19 April 2010

Thing 16: Wacky Widgets

Forrest Gump said that life is like a box of chocolates because you never know what you're going to get, and I think that searching for widgets is also similarly unpredictable, or at least similarly varied.  Some of the widgets I looked at were fantastic - I could easily see how they could enrich the content on someone's page, especially if the blog had a specific focus.

On the Project Term blog for our biking trip, for example, we added a weather widget, so that visitors to the page could see what we were doing in Virginia and know instantly what kind of weather we were enjoying (and believe me, we were enjoying it).  I think there's a great opportunity for people keeping more personal blogs to use some of the picture widgets to stream photos from Flickr or Picassa so that they don't need to update and add individual images all the time.  A music blog would be made more interesting and interactive if a musical widget were added; the multimedia addition could provide real examples of the content that would otherwise be just talked about.  On my own blog, I chose the comments widget because I love seeing all the ways that people post, and I like that now I don't have to navigate to individual posts to see the messages and questions other people have left.  It's a good time saver.

However, I did see that a lot of the widgets that are out there are just plain stupid.  Sure, it's cute to have little fish swimming in a tank on your page, but so what?  I don't want to limit anyone's creativity, but I don't get the point of it.  Why link to games from your page?  Don't you want your visitors to stay and read what you've posted?  Maybe I'm being a little persnickety, or maybe I just have a different purpose in blogging than others do, but the sillier widgets seem just distracting - they don't add much value to the blog.  I feel like the other projects we've undertaken in the 23 Things have conditioned us to give preference to efficient and concise blogs, those that really embody the "less is more" spirit, and tons of the widgets I saw fly in the face of that.

1 comment:

  1. "However, I did see that a lot of the widgets that are out there are just plain stupid."

    AGREED! That which is novel to one is sometimes overused to the detriment of all. I do think people grow out of it....