At the end of May 2003, I returned back home to the United States after a semester of studying abroad and backpacking throughout Europe. Throughout the experience, I sent emails recounting my travels and had a stateside friend upload photographs to his web server for easy viewing of friends and family. My emails were not letters, but rather a form of “blogging” before blogs were en vogue (I even ended each post with “Things I Learned In Spain,” a precursor to the snarky Tweet).
Coincidentally, WordPress was launched on May 27, 2003, right at the end of my travels.
Monday marked the software’s 10th anniversary, with parties held around the world. This open source software project has gone on to be the modern day Gutenberg printing press, giving a voice to a new generation of writers as well as tearing down barriers for that voice to be heard.
Prior to 2003, film critics told us what movies to watch, food critics told us where to eat and fashion critics told us what was in and out. Sports writers analyzed teams, travel writers told us where to stay and political writers told us the direction that the country was going. WordPress changed this entire dynamic, providing people a platform to publish their own thoughts and opinions on topics that interested them.
The entire publishing industry was turned on its head.
For better or worse, much of the editorial process was removed. People didn’t have to write something that would have to interest tens of thousands in a local newspaper circulation, they could write on a topic that might only be of interest to a couple hundred in the entire Internet-connected world. While people have always written “Letters to the Editor,” this was a chance to get all of those missives published instead of the one that was deemed worthy of ink and paper.
Sure, the democratization of online publishing meant that of mediocre, half-baked content would be brought to life. Many thought that this would dilute the overall quality of content available for consumption.
While a lot of garbage has been written, the adage of “the cream rises to the top” has held true in this situation. Bloggers who create the most meaningful content are the ones who are read.
So here’s to all you WordPress developers and designers! Thank you for pouring in countless hours to develop such an elegant platform that has given us all a voice.
[Editor’s Note: The Rivard Report has been a WordPress site from the start and will likely continue to use it well into the future. Cheers to 10 more years.]
Garrett Heath blogs for Rackspace and is the Average Joe that started SAFlavor. He loves San Antonio, especially eating at mom and pop Mexican food restaurants. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+.