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Blogs, social media, and the President’s new digs

Peter F, 21 January, 2009 20 Comments

A few hours ago, a high priced consultant told a friend that blogs
were a fad, and not worth the author’s time, and that websites built on
blog platforms were kludgy inelegant poor cousins to more robust
enterprise level CMS driven sites.


Two minutes later, I fired up,
and nearly fell out of my chair laughing. Oh how I wish the order of
those events was reversed. How I’d have loved to point out to this high
priced nincompoop that the official website of the new president of the
United States was by all appearances built on a blog platform. Not only
is elegant and modern, but today it stood up to simply
massive traffic.

That the official website of the president of the United States is built
on a blog platform is a testament to the level of efficiency that can
be achieved by using a modern blog platform

  • a trust in the security and stability of the platform
  • a thoroughly modern understanding of the web
  • a willingness of this administration to embrace social media
  • a willingness to engage the public

This heralds an even greater acceptance of blogs and social media into
the mainstream. We in the social media world tend to forget just how big
the knowledge gap is between us and the less techno-literate. The
President’s new platform will expose a whole new audience to blogging in
particular and social media in general.

Let’s take a moment to think about why the President’s team may have
chosen to use an off-the-shelf blogging platform for
Given a relatively massive budget, why not go custom? I can think of a
bunch of reasons:

  • Building on a blogging platform is much quicker. Most of the components of the site have already been built.
  • Most blogging platforms have hundreds if not thousands of
    pre-existing plugins to choose from. These can add functionality both
    immediately and over time as new features are invented.
  • The more popular blogging platforms have thousands of experts who can develop and support the systems.
  • Modern blogging systems are robust enterprise level content
    management systems. They feature caching mechanisms to withstand large
    traffic spikes, sophisticated search functionality, advanced
    categorization and tagging systems.
  • Built in support for RSS, email gathering, member profiles, ease of posting video and audio content.
  • Ease and low cost of administration. There’s no need to create
    specific help documentation – it already exists. Help for both
    administrators and users is usually just a few mouse clicks away.
  • Ease of use. Posting new items, editing existing items, reordering, re-categorization, and more are easy and fast.

Here in Toronto, ChangeCamp is running this Saturday January 24 2009. ChangeCamp

is a free participatory web-enabled face-to-face event that brings
together citizens, technologists, designers, academics, policy wonks,
political players, change-makers and government employees to answer one
question: How do we re-imagine government and governance in the age of


Most of us at The Blog Studio will be attending ChangeCamp
. As active digital citizens, we’re keen to help shape the future.
Looking into the past I’m reminded that we’ve been building non-blog
websites on blogging platforms since 2004. It’s awfully nice to see the
pioneering work we did reach such a level of acceptance.

20 Responses to “Blogs, social media, and the President’s new digs”

  1. Karin H

    Websites, blog-sites – what’s in a name? ;-)

    All web presences, what else do you need if it is the content that counts?

    Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business) who just
    helped a friend setting up his own business blog-site with Typepad. Up
    and running in 1 hour.

  2. Matthew Pennell

    Not sure it is actually built on a regular blogging platform – for a
    start, runs on .NET due to federal requirements mandating
    Windows servers – but it’s definitely a step in the right direction,
    and ammunition for any web developer trying to sell blogging as a
    benefit to clients.

  3. Judi Knight

    A little more than a year ago I typed in my business name in the
    search engine and lo and behold what came up and came up at the top of
    the list was my Basset Hound Craig Longfellow’s Dogster Blog which I had
    started at least five years ago and never touched since. My own website
    and name were nowhere to be found. That was enough to tell me that
    websites were not where it was happening any longer.LastI started a
    blog that very day about a year ago which has 230 posts. It has toally
    got me showing up all over the place.

    I really don’t know why anyone would not do their site in a blog
    platform. So I just loved reading this post. What confirmation. Go

  4. Debbie Weil

    Hi Peter,

    Enjoyed this post! My new site is built on Expression Engine so cool to
    see that you work with it too. Hoping it will become more popular and
    better known.

  5. blythe

    actually, is a Drupal site.

  6. Heidi / Savory Tv

    Another great example is, one of the world’s most popular sites, built on a blog platform.

  7. A Canadian Designer

    I myself am impressed with how much technology the President has been
    using.  And I think it made a difference in his campaign.  I
    don’t think he’d be the popstar he is without it all.  It’s
    probably a good message for all those designers out there.  Like me
    a Canadian web designer.

  8. juink

    This is very true. The blog platform is here to stay

  9. search engine software

    How is search engine in public relationship?

  10. annie

    The social web is being a great help for public where they have the media to know the facts oftechnology.

    seo software

  11. angular cheilitis

    yes Id have to say blogs will be around a very long time, people just seem to like them

  12. angular cheilitis

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  18. cheilitis

    Blogs are here to stay, I have no doubt about it, they are just to
    easy for the average person to setup, and they are fun to, I suffer
    sometimes from a condition called cheilitis and many people have other issues that keep them home. blogging is a great pastime too.

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