So I am typing this from the lobby of the Gilbane CMS Conference, a big show for a number of Content Management Service providers are trying to tell you that theirs is the best CMS out there. They slice, they dice. They run social median features, they increase ROI. They julianne, they expand your audience. Please buy one. Please?

In interest of full disclosure, I am speaking at this conference to talk about how the WAA integrated our database with our CMS, which is about as exciting as it sounds. But after listening to a number of big-name mucky mucks talk about what the next thing is (they have no idea), I think a theme is emerging: fear.

Sure, software providers live in the same world as car makers and mortgage-lenders, but the thing that kept them going in the deepest gloom of the last dot-com bust (well, at least there’s new technology out there to play with) isn’t as obvious.Â

As my colleague mentioned about Web 2.0 expo, there’s lots of great tools out there called Web 2.0, but few (if any) of them are built for the enterprise (the fancy word for “business”). CMS are all about enterprise, simply because there’s no need for them if you’ve only got a few pages. And sites with thousands of pages are not your Aunt Judy’s Cat-Lover’s site.

And businesses are all scared so they’re cutting back on new applications, CMS being the first on the cutting block.Â

So everyone’s scared here. The interesting thing is that no one wants to say it. Everyone’s pretending that they have a handle on things and if you were a rational IT director, you’d buy their product. no one wants to say, “We have no idea where we’re going anymore. We’re just as lost as you.” There’s not ROI on fear here, so everyone keeps a stiff upper lip in the hopes of landing another client.

So I’m going to just say that the emperor has no clothes. But I shouldn’t have to. The focus of this conference is about integrating social media into a CMS. But social media is that thing that breaks down the walls between boss and employer, client and vendor, customer and business. But here we all are, supposedly in the middle of the social media revolution, standing side-by-side as equals and we’re all lying to each other.

If we could all embrace the idea that we are all scared and lost and have no idea what’s next, wouldn’t that be the first way to talk about what’s really next? Instead of watching Yahoo!s stock drop and lament another big name, we should be talking to each other as equals and learning what we want to do, and designing software and services around it.

I’m just surprised how little we’re admitting the truth.