Microcontent Publishing

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Traditional mass media publishing was about macrocontent, web-based postmedia publishing is about microcontent, microchunks of content. If that microcontent is to be shared and re-used efficiently, as 'mash-ups',it would require microformats.


From Marc Canter at http://www.alwayson-network.com/comments.php?id=12412_0_1_0_C

"Unstructured content is cheap to create, but hard to search through. Structured content is expensive to create, but easy to search. Microformats resolve the dilemma with simple structures that are cheap to use and easy to search.

The first kind of widely adopted microcontent is blogging. Every post is an encapsulated idea, addressable via a URL called a permalink. You can syndicate or subscribe to this microcontent using RSS or an RSS equivalent, and news or blog aggregators can then display these feeds in a convenient readable fashion. But a blog post is just a block of unstructured text—not a bad thing, but just a first step for microcontent. When it comes tostructured data, such as personal identity profiles, product reviews, or calendar-type event data, RSS was not designed to maintain the integrity of the structures.

Right now, blogging doesn't have the underlying structure necessary for full-fledged microcontent publishing. But that will change. Think of local information services (such as movie listings, event guides, or restaurant reviews) that any college kid can access and use in her weekend programming project to create new services and tools.

Today's blogging tools will evolve into microcontent publishing systems, and will help spread the notion of structured data across the blogosphere. New ways to store, represent and produce microcontent will create new standards, such as Structured Blogging and Microformats. Microformats differ from RSS feeds in that you can't subscribe to them. Instead, Microformats are embedded into webpages and discovered by search engines like Google or Technorati. Microformats are creating common definitions for "What is a review or event? What are the specific fields in the data structure?" They can also specify what we can do with all this information.OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language) is a hierarchical file format for storing microcontent and structured data. It was developed by Dave Winer of RSS and podcast fame.

Events are one popular type of microcontent. OpenEvents is already working to create shared databases of standardized events, which would get used by a new generation of event portals—such as Eventful/EVDB, Upcoming.org, and WhizSpark. The idea of OpenEvents is that event-oriented systems and services can work together to establish shared events databases (and associated APIs) that any developer could then use to create and offer their own new service or application. OpenReviews is still in the conceptual stage, but it would make it possible to provide open alternatives to closed systems like Epinions, and establish a shared database of local and global reviews. Its shared open servers would be filled with all sorts of reviews for anyone to access.

Why is this important? Because I predict that in the future, 10 times more people will be writing reviews than maintaining their own blog. The list of possible microcontent standards goes on: OpenJobpostings, OpenRecipes, and even OpenLists. Microsoft recently revealed that it has been working on an important new kind of microcontent: Lists—so OpenLists will attempt to establish standards for the kind of lists we all use, such as lists of Links, lists of To Do Items, lists of People, Wish Lists, etc.

Movers and Shakers: Tantek Çelik and Kevin Marks of Technorati, Danny Ayers, Eric Meyer, Matt Mullenweg, Rohit Khare, Adam Rifkin, Arnaud Leene, Seb Paquet, Alf Eaton, Phil Pearson, Joe Reger, Bob Wyman among others." (http://www.alwayson-network.com/comments.php?id=12412_0_1_0_C)