Blog platform company Six Apart is adding a free, miniaturized blogging service to its paid blog hosting service TypePad. The new TypePad Micro service is essentially a simplified template, called Chroma, for unpaid users on the TypePad service. It will likely be compared with Posterous and Tumblr.
The Chroma template is flexible and attractive, and most of the blogs I've seen using it look good. It's a great format for short posts and for sharing pictures and embedded videos.
But as a short-form blog authoring platform, TypePad Micro is still TypePad, a powerful and capable blogging system that may be overkill for people who just want a way to post quick items. The main Quick Compose interface is nice and light, but one level down, the options are overwhelming. In comparison, Tumblr's posting interface is light and clean all the way through. Posterous' Web interface is even leaner, and if that's still too much for you, you can start blogging on it via e-mail, without even setting up an account on the Web site. (To be fair, you can also post to TypePad Micro via e-mail.)
Still, what Six Apart is doing with TypePad Micro is probably good for Six Apart and it's definitely good for writing and writers. From the product perspective, CEO Chris Alden believes that there's a somewhat open space in the blogging world between full-on blogs like TypePad and micro-blogs like Twitter. He envisions TypePad Micro as a good starting point for people who want to say more than they can on Twitter and don't want to pay for it (thus putting TypePad Micro in competition with the free Wordpress.com). He also sees it as a supplementary blog template for paying TypePad customers who want a new outlet for quick posts.
And if you care about writing, as I do, you'll love the new micro formats like this one, since they encourage people to write shorter posts. Since you have to think more when you're writing for a small space, this is good.
The TypePad platform also integrates into the modern world of Twitter, Facebook, and the like: Every time you post, the platform can automatically send alerts out to dozens of other accounts. And stealing a feature from Twitter, Movable Type lets readers "follow" TypePad blogs.
TypePad Micro is live now.