Archives For August 2008

When I started this blog on Movable Type 4, I used the Action Streams plug-in to put a list of Twitter and Facebook activities in the right hand column.  I did this out of habit, treating the list of tweets as a black-box in the form of a widget rather than something actually integrated into the content of my blog.  Over the last couple of week, I realized that while this made sense from a technical perspective, it didn’t really reflect the true relationship between the content generated through lifestreaming and long-form blog posts that expounded on a particular idea, never mind that fact that the former are going to outnumber the latter due to my lackadaisical efforts to compose interesting posts.  But, more importantly, it demonstrated some of the limitations of using widgets as the fundamental building blocks of web publishing.

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Om Malik did a good job today of summing up the conversation about the convergence of blogging and social networks that was started by Six Apart’s launch of Movable Type Pro on Wednesday, with a full set of features aimed at allowing bloggers to create social network-like communities around their blogs.  A couple of things worth adding, though.  First, as I mentioned in my previous blog post, the “social” aspect of blogging platforms is one of the main things that differentiated them from the previous generation of content management systems.  Second, is that there seems to be a perception that the social network around a blog is meant to replace or compete with the mainstream social networks such as MySpace or Facebook.  Fostering community discussion and interaction wherever a focus of interest occurs is a good thing, and the blogosphere is a perpetual source of these focus points.  This is the inevitable evolution of blog commenting, which is what makes sites like GigaOm so interesting.  The social network capabilities will allow these blogs to take that to the next level.  However, these communities will be linked to each other and to the large social networks like Facebook through a variety of mechanisms, such as all the emerging standards like OpenID, aggregation tools such as FriendFeed and Movable Type’s Action Streams capabilities, and other forms of data portability.  The nice thing is it’s not going to be an either or choice, sometimes more is more.

I had an interesting conversation today with an analyst that was trying to understand how tools like Movable Type and blogging fit into the general category of content management.  When I was at Vignette, we had seen the content management space splitting into web content management (WCM), document management and enterprise content management (ECM), and collaborative intranet portals.  Although Vignette, through various acquisitions, had strong products in each of those categories, it was hard to see the relationship between how content managed in the WCM and ECM worlds related to the more ad-hoc collaborative content that was created and interacted with on a daily basis within the increasingly-popular intranets and corporate portals.  Companies were increasingly choosing corporate portals such as Epicentric, Plumtree, and Microsoft’s incredibly successful SharePoint product, which offered “lightweight” content management in conjunction with strong collaboration capabilities over the more powerful, large-scale content management systems.  For Internet publishing, the same thing was occurring in the web content management space as well, but it was happening under the radar screen of most of the WCM vendors in the form of the emergence of blogging.  The reason why it wasn’t immediately understood was because WCM vendors have historically been driven by the needs of the large media publishers, and as we all know, those publishers had no idea just how much the principals of blogging would transform their businesses at the time.

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I’ve joined Six Apart

Ed Anuff —  August 11, 2008 — Leave a comment

It’s been just under a month since I joined Six Apart as the EVP of Movable Type and Six Apart Services, and I’m sorry to say I’m just getting around to blogging about it.  It’s always a tug of ware between the clichés of “eating your own dog food” and “the cobbler’s kids going barefoot”.  I’m not going to get too much into what the company is up to just yet, other than to say we’ve got a lot of good stuff that will be coming out very soon now.  As for as the job itself, I’m enjoying it quite a bit.  The company has a great culture and great people, and it’s refreshing to be at an Internet company that’s revenue focused.  I really like the markets the company serves, and there are a lot of things I see that make me confident that the space is going to enter a new phase of growth as the changes brought about by blogging start to permeate and reshape the rest of the media industry.  I’ll share more thoughts about that here over time.

I’ve just moved the blog installation over to Slicehost, which means this is the third hosting provider I’ve used for this site in less than a week.  All of the hosting providers I’ve worked with have provided great service at good prices, but I’ve been unhappy with either the performance or the server configurations.  Slicehost is great if you’re willing to forgo a control panel, I’ve used them in the past for various server projects, but I’ve become spoiled by having a nice control panel like Plesk for personal sites or RightScale for Amazon EC2 servers.  However, I just can’t find a provider who offers fast VPS hosting of an Ubuntu server and provides a control panel at a price point which is competitive with Slicehost, and since I’m using Movable Type to publish anyway, I don’t really need anything else to manage the site.

Twitter and Facebook actions are now displayed on the right hand side of the page via the Action Streams plug-in.  Very cool!

Latest release candidate installed, so far so good…