If your company has a blog -- and it should -- you might what to have a look at Typepad Connect, a new way to bring the finer points of social networking right to your Web site. In the old days (meaning around 18 months ago) it used to be enough for a company to simply have a presence on the Web. A homepage with contact information was sufficient, and you were considered bleeding-edge if the company president was blogging.
Nowadays, corporate blogging is de rigeur and social networking is the new advertising medium. Typepad, the hosted version of Six Apart's popular blogging software, now offers a plugin that makes it easier to for site visitors to interact with each other and the corporate folks behind the digital curtain.
Typepad Connect is available to all bloggers, not just those using Six Apart's software. Readers can create public profiles, and bloggers can easily manage or respond to comments right from the site. Typepad Connect also offers a strong comment filters to help combat one of the most annoying issues surrounding blogging today -- comment spam.
Though still in beta, Tyepad Connect already works with WordPress, Blogger, Moveable Type, and Tumblr. If your company uses more than one blogging service, you can manage all of them through a single Connect interface.
There are, of course, other services that allow companies to develop social communities around its products. Ning is one popular option, and Google Friend Connect has recently come on the scene as well. For sheer ease of use, though, Typepad Connect looks like a really great option for companies starting to dabble in social networking with their customers. It's also hard to go wrong with anything Six Apart has to offer since they've been a leader in the blogging industry for nearly as long as the idea has been around.