UGC for WCM ASAP!

Great article The WCM Renaissance(pdf), and particularly gratifying is this quote:

Web 2.0 is also exposing cracks in WCM space. Much the same way that WCM specialists accuse ECM vendors of “not getting it,” many WCM tools that only recently added blog and wiki functionality suffer from complicated interfaces, unfriendly URLs, and other un-Web 2.0 shortcomings.

In particular, the prevalence of sexy Ajax interfaces on the public web makes traditional WCM contributor interfaces seem very outdated. Vendors point out that re-engineering their product UIs is not a trivial matter.

Growing interest in user-generated content (UGC) has also created architectural challenges for integrated WCM packages the same way that the rise of the web caught many document management vendors flat-footed. In enterprise settings, most web-content management services and repositories live in a protected zone behind the firewall, and don’t naturally lend themselves to authors coming in from the public web.

To be sure, most enterprise customers don’t know yet what it means to “manage” user-generated content, and important questions are stalling some initiatives. Should we put UGC through an approval workflow? Do we need to archive it? Do we expose our internal classification scheme so we can cross-reference internal and user content? And so on.

I couldn’t have paid someone to better explain the PublicSquare approach. USG is a gruesome acronym, mind you, but the idea is crucial: publish with your audience, not at them.

The publications that willingly erase the line between “them” and “us” will charge ahead. While we see plenty fo pure-play user media companies, such as YouTube, and some cautiously inviting the audience to help out like US Today’s digg-like new features, I wonder where the future hybrids are coming from? When will we see a reader byline on the New York Times? When does the audience get to help write and edit? When do the sandboxes start to share sand? okay, bad metaphor, but still..

in any case, I may not know when, but I can tell you how: it’s PublicSquare. We have built a system — you see it now on Boxes and Arrows and on Found|Read — that allows the readers to write. Any smart comment becomes a story acorn, any blog post can be trackbacked into the idea pile! then off to a happy editorial process where it can be fact checked and grammatically corrected and become digestible by humans like you and me. And we did it with a sexy Ajax interface.

I don’t want to sell you; don’t get me wrong.

I want to gloat.

We built something cool.

2 Comments

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  1. 1
    Terry Bleizeffer

    I agree that PublicSquare is the shiznit. It occupies a great space between the informality of blogs and the formality of “news”. I just wish you’d rethink the SaaS-only approach. I’m guessing there are a lot of big companies who would like to use PublicSquare on their intranet, but would never, ever consider not hosting it within their firewall. It doesn’t matter how secure it is… what matters is who is responsible for the security. For many companies, the answer to that question can’t be “someone outside our company”.

    Regardless, I agree – you built something cool.

  2. 2
    christina

    Hey Terry! We are working on our corporate-friendly install on your box now. When folks ask us to use it, we don’t like to slam any doors (we’re too young, too busy learning!)

    You remind me to update ye old homepage to reflect this change in thinking!

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