Of all the things that go into successful use of WordPress, the one that matters most isn’t technical. It isn’t social, per se. It isn’t even about how your WordPress web site looks. The most important part of WordPress success is WordPress Community Commentary.
This isn’t a rant of any sort; it’s a lesson. Whether you’re building a community of your own or joining one, you need to manage the way your profile and your content get seen and used. I was reminded of this both earlier today and earlier this week, and it made me think back to a couple of pieces I wrote at Answer Guy Central; you need to own your own cloud, and we’re all narrowcasting.
The thing that happened early this week was that I got a chance to be involved in a lively WordPress Community Commentary that included the author of a new comments management plug-in called Postmatic. I’d come across Postmatic before on Tom McFarlin‘s site, but this was special. We’ve joined the Postmatic beta program, and you should see it here very soon.
This morning, I found the piece you see linked below. It rocks. Or at least I think it does; 64 Ways to Think About a News Homepage encapsulates what we’re trying to do here; we know you don’t always know what you’re looking for and we’re trying to present the perfect environment for you to find whatever—and whatever type of—WordPress Resource you’re seeking.
That’s hard! Speaking as a guy with a long media and journalism background who’s watched those industries morph into something that’s barely recognizable, this isn’t just important to our goals at The WordPress Helpers but has been keeping me awake nights. For quite some time now.
How DO you give people what they want AND maintain control?
That’s the $64,000 question (hmmm … 64 is the number du jour, isn’t it?), and when I responded to the piece on 64 Ways to Think About a News Homepage the folks at Medium “got me”; it seemed I was leaving a comment, but what they got me to do was write a whole new article. That would be fine if I’d known it (it would have been longer; it might have been what you’re reading right now), but until I hit “post” I didn’t realize that Medium had tricked me into contributing to their SEO machine, and provided no attribution on the original piece.
Wait, it gets better. On my piece, there’s a link back to the piece that I started at and had so enjoyed. So the juice flows in one direction; that’s not community, its manipulation.
You can create your community and manage WordPress Community Commentary any way you like—and of course there are always business goals behind your efforts. But if you ask people to participate and they realize there’s nothing in it for them, they’ll go away. And Medium, you’ve just shown a whole new reason people’s time is better spent on their web site than on yours.