Death of CMS for Personal Publishing

Content management systems are content management systems — tools that provide both the user interface and workflow for how we create, edit and publish online. In the past year or so I feel that personal (!) publishing is moving away from the all-encompassing systems and replacing them with individual utilities for each step of the workflow that are tied together in a way that provides leaner and faster publishing.

Dropbox with its extensive API and tools built on top of it has been a key utility (and service) in shifting our understanding of hassle free “cloud” storage that can be used for everything from sharing photos and documents to hosting a personal website. With tools such as pancake.io and calepin.co publishing a blog means nothing more than having a set of text documents (probably Markdown formatted) in a Dropbox folder that is accesible seamlessly from any device. To me Dropbox feels more like a well made file synchronisation client (like rsync) than a hosted service.

The increasing popularity of static site generators for creating personal websites and blogs has demonstrated that people don’t want to put more effort into publishing online than it is to create a new file on a computer or push a file to a Git repository. While Dropbox, Git and static site generators will appeal mostly to the hacker and developer community, it is clear that the rest of us feel like Facebook and Twitter is our modern day blog and online presence.

There is a lot of appeal for the social aspect of having a Tumblr blog, WordPress.com blog or a Facebook page with a community around it and ways to discover new content and people through a centralised dashboard. This has always been a key feature of a hosted platform where users can share a common tool and experience.

But personal publishing is so much more than posting a few sentences and photos in a walled garden owned by one company. It is about having your ideas written down in a format that is universally accesible and available on any platform and device. There is nothing more accesible than a semantic text document with a set of related images and files that are made available on the web via standardised methods and protocols.

This is why I created Orbiter.

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