Line in the Sandbox
Mobile blogging isn’t exactly my favorite thing to do in the world, but I believe that it has its potentials. Unless you make the whole country wi-fi ready (that is not difficult to accomplish, as long as you’re ready for political scams), the best way to “democratize” blogging would be to use the platform available for almost everybody: the cellphone.
I’ve been using the SandBox service of Smart Communications for quite a while now. I’m not a techie or what, but I think that Smart had a great idea in making the SandBox service an all-in-one place for social networking, blogging, picture hosting, forums, groups, bulletin boards, video, and just about everything else.
I like the idea of SandBox. I like the idea of mobile blogging (even if my idea of it is still to lug a laptop to a wi-fi hotspot). I like the idea of making blogging available to the people. Yet my problem with SandBox – for the while that I’ve been using it, anyway – is that it’s just too much of a jack-of-all-trades, and a master of none. I want to see SandBox improve, I want to see more people using SandBox, but it’s just too much of a work-in-progress for me, at least.
Personally, I hate jack-of-all-trades sites. Sites that do everything end up doing nothing particularly well. I think of things in terms of core competencies: a blog site is a blog site, a quiz site is a quiz site, a real-time timeline site is a real-time timeline site. But that’s just a matter of personal preference.
I have had a lot of problems logging in and out of SandBox to the point that it becomes exasperating to use it. I think of mobile blogging as a right-then-and-there enterprise; if I can’t mo-blog about it now, I might as well not mo-blog about it. It’s often the case that many snapshots and thoughts for the day were simply not posted up SandBox (it’s not like they’re world-changing or significant, but you probably get my point) because as it stands, it’s difficult to access SandBox.
Another problem I have with SandBox at this stage is that it’s just not mobile enough. To access SandBox from the default browser or a third-party mobile browser will still give you the same layout you’ll see if you accessed SandBox from a computer. Many websites have a perfectly fine mobile interface, like Facebook and Plurk or even Yahoo! Mail, but SandBox does not have this functionality.
I don’t like navigating through the whole page – which is not designed for mobile browsing – just to access the login fields. SandBox is not optimized for mobile blogging or even mobile access; it’s often easier to use SandBox through a computer, which doesn’t quite make sense considering what SandBox is built for. Those functional problems, to me, compose the biggest problem that SandBox has at this stage: it is not a mobile website, but it is a website accessible through a cellular phone.
With all that said, I’m game with the idea of SandBox. If the goal is to bring blogging to everyone (which I disagree with, and more on that when I feel like it), then SandBox – in spirit – is well on its way to doing exactly that. But as it stands, there are a lot of improvements necessary to improve the service. I’m not demanding a lot – I can be very patient with technology – but SandBox developers can start by making the service mobile-friendly and very easy to access through mobile phones. That includes login features, layout, and navigation. Once that problem is resolved, more and more people will be attracted to the service.
Until then, I support SandBox in spirit. But even my spirit gets exasperated with annoying login problems.