#WeeklyBlogClub: No love for teh WordPress?

12 January 2012

Intriguing little blog post, linked to by Lichfield Live‘s Philip John, launching a mini-tirade over WordPress’s failings.

(As an aside, social media has changed my life. It’s opened my eyes up to a wide range of online material thanks to my brilliant, eclectic circle of friends, acquaintances and …well, probably you. I love the links I pick up from Twitter.)

Anyway, odd little post. Not so much for the rant about WordPress, which suffers as much from fanboy attitudes as any shiny piece of kit.

No, what intrigued me was a blogger disabling comments.

Okay, to each his or her own. But, it seems strange to me that if you’re going to stick your neck out and opine, why not make your opinions part of a constructive conversation as almost every online newspaper and journal now allows. That’s always been an attractive part of the internet for me, from newsgroups to forums to blogging to Facebook. Leaving aside that narcissist element of self-publication, the most rewarding part of posting is getting a reaction, starting a dialogue and even changing a view based upon an online chat.

As for using off-the-shelf, open source, nearly idiot proof content management system (CMS), I’ve had quite a bit of success using WordPress for small projects at work where blogging seemed like the best way to facilitate a conversation. And, in every case, the authors have taking to WordPress and its concepts like a duck to water. Our call centre now uses one deployment of WordPress to keep all the agents up to date: replacing their clunky, static, not-fit-for-purpose intranet pages.

To my surprise, one of our senior managers has just agreed to launch a blog to cover engagement with a small community over a highly sensitive and controversial issue. The idea of using a e-newsletter just seemed the wrong approach – one-way communication, updates constrained by the calendar. Going the blog route means we can update residents immediately and facilitate, hopefully, a civilised, adult conversation.

Getting back to WordPress: no, it’s not perfect. But, if you think it can’t work as a true content management system, then have a good look at the Defra and the Department for Transport sites. Built with WordPress: warts and all.

Oh, and a note to the author: it’s worth pointing out that our corporate enterprise CMS doesn’t have many of WordPress’s “missing” features, including WYSIWYG editing (highly overrated, in my opinion – I usually use Notepad for all my writing). Also, you might want to do an HTML validation and accessibility check on your site.


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