Saturday, April 28, 2007
A smart wiki, and an unofficial and popular blog
Just about two minutes ago I got an email for something new at Stanford. It is the "Stanford Wiki." If you go, watch the little mini-intro movie, which will give you how-tos, and why a student would use this wiki.
Earlier this year, students created an "Unofficial Stanford Blog." Take a look at both. The blog is a general interest posting post -- I see calendar items, new student-generated businesses, and I saw close-to-immediate posts on Virginia Tech, well before the student daily could get it into its pages. The photo at left was posted yesterday because temperatures were very high and students jumped into a fountain in front of the book story. Immediacy, if not significance, is also an element of blogging.
Both of these examples illustrate how newspapers have to change. Both represent tools and information to share in the hands of the users/creators. Notice how quickly audience finds what it wants and uses it. If the need can be identified, users validate with use.
This makes me think of all our discussions in New Media Entrepreneurship. The audience model for newspapers (mass media) conflicts with the long tail notion of small, diverse but interested audiences. How about if a newspaper created a wiki site for its community members, and let them give it life? This could be a non-journalistic (in the sense that the newspaper would not stake its reputation on the accuracy of information delivered in these wiki pages) community information source. The interested parties would create the content. And of course the newspaper could monitor the wikis for stories that could benefit from a reporter. I can think of a million ways a newspaper could use this concept. It works to make your newspaper a "place" instead of only a one-way information product.