We need a content facilitation system

The time has come for content management systems to focus on making content better — not just easier to publish.

In her fabulous autobiographical work, Just Kids, Patti Smith tells the story of her life in New York City as a young struggling artist in the 60's together with Robert Mapplethorpe, who would go on to be a renowned art photographer. In the beginning, however, Mapplethorpe wasn’t a photographer at all: He made collages. Not until someone gifted him a polaroid camera, did Mapplethorpe realise his artistic potential. The tool and the artist merged together in what you might describe as a technology driven creativity.

Look at these macros! (photo: Amazon)

No one outside engineering circles love their content management system.

Why is it, that we haven’t grown more attached to the content management systems, that we spend so much time with? After all, over the last decade or so, the CMS market has really matured, and the systems (including e.g. Drupal, Umbraco, Sitecore, Typo3, Wordpress etc.) have grown a lot easier to use. For instance, most new Wordpress-users don’t really need any kind of training.

The plan

Step 1: Loose the Management

I think that the problem starts with the name: Content Management System. This wording has meant too much focus on the management — and too little on the content. The word management brings associations of control, structure, logic and production.

  • Content Production System
  • Creativity System
  • Content Improvement System

Step 2: Focus on the entire process

I know plenty of developers who love their system. But I know very few content people, if any. One of the reasons, I believe, is that the systems have grown to be better and better tools for developers to accomplish something. If you’re a content person, all you can accomplish is the publishing of your thoughts.

The System of the future needs to focus on the entire process of content creation.

I believe, that The System of the future needs to focus on the entire process of content creation. This means a tool that allows us to develop ideas together, to cooperate around those ideas, to prepare content and improve it, to give each other feedback etc., etc. Much like tools like Git, Jira and Trello have improved the work processes of engineers.

The joy and terror of the blank canvas.
  1. Improvement (let’s make the idea feasible)
  2. Preparation (e.g. research, interviews)
  3. Production (actually producing the content — for instance writing the article)
  4. Quality assurance (e.g. proofreading or fact checking)
  5. Publication
  6. And finally review

Step 3: Adapt to the organizational context

An organization is not just an organization.

Step 4: The System should influence choice of media

The life of a creative is not easy. Constantly, new ways of expressing yourself are made available, and finding your way in the jungle is not easy.

The time has come to not only help users publish,
but to help them create better content and unleash their creative potential.

Something is happening in the Content Management-market. However, much of the most interesting innovation on the content side is being made in news organizations and with proprietary systems. Some of the best examples are Vox Media buying Editorially, NY Times’ Scoop and of course Buzzfeed.

I'm just happy to be here.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store