I've had a few brief conversations in the last few days with people who have Manila servers, who are trying out the World Outline software. This got me thinking how World Outline relates to Manila, and to blogging software like WordPress, Tumblr, etc.
There's a podcast that goes with this post. It's only 20 minutes, and it's full of ideas, I think, that are worthwhile if you spend time thinking about social media. It goes into much more detail than I'll go into here.
Manila was an early blogging platform, but it started out as a full newsroom server app, with discussion software, editorial roles, tons of features that you don't see in blogging software. In a sense, blogging as an activity developed as Manila developed. It was launched in late 1999, and kept developing through early 2002.
Why was blogging so appealing? Why did it work so well? There are lots of ways to pick this up. One is that gave us a structure to hang our writing on. Time. That allowed the software to be simpler, and for the design process for the software to be simpler. Not the look of the site, but the structure of the site and the software features built to support that structure.
But time isn't the only structure we can hang our writing on. That has become more and more apparent as our blogs get overloaded and we get so many of them that we can't keep track of them. Our ideas are out there swimming in a vague space and we have little sense of its shape or dimension. I know that was true for me. How many blogs do I have spread across how many servers? I have no idea. There's a moment when you have something to write, and get confused about where it goes. That's a huge recurring question. And there is no answer sometimes. So you create yet another place to put stuff. Another place you will never remember.
I wanted to figure out what comes next. We seemed to have the problem of a page licked, but we didn't have an organization that worked. Time wasn't enough of a structure.
But I have a great tool for editing structure, the outliner. Somehow that must apply to this problem, or so it seemed.
That's the new level of functionality we've arrived at. It's a milestone as big as the one we reached in the late 90s and early 2000s with calendar structures. Now we have a tool for editing general web structures. And it works.
I guess that's what I have to demonstrate with the next screencast. How to use the World Outline to manage a very large base of content. This will be of interest primarily to people who manage large bases of content. Librarians, lawyers, researchers, writers, scientists, teachers. And guess who loved Manila? Largely those people.
And in the next screencast I hope to show you how I narrate my work with the outline.