WordPress is a Conduit

When people talk about WordPress, they call it various things:

In the past, I’ve gone on the record and called it something even bigger, but none of these descriptions truly accurately describe what WordPress actually is, at least to an ever-increasing number of people.

WordPress, the software, is a conduit for creativity, discussion, and innovation. You are introduced to it in such a simple way, but it’s potential is immediately recognizable so you can’t help but tinker with it and wonder what else it’s capable of.

WordPress.org, the website, is a conduit for discovery, a beacon in the fog, and ultimately the preferred outlet for tinkerers like myself. In my opinion, this is the single most important part of the entire system – the kingpin keeping all of it together that without it would all fall down (hat-tip to the GPL, also.)

WordPress.com, the anti-social network, is a conduit for writing, and a way to be introduced to the great suite of software Automattic produces to help make online publishing a more enjoyable experience.

WordPress, all of it, draws you in and funnels you through it’s finely tuned interface, introducing you back to yourself in a way that’s intentionally intimate and private, provoking you to invent something great and inviting you to learn more about what both you and it are capable of together.

I’ve experienced no other software and no other community with such an immense, almost gravitational pull. Once I was in, all I could do was orbit and enjoy the view from as many perspectives as I could. From inside Automattic and WordPress.com; from inside 10up and client services; from helping improve WordPress.org; to starting my own journey with Flox – WordPress was there, making sure I knew everything was going to be alright, and helping me discover where I can best fit and why.

WordPress is a conduit for positivity, for enabling greatness, and for generating joy. To everyone who has contributed influence to the WordPress community, working tirelessly to keep it’s spirit shimmering, thank you for your immense passion, intense attention to detail, and for allowing me to float along and be helpful where I’m able.


8 responses to “WordPress is a Conduit”

  1. Conduit for innovation? Not sure. Can you give some examples for that?
    Discussion – for sure. Creativity – well, perhaps.

    And about “gravitational pull” – because of its simplicity? Because of its low adoption level and big user base and low barriers to enter into the market/niche/[you name it]?

    1. NASA uses WordPress, and I have a hard time imagining a more innovative bunch.

      Gravity isn’t easily explained. Simplicity, sure, but I think what makes WordPress great is that it’s an empty canvas that can still be paint-by-number if you need it to be. It’s the awesomeness of it’s immediate potential.

    2. About NASA I strongly disagree with you. Do they use WordPress as a spaceship OS? Or their spaceships connect with server via WordPress REST API? No and no. That things might be innovative, but using WordPress as a CMS and blogging platform – that’s the usual use, the use WordPress was created for.

      I want to say, that WordPress latest “revolution” was many (comparing to the internet maturity speed) years ago, I think with the release of WP 3.0. (Well, backbone was nice too, but it’s not really in use in WP, that media thing +some other minor things are not enough. The buzz around it was much louder comparing to the actual use in the core). From that time WordPress tries to be easier to most users and slowly (really slowly) adapts things for hardcore developers (because we are minority, I know). So I don’t see its conduit for innovation, I see evolutionary required/desired changes that were made to satisfy the majority.

      Regarding the gravity – seems we are talking more or less about the same thing. Easy to use and extensible, can be both self-containing (all-in-one-whatever) and bare bones (using its REST), and can be used to create something really big (like wp.com/edublogs etc). And all these are the natural features for a product that is created for a very wide range of users (from developers minority to home wifes bloggers). That explains the ease you can stuck to WordPress – it’s easy to use and develop for it and you have lots of users. Almost ideal situation.

  2. Great Post JJJ! i think you’re definitely on to something there happy to hear it’s also inspiring you to create even bigger things in the future. At least, if i caught your meaning correctly. 😛

    @Slaffik “Because of its low adoption level” seems like an odd thing to say i think wordpress is like half the web now.

    1. Why odd (meaning strange?)? If it’s half the web (actually not) – doesn’t it mean that it’s very easy to use? And that naturally means low adoption level. Who creates most of the sites? Average users that WordPress is focusing on. Those users just can’t (many reasons why) create anything rather complicated, so they use the platform that is easy to use and give them what they have. That’s the strong side of WordPress (the software).

    2. Odd because it is in fact not just high but dominant in the market at this point (builtwith is currently showing WP at 48% market share for cms software). does it mean that its easy use? possibly, but i can’t follow your next statement at all quite the contrary, i think.

      Whether the people using WP are doing something complicated or not i think is quite possibly besides the point here. The fact is that they are using it on any level it is likely enabling them to do something they couldn’t without it whether that’s a simple blog or whether the person is simply inspired by it to create something completely different using wordpress only as a model.


  3. I’m intrigued by your calling WordPress.com an “anti-social network.” I largely agree, though think it has the capacity to be whatever you make it.

    In a similar connection, I’ve written about the difference in writing for Facebook, and writing on your blog:

    As I write this [on my blog], I’m only reminded of an audience by consciously and deliberately thinking of that audience. Their faces aren’t plastered all over the place, and if I’m not preoccupied with my site’s stats, I could plausibly deny to myself that I have any audience at all.

    Even if I accept that I have some audience, my audience here would seem to demonstrate some interest in what I have to say, as they must be somewhat more deliberate about finding these words at all. If I wrote this on Facebook, my audience would practically be forced to read what I say. As such, I can feel a bit more comfortable about sharing my actual self here, as it seems something my entirely hypothetical audience (you understand) just might want.

    1. You’re right, that WordPress(.com) allows a site-owner to tune the social experience a bit more than a traditional social network.

      The new WordPress(.com) Reader interface mirrors the traditional “feed” interface of blogs being followed, except no one is forced to go there to interact with anyone if they would rather not.

      The way WordPress(.com) deviates is in how I cannot actually follow your activity around the network. I can’t see your comments, who you follow, what you like, etc… All I can see is your posts to the blogs I follow, and while I think that makes sense, I also think it’s to the detriment of it’s audience, and hope eventually it comes around.