Content comes from many places, including news sites, media companies, and individual contributors.  In fact, as the Web 2.0 era becomes ‘mainstream,’ it is becoming common to see sites like where a news story has room for responses, or CNN.Com where responses are visible on some articles (but not others).  Even the Ladies Home Journal ( makes discussion boards available.

But what about the media companies, from New York Times to Reader’s Digest to my local newspapers (the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer) where community and collaborative features are simply not present?

  • Do we make a stink by complaining to the company directly? 
  • Do we “vote with our clicks” by using more Web2.0-oriented sites like MSNBC? 
    • Do we abandon the magazines and newspapers that go along with them?
  • Do we offer up add-on technologies and encourage them to adopt?
  • Or do we ignore it, and continue to use the content sites that do not have Web 2.0 features? 

Maybe I’m spoiled, but I like being able to read a story and comment on it, or read the comments of other readers. 

I read an article in a magazine on an airplane yesterday and wanted to go online to comment on it, and found that I could not.  I found the article heavily biased.  My response: never to read that magazine again. 

What is your opinion?  How important are community features to the business of content publishing (newspapers, magazines, television, radio, etc)?

By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

7 thoughts on “As the sun rises on Web2.0, what to do about companies that 'don't play along?'”
  1. Sounds like you are dropping the magazine not because the article was biased but because the magazine didn’t provide a decent mechanism for reader comment. Are you going to stop watching television for the same reason?

    I like commenting, but I’d rather read something high quality without any reader comments than something low quality with hundreds of comments. Of course I think my own comments are really interesting, witty and well-informed, but I don’t always have time to read anyone else’s commments.

    If you really want to comment on everything, you can join Twitter.

  2. Hi Richard,

    I’ve already stopped watching TV shows that reflect values that I don’t agree with.  TV shows with messages like "use violence to solve problems" or "torture is a necessity of war" don’t play on my TV at home.

    I do want quality, but there are a LOT of journalists in the world, in print and in broadcast.  We do vote with our participation.  

    But Web 2.0 capabilities should become standard on online journalism sites.  IMHO.

    — N

  3. Let me guess, your going to stop using Google and other search engines just because they they don’t allow you to comment?

    I would prefer to see quality information first most. Most of the time I could care less about other users comments. All it takes is one punk to derail the site with an obnoxious post or spam.

  4. You always have the option of commenting – on your blog.  If you don’t think the comment is appropriate for blogs.msdn…, you could start a separate, personal blog for that kind of writing.

    This does move your comments "out of band" from the original article or publication.  Technologies exist, though, for authors or other interested parties to search for references to specific (web) articles.  Your blog also provides the benefit of a ‘tuned-in’ audience which has opted-in to what you say.

  5. Hi Bill,

    Search engines are not content sites.  Perhaps you missed the fact that I was only talking about sites that publish news and information.

    I don’t mind if my note is reviewed and only published if the content is appropriate, or even edited for length.  

    Hi Kevin,

    On the editorial page of every major newspaper, there are a couple of columns, or the entire page, dedicated to ‘letters to the editor.’  I’ve written a few over the years myself.  The reason that people  write ‘letters to the editor’ of a newspaper is so that an opinion, other than that of the editor, would be visible in the same medium as the original article.

    I’m asking for the same.  I’m asking for the web 2.0 equivalent of ‘letters to the editor.’

    It’s just a rant, but hey… it’s my blog and I’ll rant if I want to.  ;-0

    — N

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