Why MSN Spaces and not MSN Blogs?

Steve Hooker has a post entitled Microsoft's Spaces: are they blogs?  where he writes

Certainly, they are blogs, at least for Joe Sixpack, but why did they call them 'Spaces'? My guess is that they're going to take them deeper into Microsoft land, and the term 'blog' won't fit later. Already they're locked into MS's instant message app, Messager and their authentication system Passport.

I'm unclear as to why Steve calls the requirement of having a user account to create a Space "lock in" especially since every blog hosting service requires some form of user account be it Xanga, LiveJournal, TypePad, or Blogger. MSN Spaces has the advantage that you can use this same account to access multiple MSN services including MSN Messenger. This is no different than the fact that I have a single login to access all of Yahoo's services.

As to why they are called "spaces" as opposed to "blogs" it is because we believe there is more to sharing one's experiences online than your online journal. People want to share their thoughts, their favorite music, their favorite books, pictures of their loved ones and so on. It isn't just  posting your thoughts and experiences in the reverse chronological order which is what typically defines a "weblog". It's supposed to be a person's personal space online which was the original vision of personal publishing on the Web which spawned the personal homepage revolution a couple of years ago. Weblogs are the next iteration of that vision and we expect MSN Spaces to be the refinement of that iteration.

Comments (7)
  1. Also, don’t forget that there’s already a successful service of the same model called "my space" (www.myspace.com).

    Why come up with a new idea when there are perfectly good ones just laying around waiting to be poached?

  2. SBC says:

    perhaps the Joe Sixpacks are usually spaced out?



  3. Sounds like Microsoft’s trying to take on del.icio.us and google and last.fm and every other social network at once. I don’t see it, the point of having a web-based environment is that when I get an online account I can equally easily pick from a dozen providers of each service. I don’t want to go back to when you had to choose between Compuserve’s chat and Delphi’s forums and the WELL’s community… nobody, not even Microsoft, can be the best at everything. They do some things very well, yes, but other people have their own strengths.

    A single site for my everything? Why? With hyperlinks my "personal space" can be distributed all over and it can be as integrated or as loosely coupled as I want.

  4. Ben Bryant says:

    Peter: it still CAN be distributed all over; what’s the big deal? You don’t have to use more than the journal aspect. I think Dare’s explanation says it well

  5. Dare Obasanjo, you should be aware of the recent Channel9 Post of MSN’s Michael Connolly and Jim Horne (http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=30995)

    I really would like to know what you think of their low regard for XHTML, which imples a low regard for XML—right? What’s your view?

  6. Steve Hooker says:

    Hi Dare, I note two blogs of yours, with the same postings, but different comments, do you have more? Follows below the comment I left at 24hoursaday.com…

    I don’t use any instant messenger apps. Just ain’t keen on them, though I have AOL IM and ICQ in case of emergencies. Will AOL be able to post to Spaces? Yahoo? Other IM/chat apps? I supposed I should have said "locked out."

    Now that I don’t use my Hotmail account because I needed to log in via Passport too many times and, frankly, I kept forgetting my details. I notice that to post a comment in Spaces I have to log in via Passport. Well, I guess that the comment spam problem is so pervasive that this is an unfortunate necessity these days. I know TypePad uses their own TypeKey for the same problem. I don’t suppose there’s a way for me as a rival blog hoster, to cut into Passport for comments? TypeKey’s supposed to be open to other apps, though I haven’t really looked into it.

    I’m a Userland Manila developer. Comment spam is a problem, but I have my own cooked solution for it, sure it is an ongoing war. However, there is no ‘Manila’ authentication system. "You come, you see, you comment." Much like this site. It’s open.

    To create a site, all that is needed is a valid email address. I don’t keep that address, only your site knows it, as it’ll need to notify the owner when new stuff is posted.

    Overall, I am worried about the potential you guys have for lock-in, indeed lock-out. Maybe I’ll be proved wrong, but I see AOL’s Journals and your Spaces becoming unblogs. I post my music, pix and everything else into my reverse chrono, and still manage to put some postings into a side bar. I also upload regular pages. It’s all ‘me and mine’ stuff. I’ll still call it blogging, though Manila and Radio is more like personal content management. I think you calling them Spaces will be your way of doing ‘it’ your way, away from the rest of the semi-open blogosphere.

    I pride myself on the openness of my system, that users can export and download their entire site and move to another hoster. That they can connect via the blogger API, metaWeblogger API, Manila API. That they can post anything legal. That, THEY own their text and images, it’s their site—I just host it. I try not to lock-in.

    Your post about APIs had me thinking that you’ll be integrating Word, Outlook and possibly MSIE into Spaces. A good blog editing tool is missing right now. Will MS fix that? Will it be open?

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