Heralding WordPress.com

I see, via Darren, that there’s an article about WordPress.com at The Blog Herald. Duncan’s early assessment is that it is looking fine. I agree with that. I also agree with his remark on customization, or the lack thereof.

For a current WordPress user this is going to come as the biggest shock, but I have read somewhere that this might be standard: basically there is no ability, at least at this stage to tweak a template… I’m sure I read Matt Mullenweg saying that the whole customize your blog market is not what they are aiming for with this service, which is fair enough, although in later releases I’d be suggesting at least some basic customization options, because even a new blogger is eventually going to want to play with the look of their blog.

I also think that it’s important to set expectations soon about how much customization WordPress.com will allow when it gets into stable release. I’d hate to have people looking forward to getting their WP.com blog and then finding that it doesn’t give them enough of one of WordPress’ great strengths: control over one’s own blog.

WordPress.com as Gateway Drug

I’ve recently been wondering about the limitations of WordPress.com compared with one’s own installation of WordPress. I was thinking about these limitations as bad things, and in a sense they are.

But then I read Lorelle quoting Ken, and supporting his argument that WordPress.com will give users a taste of what they can do, thus encouraging them to move onwards and upward to “WordPress classic” blogs they manage themselves. It’s an interesting argument, and one I will ponder and post further on.

Both blogs I’ve linked to above are on WordPress.com, by the way. Ken links to Steve Rubel‘s thoughts of switching to WordPress (.com, from TypePad). Interesting though Steve’s post is, I don’t see what a move to WordPress has to do with the long tail. WordPress is a major blogging tool, and nowhere near the tail. It powers a lot of long tail blogs, but then so does TypePad.

A Blog with a Mission

As threatened in the opening post, I’ll use this WordPress.com blog to blog about… WordPress.com! By this I mean at least two things:

  • The service that hosts this blog. There are in turn many aspects of this: the site, the host, the software, the invitation process, future plans, competition (e.g., TypePad), etc.
  • WordPress in organizations, particularly commericial enterprises. WordPress has traditionally been used by individuals who install their own WordPress software, choose their own plugins, etc. It is now better positioned for use in and by organizations.

There is of course overlap between these two aspects of WordPress.com. For example, WordPress Multi-User is fundamental to both.

Hello Web

Here I am, at WordPress.com. Thanks to Matt for the invitation.

I’m not sure what to use this blog for. Being a serial blogger, I am not short of blogs. For example:

  • My main blog is changingway.net
  • I have two blogs over at edublogs.org, which is in some ways similar to wordpress.com. Each site uses WordPress Multi-User, and each currently uses an alpha release of WordPress 1.6.

I am inclined to use this blog to comment on WordPress and its .com aspects. The other big decision I have to make is: what to do with the (one) invite to WordPress.com that I am able to issue? More soon…