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Social Publishing Panel at Gilbane Boston

Tomorrow I will be joining a number of industry leaders for a panel discussion at Gilbane Boston entitled Social Publishing and WCM, on the intersection of the social software and web content management markets. Moderated by Kathleen Reidy, Senior Analyst at The 451 Group, this certainly won’t be the first time we’ve discussed this crossroads with her, but as we close out 2009 and look toward the coming year, I think tomorrow’s panel really holds new meaning both for us here at Acquia and the social publishing market as a whole.

As I gathered my talking points for the discussion I couldn’t help but think about where we were less than 2 years ago. Back in February 2008 Acquia had just coined the term social publishing as we were evaluating Drupal’s market space. When we looked at the WCM and social software market spaces, we realized that Drupal was unique in its ability to power websites that combine content and community together seamlessly. On one side, traditional web publishing and WCM solutions were inherently one-way, structured approaches to publishing workflow and were adding social features very slowly to their products. At the same time, services like Wordpress, Facebook, Twitter and countless others were proving that social features were driving the future of how people interact on the Web. Vendors in the social software market space were cropping up everywhere, but each offering narrowly defined point solutions, forcing enterprises to manage a handful of silo'd applications if they wanted to take advantage of social features like blogs, RSS feeds, ratings, and user generated content.

As we launched Acquia, I put together the following image to demonstrate why we believed Drupal was unique in the market and why we felt a new market category, social publishing, was emerging.

Now, as we head toward 2010, it’s interesting to see how far we’ve come. Our message about social publishing is now the cornerstone of a much broader discussion amongst analysts and businesses alike, and social software vendors are using the term to describe their products. Businesses are now operating in a world where communities, including their customers, congregate around quality content and social interaction keeps people coming back to participate in that community. This is the basis of an entirely new level of marketing on the web where every person in an organization is a marketer, and social publishing platforms enable businesses to operate on this new plane.

At the end of the day, the lines are blurring between WCM and social software, between Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0. Technology solutions that address only one side of the equation are increasingly falling behind. More importantly, open source technologies are serving disruptive forces in these markets not only due to lower costs, but faster innovation from active developer communities like we see with the Drupal community enables the products to define the future of the Web.

And that’s what I'll be talking about tomorrow. Why is the intersection so important, how did we get to this crossroads, and where do we go from there? All roads are leading toward social publishing and I’m looking forward to a great discussion with Kathleen and the other participants.