CMS bloggers of the world have been double dared again, not this time by @kasthomas, but by Julian Wraith (@julianwraith)- who in this post wants the CMS community to gaze into our crystal balls and speculate on the future of Content Management.I think the Future of Content Management is about people. Is that too predictable, does this mean I am going to wang on about ease of use?
I am also obviously going to talk about Web Content Management, which I think is interesting as this turns the discussion from the theoretical and well ordered filing system that your organisation should become, to being about achieving something. WCM is about publishing to the web, not about having well ordered drawers of stuff.
I’ve been in this WCM industry awhile, so lets put aside the crystal ball a minute and ask if we have yet delivered on the CMS promise of 10 years ago? (That’s we as in our industry, rather than we as in our company). Of the democratisation of contributing content, of connecting our Knowledge and Information Workers (as Forrester refers to them), the people that know stuff – with the people that want to know stuff?
And I don’t mean those projects where we have hundreds of content authors or an Intranet, I mean connecting the real people (not hundreds of marketers) in an organisation with your audience through the web.
Connecting people? That sounds like a job for social media. With Social Media we are now breaking down communication and marketing barriers in 140 character chunks. Are our websites, or the messaging and brand values they are used to project now being blown apart and deposited in crumbs around the web? We are now potentially all becoming the messengers, representatives, dare I say marketers for our organisations and any other brands, products, destinations, services we interact with and comment upon. But, for all that, websites are still the destination – the majority of tweets are linking people with web content.
Peng T. Ong (founder of Interwoven) in a the forward of the 2001 book “Web Content Management: A Collaborative Approach” – he talks about the motivation behind founding Interwoven – of enabling users and ‘web masters’ (it was 2001) who are “enmeshed in trying to launch websites” amidst the “chaos of building websites” – pains that organisations still feel today.
We are also seeing the “enterprization” of social media, corporate twitter governance, of paid bloggers and of a greater profile for blogging on corporate sites. We are all becoming accustomed to consuming opinion and news when researching products and services and I think we are become less tolerant of and less attentive to the polished sales and marketing message – people want to meet and understand the people behind the brand, we want to hear their opinion and see them. This appears to be to be convergence, as the ownership of the message is moving from marketing to ‘the people’ as at the same time the consumer becomes more accustomed to and expectant of a less formal, blogger, opinion based style of content.
This gets me back to my point, publishing web content is about the people – tools will need to be adopted by engineers, consultants, product managers and customer service reps – not just sales and marketing – the people our audience want to get a feel of.