I’ve been sitting on writing this particular post (it’s easy to say “a post like this” but this is actually the post so here we are 🙂) for some time. When I look back and see how much I used to write versus how much I’m publishing now (it’s been two months since my last post!), it’s weird.
More on that in another article though.
Maybe the best way to start to write about what motivated to actually push publish on a draft of something I’ve been working on for a while.
The Magnitude of WordPress
About a week ago, Post Status published an article on Market Size and Market Shares: Thinking Bigger About the WordPress Economy. From what I’ve read in other newsletters and on others sites (I’m off social media for the summer ✌️) there’s mixed opinions on the data in the article.
None of those opinions have bearing on this post, though.
Instead, I think Post Status’ work makes a case for something many of us who work in the trenches with WordPress every day fail to consider: The stuff that we’re used to focusing on day-to-day is very different in terms of the magnitude of WordPress against the backdrop of the entire Internet.
That is to say, I’m not sure we can truly conceive just how far reaching WordPress is or how far reaching the impact decisions have regardless of whatever numbers of marketshare we read.
Or maybe that’s just me.
Numbers Are Easy
Here’s what I mean: Reading concrete numbers is easy. When the numbers for marketshare go up, it’s good. When it goes down, it’s bad. When someone acquires another business for a certain amount of money, it’s significant or it’s not.
Those are concrete numbers which we can see and we can compare them to something with which we’re familiar. The larger the number, in some contexts, the better. It’s easy to map that.
But what about against the context of the entire Internet? That seems incredibly hard to do. It feels as if it’s beyond an abstraction.
Like most of you reading this, we’re used to doing something like:
- lurking in or participating in Slack channels,
- reading what’s published on blogs about WordPress,
- listening to what’s covered in podcasts,
- finding out who is acquiring who,
- and following various things regarding themes, plugins, the editor, and Trac tickets that are a month old or 10 years old.
Speaking only for myself, it’s easy to get stuck in the same loop reading about this kind of stuff then going on about my daily work.
When I do that, though, I easily lose the ability to see a bigger picture in play. And when I do that, I lose the ability to creatively think about tackling certain problems (but that’s content for another post).
Contextualization Is Hard
Don’t read me wrong: A lot can be said, argued, or discussed whenever WordPress’ marketshare changes and it does matter, but do we just read numbers and think “higher percentage good” and “lower percentage bad” or do we step back and thoughtfully consider its implications?
Against what backdrop are we reading news, discussing issues, or publishing content? Is it for our site? Our benefit? Our clients? Our customers? What about our potential reach? What about potential for the Internet, period?
There’s no single right answer. But that’s the thing: I wonder, sometimes, if we don’t reuse the a handful of the same backdrops for contextualizing every opinion we form with everything we discuss.
Maybe I’m not articulating myself well at this point (it happens when you don’t write as regularly as you once did 🙃), but that’s okay. The point I’m trying to make is simply this: How good are we are properly contextualizing information about anything in WordPress?
And that’s something I think we need to keep in the back of our minds because sometimes focusing on ourselves or our own properties matter. Sometimes focusing on our customers and clients matter. Sometimes focusing on much larger contexts matter.
Furthermore, whatever the case for whatever we read or hear, contextualize it as best as possible especially if the person or people with whom we’re talking are coming at it from a different place.
This was originally a significantly longer article but I’ve decided to break it into smaller parts to focus on a single idea and that will allow me to hopefully get back into a semi-regular rhythm of writing.