I’ll be in Dublin for this week, where I am presenting at IFRA’s online media conference Beyond the Printed Word on the “Integration of Web 2.0 services into news sites”. You can check out the official conference blog. I’ll also be furiously blogging the conference on this here blog too.
I’ll be presenting on some of the new online products we have launched in the Web 2.0 sphere recently. I still wince every time I use the word Web 2.0, but regardless of its origins it is a useful term that captures a new spirit and culture of doing things on the web — a kind of evolving best practice if you like. I’ll be sharing our experiences and strategies around the new sites we have developed in the past year, including News in Photos (UGC, tags, widget & swarm), Thoughtleader (blog-media hybrid), amatomu.com (blog aggregator) and amagama.com (straight blog hoster). One of the key aspects of web 2.0 is harnessing user intelligence and content. It’s easier said than done and the challenge is to harness user intelligence, intelligently. When it’s done correctly you get beautiful things like wikipedia, done badly and your editorial may end up with Goatses on it.
Admittedly our flagship site, Mail & Guardian Online isn’t a particularly brilliant example of Web 2.0 at the moment, although it has the basics such as RSS, podcast (done by a professional radio broadcaster) and social bookmarking links — basic stuff now days. The M&G Online is currently undergoing a big redevelopment and overhaul (all open source, baby!) which will bring it in line with the newer satellite sites we have been developing and our new strategies.
After that I’m back in Joburg next week Tuesday for the first of the new “Innovation Series” with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, who I have the great privilege of introducing at the event. Heather Ford from Creative Commons has put the event together. M&G Online is a co-sponsor along with Creative Commons and ITWeb. If you are interested in attending, you can find out more about the event here.