Yesterday was a bit of a roller coaster of expectations set and met with an ending that epitomized the day. I finished the day at by far the best panel I've attended so far "Weaving the social web" (which was, incidentally less than a quarter full). A the panelists were great mix, consisting of an evangelist, practitioner, analyst, and super user. They each brought good slides and did an outstanding job of painting a broad picture of social media from the end user to the business application in dollars and cents.
Thats great, you say, why was it bitter sweet? Well, this session was planned at the very end of the day in a space on the exhibit floor. After one question the organizers announced the floor was closed and we were all ushered out while still trying to continue the dialog initiated in the panel. What was more telling was that there was no "log on to community.naa.org to continue the discussion" even though they do have a community site.
Today's opening session is "Navigating the Digital Future". No Marine Corp band this morning, I guess I will have to go back to my coffee habit.
Today's panel was a who's who of online editors and execs including The New York Times, Scripps, Gannett, MediaNews, and Cox. As anyone who has read my previous blogs has learned, Gannett has been the most visible innovator in the social media space at the convention. Now having met 3 members of the digital team, I can say that if anyone will demonstrate the larger value of social media for newspapers it will be this group. Scripps is not too far behind.
The NYT is widely considered the leader in the digital space but they are lagging when it comes to embracing social networking. While they have been carefully monitor and playing in Web 2.0 technology such as feeds and syndication they have shied away from creating communities. Right now I'm wondering why:
When we were first interview by The Guardian Online about the Financial Times of London's exclusive social network (See my post London Blogging) We mused about the power of niche social networks and its gradual adoption by business. I argued that the reporter focused too much on the viability of the idea than bigger point that the FT actually thought their audience was ready for such a tool. Maybe that is the case for NYT, too much focus on size and not about relevancy. Sure, they get 8.5 million eyeballs per month on the front page of their business section but I bet advertisers would see a better value in a 3000 member executive community.