Publishing isn’t a skill, it’s a WordPress install

In ye olden times of 1997, it was difficult and expensive to make things public, and it was easy and cheap to keep things private. Privacy was the default setting. We had a class of people called publishers because it took special professional skill to make words and images visible to the public. Now it doesn’t take professional skills. It doesn’t take any skills. It takes a WordPress install.

Clay Shirky via

3 Responses to “Publishing isn’t a skill, it’s a WordPress install”

  1. I also like what Shirky has to say about the digital version of the publishing industry.

    “The original promise of the e-book was not a promise to the reader, it was a promise to the publisher: “We will design something that appears on a screen, but it will be as inconvenient as if it were a physical object.” This is the promise of the portable document format, where data goes to die, as well.”

    That’s especially true of digital textbooks.

  2. Publishing well, even with WordPress, is still a skill though. Shirky says,

    “We had a class of people called publishers because it took special professional skill to make words and images visible to the public.”

    The rules for successful publication still apply, but now it’s up to the individual rather than large corporate entities acting as the primary filter for quality content. To reach (and maintain) a wide audience, most bloggers have to have a well-designed site, whether they pay for it or do it themselves. They also have to optimize their content to rank well in search results. Marketing and promotion of their content via guest posts and/or commenting on other blogs is important as well as a social media presence.

    There a lot of interesting parallels with the music industry.

  3. The link in this post made me think about “How will we write?” Since I began blogging for an online course I am involved in I have written and thought about the writing process more than I have in years. Using my WordPress blog I can now save drafts of ideas that may or may not ever be published. I can go back and edit these drafts through to publication and receive comments and feedback from others; granted not usually on my writing style but upon the content of my posts. When I add in the amount of reading I have been doing on my new RSS feed I feel as though I am more actively engaged in professional reading and writing than ever before. I hope I am improving my publishing skills. I think this old dog is learning some new tricks.

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