As we gear up for Faculty Academy 2007, I’d like to throw something out there. Matt Mullenweg, founding developer of WordPress, recently blogged about how his labor of love with WordPress over the last four years might be re-purposed by numerous media outlets for one of capital’s favorite narratives: the entrepreneurial wunderkind and their overnight success. This is not to downplay the fantastic work Matt has done, rather to frame his important work within a larger context of social relations that manifests itself within a vibrant community.
Now, I’ve been folksonomically tagged as a fanboy, or even more recently as the “WordPress Hammer.” I really enjoy such labels because they reside at the intersection of passionate intensity and myopia (all my favorite literary figures live there: Captain Ahab, Raskolnikov, Thomas Sutpen, or even the Misfit from Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find”). Nonetheless, lately I have become a bit suspect of my own inclination to “write to the tool” and was planning on re-gearing my discussions towards more important things like the relationship between institutional learning, power and scholarship. Or even push more of my energy towards the discursive community working towards a free, open, and distributed learning environment.
This was all before I realized that I am already doing that by promoting and contributing to the WordPress “caravan” (to quote Gardner Campbell’s brilliant meditation on this very topic) for it is not a Web 2.0 tool, rather it is a movement! A community that promotes and augments the possibilities for publishing content of all kinds at the low. low cost of free. More than that, unlike many of the other applications out there that do much the same thing (Moveable Type, Blogger, etc.) -there seems to be a sense of commitment on the part of the WordPress community to keep it that way for the foreseeable future. Well, so much for any hopes of abandoning my monomania!