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.

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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 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 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 participation?


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. 

More: continued here