the joys of shopping at the Farmer's Market in the bitter cold.  

The Nihilist In Golf Pants lists 11 network TV shows that he will never watch. No "Lost," really?

Marty Andrade asks his readers to let rip their opinions about him and his blog. There's even a poll where you can give him a letter grade.

Ed at The Deets asks a question that many physicians may be very eager to answer.

Worth reading
Have you ever been drawn into a conversation on Facebook with someone from your past? Would you even acknowledge that same person if you saw him or her in public?

It's questions like these that fascinate Eden Prairie-based blogger Steve Borsch. On his blog, I Connect Dots, he looks at the connection between technology and social trends.

Recent posts about setting your on- and offline priorities and quality over quantity in your social networking posts should be considered mandatory reads for any Facebook junkie.

(Disclosure: Borsch is an occasional contributor to MinnPost.)

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