2004 was a year when web content came of age, as more and more organizations recognized it as an asset, not some commodity. More and more organizations have begun to put content first, technology second.However, there's still a lot to do, as I'm sure you're well aware. Managing a website can be a frustrating experience, but it's definitely worth persevering with, because we are making progress. I suppose we've become so used to things happening fast today, that we often find it hard to identify slow change.
Slow change can sometimes be the best change of all. Content is a form of communication, and communication is fundamental to what an organization does. Changing how we communicate is thus a profound change. We humans are extraordinarily adaptable, but we still need a bit of time to digest change.
The Web is only about 10 years old. It may take another 20 years before it truly matures. Be patient. Whenever you get frustrated, look back five years. Look at all the huge progress that has been made. Now, look forward five years. Don't get trapped in the now, because that won't do your website or your career any good in the long term.
I'm very excited about 2005, as I feel that there will be lots of opportunities for us content management professionals. Managers who put content first, technology second, will have a great 2005. Managers who think like editors will have a great 2005. Managers who put the reader first will have a great 2005.
2004 was my best year ever. The interest in web content as a genuine asset just grew and grew. I now see organizations investing in quality content, and seeing quality results from that investment. More and more organizations have promoted or hired professional editors.
Historically, most websites have not been professionally managed. Whether they were intranets or public websites, they were essentially treated as warehouses; a place to cheaply and quickly store content. These websites were staffed by "put-it-uppers"; people who just put up content whenever they were asked.
Because the Web has been associated with IT, and because IT salaries tend to be high, the salary of the put-it-upper has been relatively high, certainly in comparison to the task involved. Because, let's face it, putting stuff up is a pretty menial task.
For those organizations where the Web is working, the put-it-upper is being replaced by the editor. That's where the future of web content management is. 2004 was the twilight of the put-it-upper. Don't get caught in that role. Become an editor or get out of web content, because there's no future for put-it-uppers
Dear reader, I'd like to thank you for having subscribed to this newsletter, and I hope you have found it useful. If you believe that web content is an asset that must be professionally managed, then 2005 is going to be a great year for you.
I spent 2004 traveling the world, and wherever I went I was treated with courtesy and respect. We have a small, beautiful planet. There is much more right with our world than is wrong with it, and there is nothing wrong with than we can, and ultimately will, fix.
Best wishes and seasons greetings.
Gerry McGovern, a content management author and consultant
, has spoken, written and consulted extensively on writing for the web and web content management issues since 1994.