Good stuff on structure in blogs

By Conor O'Neill | February 14, 2007

John Breslin  has done two fine posts on structure in blogs over at the IIA Blog. The first is basically about Structured Blogging (SB) and the second about semantic blogging. As many people know, the SB plug-ins for WordPress and MT were released to a mainly positive response way back in Dec 2005. I made much use of them in the early months and was a big fan from an end-user perspective. Unfortunately, due to lack of further funding they were not able to keep up with WordPress developments.

At the time, there were some naysayers who were convinced that the addition of structure to blog posts would never take off due to the extra work involved. In the case of SB, I do think they had a point from an implementation perspective. The plug-in was intrusive, messed with your WordPress install and in some cases required tons of data input to do a blog post.

Once I started looking under the hood and saw that SB was partially built on these things called microformats, I moved my focus there and realised that there was much more flexibility available to me than I had thought. I saw that people were confusing the idea of structure in blog posts with one clunky implementation. If a huge proportion of bloggers are willing to add tags or insert flickr markup in the blog posts, they are hardly going to balk at adding a few minor pieces of meta data to an event or review. For example, you can still say “I think this movie is da bomb” but if you also add 5 stars, suddenly both humans and machines know what you mean!

Whilst John comes from the big S Semantic world and I’m firmly embedded in the microformats world, many of the aims are similar and I’m convinced that both offer the potential for great new services for web users.  The creation of structured content is one thing, but doing useful stuff with it is far more interesting to me. And surely that’s what it is all about, not philosophical arguments. My sense is that John takes this view too.

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