The Future of Media is (Shockingly!) Conversational

The kind folks at – an online site dedicated to the profession of journalism – were kind enough to invite me to put up an article building on my remarks to the LA Press Club a few weeks ago.

Here’s the opening:

Every media brand in existence is working to build a community.

Most of them won’t succeed.

Many won’t succeed because the business organizations that are trying to implement the communities are themselves crumbling, caught in a downdraft of declining revenues, causing cuts resulting in declining quality which leads to declining audiences who pay less and are less valuable to advertisers – and so on.

And some won’t succeed because they are doing community wrong – treating it as an adjunct, a bolt-on feature,


Is Small Business Happy With Its Social Media Results?

So as I’ve been trying to do a “Big Business Social Media” deck, the news is full of a study that seems to show that small business doesn’t use social media very much and doesn’t much like what it uses.

I’m shocked, just shocked (not really). Actually, it kind of confirms what I’ve been seeing in talking to small business owners out in the wild.

Here’s the lede (sorry, the study doesn’t seem to be available; I’m just piecing together clips about it from press releases and blog posts):

Sites like Facebook and Twitter have taken off among individuals for personal use. But what about the use of social networking at small businesses?

A survey commissioned by Citibank and conducted by GfK Roper found that some small businesses see little reason to hop onto the social-network bandwagon.


‘Niceness,’ Conformity, And Community Quality

I’ve written a few times about the importance of ‘quality’ in building online communities.

Today the LA Times confronts the question, as a heated screed in response to an editorial on immigration was first left up, then taken down in response to reader reactions.

The comment in question was clearly heated and racially charged.

And I think we have an interest – especially about important and controversial issues – in promoting civil disagreement.

I’m very happy that the Times was willing to bring the issue up for discussion and comment (you can hop in and comment as well).

But there’s something here that makes me a little queasy. I think we play by somewhat different rules when we move from commerce to policy,