For a few years I used a program called Networked Blogs to share my blog with the world. It allowed me to connect the RSS feed on this webpage with my Twitter account and my Facebook profiles, publishing new content automatically. It was simple, straightforward, and (most importantly) free. Recently, however, it appears that Networked Blogs has been taken over by a company called Symphony. They sent me a notice that there would be some changes -- which I ignored -- and then I went to login to make some changes and was informed that my account was going to be different from now on.
Symphony is not a free service. They offer a free trial, and then they want you to buy a subscription. My free trial is up tomorrow. Again, they've sent me fair notice leading up to this point -- which I ignored -- and now I'm kind of up against it. The service is not only not free; it is (in my opinion) expensive. Maybe it's not more expensive than other services, but I still like to think we all live in the land where everything on the internet was free.
So, it's not free. They offer three different levels of service: Bach, Mozart, and Enterprise. Why they chose to deviate from the composer theme for that last level of service, I do not understand. Bach is the least expensive at $29/month. Mozart will put you out $99/month. Enterprise? I have no idea. They want you to contact them to find out.
There are a couple of alternatives to the paid service. You could, for example, recommend the service to five of your friends. Or you could write a review of Symphony (as I am doing here) in exchange for a free year's worth of Bach.
So...I figure I'm getting paid $300 to write this.
The new dashboard interface is more physically attractive than the old Networked Blogs was. But it's less intuitive. And there is no explanation of anything. You're left on your own to figure it all out. So far, I think I've done alright, but I am certain there are features I am not using -- because I don't know what they are, and I don't know how to set them up.
I am a middle-aged writer with average (perhaps SLIGHTLY above average) technical skills. Symphony feels like something I could probably figure out if I were 20-something. There is a "chat box" at the bottom of the screen. I haven't tried that. It hasn't come to that just yet.
- it's an attractive enough dashboard -- I like the fact that it tracks comments and mentions;
- it functions well -- I haven't had any technical difficulties;
- it's not free -- in fact, it's kind of expensive;
- it's not very intuitive -- in fact, there are parts of it that I find downright confusing;
- there are parts of it that I'm sure I'm not taking full advantage of because I don't understand them;
- they're offering me a free year's subscription for writing this.