Beyond their technical usefulness and practicality, microformats are interesting to me because so many of them seem to be centered around de-coupling personal data from application that might use that data.
Absolutely. This kind of modularity is core to microformats.
My focus here is on the economic value of stuff about stuff, and one example of that is that as a user on the internet, a lot of value is resident in the data about you, or the data that you create. If microformats help to separate this data from applications, it becomes easier to put it and its value under the control of the user, where I think it belongs.
This echoes a value many of us developing microformats have been promoting: users should own their data.
Microformats can do more than simply allow users to transfer their data from app to app, though. For public data, microformats enable a new model of application, where user data is crawled, aggregated, and made searchable in the same way that the raw text of web pages are now.
The plug-n-play application, assembled with small pieces loosely joined.
I hope that as things evolve, users who may not be interested in having a blog might nevertheless have an easy way to create and store data on the Internet, and control how it is used by these kinds of applications.
This is exactly correct. Microformats work very well not only for structured blogging, but what Brian Dear of EVDB called “structured webbing” this past weekend at Foo camp. All of this makes sense, as microformats are designed to enable and encourage decentralized development, content, and services.
It seems to me that this is a big part of the potential of microformats — a standardized way for users to allow access to their data and thus participate in a distributed application.
Introducing distributed applications. Powered by microformats.