Getting things done

Some people love to talk. All the better with wine and cheese.

Others are busy getting things done.

Between those two extremes you can ask yourself whether you’re stuck in an endless conversation, or if you and your business are focused on creation, innovation and achievement.

Here’s some of the latter. The winners of this year’s We Media investment challenge, SeeClickFix and The Extraordinaries, have been on the move and attracting lots of attention with their new businesses. Both have won further awards, sponsors and partners – and both have launched iPhone apps to crowdsource civic knowledge and action.

That’s not bad for six months of hard work. They were our most recent picks from an endless stream of new companies seeking to fill voids in what we know – and how we know it. They’re inventing entirely new pathways to knowledge and insight, and they’re part of a global story – ideas, inventions, investments, applications and aspirations for a better future are coming from every corner of the planet.

Arianna Huffington, the founder and chief face of U.S. news and opinion hub The Huffington Post, has also been busy. Her digital business is smart – run with a small staff, fueled by free content contributed by a legion of people who want to be seen and heard, filled with headlines plucked from the web and reader comments delivered by the truckload. The site aggregates news and people, and this week rolled out a scheme to bring many more people into the HuffPo universe – through the social network Facebook. Now, the HuffPo community will be entwined with the Facebook universe (200 million users and growing). If you read and use Huffpo your Facebook friends can follow along – and maybe follow you back to HuffPo. For a media brand seeking ever larger audiences, that’s a huge viral marketing play – aimed at what’s known as “audience acquisition” – all masked as social networking. HuffPo, perhaps owing to the instincts of its well-connected founder, is innately social.

Insight: News is social. Bloggers figured this out long ago. So did a variety of big media companies – like The BBC, which has long championed conversation on the airwaves and online, and The Guardian, which launched its blog/conversation space Comment is Free in 2006. Many others are struggling – unsure if there’s value in reader comments, confused about how to manage it. In other words – stuck in an endless conversation. If you’re stuck in that conversation – get out. Get something done.

Forecast: Look for more media companies – new and old – to use the Facebook Connect API, Google’e OpenID and other social connectors to mash up people and content. At the same time, media companies will roll out their own APIs – like those offered by NPR and The New York Times in the U.S., or the newly announced Open Platform from The Guardian in the UK. These are, in essence, keys that allow independent developers to build new products around news databases.

Aside: Hey Arianna, where’s the love? Or even a simple tweet @wemedia? We learned last week that HuffPo is compiling a list of media game changers. Hmm, that sounds familiar. Here’s Dale’s shout-out to the would-be blogul. We hope we’ll see her at next year’s We Media Miami conference. It’s March 9-11. Registration opens this fall, along with nominations and voting for the 2010 We Media Game Changers Awards and the 2010 We Media PitchIt! investment challenge.

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