There’s currently a tonne of social Web 2.0 sites which encourage people to join and then rate content which the community can then benefit from – Douban, Riffs, and StumbleUpon to name but a few. (See eHub for more.)
Perhaps even better tools could arise in the future which not only provide the space to write, share and rate reviews but primarily aggregate bloggers’ reviews.
A few years ago, RSS feeds weren’t a standard part of blogging software and now that they are, tools such as Technorati (and every other blog search tool being created) are an incredibly useful way of finding out what bloggers are saying about you, or something else.
Imagine that RSS was made a lot smarter than just a post title, excerpt, author and timestamp – because not every blog post should have the exact same structural format. Since RSS is just XML, it can be as flexible as we want it to be. Let’s say that when I wrote a post about a movie, the RSS output for that post would be structured in a sensible format for movie reviews – I could give it 5-star rating and then a third party aggregator could pick up all the reviews out there on the web about that movie and provide an overall rating… and so on.
Instead of signing up to a site and writing my movie reviews there, if I had a blog I’d write all my movie reviews on my own blog and they’d be nicely sucked into a movie review service. I own all my content on my own blog but I still get the benefits of shared wisdom.
Structured blogging has the means for this dream that bloggers will use tools to create smarter RSS feeds that others can use to aggregate similar content. I just installed their WordPress plugin (there’s one for MovableType too) and it works well with WordPress 2.0.
By default, you can write reviews (abum, book, cafe, club/bar, event, hotel/resort, local Service, magazine, movie/TV, restaurant, software, song, website), events, lists, audio, video, people showcase, group showcase and other post types. It’s an open-source initiative and hopefully it will eventually be integrated tightly into blogging products.
You may just start seeing me using some of these post types in the near future and then I’ll aggregate them (e.g. my current favourite albums/movies/books in the sidebar).
I’m excited about structured blogging opportunities!