Friday, 30 March 2012

Crowdsourcing & Networking is the way to the digital future

Recently I joined The Guardian Media Network, a newly established professional network with a relating group active also on LinkedIn. The Guardian Media Network is a community for media professionals to debate, share, comment and meet. I have found the site quite useful for my research, as it features interesting topics and writers from all over the world covering topics such as media, technology and new mobile applications. This is a sign of the times, people want to go to their peer groups to engage in the discussion of their specific fields of interest. And the site is great for crowdsourcing of ideas for development of new services. Those active on the site are people of different backgrounds like advertising executives, media professionals, tech people and researchers like myself. 


As part of creating a lasting relationship newspapers are now more open to turn its readers into a resource. Those once called the audience are being engaged into giving hints about stories to tell or topics to plunge deeper into. There are many ways of doing this, like arranging events with readers, panels and seminars and utilizing social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. The Guardian, the Washington Post and many others have Facebook apps to track social readership i.e. to enable recommendations of what articles to read. More importantly, readers are encouraged to take part in the discussion and indeed become "editors" of their own right - contributing to content published in the newspapers. On the weekend of March 24-25 The Guardian arranged an 'Open Weekend' or a festival of ideas, innovation and entertainment with guest speakers from around the world joining digital developers, photographers and writers. The event seems to have been a success, building on the desire to co-create content and new services with consumers and readers. The weekend was well wrapped up in an article by Charlie Becket of London School of Economics - you can find it here - "We can make the leap into the digital future together".


During the weekend also a new Mobile App saw daylight - the App is called Streetstories and it shows how media companies develop their hyperlocal services to match consumer needs. And there are lots of opportunities for location-based advertising. I really like this idea!



In Finland the local newspaper 'Moro' ('Howdy' or 'Cheers' in English) published by Alma Media leads the way in crowdsourcing of content and engaging the local community in events that support readership. In the blog posts to follow later in the summer I will take a closer look at what's happening with the 'Moro' concept.




In my previous blog post on EDGE2012 Highlights I wrote about the co-creation of content for 'Olivia' - a popular young women's magazine in Finland. This has given good results at hand both commercially and in soliciting customership as readers feel more like community members rather than just the audience. 


I really can see that this is the right way to drive innovation and journalism hand in hand to create the digital future of publishing.