A few notes from a Webstock talk by Meg Pickard, then director of user and community experience at the Guardian. I enjoyed her riff on who the original hecklers were, and her points on how to engage with a news audience.
Content, Communities, Collaboration, Curation
- Think about how to make media social, rather than how to make social media
- Users interact with content in different ways – consume, react, curate, create
- It’s hard for publishers to change their thinking about user curation and creation
- It’s about not just letting readers have their say, but enabling them to string stories together in new and interesting ways, to create new contexts and tell their own stories
- Creation – lower barrier to entry, make it easier for users to create media in such a way that maintains quality
- Bugbear – social media is not the same thing as social networking
- A news website with content and a big arrow pointing to a room where you can talk about it is not the goal
- When you offer content with a social element on the side, the social element doesn’t add anything to the content
- Content experience should be enhanced by and added to by social experience
- We used to say content is king, now we say context is king
- At the Guardian we don’t just think about text and bung comments on, we think about the story, what are appropriate means to tell the story – audio, video, text, imnages, social, data
- Patterns tell stories, patterns within data
- Social media doesn’t need to be sociable. It’s about individuals doing what they want to do and the fact that there’s a social outcome is a bonus. We tag Flickr images for our own ends, not to make it easier for other people. Yet it makes it easier for all of us.
Five things which improve participation: a Guardian guide for editors
- Commission, write, edit and curate for the web (even if first published in print) – eg links
- Plan for and predict likely interaction ( do we want people to chip in with experiences, to support us, to argue, to debate among themselves, to debate with us?)
- Participate and encourage participation (be part of your community)
- Recognise and reward quality contributions
- Listen: be inspired; curate; follow up; act (use conversations to create news stories, go in new directions)
And finally, be a host, not just a publisher.
Here’s Meg in action: