Hey book-lovers! We're very happy to announce that Brendan Halpin's Dear Catastrophe Waitress has been chosen as the TypePad Book of the Month for March 2007. The young novelist and memoirist joins an esteemed group of writers who we've featured in the past year, including Steven Johnson, Shari Caudron, Chris Anderson, and Debbie Weil, just to name a few. All these authors and many more use TypePad to stay in touch with readers and colleagues, as well as to expound and expand upon the subjects of their curiosity.
This month, besides being featured on the TypePad Books site and podcast, Brendan Halpin has graciously agreed to be part of the inaugural TypePad virtual book tour. We invite you to find out more about Halpin's work, his recently released novel, and the many great blogs on the virtual tour by visiting Featured TypePad Interviews. If, after reading one of the interviews along the tour, you think you might be interested in a free copy of Halpin's book, check out the promotion we're running for new subscribers to TypePad.
So, please, take a minute to drop in on the tour as it makes its way around the world of literary blogs.
We've had a bunch of recent press stories about the different projects we're working on at Six Apart, so it makes sense to highlight a few of the ones that are particularly interesting.
BusinessWeek takes a look at new networks like Vox, which focus on helping make more meaningful connections online.
Vox users can make some content available to the general public. Other posts and photos can only be seen by users designated as true friends, family members, or people in the user's extended neighborhood (which includes friends of friends). ... Its success indicates a trend among newer social networking sites, which are gaining traction not by focusing on the mass-popularity model that made News Corp.'s MySpace famous, but by helping users connect with smaller, more specific, groups.
And Inc has a similar take on Vox's mission:
Mindful of the countless tech firms that have enjoyed rapid growth only to flame out, Six Apart is letting Vox grow slowly. "We've seen so many products open then disappear," says Mena. "We are trying to build a community." One of the most enthusiastic members of that community, as it happens, is her mother. Recently, Mena was traveling in Europe and missing her daily call with mom. Says Mena: "She knew I wasn't dead because she reads my blog."
A little more lighthearted is Wired's take on the Vox launch party -- but there's one part we hope rings true. "Instead of vaporware-driven hype, the prevailing sentiment is confident pragmatism: The Web is back, and we have made it over as it should always have been".
At the other extreme, talking about the most serious and substantial impacts of blogging, there's this Nation report on blogging in Russia. (It's also been reprinted in the IHT.) In Russia, Zhivoi Zhurnal, or ZheZhe, is synonymous with blogging, and it's had significant impact on political discussion in the country.
LiveJournal founder Brad Fitzpatrick first visited Moscow last October when his company, Six Apart, announced a partnership with the Russian media company SUP-Fabrik, which would service the enormous Cyrillic sector. What struck him was the social magnitude of ZheZhe and the serious content of its journal entries. In America, "LiveJournal is lots of people writing to ten people [each, and] reading each other," he told me. In ZheZhe this is magnified into thousands of readers. What for Americans is an electronic diary accessible to a few chosen acquaintances became, for Russians, a platform for forging thousands of interconnected virtual "friends." And Fitzpatrick believes it has potential as a tool for activism. "I really appreciate what it is as a political platform."
Brad also shows up in USA Today, which gives some love to OpenID as the number of OpenID-enabled addresses rapidly approaches the 100 million milestone less than two years after Brad kicked off the effort.
An emerging technology standard could be the answer to a major headache: It lets consumers use the same user name and password for hundreds of websites that require a sign-in.
OpenID's approach has quickly earned it the support of Microsoft, AOL and thousands of users online.
Rounding up the stories is Internet News taking a look at enterprise adoption of modern web tools like blogs.
Christoper Alden, executive vice president of blog tools provider Six Apart, said the next few years will be less about inventing or advancing Web 2.0-type technology, and more about companies figuring out better ways of how to use what we have. "Human engineering, not technical, is what will be important the next few years as companies figure out how to unlock knowledge in these enterprises," said Alden.
And one last bit of coverage is an interview with our own Ben Trott over on Serious Eats. It's about food, and mentions almost nothing about blogging, but whenever we get a chance to embarrass Ben by pointing the spotlight at him, we'll take it. For more info about what's going on across the company, you can check out each of our product teams' blogs: Everything TypePad, Blogs @ Work: Movable Type News, LiveJournal News, and Team Vox.
Are you in Austin for the South By Southwest Interactive Festival? Then we want to see you at Uncle Flirty’s (325 E. Sixth St., on corner of Trinity and Sixth) at 9pm tonight. It’s gonna be a party, and it’s all to help our friends at Creative Commons.
The, uh, good people at GOOD Magazine are hosting the party, with entertainment by The MisShapes, Filip Turbotito and VJ Phi Phenomenon. And for any donation up to $2000, our Six Apart team will be matching you dollar-for-dollar.
A number of Six Apart folks will be in the house. Michael Sippey and Harold Check are in from San Francisco — both of them have been blogging for ten years, so if you ever wanted to talk to someone with a decade’s experience with blogs, here’s your chance. And Joi Ito, who’s Chairman of Six Apart Japan as well as Chairman of Creative Commons, will be making an appearance. (Joi used to spin in his younger days — maybe somebody can cajole him into DJing?)
There’s more info over on Austinist as well. C’mon out and support the Commons.
Interested in where Movable Type is going? Curious about the latest from our Professional Network community? Well, call us old-fashioned, but we think sometimes nothing quite takes the place of the sound of the human voice. So tomorrow is another in our series of ProNet phone meetings, where you can talk directly to the team that makes Movable Type, and find out about the latest community goings-on.
Join us at 1pm EST/10am PST tomorrow. Full call-in details are on the wiki, and we’re sorry we don’t have international call-in numbers yet, but we will post an audio recording of the whole call as soon as possible. Here’s what we’ve got planned to cover, though of course we’ll talk about whatever else folks bring up on the call:
- Thin Mints: god, don’t you just love Thin Mints? Best cookies ever.
- NYC Hackathon Update, and Community Dinner
- Brief updates on styles and themes in Athena and in the blog community
- Info on Athena Usability Testing
- Upcoming changes to the movabletype.com website
- Hosting Provider updates
We’re looking forward to talking to everybody tomorrow!
This coming Thursday, March 8 between 9am and 6pm in our San Francisco offices we will be conducting usability studies to help shape the future direction of the Movable Type product. If you are interested in participating in this usability study, simply fill out our questionnaire and selected participants will be notified as soon as possible. Selected participants will also be compensated with a $75 Amazon gift certificate, and ProNet members will be able to hob-nob with the Movable Type development team and get some cool Six Apart schwag.
Again, if you are interested, please complete the questionnaire and we will get back to you. No phone calls please.
After the initial success of their OnFaith and PostGlobal blogs, Washington Post Newsweek Interactive asked Apperceptive to take the discussion a step further and develop a live chat application. The addition allows their stable of contributors to debate issues live on the site with updates relayed to readers as they happen. When the chat is over, the transcript is archived.
A recent discussion focused on Evangelicalism and the transcript is available at OnFaith. After a thought-provoking conversation, the participants continued the discussion on their blogs. Richard Land followed up to debunk a myth and Randall Balmer provided a rebuttal. Readers of the site added their own thoughts in a lively comment thread.
Wanna be on the
cutting edge bleeding edge with your blog? Take a look at what might be coming in the future? Well, sometimes we have rough sketches we want you to see, that we use to collect feedback and help shape the work we’re doing. Trying out beta versions of our work in progress is easy.
On Vox, we’ve got a new help page that talks about the Beta setting for your account. In short, you can check the “Vox Beta” box in your account settings (scroll to the bottom) and try out new features we’re experimenting with, like the Control Strip. There’s more info over on Team Vox if you’re interested.
And on LiveJournal, our beta server allows our staff and support volunteers to preview upcoming releases and offer feedback. They catch any last-minute problems or concerns before we roll new code out to the entire site. Interested in beta testing new features on LiveJournal? Join the Support team — volunteers who’ve been around for a while get access to sneak previews of all our releases. It’s just one of those little perks that comes with helping the community.
And keep your eyes peeled, Movable Type fans — the daily builds on code.sixapart.com have been quiet as we’ve been deep in planning mode on the Athena project, but once there’s new code to share with the world, it’ll show up on the public code repository first.