The Webmaster: Not Dead Yet!!

There's an article on the slashdot feed... "Who Killed the Webmaster?"

(I'm refusing to link b/c a)to quote Monty Python, I'm not dead yet and b)The author is calling their blog "yet another" and since I've had yetanotherdot.com since 1999 or so, ehhh, no.)

You know what? The Webmaster isn't dead. Sure, the concept of the guy in suspenders and a beard who is the Webmaster because he's the only one who knows exactly what order to type in the Linux command line code to set permissions on a file so the world can read it -- that Webmaster is gone.

The Webmaster as a overly pierced pot head who goes snowboarding while the site is down (thank you so much, IBM for THAT ad), that Webmaster never really was.

The Webmaster as a professional? The webmaster as a jack-of-all trades? That Webmaster is still around. I literally know several hundred of them.

These Webmasters are dedicated, and universally underpaid, technology specialists. They don't sit around using Firefox to make more shiny moving bars. They master diverse technologies like credit card authorizations, PHP form coding, Google-mini administration, robust server architectures, live database interactivity, streaming real-time video in three formats, multi-language presentation, Flash presentations, scientifically based usability testing, PDF generation on-the-fly, and, yes, content management systems.

The Webmaster is no longer a low-level web designer who happens to know a bit about systems administration. The Webmaster is now a specialist who manages all the systems that make up the web sites. Web 2.0 websites, no matter who puts in the content, don't manage themselves. E-commerce doesn't just happen. Yes, large companies and even government agencies may have a lot of people, and may be able to tease apart these duties into different duties. The Webmaster, however, lives on. The Webmaster lives on at smaller companies, many non-profits, and smaller government agencies. Your school districts, your local businesses, or even your church will have Webmasters. The Webmaster has moved on to where he (she!) is needed.

Sure, the title needs changing. I don't know any Webmasters who like the title - but the fact is they are all so multi-faceted that any title you pick is only going to be partly right. I guess you could rename them all Senior Web Programmer Usability Specialist Information Architect Lead Content Editor Server Administrator Interface Designer Web Software Managers. Except that would be really hard to fit on a business card.

So, no, The Webmaster is not dead.

No comments: