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Today started with a meeting in which, among other things, we discussed how some startups have taken our lunch in the flood-related community-building arena. Yep, I know that.
We spent time talking about branding and promotion and six-month strategies.
At least one of those startups, 2008Flood.org, already has a successful brand, viral word-of-mouth promotion and a clear-cut strategy — to serve the community faster than the official organizations could. It also has a limited lifespan. It meets immediate needs and will probably not remain relevant for the long haul.
What these little startup Web sites do better than we do is quick launch. Where they struggle is maintenance. We are good at that. So perhaps the question is not “How do we do it better and squeeze them out?” Perhaps it should be “How do we get our hands on that successful brand and take it to its full potential?”
And although I use the word “brand” here, it’s not about making money, not for the ninja anyway. A ninja community is about connecting members to each other and the relevant information they need and want. Call it a service, if you like, but the community directs it.
In the meantime, we’re planning more meetings.
Interesting reads today:
Nicolas-Kayser Bril has a good piece at the Online Journalism Blog on semantic journalism. He does an excellent job of explaining how the semantic Web solution, if found, might apply to journalism. It involves artificial intelligence, and it’s rather cool. It’s also “in English” and easy to understand.
Benjamin Melancon discusses the new responsibilities of digital journalism at MediaShift Idea Lab. In a world where (hmm, sounds like a movie trailer) online stuff lives forever and where search engines can find it, we have a responsibility to correct and update reports.
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