Social Networking Session

Posted on 10. Oct, 2007 by in Social Networking

After a late finish during the morning events at the New York Times Auditorium, the nearly 200-participants walked next door to the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism for a quick lunch break and more informal panels.

The Social Information Session is just starting. The approximately 45-participants take charge by rearranging their black foldout chairs to form a circle, a more ‘social’ setting for conversation.

• Scott Karp–Publish 2
• Jim Marcus–AOL Propeller (Netscape)
• Travis Henry–YourHub
• Melissa Baily–New Haven Independent
• Ed Sussman–Fast Company and Inc.

“We’re gonna use user generated content to get started,” says Scott Karp, the social group leader and author of Publish2.

Scott immediately passes on the introduction torch to Travis Henry. Henry describes his site based in Colorado.

Next up, Melissa Baily one of the few women here and managing editor of the New Haven Independent (a not-for-profit), talks about her efforts to better cover her community in Connecticut.

James Marcus of AOL Propeller says, “For us one of the big challenges is to get into the inner or even the outer circle of participation.”

Ed Sussman of Fast Company and is the final panelist. He gives a brief summary of his work.

Scott Karp leads into a topic about Community Make-Up
Travis Henry, YourHub– “The number one reason people post or contribute on my site is because…they want to see themselves in print. Then they start caring about how many hits they get.”

Melissa Baily, New Haven Independent–“We have these junkie types who crave more information about the town.”

Jim Marcus, AOL Propeller– “At Propeller, there’s a lot of interesting politics. It’s the single area of fixation on our site.”

Ed Sussman, Fast Company and Inc.—“After several years, things began to evolve into a social thing.”

All panelists agree that their users enjoy networking and the ability to be published. And often, users become almost addicted to interacting with the sites.

Challenges the Panelists Face/Growth Dynamics
Ed Sussman, Fast Company and Inc.–“Our challenge is to bring the technology up to speed [for Fast Company].”

Jim Marcus, AOL Propeller– discusses the difficulties of moving form Netscape onward. “This has been the source of a lot of change and identity issues.”

Travis Henry, YourHub– tells how many smaller papers purchased syndication rights and thought they could simply turn it on without any staff. “You have to have somebody that cares about the site behind it.”

First question from the audience: Describe the roles of the people that work for you—how does it work?

Travis Henry, YourHub– says there are about 25 people working on the site [YourHub]. “They answer phones, go to rotary boards to evangelize and even make the coffee,” he says. “They do everything—there are no assistants.”

Melissa Baily, New Haven Independent–“We’ve done zero marketing. We’re just now having some business students working on it.”

Baily says they spend a lot of time weeding out the irrelevant comments. “We don’t take user generated information—We use trained journalists.”

Ed Sussman, Fast Company and Inc.–“Each site has an editor and a monitor.”

Jim Marcus, AOL Propeller—explains that Propeller does have moderators of sorts and that they play a substantial role in the community with their viewers.
“We pay them a $1,000 a month. Most of them are pretty serious news junkies.” Marcus says that the youngest moderator is 14-years-old.

A discussion about site construction and development comes into play. The audience and panelists agree that taking and expanding from current models such as Facebook is a good idea.

And we end right on time!


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