I’m a big fan of WordPress. It’s by far the best blogging platform, in fact it’s by far the best CMS I’ve ever seen by a mile. And it’s free.
There’s a plugin for everything you could possibly need, and if you’ve got a fairly new computer it’s so childishly easy to host your own blog there’ll probably be a precocious baby on the new Microsoft advert extolling the virtues of WP.
But there’s one thing about WordPress that really irritates me. It’s the recommended blogs on the home page. They’re always childish, banal or right-wing and generally utterly rubbish.
I suppose there are several obvious reasons for this. First and foremost, WordPress displays VIP blog entries on its homepage.
These are blog posts from WordPress’s many customers who opt for a premium WordPress experience, and get their rubbish promoted on the WordPress homepage as a result.
Annoyingly, these posts always seem to be from the online loony bin that is Fox News’ blog, usually slamming Obama, Meghan McCain or other Democrats.
If not a political blog, it’s likely to be some tedious gubbins from a self-proclaimed tech expert musing fruitlessly on some aspect of the new iPhone. Boring.
The next staple is American gossip and ephemera. This may not be quite so intolerable if it were UK gossip and ephemera, but when the upskirt in question is from some previously unheard-of American Idol contestant there’s not even the morbid curiosity of peeking at the genitals of someone you’ve actually seen on the telly.
The fourth that I’ve identified is cute stuff. Lolcats, cute animals doing tricks, bearded babies, a cat with its arm round a duck. That sort of thing.
Presumably the rankings are driven by popularity, so every now and then there’s something totally random. As I type there’s a picture of a dead Tamil Tiger; an apparent scandal involving ‘Maricar Reyes and Hayden Kho’; a post called ‘Feisty Mom Comes Out Swinging — A Lovely Read’ on a blog called Free-Range Kids; an incomprehensible manga spoiler that reads like its a sequel to ‘All your base are belong to us’; and some more US ephemera.
If there’s some aspect of popularity to these community posts it seems a bit churlish to complain, but when Hot VIP posts is pushing a picture of Gwen Stefani’s baby’s mohican on a blog called Celebrity Babies I’m far from convinced that this is worth my, or indeed anyone’s, time.
I can only boggle at the possibility of Ann Coulter being papped exiting a taxi while conducting a phone conversation on some absurd new telephone with a cat in a fishbowl. The blogosphere would explode.
I really should reiterate that WordPress is almost faultless, and it’s really good. This isn’t any kind of serious attempt at a critique. It’s just that I’m really grumpy.
Anyway, here’s my take on the WordPress home page. Click through for a larger version.
• Two caveats. I may have inadvertently included the gravatars of some identifiable individuals. This is accidental and no association nor implication is intended.
Additionally, I’m only taking a pot shot at certain looney tunes Americans, namely one particular news channel. I like most Americans.