Social Networking Blog

Guy Clapperton on the evolving new media

Newspapers aren’t making themselves interactive enough

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Social media shouldn’t be the death of newspapers but many people are portraying them in that way. This is why it’s good to read Marketingvox’ report of the Gartner view that they need to embrace the social networking area rather than compete with it, with thanks to Steverubel on Twitter for pointing the link out in the first place.

I find my experience mixed. The problem with the current model is that yes, you can comment on some stories online (I find the ones without the chance to comment now look out of date) but if it’s a popular newspaper you get lost in the mass of individuals.

I suspect there needs to be a new model to make real interaction work, and it’s not going to be leaving a couple of sentences on the end of an experienced writer’s polished prose. Where we go from here I don’t know, but for me the current model doesn’t work.

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March 31, 2009 - Posted by | social media trends | , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Guy – as per my tweet on this topic, I think there is an argument to say that newspapers weren’t conceived to be ‘interactive’. It’s fairly much a one-way communication. While papers have been good at moving online, the need for “interactivity” is imposed retrospectively — and hence very difficult to accommodate.

    Maybe the solution is for papers not to try to be something that they’re not. While they DO have to adapt to the digital age, they’re not social networking sites and why should they be? Facebook and Twitter do it much better. What papers really ought to be (if online or offline) is sources of current affairs analysis. And this function will be more important the more ‘unfiltered’ information via social media we have to process.

    Comment by Andrea Willige | March 31, 2009

  2. You make a lot of sense. The other thing that’s happening, though, is that the papers are evolving. The Guardian was probably the first – I’ve done the odd podcast for them, and only a few years ago audio on the Guardian would have sounded like a nonsense idea. My guess is that the next generation will see Guardian, Telegraph, Times etc. as brands for content rather than the paper objects we perceive at the moment.

    Comment by guyclapperton | March 31, 2009

  3. Guy – our recent experience suggests that sites such as Guardian Online are already taking interactivity beyond the posting of comments on a story. Working with Jemima Kiss, we provided readers with the opportunity to field questions to a lawyer about tech start ups (which they did via email and Twitter) which ended up as a podcast.

    I’d agree with Andrea that our example isn’t social networking in the style of Facebook or Twitter, but it is content generated through a two-way communications process.

    Comment by jon clements | March 31, 2009


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