22 May 2009

To Switch or Nor to Switch

...to WordPress that is, and that is the question. I have asked this question before (for example, here and here), and I have gotten a few answers, but I suppose the threshold hasn't been crossed yet to fully warrant my attention. And just as a funny aside, it seems that whenever the topic of WordPress comes out here in my blog, Hamlet makes an entrance.

Anyway, let me apply my constraint satisfaction model to this issue. I suppose this is one way in which people can understand how I think, how I process things, how I make decisions.

There are two competing conclusions: staying in Blogger/Google, and switching to WordPress. Here are the following arguments for both.

Staying in Blogger/Google

  • I can access my blog and post entries virtually anywhere: all I need is an Internet connection.
  • There won't be any hardware/software problems: the server won't crash, and hosting is not a problem.
  • I can make drafts and save them online: do you really think I upload those photos every day I write a blog entry?
  • I do not have to pay for hosting: the only thing I pay for in the operation of this blog is the web domain, which I own for 3 years now.
  • I can schedule entries to be published: I can write them beforehand and then just schedule the publishing process.
  • I can edit previous blog posts, which are useful when I make reference pages, where I date them pretty far back and store links on them, like my book review page for example.
  • I am already familiar with how the procedure works: I do not need to learn new code or other gadgets when publishing my blog entries.
  • Comment moderation is a good thing: I have had no problems with them so far.
  • Themes are easy to switch: there are now plenty of XML themes available on the Internet, and all one needs to do is to personalize them.

Switching to WordPress

  • Apparently, everyone else is using them.
  • Everyone thinks they are great, (but I don't know why).
  • By switching to WordPress, one breaks free from the monopoly of Blogger/Google.

Okay, obviously, I am not motivated to make the switch. If I assign weights to the above opposing constraints, staying in Blogger/Google wins. Does WordPress do the same things that I appreciate in Blogger/Google? If so, then I need something more in order to make the switch. As Thomas Kuhn once said in his 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, in order to induce a paradigm shift, one must show that not only is the new paradigm different from the old one, but also better. So, is WordPress really better than Blogger/Google? If it is, then I invite those who use it to enlighten me.

I suppose to start, let me pose a rather bizarre question: is there a difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com? Are they related? Why do I need to download it? Does that mean that I can only publish using my own machine? Who will be hosting my blog? Do I have to pay for hosting?

So yeah, those are just the little questions that I have with respect to WordPress. And so far, I am not convinced.

If I see that the benefits are indeed enormous, then I would see whether I would shift or not. I am not assuming that WordPress handle all the things that I want with a blog. WordPress may not be able to handle one or two of the things I enumerated above that Blogger/Google can handle, but if WordPress has other stuff that outweighs that deficiency, then I would consider it. It's all about weighing the constraints and seeing how all the weights add up. By the way, the arguments listed above in favor of Blogger/Google are listed in order of importance, the most important one for me (and therefore the one with highest weight) is mentioned first.

So, will there be a paradigm shift in this blog?

(Winged Woman, from my National Gallery of Art Series)


  1. WordPress.com and WordPress.org are the same company, but are very different.

    WordPress.com is basically like blogger. Free to use, your url will be like .linguist.wordpress.com. But I find it doesn't worth to switch from Blogger to the free WordPress.com, because it's actually more limited than Blogger. For example, you have to pay to tweak your CSS sheet.

    WordPress.org is the free plateform that allows you to self-host your blog. To me, it's great.

    WordPress.com also let you create draft, upload pictures, access your blog from anywhere in the world, schedule post, edit them, it a comment moderation and spam filter etc.

  2. Zhu,

    Hmmm, but I can do all those things in Blogger! But here's a question, what's the difference and/or advantage of self-hosting, as to being hosted by another entity, such as Blogger?

  3. Basically, more control over your blog. It won't be deleted by mistake, as it happens sometimes with Blogger (oh yes, it does...). It looks more professional also, but this is more a concern for those doing the blogging for money thing.

    It's definitely more flexible, thanks to the thousands of plugins available.

    And it's cool. ;)

  4. Zhu,

    Ah. Hmm, in that case, I will add that to my list of pros and cons.