Teaching Examples


The ephemeral Web (and those who don’t get it)
April 5, 2007, 4:17 pm
Filed under: journalism, online

This is a darned important thought (from Rex Sorgatz):

I think we’ve entered a stage where web apps might just be like tv shows — exhilarating for a while, but gone tomorrow. And you know what? I’m totally cool with that. Why do we resist it? In other words, I contend that Twitter is basically like the first season of Lost.

A recurring problem I have seen at newspaper companies since the early days of the pre-Web Internet is this: By the time that management thinks something is a good idea, it is already over. Done. Toast.

Part of my own (very minuscule) interest in Twitter is that I expect the newspaper execs to start talking about it when everyone who is using it now has stopped using it.

While it’s very important to keep looking at and trying out new ideas for journalism, that doesn’t mean you should adopt or implement every new “Pet Rock” fad that comes along. Yet you’ve got to be savvy and also not miss the opportunities that arise.

How do you tell the difference? That depends on your organizational structure. Do you listen to the people who really “get” online? Do you have people in your newsroom who do get it? Do you know who they are?

And if all of them are young white men from the middle class, you really need to get some other ones in there too. And fast! Because your audience is way broader than that, and you can’t expect one subset of the population to know what the other subsets are into.

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6 Comments so far
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“Part of my own (very minuscule) interest in Twitter is that I expect the newspaper execs to start talking about it when everyone who is using it now has stopped using it.”

Priceless. And probably true.

Comment by Danny

This whole Twitter thing reminds me of my first Web job. Our bosses looked at the success of Tripod and Geocities (yeah, this was a while ago) and started a “home page builder” program. It was a great idea that was two years too late.

That site isn’t around anymore 😉

Comment by Mac

Oh, good story, Mac. That would be like saying, hey, let’s build Flickr (today). Which is sometimes what I think people are doing when they say: “Readers! Post your photos on our news Web site!” I mean, why would I do that when I have Flickr?

Comment by Mindy McAdams

Intruding from Charlotte:
Despite Flickr, readers still want to share photos with their newspaper website. Doubly so if it means photos will appear in the paper.

Back to Twitter: Great post. I’m sharing with others, including classmates in Serena Fenton’s online web design class from UNC.

Comment by Andria

Not all UGC photo sites are Flickr wannabes, that is true. But some ARE — and when they are cluttered with blinking and gaudy ads (interfering with the attention the photos deserve), then I wonder why anyone puts up with them!

Comment by Mindy McAdams




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