Monday, June 29, 2015

Kakao's PLAIN blogging app

UPDATE: This app is now discontinued. See here

In addition to KakaoTalk, the most popular free messaging app in Korea, Daum-Kakao runs a variety of other services, almost too many to mention nowadays. Games, shopping, fashion, taxi, you name it, Kakao is trying to get a piece. Usually I ignore these new apps, but this one caught my eye.

"PLAIN" is Kakao's new blogging platform, optimized for mobile but you can also view the blogs on a normal deskstop web-browser, much like they've done with KakaoStory. They even made an English-language blog post promoting it:

 → 5 Things to Know about Daum Kakao’s new Mobile Blogging Platform, “PLAIN”

Anyway, I was curious, downloaded it, and took it for a spin. So here is a huge series of screenshots of PLAIN in-action. Follow along and virtually explore this new service with me.

1 - Signing-up. I already have a Kakao account so I only needed to choose a blog name. "Sam" was already taken.

Here's the home screen, a showcase of other popular blog posts. I'm guessing that "Follow" tab would be the homescreen if I were actually following anyone.
Hmm those trees look nice, let's give those a click. 

This guy posted a photo entry of a bamboo forest. "Leave traces"... pun on tree "leaves" perhaps? Clever bloke, this one. Let's click his face to see his profile. That (+) to the right will let me 'follow' him.  

Here's his profile page. Looks like he's got 44 followers (probably more than this blog does, to be honest) and 157 views.
Posts get tagged with hashtags, which seem to work as labels or categories here. He's got 5 posts tagged with "poetry".
Let's see his 3 "book review" posts. 

Interesting. Must have been a fun read? Let's go spy on who follows him. Go back and click the 44 people icon. 

Here they are. I can follow them with a quick (+) press.
OK enough of him. Let's make our own post! 

Go over tot he "My Page" tab, and a big "New Post" button is waiting. Click it, and I can make a text post. 

At the bottom it looks like I can attach an image or a link. Let's make this a link-post to my real blog. 

I can also add hashtags at the bottom. It recommended "#tips" and when I accepted that, it started offering me more to choose from. You can even "follow" a specific hashtag.
What's that arrow in the lower right do? Share?  

Ah ha, yes. I can automatically cross-post (well, post a link back to this PLAIN post) on KakaoStory and Facebook. You set those up in the settings first though. Let's just post it here for now. 

And there we go. My profile page. I have one post, one hashtag, no friends or views. But at least I'm smiling? 

Click my face icon, and I can customize the profile page with a cover image, profile image, and status message. 

In the settings, you can set-up your posting to KakaoStory and Facebook.
Let's go back and see how my post looked. 

Looking good. Nobody liked it though. Let's like it ourselves, and leave a comment too. 

Perfect. Leaving a comment and liking also automatically brought up "related" posts, which must be by content seeing as both the related posts are in English, and how many English-speakers are using this? 

Back to the "Explore" tab, a new batch of posts to, well, explore. I can search for specific hashtags, so those must be public labels. 

Here's how it looks, meanwhile, in the just plain old Chrome for Android, not the PLAIN app. The basic functionality is still there, but I'm not logged in of course so it's sort of read-only.

I didn't notice any setting to make posts private. It seems the whole entries system is public. It feels a bit like a cross between Instagram and Google+. I've got enough blogging going on already here, so I just deactivated the account and removed the app a few days later. I ended up doing the same with KakaoStory in fact. Just not enough people in my social circle use these apps to make them worthwhile for me.

But have a look around for yourself. I sadly forgot the "leave traces" guy's ID, but one of his followers has many posts you can explore in your browser, or you can try the app:

→ PLAIN user "Pinko" -

→Google Play | PLAIN - Simple mobile blogging

What do you think of PLAIN? Let me know in the comments.

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