Thursday, August 27, 2009

Delicious Today: social media, $$

#1: Twitter Yields Uneven ROI for News Organizations Using Automation, Curation, Interaction
"Journalists can find success on Twitter by crowdsourcing story ideas and stories, connecting with sources, doing research and more. ... Many people have decried news organizations' use of automated RSS feeds into Twitter. ... They are anything but social and are a poor-man's version of an RSS feed. ... Colonel Tribune, the Chicago Tribune character run by staffers, was one of the first to show news organizations the value of curation. ... The Colonel curates interesting content focused on the Chicago area, while also mixing in a healthy amount of interaction with users. The Colonel has paid off for the Tribune, despite the work it requires, because the Colonel has a lot of followers and sends a lot of traffic to ... The big downside of curation is the time it takes."
The hallmark of social media is to have social relationships above and beyond business transactions with its users. But building a relationship takes time and care. Thus it's a constant challenge for media organizations to balance the efficiency of computer automation and "humanness" of staff engagement.

#2: New Models, New Challenges
"One of the questions we at the Rocky Mountain Independent hear a lot is, 'Did you guys think about operating as a nonprofit?' ... The answer is, yes, we did consider going nonprofit but decided it wouldn’t be sustainable for us in the long term. ... We wanted to be as independent as possible, and that’s why we developed a three-pronged revenue model: advertising, memberships and consulting work."
Revenue from consulting work for a media organization? Yes, that's one form of the subsidy business model I covered in my presentation to CPB Radio staff today. Journalism today has to be creative in finding ways to support itself.

#3: The Good Enough Revolution: When Cheap and Simple Is Just Fine
"What consumers want from the products and services they buy is fundamentally changing. We now favor flexibility over high fidelity, convenience over features, quick and dirty over slow and polished. ... And businesses need to get used to it, because the Good Enough revolution has only just begun."
The article makes a convincing case that for many products and services, consumers are willing to sacrifice quality. But is it also the case for journalism? Personally I can tolerate poor delivery such as scratchy sound and blurry video, but "good enough" content is not good enough for me. I want the best content possible. It's like going to a restaurant. I can tolerate paper plates and plastic forks, but if the food tastes bland, I'm done with the restaurant and will never go back.

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