I recently blogged (in relation to the Plone Strategic Planning Summit) about what I expect to become a more and more widespread phenomen in the next years: Companies moving away from a one-way street of communication towards a more conversational one. This basically means they are following what was said years ago in The Cluetrain Manifesto.
There are many signs of this, one being General Motors experimenting with a lot of things, such as their Motorati Island in Second Life or the more recent GMNext initiative. Latest news was from Fast Company who relaunched their website to be a business social network from now on thus putting the readers of the magazine more into focus than the actual magazine. The new site now features for starting conversations between readers as well as between readers and editors such as your own blog, groups, video publishing, commenting and so on.
(they also hired Robert Scoble to start a TV channel for them)
TechCrunch also mentions a similar relaunch of Industry Standard and predicts many more.
What this means for the CMS business is clear. Maybe the term „Content Management System“ is one of the past more or less describing what Web1.0 was about: One-way communication from the company to (random) visitors of their site. The company was clear in focus which eventually made the company’s website more or less useless for the visitor (or who actually has digged deeper into these standard corporate websites?). Marketing is changing these days to foster more conversational and social media style projects and thus putting the customer more into focus. This means that marketeers need different tools than before. And we should deliver these tools, thus going from a system you might call a CMS to a system for which we might need to find a better name.
And if Plone wants to play a role in this scenario it really needs to move forward. Plone is definitely a great system and I think bringing it’s power into this new field will not only help the Plone community to keep it’s stand but also help those who need good tools :-)