Let’s assume Xange doesn’t meet its fundraiser amount and disappears. Even if it does meet the required amount, it’s still the end for a lot of Xangans who don’t want to pay to blog. So how do we survive as a community?
Admittely Xanga had a lot of nice features. Recs, footprints, pulses, easy theming, etc. There isn’t one piece of software that can really replace all of that in the same way. Things will be a little rougher.
The first thing you need is a blog that supports RSS.
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It’s a way of broadcasting your posts to others. Most major blogging platforms support it. Xanga even supported it, though I bet most of you never used it. WordPress, blogger, and tumblr all support RSS. So chosing any one of those as your next blogging platform is a good choice.
Which one? That’s up to you. Whichever one you are most comfortable with. But to make your life easier it’s best to have an account at all three, even if you don’t blog there youself. That way when you visit someone elses blog you can comment.
As a side note: WordPress comes in two varieties. WordPress.com and wordpress.org. The .com site works like xanga. You sign up, start blogging and follow people. The .org is where you go to download wordpress (as software) if you want to self install it on your own web hosting provider (i.e. you pay for webspace and a domain name).
Next you need an RSS reader. A reader grabs RSS feeds from other websites and creates a viewable list of content, just like the Xanga home page that shows all the newest posts from your xanga subscriptions.
WordPress.com and Blogger both have built in readers. They both even support adding RSS feeds from external sites. So for example if you are using wordpress.com you can add people who are using blogger or using standalone wordpress.org sites (like this one). Same is true in reverse with blogger.
But those are not the only readers. My current favorite is Feedly.com which is not a blogging service, just a reader. It’s free and allows you to add RSS feeds from anywhere and even lets you categorize them so that you can view everything or just given category at a time. For example, I created a category called Xanga where I am putting all my Xanga peeps. See the screenshot below:
There is also a nice iPhone app for Feedly.
Aside from feedly I am also trying out the new AOL Reader (which is still in beta) and I’m using the wordpress.com reader as well. But both of those are proving to be slower with than feedly. Which means that when someone adds a blog post, it takes a while before it shows up in either of the other two readers.
In addition to an RSS reader, I created a facebook group called Xanga Feed. The purpose of this group is to act almost like a new Xanga front page. Whenever you publish a new blog entry you can add your link to it there, as well as browse the group for new entries from other ex-xangans.
In a post Xanga world there really isn’t going to be one easy solution. It’s not as if all members of Xanga are going to jump ship at the same time and go to the exact same place. When I left livejournal for myspace years ago, I lost some people I was subscribed to. The same happened again when I left myspace for facebook. So whenever we make a move like this we’re going to lose some people. Which sucks, but it’s just the way it is. In my last blog post about personal websites I mentioned how important it is to have a personal website as your home base on the internet. Services like myspace and xanga come and go, but this personal website for example, has been around for over 12 years. If you bookmark roxics.com chances are really good that 12 years from now you can still find me here. So my ultimate recommendation is to get a domain name and a webhost and set up a personal website if you’re savvy enough to do so.