This post continues from Part I, Dan
Gillmor’s “lessons learned” section of his farewell post a few
matter, but they’re no substitute for community building. (This is a
special skill that I’m only beginning to understand even now.)
Your site better
do something that a) people are passionate about and b) will allow
them to express their passion by creating and contributing their
content – easily.
not so much a lesson — we were very clear on this going in — it
bears repeating that a business model can’t say, "You do all
the work and we’ll take all the money, thank you very much."
There must be clear incentives for participation, and genuine
incentives require resources.
affiliate/micro-rev share content programs take off and people become
aware of them, it will give them a monetary incentive to contribute – this could be a big step in the right direction.
several occasions, PR people offered to brief me on upcoming
products or events that they hoped I’d cover in my capacity as a
tech journalist, but were happy to give the slot to our citizen
journalists. This testifies to a growing recognition among more
clued-in PR folks that citizen journalism is here to stay.
Agreed – want
some proof? check this out
the participants — citizen journalists and commenters — are
essential, it’s even more important to remember that publishing is
about the audience in the end. Most people who come to the site are
not participants. They’re looking for the proverbial "clean,
well-lighted place" where they can learn or be entertained, or
I was in
Starbuck’s over the weekend and noticed a kid working on a high-end
laptop (likely his dad’s) – but what caught my eye was the
Macromedia Flash time-line and the very cool Flash animation he was
working on (wish I could remember the site). I started talking to him and soon learned that he was in
7th grade and he and his buddy spent their free time
producing content just like this and uploading it to various sites. I
asked him about his creative process and he said he “wrote story boards”
and “ran them by a few friends” before they actually started
working on them. Story boards and user testing? The point here is
that the last thing this kid will be looking for when he is older is
a “clean, well-lighted place”, he and his friends are busy (and
quite good) at building their own content and before you know it will
have full time jobs and be spending money just like you and me. Are we ready for them?
you don’t already have a thick skin, grow one.
will let you know if you suck. Embrace their feedback. Learn from it,
and if you make a change – be sure to tell them about it.