Goodbye discussion boards, hello blogs

Goodbye discussion boards, hello blogs
MSNBC Embraces Blogs.

“, consistently ranked among the top news destinations on the Web, is about to invest a chunk of important virtual real estate into the blog concept. has killed its discussion boards, with their 18 million posts per month, and instead plans to establish by the end of August what it will call “Weblog Central,” a portal of regularly updated lists of blogs from throughout the Web, arranged by subject. It will include links to’s own blogs as well.” [National Journal]

Wow – portal of regularly updated blogs arranged by subject. I sure hope they brought in some librarians and information architects to help build it. [The Shifted Librarian]

The above is a perfect example of why this blog went from being hand-coded to using Radio UserLand.  You may ask, how can MSNBC hope to aggregate information from thousands of blogs into one format?  Well, with Radio UserLand, Blogger, and similar software, it’s simple.  Any blogger can publish their news feed.  Anyone else can pick up that feed and choose whatever items they want to include in their blog, perhaps commenting on it too.  And it’s not just blogs publishing news feeds, newspapers like the Guardian and the New York Times are making their news feed available to blogs too.  For free.

Back to MSNBC.  To list blog content on their site, they simply subscribe to all the blog feeds – and there are thousands – and publish them on their site.  Then, people can add comments, thoughts, etc.  Just like I’m doing with this news item!

It’s about collaboration, it’s about news for free.  Publish something on your blog and in two hours maybe it’s on dozens of other blogs, with people making comments, reaching people you might never have reached otherwise.

For the geek-inclined, this is done via XML (and its variants like XML-RPC and SOAP).  Many web sites are written in HTML, which, while fine enough, can’t communicate to other websites.  XML can, it is souped-up HTML that can talk to other XML sites, send and receive data.  A whole new world.