Six Apart is announcing Tuesday night the launch of Movable Type 4.2 (download from CNET) and Movable Type Pro. The 4.2 platform gives blog publishers better performance, according to Six Apart. But the really interesting thing about this launch is the new social features in MT Pro.
Movable Type Pro will enable "social publishing," which is a fancy way of saying readers of MT blogs will now be able to do much more than just reply to posts in the comments. Readers will get profiles pages with "walls," and the capability to rate other posts and comments, and to follow other blog members.
Six Apart also has added an aggregation widget called "Action Streams," that allows bloggers to automatically pull in their activity on other sites, like Twitter or Flickr. It's like FriendFeed, but with all the control and formatting you'd expect of a modern blogging widget.
Meanwhile, WordPress (download from CNET) is converging on social networking as well. A new platform, BuddyPress, which is being built on the Wordpress core, will allow users to set up social networks. Presumably publishers will be able to graft these networks onto blogs.
The power of a blog is its network of users, and Web users are becoming accustomed to a culture of participation. Just as blogging is changing publishing, social networking is going to change blogging. So it's appropriate the these products are getting new social features.
Wired: WordPress-powered social network to arrive late 2008
Google's DiSo project