I recently gave the new Typepad a trial. Note that I was strongly biased against Six Apart ever getting it together and doing something innovative and cool with the aging Typepad system. I had skinned my knees and bumped my head on all the weird, fucked-up, and plan dumb design decisions embedded in the old Typepad, as only a hardcore, heavily invested user can do.
So, I had planned to exit Typepad just as soon as I could figure out one little snag: finding another blogging solution that could regenerate the same URLs for all my posts. That turned out to be a considerable barrier, although I found a few (like Squarespace) that seemed to have at least a possibility of getting there.
But I decided to give ole Typepad one more look.
I officially announce that the Six Apart folks have done something pretty cool, and that I am going to keep my /message blog here, after all. (They might have been happier if I left, considering all the griping they get from me.)
Much of the old Typepad is still there, under new wall paper, and some of that is still annoying. (As one example, Typepad supports handy lisks that you can create and publish in the sidebar of your blog. You can add, edit, and delete the items in these so-called Typelists, but you can’t reorder them. Who thought that was a nice-to-have and not an essential feature of lists?)
On the other hand, they have extensively reworked the editor and the commenting system, as well as transitioning to a streaming model for the core user experience, providing a whole new sort of social dimension to Typepad that inherits the following model of Tumblr in a very cool way. A number of small things — like an easy way to post to Twitter – are helpful, but the big thing is a new concept of socializing around blogs presented in a streaming user experience for the blogger.
In the screenshot above I have captured my ‘dashboard’, which displays recent activities from those that I am following in Typepad and me. It displays comments, who is following who, and other social actions. I don’t understand why it doesn’t stream my posts or posts those that I am following – at least a title and excerpt – but I hope they will adopt that convention in the future as well.
They have regrooved the comment system to be more of a competitor to tools like Disqus, which, try as I might, I never came to more than tolerate. As a result, I have turned on Typepad commenting again on this blog, and installed Typepad code into my Tumblr blog, /ambivalence, as well. (I also plan to roll it out onto other Tumblr blogs, like Microsyntax.org, over the next weeks.)
These external blog comments also show up in the dashboard stream which will make distributed comments easier to deal with over time.
Mostly, though, this generation– Typepad 2.0, basically – demonstrates that the folks at Six Apart are ready, willing and able to reconceive their tools in the light of new ideas about plumbing in social media. Now guys, could you please fix that niddling little bug with the Typelists?