I had the opportunity to attend a Facebook Small Business Boost seminar this week. I wrote a more detailed post for the brass blog, but here are some key takeaways:
Thanks to a recent conversation with a local economic development expert and programmer/web guru, I finally have a two line explanation of Web 2.0:
Obviously, there’s a bunch to unpack there, which gives an aspiring new media strategist some hope for a prosperous future of innovation.
On Friday, mediabistro reported that NYT is developing an open API, with discussions about how much to open and how to bring data and stories to developers and — consequently — the public.
The goal, according to Aron Pilhofer, editor of interactive news, is to “make the NYT programmable. Everything we produce should be organized data…”
“The plan is definitely to open [the code] up,” [Marc] Frons [chief technical officer] said. “How far we don’t know.”
In some recent strategy sessions in the organization I work for, we’ve talked about how to incorporate more of the two concepts into our own Web offerings and how to leverage our data (especially about local business and advertising) to take advantage of our toehold in the region. And during a recent Oregon visit, Jason Kristufek and I talked about how what data might be logical to open up.
It’s good to hear the big boys talking openly about this project, and it’s encouraging to hear that they’re struggling with the same basic questions.
But here’s where I think small (and corporate) news organizations can learn the most:
Times Digital is working on to build what Frons called “a news and information platform.” Given the current explosion in social networking, we had to ask if he saw NYTimes.com integrating some networking element. His answer: We don’t want to be Facebook. Facebook is Facebook. We’ll probably do something a little bit different. We’d like it to be like the email an article, only much more robust than that.
More often than not, corporate entities are busy reinventing the wheel with “features” they “roll out” that easily “plug in” to existing Web frameworks (in our case TownNews) but don’t really enhance usability. At best, they actually arrive on time and incorporate into the existing page like they’re supposed to. At worst, they just add to the clutter currently bogging down news Web sites and continue to push the old saw about being a Web destination.
Link to feeds, build databases, and concentrate on how to make the Web (and the network) work for you. Note that this is not about “free labor” from readers. These are networks intensively managed by people building trust and habit among readers.