Mark Paschal at Six Apart has created a new Movable Type called Action Streams. The idea is that it compiles your activity on other sites into a single stream of data that you can use on your weblog as you wish. It’s an evolutionary advancement over other systems that provide similar functionality, but I think it’s important.
Sites like Facebook build these sorts of streams by tracking your activity on your own account and on other services that you attach to your Facebook account. If you run your own site, you can generally use widgets provided by other sites to include recent activity on your Web page. For example, there are a number of ways to display recent Twitter tweets, del.icio.us bookmarks, or Flickr photos on a blog. Beyond that, most sites provide Atom or RSS feeds, and there are plenty of tools that you can use to consume those feeds and display them on a Web site as well.
Action Streams goes a step further by providing a standard interface to the output of many different sites, and by allowing you to integrate with sites that don’t provide an API or a feed by scraping their HTML.
I’m for any tool that makes it easier for people who run their own blog software to take command of their social graph.
Wired’s Compiler blog has more on Action Streams, including a screen shot of the output.
Six Apart moves into advertising and services
Six Apart has acquired uber-Movable Type consulting firm Apperceptive, creating a new professional services branch, and has also launched a new ad network for bloggers. For what it’s worth, I think that Six Apart’s moves lately to reach out to people who aren’t using their tools for publishing are sound strategy.