Blogs as Content Management


Matthew Berk, Senior Analyst, Jupiter Research is moderating a panel on "Blogs as/and Content Management". The panelists are:

  • Mike Amundsen, President, EraServer.NET
  • Timothy Appnel, Independent Writer
  • Bill French, Co-Founder, MyST Technology Partners
  • John Robb, President and COO, Userland Software
  • William Stow, President, Tsunamin Corporation
  • Adam Weinroth, Founder, Easyjournal LLC

John Robb says "weblogs are content management systems for the rest of us" in the same way that WordPerfect was desktop publishing for the rest of us. They are being used in a wide variety of applications in places where content management systems would have been used in the past.

Bill French asks "what are the real requirements?" Traditionally these have been things like capture, publishing, deployment, management, etc. which are not the real issue. The issue is the ability to increase awareness. That's what people want. The velocity that's required for blogs brings that out. The more you call something a blog, or blogging software, the less likely you are to use it for something else.

Mike calls blogs a pattern of thinking about things and says that content mark-up (like RSS) is important. Bloggers are marking up content with meta data in ways that HTML writers don't. He talks about aggregators and that they are creating new ways of gathering information that is independent from the browser. What about content management for email.

Tim tries to distinguish between the technology and the product. People don't care about the web site produced and its features, not the tool. If you've got data that's right for a chronological treatment, weblog software works well. If you've concerned with workflow and editorial control, a traditional CMS system is better. Tim thinks blogging tools will disappear as a category and most apps will be able to perform things we associate with blogs. Rob, not surprisingly, disagrees. Blogs are a specific category of things and an application that is recognizable and distinguishable from other applications. I think I'd agree with Rob.

Bill started talking about being agile as "a chameleon in a bowl of Skittles." John points out that this can't apply to the GUI---users can't learn to use those kinds of tools. . William (not Bill) responds that the repurposing of information is critical to what CMS systems are about and this is the chameleon part. Blogs can play in this world. Tim says Geocities didn't work because it lacks structure and this can't be repurposed. Weblogs tools have nailed the ability to move information around and re-use it.

Adam talks about the barriers to entry with CMS systems. Boy is that ever true. We tried to put a CMS system in place in Utah and I think its still not off the ground. Its difficult to get the use cases right, difficult to train people, and requires a lot of money (more than its worth, perhaps). About the same time, I started playing around with Radio because it was a personal CMS. We'd have been better off to just buy Manila for $1000 and get people used to the idea of content management. When you're in a big organization, there's a temptation to do things big, even if you ought to start small. That's a tough lesson to learn.