Janice Brand – Helium.com

Posted on 11. Oct, 2007 by in Uncategorized

Your work in networked/citizen/collaborative journalism.

I am VP, Content & Community at Helium.com, an international community of active writers who use social networking to rate each other’s work. Our writers range from newbie to published professional, all contributing to a growing trove of more than 450,000 articles on subjects ranging from auto repair to Zen Buddhism. Our members actively engage each other through our community boards to help each other with writing and improving.

What are your goals?
We are building the richest resource of experience-based knowledge, wisdom and creativity. To achieve this goal, we are building an inviting, yet competitive community of members who write quality articles on subjects they care about. Today, you will find over 65,000 unique subjects on the site – and our aim is for double that very soon!

Notable achievements?

Thursday is our one-year anniversary. In that short time, we’ve gathered more than 80,000 writers to the site. Well, some testimony:

  • I have enjoyed the readily available ability to publish immediately.
  • Beefing up the portfolio and attempting brand-new subject areas have been quite helpful for practicing freelancing skills too.
  • I’ve often wondered if publishers browse about here looking for writers and now I see they do!
  • Began writing for Helium about six weeks ago – a mere blip in time ago. I was thrilled just to have a place to write and share my views and experiences with others, and getting paid to do so was the icing on the cake!
  • My ten weeks in Helium has gained me more experience than a US$900 long distance writing course has….
  • I love writing, but this is the first place that has built my confidence.

Lesson you’ve learned (including mistakes you’ve made)
Our Community boards were started to really help the Help desk answer questions for the members. But the boards have turned into a vibrant aspect of Helium, with nearly a million page views a month.

Are you getting revenue for this? How?
We are generating revenue from ads (small) and from our partner publisher program called Marketplace (growing).

What’s next? What do you need to get to the next level?
We are about to kick off a College Writing Contest aimed at college students. But our goal here is to provide a platform for journalism professors to have their students write to specific, pre-determined topics online and get rated by the member community. The students will also be able to read and rate each other’s work.

Anyone you’d like to talk with, learn from, or work with at the summit

We’re interested in talking with colleges and universities, and anyone looking for trusted, community-generated content from our members.


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