Fueled by humanity and technological innovations, we are now living in of what marketing guru, Seth Godin, calls the connection economy, where value is created by the connections we make and not by conformity fostered by industrialism.
The connection economy empowers people to do what they do best – connect; and it lets them do it at a massive scale. According to Godin, through connections, people can create the extraordinary, do something important and make a difference.
The businesses that offer people more opportunities to connect are the ones equipped to create more value for themselves and their customers. It wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest that social media is winning over publishing in the connection economy.
Today, digital connections between individuals and media are typically made through commenting, either on publishers’ websites or on social networks. It was a great first start, but it’s limited compared to the kinds of connections people really want. Social networks, for example: - Do not create unity around people’s opinions
- Restrict discussions to within a circle of friends/ followers
- Are not optimized for discovering like-minded people
- Force users to follow everything their friends/ followers say and do In addition, comments are: - Quickly lost in the stream of other people’s dialogue, making it difficult for individuals to stand out from the noise
- Perishable and short-tailed because they are attached to stories that become obsolete when tomorrow’s news hits the wires
Wait…do you hear that noise? It’s opportunity knocking!
Imagine a social network specifically designed to host full-content newspapers and magazines and facilitate meaningful discussions that support: - Non-perishable opinions that take on a life of their own
- The ability to easily discover likeminded people and connect with them around topics of interest
- Teambuilding of individuals around their opinions
- The opportunity for people to become powerful influencers in and outside the network
I’ve often heard publishers say that readers aren’t really interested in commenting. And they would be wrong. There is almost a zettabyte (725,776,772 terabytes to be exact, in other, more scientific words, a huge
number) of usergenerated data on the internet today. So if these publishers aren’t seeing much interest in commenting on their sites, then that begs the question, “What’s wrong with their sites?” I think we all know…
Data proves that given the opportunity to generate content in a welcoming, safe and frictionless environment, people will connect and share opinions and content in multiple media forms.
User-Generated Content does not only add value to the existing content for other members to enjoy, it can also elevate the contributors’ reputation within the community, giving them more reasons to return to engage with new fans/followers.
It’s dialogue or die time
Metcalfe’s law states that the power of any network is the square of the number of “trusted” nodes on that network. In other word, the most valuable destinations on the internet are the places that connect us.
Facebook is all about connecting people around content and it’s making billions. So I ask you, if you are pushing content down a oneway street to your readers and then telling them to head over to social media to chat about it, how’s that strategy working for you?
Remember, if your readers’ opinions don’t matter to you, then you won’t matter to them.
It’s not too late to open up a dialogue with your readers, invite them to participate in the content creation process and help them connect with other like-minded people through your news.
Support the opinion.