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 whitehouse.gov,
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 whitehouse.gov elegant and modern, but today it stood up to simply
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 whitehouse.gov.
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.