There’s a new thing out there as of yesterday (officially). It’s called Structured Blogging (SB) and it’s a good idea, I think. It’s hard to tell exactly what this is supposed to do besides add different fields for different types of entries. I installed the plugin for MovableType briefly and found that it allowed me to create all sorts of new types of entries (reviews, events, lists, etc.). But the interface was incredibly difficult to use in Firefox (the tab key skipped me over all of the empty fields instead of to the next field I could enter information to and some fields were not very clear as to what kind of information they were meant to accept). Also, the tags they created to display the information are not friendly with dynamic pages, which this site uses. So I uninstalled and will keep an eye on things until they come out of beta. I’m enjoying a little back and forth between an A-List blogger and a new guy about this, though.
A new blogger out there, Squash, suggested that SB wouldn’t catch on. While I don’t share Squash’s journalistic experience, I tend to agree that getting people to fill out information the same way for anything makes herding cats a piece of cake. As such SB may catch on, but only with the tech bloggers who understand it and the benefit it can bring. It could catch on further, but it may require Six Apart fully integrating it with their product (as well as WordPress and Blogger). The plugin as it stands now is a tough pill to swallow, but will probably get better as documentation becomes available.
Robert Scoble, Microsoft Evangelist Extraordinaire, announced Squash’s new blog and disagreed about SB at the same time. And he’s right on. If the tools make it easy, SB will be wide-spread. But they aren’t right now and they’ve announced their product already. I’m one of those users who is technical, but only enough to be dangerous. If it doesn’t work in a way that helps me out, I drop it and don’t come back for a long while. I may be unique in that, but if they had announced with a more fully realized tool (and specs for feed readers and search engines to recognize their new data, which I didn’t see but may be present elsewhere), things may have gone differently for me.
Back to the point, Squash replied (conversations on blogs! amazing!) with a nice little comment that has solidified his place in my daily reading.