A few days ago I went to http://nypost.com and surprisingly saw the default WordPress admin toolbar at the top of the site with my username attached. It only took a few moments to realize this wizardry was due to the NY Post moving to WordPress’s VIP service.
It became apparent as I browsed several more VIP sites that I could post as a WordPress.com user which is obviously tied into my blog. I know this service has always been available for regular WordPress.com sites, but it certainly felt different when visiting higher profile sites like the NY Post and MSNBC. The more I thought about it this, the more I realized that WP has an opportunity to leverage the VIP service to create a powerful social media community. Comments on higher profile sites now link directly to someones blog which has much more personally and presence than an anonymous comment, or found via a 3rd party like Disqus.
The interesting dynamic is the mixture of high-profile sites that now use the VIP service along with the millions of wordpress.com bloggers, what a unique space for people who enjoy content to be involved with. The demographic of the average WordPress blogger is certainly different then the average “social media” user, let’s be honest updating a blog over the long-term takes a certain amount of effort. The challenge has always been to motivate users who are outside the core group of content creators, how is it possible to encourage people to keep coming back and writing more than a few words.
Also how does WordPress differentiate itself from other services like medium.com and tryghost, whose services de-emphasize comments over recommendations. I personally think they are both comments and recommendations has a place.
1. Having a social connection certainly motivates people to come back to respond to comments and write more. I would suspect that a lot of users who stop blogging get to that point by feeling they have no audience.
2. Curate niche market content writers. Niche markets (everything from home gardening and auto repair to Ruby developers) all have vocal personalities which can be used to create a larger community around topics.
3. Education. Writing is a very challenging endeavor, by encouraging children to write (click generation), there is a real opportunity for WordPress to compliment Facebook/Twitter/etc with more depth.
I hope the VIP service can bring in a larger audience and motivate more people to sign up and start creating content via WordPress, the future for this service has a lot of potential.