WordPress : Democratizing or Suppression of Self-Publishing

WordPress, as a platform, allows people with little to no coding experience to create a website on their own. The question is, does this platform give its users a space to express themselves freely or does it force them to conform the platforms idea of professionalism and identity.

Jordi Cabot believes that WordPress has created a platform that allows anyone to create exactly what they need to express their own identities. Cabot shares how this platform has grown from a small, humble one to becoming one of the top in the world today because of how its been able to evolve and adopt as times change. Cabot believes that by having its community of external contributors, they’ve been able to continually move their mission forward. The end of Cabot’s article is a call to action, “As a longtime WordPress user and researcher, I encourage you all to contribute to the growth of WordPress and its community”.  This article can be found here.

Elisabetta Adami see’s this platform differently though. Adami questions the extent of diversity that WordPress allows through its platforms setup. A standardization has been created that looks more at users ability to use the platform effectively rather than allow them to express themselves and the identity they want to protray. Adami see’s that WordPress comes off as being a community made of its peers but then has strict distinctions between set roles within the organization. Adami’s also shows how the platform pushes minimalism and simplicity through limited themes, fonts, layouts, colors, and so on. This has created an issue where conformity and mainstream taste is being pushed, taking away individualism. Adami’s asks “Who gains and who loses in agency/freedom of expression, and who capitalizes on gains/losses.”. This article can be found here.

My short time with the platform would not make me an expert on the topic by any means. I’d say though that I can agree though that WordPress makes it more accessible for people without any background to create a site. I also agree that there seems to be many limitations. I’ve already noticed a lack in options and the push for clean, minimalistic design opportunities. I agree more with Adami’s article after seeing case study examples and learning more about WordPress’s internal workings. I would say this is a great beginning platform to get people comfortable but people should be wary of the possible agenda being pushed in the background.

References:
Adami, E. (n.d.). Review of Styling the Self online: Semiotic Technologization in Weblog Publishing. https://mylearning.suny.edu. Retrieved from https://mylearning.suny.edu/content/enforced/408840-2023SP-OSW-COM521-15738/WordPress-stylingself1.pdf?_&d2lSessionVal=svPz5VLpCiwl5aPflEz7C5jtl&ou=408840.

Review of WordPress: A Content Management System to Democratize publishing by Jordi Cabot. (n.d.). https://mylearning.suny.edu. Retrieved from https://mylearning.suny.edu/content/enforced/408840-2023SP-OSW-COM521-15738/WordPress_A_Content_Management_System_to_Democratize_Publishing1.pdf?_&d2lSessionVal=svPz5VLpCiwl5aPflEz7C5jtl&ou=408840.

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