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Month: September 2009

The Brighter Side of Corporate Life

RBI staff helping out on Box Hill

It’s awfully easy, in this perfect storm that besieges publishing, to be rather negative about traditional media companies – even my employer, RBI. So, once in a while, it’s worth taking a few moments out to remember the very positive things.

For example, last Friday, I spent the day on the National Trust’s Box Hill site with about 20 of my colleagues. RBI gives us two days a year we can devote to charity or community activities, and we spent the day helping clear a chalk meadow – a fairly rare habitat – of encroaching trees. Damn hard work, and I slept like a baby that night, but it felt like a worthwhile way to spend a day.

Brain Food at Procter Street And then, earlier today, I was in an hour-long, open invitation discussion session thinking through the likely impact of Google Wave and Sidewiki on our business. To be fair, the concept were met with a great deal of “huh?”, but some good discussion followed and it gives me hope we’re starting to put these new concepts into our thinking as they emerge, rather than when it becomes and absolute necessity. And that’s progress.

How’s that for a cheery post to start the week? 

Why You Need Comments on Your News

Any news organisation that’s serious about being accurate needs to read the tale of BBC woe Paul Bradshaw spins. Here’s the money quote:

Of course having comments on the story would have allowed this discussion to take place in public, from the start, and provide readers of the article with some critical context, turning a single-source ‘He Said’ article into a ‘He Said-She Said’ piece at the very least. That’s a technical issue that is being addressed, but in the meantime the BBC brand suffers.

But you should really read the whole thing…

Social Business Ahoy

I admit it – this blog is all but moribund. But I thought I’d sneak a post or two on here before James takes it away from me.

The discussion about use of social software in businesses seems to have risen up people’s radar significantly in the last month or so, and there’s some really interesting discussion starting to build around it. This post by Euan really caught my attention:

Why do I believe this? Because I believe there is a fundamental change in how we do business heading our way. Driven by the networked communication tools flourishing on the web, tools like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, not only how we communicate with those who benefit from our services but also how we organise ourselves to produce them will be changed forever.

The post is about as good a summary of the changes in the air as any, but it’s the discussion in the comments on the post that really make it fly.

TEDxTuttle: The Movie

Nice video from the Telecom.tv team, talking to some of the speakers from the event the other week. I appear, busily liveblogging, in the opening moments…

Why Good Bloggers are Good For Print

Here’s a piece of news that’s all over the journalism blogosphere this afternoon, and which surprises me not at all:

Last week, though, the prominent political blogger Andrew Sullivan used his forum on TheAtlantic.com to tell readers to subscribe to the print edition of the magazine.
It worked. Within two days after last Monday’s post, Mr. Sullivan’s appeal pulled in 75 percent of the subscriptions that the Web site draws in a typical month, the magazine’s publisher, Jay Lauf, said.

The AtlanticHere’s the thing: social media is all about the first word there: social. Over the years, Sullivan has built up a rapport with his readers, one that stretches back to before he was blogging for the magazine. With every link of his they follow and find interesting, with every piece of analysis that they find compelling, they come to trust him. The relationship between blogger and reader grows stronger.

And so, when he recommends that they subscribe to the magazine, they do so, because they trust him. And as long as the print product repays that trust with a strong, compelling and unique proposition (which I think The Atlantic does, as a long-standing subscriber to the mag), then it is actually stronger as a paper product for having a social media operation.

I’ve long suspected that magazine brands are on their way to becoming metadata, a piece of information that is tagged onto the individual voices of its journalists, and which tells you a little something about them and what they write about, and which is, in turn, defined by the aggregate voices of its journalists. This is just one more piece of evidence to support that.