Blog Without Leaving Facebook

 Six Apart's Blog It application cuts through Facebook's walled garden to let bloggers reach an audience beyond the social network.

Blog software maker and host Six Apart has joined the raft of rabid programmers looking to use Facebook as a springboard for new user and, ultimately, financial opportunities.

Six Apart on April 16 launched Blog It, a service that allows users to post to their blogs or microblogs from within Facebook.

Ideally, users who ceased blogging when they started using Facebook would start blogging again, posting Web content to their Blogger, LiveJournal, Twitter, Tumblr, Pownce, Movable Type, Vox or WordPress accounts without leaving Facebook, said Blog It creator David Recordon, open platforms tech lead at Six Apart.

Just as Facebook provides updates on friends' doings, Blog It notifies friends and colleagues about new posts. Moreover, bloggers can choose to automatically share information via Twitter and Pownce in addition to the Facebook News Feed.

Such a value proposition could be big for Facebook, which, like other social networks, strives to keep users spending as much time on its network of 68 million-plus users. The more time people spend interacting with the site, the greater the chance they'll click on ads, padding the coffers of advertisers, publishers and Facebook.

Blog It is also great news for data portability evangelists trying to break down the walled gardens created by seminal social networks that erected barriers between networks of friends.

These evangelists aim to break the ties that bind profile information to specific networks so that users don't have to reenter their profile data for every new network they join.

Click here to read about Google's contact portability API.

Recordon is one of those evangelists. Recordon, whose job is to figure how Six Apart's services work with other Web services via APIs, also works on the OpenID specification to promote single sign-on across Web sites.

"Today, a lot of what you get in Facebook is that you can bring content into Facebook, but not necessarily create content within Facebook and publish it outside for the rest of the world," Recordon told eWEEK April 14. "This is setting up for when you're creating content, realizing that there is an Internet outside of Facebook as well."

Six Apart is starting with Facebook, but Recordon said it is likely he will make Blog It available for other popular networks in the future. For example, he said lots of bloggers are using Plaxo, so, "It could make sense to go port Blog It to OpenSocial and let that run within Plaxo as well."

To use Blog It, users would add the application on Facebook and set up their account details. Once finished, users can create new posts, add them to their blogs and share them with their friends by checking a few extra boxes.

Blog It is the latest in a stream of applications burbling up from the Facebook Platform, which the network opened to developers in May 2007. For example, self-publishing service Blurb April 15 launched Blurb GroupBook, an application for Facebook that lets users make real books together.