Blog software company Six Apart is hoping to make its publishers’ sites more like social network. Tomorrow morning, it will launch a new version of its popular Movable Type blogging software that will include profiles, message boards like the “wall” on Facebook, and other features designed to increase social interaction between bloggers and readers.
Certainly, for some publications, this is a great way to increase the time people spend on the site — if you feel a part of a community, you often want to spend more time with that community. In and of themselves, though, social networking features do not a community make. Just ask many of the more than 70 white-label social networking services out there, that are hoping to help companies create things like internal intranets for employees to communicate, or sites where companies can talk with customers. Figuring out what social interactions users actually want to have is always a tricky business, and it often doesn’t work.
So for blogs hoping to use Movable Type’s new features to create more interaction, their success will be tied to what they write about, the sorts of readers they attract, and how they choose to make use of the new social features.
The other angle here is that Six Apart is also busy integrating with Facebook Connect (see photo about that from f8). This feature currently lets you comment on blogs using your Facebook identity, and share your comments with your friends on Facebook via that site’s news feeds feature. Facebooks’ goal is to integrate more of its social networking features onto other sites. Now, Six Apart’s goal is to create mini social networks for blogs.
It seems that Six Apart’s social networking features on blogs will turn into mini-receptacles for Facebook social information, although both products are in their early stages so the specifics are unclear. “As Facebook brings new capabilities onilne with Facebook Connect,” Six Apart’s Anil Dash said about the Facebook Connect announcement, “Movable Type sites will be able to provide them to you seamlessly.”