Pillowfort Launches Free Open Beta

Pillowfort is a blogging platform with a blend of social media features woven within it. Think of the old LiveJournal days of yore – if you happened to have one – with a smattering of Twitter and some Tumblr functionality meshed within it. The UI even has a lot of LiveJournal sensibilities to it (though word is, we’re getting a UI overhaul this year).

Pillowfort has just gone into open beta as of yesterday. I’ve had my original Pillowfort account for quite a while now, and have been actively supporting the platform for way over a two years. While a lot of features are still in the works, it does things that I appreciate and hope to see further developed.

For one, I feel as if I have much more control over my own privacy, filtered content and over what happens with my content. Don’t want someone reblogging something you post? You can turn that off. Don’t want comments on a post you make? You can turn that off, too. Don’t want messages at all? Turn that off.

I also love the concept of Communities within Pillowfort. I don’t know if it’s super obvious to a new user, but Communities really make up the heart of the platform. You can find a community on just about anything you’re interested in — and if you can’t, you can make and run your own.

An example of my community list

If you want your content out there in front of people on Pillowfort, joining and reblogging to a community is how to extend your post’s reach. While you can build a follower list, I find that reblogging to communities is really where my content gets the most traction.

But a community is more than just that. Each one has its own message board, for example, where the members can chat amongst themselves. Each community also should have a moderator who oversees the content and overall community environment.

Another nice thing about communities is if one starts getting a little loud or out of hand, you can Unwatch it (rather than leave it). This mutes the community in your feed without you having to leave it, and gives you a little room to breathe. Once you feel caught up, you can always Watch it again and jump right back in to the content.

Keep in mind that this platform has been fairly closed to new members, only allowing accounts made by purchase or by invite from someone who already has an account. So now, having opened the gates to everyone, Pillowfort is hoping for an influx of new users.

I know that the UI seems a little behind the times. However, another thing I really do like is that you can completely customize your sidebar, adding images and links as well as text. If you’re a creative type, you can go ham with that and have a lot of fun designing your own!

Pillowfort also handles most embeds to other social media and blogging platforms well — uploading a link to one of my blog posts here, for example, always turns out nice looking. I like that there’s a nice big area for posting things like screenshots and artwork – I can really see this as being a place for online artists to group together and share their work.

Anyhow, if you’re interested in trying it out, it’s free to sign up and poke around at it. I’m always looking for friends to follow on my Aywren account there. So if you launch a Fort, drop me a follow and I’ll follow back!