When our co-founders Ben & Mena Trott first launched Movable Type almost six years ago, their words were pretty modest:
"We've never claimed to be the best. We've never presented Movable Type as the program that will revolutionize weblogging. We're just developing a system with a lot of the features that we've heard users are looking for. Luckily, we've received a lot of good word of mouth."
But while the first description of the tool was fairly modest, what's been astounding is the things people have done with the tool. And perhaps the biggest surprise to all of us who've worked on Movable Type over the years isn't that people have done amazing things with MT -- we always knew that potential was there. What we never could have guessed, what we didn't even know to hope for, was the impact that the blogs created by the Movable Type community would have on the world.
So today, almost six years later, we have that history in mind as we launch Movable Type 4. We'll naturally be talking about new features and the cool things you can do with the platform. (The movabletype.com site is a great place for getting the basic facts.) But this is movabletype.org, the home for our community, and we want to share the motivation behind the work that all of us in the MT community, both inside and outside Six Apart, do.
It's hard to remember what the web was like when Movable Type was first released in 2001. Google wasn't yet the most popular search engine, and there were no such things as AdSense or AdWords. There were no iPods and no Windows XP. No web browsers like Firefox or Safari, and CSS and RSS were both fairly obscure technologies. There was certainly no Web 2.0, which means no great innovations like Flickr or YouTube.
But back then, a lot of us who care about this stuff were a little less cynical, a little more idealistic. We think there's an opportunity to be as wide-eyed and optimistic again, even though we know very well that some corners of the blogosphere can be tough on that kind of thing.
The transformation of the web in the past half-decade didn't turn out to be about technology; it's been a story of people transforming society, culture, politics, and media through the communications power of tools like blogs. So as we take the wraps off of our biggest release ever, we'll be turning the spotlight on you, the Movable Type community. The next few days and weeks will, yes, talk about features and functionality. But the stories we'll be highlighting will also be showing how transformative blogging can be.
It's easy to forget how powerful these tools are if you're already familiar with them. But most people still don't know, and it's going take all of us working together to teach people about the potential of blogs. We hope you'll help us tell the story, not just of Movable Type, but as a reminder to everyone who doesn't yet know the powerful connections that can be made through blogging.
Thanks to all of you who've made Movable Type and Six Apart a success over the years. We hope you appreciate Movable Type 4 in the spirit it was created: As a platform for sharing your great ideas with the world.