Some good ideas from AASFE
I learned a few things at this past weekend’s American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, thanks to a presentation by Matt Thompson. Matt’s the guy, who with Robin Sloan, predicted the demise of newspapers back in 2004 with their Googlezon/Epic video http://robinsloan.com/epic/.
Matt now is the editor of www.vita.mn. Among his key points is something we’re missing out on: Rewarding users with “status” depending on how they interact with us and how they’re perceived. Power Diggers, for instance or EBay star sellers.
Matt also had a number of good concrete ideas for boosting user-generated content. I recommend you ask yourselves how we can incorporate them into what we do:
1.Take more advantage of the hash tag search on Twitter. (The # or hash tag is a way people can tag a tweet so others can easily search for it and pull out a feed of just posts tagged that way.) We could ask our users to Twitter their thoughts about a concert, for instance, asking them to add the tag #CONCERT or #DN. We would then provide a feed of that through http://search.twitter.com to get a realtime pulse of what’s up.
2. You could do this or something similar by filtering blogs for a topic rather than an event: For #BAILOUT or #OBAMA or #TRINITY or if you’re filtering blogs you search for the metatag on Technorati rather than Twitter.
3. Invite users to mash up our narratives
4. Take more advantage of lists. Vita.mn lets users create their own lists and topics and aggregates the most common responses together for a best of the best of from users.
5. Caption contests for photos and cartoons like the New Yorker
6. They solicit user-created cocktails and then pick the best and invite a flash mob to 10 area bars to sample one (small taste) of each one at each bar. Whoa I can see ad sales staff going “hey that’s an idea.”
7.Wiki neighborhood guides (we’re thinking of that)
8. Ask people if they had $1,000 what would be the ultimate weekend itinerary, or perfect meal, or whatever – then keep and tweak those suggestions into categories: Perfect librarian itinerary, Goth itinerary, etc., and hand out one $1,000 winner. You’ve paid one grand and you’ve got a bunch of terrific, categorized ideas from users that you can showcase and database and surface for a long time to come as part of your online guide.
9. Bring to the fore those user-generated posts that are best in class and give “karma” (MVP points, whatever you want to call it) to those who get their posts chosen so their status is raised in the online community.