MSN Spaces will make blogs communication tools
Today, only 2% of all online consumers in the US have a personal blog. MSN Spaces is Microsoft’s attempt to bring blogging into the mainstream. I had a preview of it last week but was just only now able to go in and set up a blog. From what I see, MSN has succeeded in creating a very solid, innovative communication tool.
MSN Spaces is very full featured – users can add posts from cell phones as well as via email. Drag-and-drop layout design and pre-fabbed templates make creating a custom look and feel a cinch. A couple of other innovations:
+ Permissions are linked into MSN Messenger and MSN Address books. Only .NET Passport email addresses are accepted.
+ Integration with MSN Photos and MSN Music to upload photo albums and playlists easily. Moreover, users can click on a playlist and sample or purchase the song or album.
+ Put Spaces content elsewhere on MSN. MSN Hotmail and Messenger have a new feature called Contact Cards that will take the latest post or photo added to your Space and displays it next to your contact information. When you update your Space, your name changes – it’s like indicating the “presence” of new content, rather than your actual presence.
Notice a trend here? There’s heavy integration of Spaces into the whole MSN communication suite of email and instant messaging. I think this is very smart, especially as MSN hopes to attract a new audience group to blogging. The next wave of bloggers is going to look very different from today’s blogger – their motivation will be on sharing experiences rather than having a place for their ideas and opinions. The integration puts the blog in context of other communications, such as email and IM. If you’re about to email me, you’ll see my latest post/photo – instant context setting and traffic generation to my blog. If you mention the blog posts in an email/IM, I’ll have even more incentive to keep blogging. That integration distinguishes MSN Spaces from other services like Lycos’ Circles and other traditional blogging tool providers like Blogger.
So welcome MSN to the wonderful world of blogging!