We've always tried to keep a sense of humor about ourselves at Six Apart, and not take our work or ourselves too seriously. Last week, when we released the widely-acclaimed Movable Type Pro, we included a short video that explained some of the exciting ideas behind MT Pro. We weren't exactly trying to show the full list of the new features in the video, but we definitely set ourselves up on this one — these things always tend to focus more on telling a story than on getting into technical details.
We focus on the story for a simple reason: It's not about features, it's about the future. Honestly, we assume that that everyone else on the web will respond by copying great ideas, as they usually do. Hell, we want them to, so that more people can benefit from open communities on the web.
Movable Type's had really great social networking features for more than a year, and MT Pro puts them in everyone's hands. So we're glad to see our friends at Automattic follow our lead by planning to provide some of these abilities for WordPress in a collection of plugins that you should be able to assemble around Christmastime or so. Until then, they've created a parody of our video.
We think that's a pretty funny way to respond, too! So we thought we'd share their parody of our video:
Of course, the joke in the video is that MT Pro's big feature is comments. LOL! So true, so true, we totally have comments! And lots more. You can view our original video, but one great thing the parody does is promote an MT Pro feature that we'd omitted — you can definitely get full social networking features on your own site, without having your site look like another Facebook or MySpace clone. (We'll even help you design it.)
Because maybe it's a little idealistic, but we think communities on
the web can be freed from having to live within the constraints of
someone else's social network where they have no control. It's just like how blogging freed people from having to use complicated publishing systems that they couldn't control. Or freed all of us from only consuming media that was produced by giant corporations, instead of by the friends, family or peers we know and respect. Blogs are good at breaking down barriers.
We think it's time for blogging to evolve and assume that successful communities will consist of dozens or even thousands of blogs, forums, and individuals, all connecting together in an open way. And we don't just talk about it: We invent what needs to be created, release it to as many people as possible, and try to do the best job we can of telling people the story of how the web is going to look in the future.
MT is great at all kinds of other unique abilities, of course, like managing an unlimited number of blogs and aggregating content across them. Or managing forums. Letting your members and commenters create their own profiles and follow each other. Rating and recommending content. Providing free and open source TypePad AntiSpam for blocking junk comments, instead of a proprietary centralized service from Automattic. Support for cutting-edge tech like OpenID 2.0 and OAuth. Exclusive new themes like Mid-Century. Our long-held reputation for publishing highly scalable, "Digg-proof" pages. And comments! Don't forget comments.
[Note: To be fair, it is possible to remedy some of the missing features in WordPress if you have enough free time to find the appropriate plugins. However, prominent independent security researchers do warn, "[T]he abysmal security practices of WordPress plugin developers places the entire Internet at risk". That's on top of WordPress being one of top ten least secure applications around, and the Department of Homeland Security's data showing WordPress having twelve times as many reported security vulnerabilities as Movable Type. Quick, time for more parody videos!]
But all of the features in Movable Type Pro are in service of something bigger. The great technology rests on top of world-class support, an incredibly talented professional services group, and a media services team that will help your site and your community succeed. Our vision at Six Apart is really about finding ways to help you achieve your goals while making the whole web better. The great part is, our community is innovative enough that they can take our ideas and use them as inspiration to build many of the most amazing and innovative sites on the web.
So thanks again to the team at Automattic for the laugh, and most of all for spending your time on making videos. In all seriousness, we think it is a fantastic way to compare your work to Movable Type Pro and to what we're trying to accomplish at Six Apart.