WordPress, the blogging software that powers The Big Picture along with 11 million other blogs and has 256 million unique visitors to its hosted sites, may not be as revolutionary as movable type but it is a crucial element in what has made it possible for blogging to grow from a hobby into a major threat to the mainstream media.
Here’s the opening graphs of my story on The Big Money explaining who is behind WordPress and why they’ve been able to grow so big without becoming a big company themselves:
A year ago, Justin Halpern was an underemployed comedy writer who had to move back into his parents’ home in San Diego. Today, he’s got 1.4 million Twitter followers, the
No. 1 book on the New York Times nonfiction best-seller list, and a CBS sitcom starring William Shatner. All it took was writing down quotes from his father that he tweets out as “Shit My Dad Says.”
Technology and social media are redrawing the roadmap to authorial success. And for every Justin Halpern, there are 10,000 professional writers wondering how to turn blogs, microblogs, and Twitterfeeds into media empires, especially now that their magazines, newspapers, and media organizations are contracting at an alarming rate. Blogs, of course, are the first refuge for professional writers fleeing the withering establishment media, and for hordes of would-be scribes finding their own voice. For these multitudes, WordPress.com has become the 21st-century equivalent of Gutenberg’s printing press.
The Son of Gutenberg
June 16, 2010; TheBigMoney.com