PEP (Personal Expression Platform)

· Best Practices, Weblog Concepts

For several years now I’ve been slowly spec’ing out an ideal personal publishing platform for posting a peck of pickled peppers…. Uh, sorry. No, actually I mean a system with a well designed content database at the core and a great deal of flexibility both in how to submit content (client, web, email, handheld, wireless?) and an equal degree of flexibility about how to stream or syndicate the content out.
I sometimes visualize it as a concentric series of spheres with the writer at the center. the innermost sphere is private (well, the infra-innermost sphere isn’t even committed to electronoc and possibly not written down at all, but I’m talking about a technology solution here), your notes, working documents, letters, confessions, etc.
Next out would be something like personal correspondence, such as email to friends and family. Then you might have a sphere for a certain wider community of trusted colleagues, acquaintances, or other like-minded folk. Around here might be some fee-based or affiliation-based content.
Finally, there’d be the ultra-outermost sphere where this like this blog appear, completely in public, to be read by anybody. I’d like it if people could subscribe to the feed and/or get it via email. I’d also like to easily mirror or bounce public content to other locations. That last wish is being discussed at Drop.org, and similar discussions came up there a few months ago and about a year ago as well.
I’ve gathered user requirements and helped design user interfaces, custom content-management systems, information architectures, knowledge repositories and stuff like that, but I’m not much of a coder (been working on learning PHP/MySQL for about six months now), so I’ve never expected to build this PEP project of mine. It’s also clear to me that many of the elements I have in mind are already available in one form or another, on one platform or another, using one or another set of standards.
The problem is that nothing (yet) covers all my bases, or even all of the essential facets of PEP, and the many overlapping partial solutions to not yet interoperate well enough for a klutz like me to be able to hack together.
Eventually someone will solve the constituent problems for me or I’ll get it together on my own. In the meantime, I’ve tried not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good and just started blathering into my Blogger, LiveJournal, MovableType, PHP-Nuke, and now Radio blogs, expecting that I can migrate where I need to go once I figure it out.