Mark McLaren: WordPress and the Social Web

15 responses on “Mark McLaren: WordPress and the Social Web

  1. Fernando

    Awesome sound
    That guy need to practice a little more to talk about Social Web, it needs to be more fluid. Nice presentation though, it show a couple of incredible WordPress sites.


  2. blme

    Uh, Fernando dude or lady… there’s only one thing more stressful to people than public speaking – surgery. Truth. Mark did a great job – his day job is not public speaking… he’s better than 99.90% of conference speakers.


  3. Bill

    Great speech. This social progress could also mean the web version of 2-way garbage disposers. Sometimes one-way messages are preferred. He makes a good point on the benefits of WordPress. This is still in its social infancy; some of my clients are requesting, “turning off” the comments and chatter unless more robust methods of sorting through the bots and social spam. After people have learned about where all their former friends in life are and what they do everyday (ie Facebook) they are not all as interested or energetic to include them in their networking. Social media is truely a step forward, via WordPress, but we are muddling through the problems.


    • Mark McLaren

      Thanks for your comments! Social spam is definitely something we need to find better ways to deal with. One advantage of online profiles becoming more authentic is that it is easier to tell real from fake. And software like Akismet and Gmail anti-spam filters do a good job because they collect info about spam from all users.

      Depending on where you live, you can also take advantage of face-to-face meetups that are organized by like-minded social media enthusiasts. One of the best uses of social media seems to be facilitating face-to-face get-togethers and then keeping in touch afterward. Are there any WordCamps or BarCamps near you?


  4. Mark McLaren

    @Fernando and @blme –
    Thanks to both of you for commenting. I’m going to have to agree on both counts. Ideally, the presentation needs to be more fluid. And, although my day job is not public speaking, I would like to do more presentations like this in the future – so I’ll work on making improvements.

    Sounds like you both enjoyed it. If you have any other suggestions, please post!


  5. márty

    Awesome! 🙂 Great presentation in “Steve Balmer’s” style. I enjoyed it very much.
    I came across similar problem as Bill – my clients requested to turn off all comments etc. on WP sites, but on other hand – they also requested to integrate twitter, myspace, FB etc. into their sites. I spent lots of time with persuading them to “leave at least guestbook enabled”… Any ideas? 🙂


    • Mark McLaren

      Glad you liked it. You’ll have to tell me more about “Steve Balmer’s” style. It’s ironic given what I say about the Office 2007 Ribbon Interface.

      Regarding turning off comments while at the same time integrating Twitter, etc. That’s a GREAT question! I have clients that turn off comments, too. I figure it’s their blog, and they should be able to use it in whatever way they feel comfortable.

      On the other hand, comments are fundamental to the idea of blogging. It’s such a great way to connect with readers and generate fresh keyword-rich content with just a little extra effort. One of my clients says that they don’t have time to moderate comments. But if, like in your case, they are using Twitter, Facebook and the rest, that’s clearly not the issue.

      Attitudes about the Web are so idiosyncratic. Everyone has an opinion – rarely based on actual data.


  6. rositateacher

    It was great the speech, but I would like to know more about it step by step. Thank you.


  7. scribadiva

    I enjoyed the presentation. You gave me a different perspective. While it seems obvious, it isn’t, and there are so many implications. I have a blog on Google, but I’ve had problems with comments. To me, that’s what it is all about. The comments are embedded, but I want them to show up. So I copy them and paste them in my original post, which can take up time. I don’t think I’ll have this problem. I selected the theme with four columns so I can easily integrate video, music, photos & writing, and I want “my people” to have that same option.
    I thought your presentation style was fine, and I was an administrator at a Law School–tough crowd.
    Thank you, and I will keep an eye out for your next presentation.


    • Mark McLaren

      Thanks for your comments. It’s true, like Matt Mullenweg put it: “The software should get out of the way.” I feel your pain regarding the Google blog ( It’s really all about the interactions you can have with readers. That’s how you grow your number of readers! And in turn that’s how you help your readers by giving them a place to express themselves.

      Also nice is the fact that, if you decide you don’t like your current WordPress theme, you can switch! Or export the blog and do something else with it.

      Google has been making much of its mission to “make the world’s information accessible” to everyone – or those with Internet service, anyway, and also to make it “free” by allowing you to export any information you put into a Google application.

      I personally wish that Google would liberate me from YouTube’s first-generation commenting features. (Google owns YouTube.) It’s nearly impossible to interact with people there who leave comments on my video tutorials. I love YouTube video hosting, and I love YouTube video search, but the commenting features are so bad that I can almost never reply to anyone. But the service is free 😉 so I’m getting what I pay for in this case.

      My dream: As a New Year’s present, Automattic is given the rights to YouTube.


  8. The Blogger

    Great Job…


  9. Nick Young

    I share the same passion towards WordPress and this video sums it up yet again. While I don’t think it has cut out the webmaster completely, it has certainly closed the gap to the point where the learning curve is months instead of years.


    • Mark McLaren

      Thanks, Nick! You are right: the webmaster is not gone, but her/his responsibilities have changed.

      One of the really cool things about WordPress is that, with the help of someone who knows PHP/MySQL, you can extend the capabilities even further, and once that development work is done – and done well – the site can still be updated and built out further by people with little or no coding ability. And because WordPress is open source, those extensions can easily be passed on and used and modified by others. So software still gets out of the way, as Matt Mullenweg puts it, and more people can connect and share online.


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September 26, 2009

Mark McLaren gives a five-minute talk on the evolution of the Web from one-way communication to social interaction and how the use of WordPress fosters community development.

Video production by Joe Christensen of Blaze Streaming Media.

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WordCamp Seattle 2009 12


Mark McLaren 2


communication 36
Community 269
social media 95


English 9826

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