So I make my living building communities for startup companies. Currently, I'm building the community around WP Engine, which provides a managed hosting platform for WordPress (Heroku for WordPress). And naturally, the tool I'm using for most of what I do is WordPress, which has an incredible community of folks adding new things to in every day.
With that background to provide the context out of the way, I'm curious to hear what problem you want to solve or what you want to accomplish with SETT. I see this at first as being something that has been done already, either with WordPress's P2 theme or even their new LiveBlog plugin.
The reason I ask is twofold: I admire and respect your work and lifestyle, and I think that I'll learn something from the conversation with you, and then add something from my own experience that will make a difference as you build the product.
I think that WordPress is a really good product, and as a CMS is unequaled. My mom needed a static web site built, and I set her up with WordPress. And yes, there are a million plugins of various quality for it that can extend it to do much of what SETT can do.
What is different about SETT is that it was designed from the ground up specifically to foster communities. Stuff can be voted on, users can create their own posts with the same interface I use for blog posts (as you just did), replies are threaded, user accounts are persistent across all SETT blogs. If someone replies to you, you get notified. Users get recognized for their contributions.
That's what the plan was, and I really didn't know for sure if it would work or not, but it's actually exceeded my expectations at this point.
Compared to when my blog was on WordPress, I get 2.5x more posts/comments from users. The subjective quality is MUCH higher (could you ask a thoughtful question like you have on any other blogging platform?), and stats show that the average reply to a front page post is 65% longer than on WordPress. Less tangible-- as a blogger, I actually feel like I know who's reading my blog now and that I have a real connection to them. I'm very biased, of course, but I LOVE using SETT because I feel like I'm actually connecting with people. My readers prefer it 4:1 over WordPress.
So yeah, I just feel like it's time for something new, something focused 100% on bloggers, not something that also has to function as a CMS and make the compromises that entails.
Would love to hear from other readers, too, to share their experiences with SETT vs Wordpress.
There is something to be said for custom ground-up work. If you have an eye for fashion, a fine custom tailored suit will be quite striking.
Twitter? Who would have thought a crippled messaging system would be a billionaire dollar business.
Caveat: Fully customizing Drupal or Wordpress may be a better option if you already have a lot of experiences there, but it will never be as lean and mean as the "Tailor Made" version.
SETT is a fine custom tailored suit. It's now going through some alterations because details do matter.
Let's be honest: My blog is pretty cool. It's not nearly as popular at Boingboing, Tuckermax, or that weird housewife who writes about her kids, but I have a pretty steady readership who all post comments and get something out of the site. Since I started around a year ago, I've averaged 1200 unique readers a day (half of that is thanks to huge spikes from digg and such). My blog hasn't made me rich, but I've probably made a few thousand dollars, which is a nice side effect. More importantly it's made me a much better writer, and has helped me chronicle the past year of my life.
What I'm saying is this : I can't help you build the next Engadget or WWTDD, but I can help you get started to building a moderately popular blog.
First you need decent hosting and Wordpress. Don't mess with blogger - no one reads blogger blogs because they all look the same and don't have cool plugins that you need. I know you can customize it and all, but stop arguing and do it my way.
I've been a power Wordpress user for a long time. We use Wordpress for our company blog, and it works well.
But for my personal blog, Wordpress has often felt like I was slogging through the mud. I wanted something more social. I want to create and foster a community of like-minded people who can all share knowledge with each other. And when my friend Tynan told me about a new blogging platform he and Todd were creating, I jumped at the chance to be the first external blog to make the switch.
For too long, blogs have been one-way broadcasts of information, when in reality there are communities of people interacting with a blog's content. Many of those people have very valuable perspectives and opinions to share. Despite the plethora of plugins available for Wordpress, it just hasn't been possible to get it to be as social as I wanted. SETT solves all of those issues.
The irony is that Tynan and Todd haven't even built in social sharing features into SETT yet, and still I find it to be much more social than Wordpress was. It really showcases what I mean when I say that people misunderstand social. Social isn't about sharing to as many people as you can, but rather about creating and fostering meaningful conversations between people who share similar interests -- even if none of them are "friends" or followers on any one social network.
Here's an interview with Tynan about what makes SETT special. I'd love to hear what you think in the comments. And try posting your thoughts in the community section, at right.