Friday, August 17, 2012

Guest Blogger: @dkragen "The Webmaster is dead! Long Live the Webmaster!"

Guest Blog by Dave Kragenbrink (@dkragen) Solutions Administrator at Waukesha County
It wasn’t so long ago that every company was issuing the title of “Webmaster” to someone. It started out by being given to that person in the corner that knew what the acronyms WWW and HTML meant. Then it moved onto the person that understood that blink tags and purple backgrounds were not a good idea. Then, the person that understood that static content was not the right way to present information, was given the title. Most recently, it has been bestowed onto that person that was able to integrate application data into websites.
Now, however, I feel that the title of “webmaster” needs to be put out to pasture, and this is coming from a person that has “webmaster” in their job description.

I have been a webmaster for well over a decade now (circa 1998) and I have used the Ektron product since the 5.x days. I have lived through the breakthroughs and the growing pains both in the web world as a whole and the Ektron product itself. From consolidated information to distributed data. From static to dynamic, from 13” monitors to multiscreen and mobile.
About the time Ektron 7.x was released, there was a fundamental change in how I started marketing the web and the Ektron product to our users. I realized that I was no longer the webmaster. My users were. My job had really evolved into one of mentor and guidance counselor over all things web.

With the release of the 8.x platform, and specifically 8.6, I think my job has fully changed. I personally have not posted any content onto our company website in over 6 months. Instead of being in the “do this for us” business, we are in the “let’s show you how to do it yourself” business. With the easy integration of social media accounts into Ektron along with the push or responsive web design principles, the ability for us to get out of the content game is allowing us to focus on the presentation layer to a much greater degree. It allows us to get back to our developer roots.
Ektron 8.6 is putting these tools, once only in the developers purview, into the content editors’ hands; as is nicely described by Tom Wentworth (@twentworth12) in a recent blog post Web Content editing is fun again.

We are implementing pagebuilder currently and will be developing widgets for our users to use as well. This will only push us further and further from the content, which I think is a good thing.  So for all of you webmasters out there that fear giving up that title, don’t be. Embrace it. Evolve to the “Solutions Architect” role. Understand the tools that Ektron has and how to use them, then go and be an evangelist and bestow the title of “webmaster” onto everyone that contributes content.
The web is no longer a unique piece of technology that the title of webmaster can be bestowed onto any one person. All content editors are “webmasters”, while we, the “webmasters” of yore can fade back into that person in the corner that just makes things work.

My Thoughts
Dave hits on some pretty important topics in this post. The biggest one for me is the delegation of responsibility so that it isn't just one person controlling content, but rather the subject matter experts in each area managing their own content and messaging. That's a big shift from where we were technologically just a few years ago, and is something that I'm personally seeing more and more often. Thanks for Guest Blogging Dave, I hope you enjoyed it (I know I did!).

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