Typepad has long been a staple in the blogosphere. It was the first blogging platform I used and I admit to having a nostalgic attachment to it. Yes, they've been upended to a certain extent by WordPress, but to their credit, they've built a solid following among small business users, including me.
As if having to contend with WordPress isn't enough, along comes Posterous, a short-form blog publishing platform that's gained great popularity in recent months. Not to be outdone, Typepad has introduced their own version of short-form blogging with a new theme called Chroma. But, that's just the beginning. The theme is the first fruits of a new arena called Typepad Micro.
An announcement earlier today from SixApart CEO Chris Alden said, "As part of our ongoing rollout of the new TypePad, we are pleased to announce the launch of a great new theme, a new feature, and a new, completely free level: TypePad Micro."
Did you catch that? Chris said "free." That may not mean much to you, but if you're a Typepad user, you know the company has never had a free version of the product. Inexpensive, yes, but free, no.
This is not merely a reaction to Posterous either, as in Typepad trying to play catch up. They've been working on this initiative for some months. "TypePad Micro is the culmination of a huge year of investment in TypePad, in which we’ve put in place many of the building blocks of social blogging," says Alden.
The thing that excites me most about this new product is the emphasis on building community with features like:
- Writer and reader profiles
- Following and a follow widget
- A dashboard with activity streams of the people you follow
- Sign-in and cross posting to Facebook and Twitter
- Easy posting by email and bookmarklet
- Favoriting and a favorite button for post footers
The company is even experimenting with a new open source application, TypePad Motion, for building custom, blog-centric, niche online communities.
I have to admit, the company has embraced me somewhat of late and I'm honored by the attention I've received (and a bit flattered too). It is not wasted on me either. I feel a kinship with the company and want to encourage use of the products, including the new Chroma blogging theme. If you've yet to enter the short-form blogging world, give it a try. Again, it's free to use.
I'll be talking more about Typepad's new blogging efforts, the new version of the Typepad platform, as well as their interest in building a strong community of devoted Typepad users. I'm also going to do a side-by-side comparison of Typepad (via its new Chroma theme) and Posterous. That' requires the use of screencasts and video, which takes a little more time, so please be patient. (Remember, I still owe you a critique of the RCA Small Wonder camera.)