Archives For action streams

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.

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