Guy Berger
Guy Berger

Journalists: uber–contributors in an age of social networks

Dan PachecoDan Pacheco
Social networking is a headache to the mass media because it sets up thousands of niches, demographics and interests.

But luckily, says Dan Pacheco, people themselves contribute to creating such niche–related content. In a twist to Marshall McLuhan’s famous “media are the message”, he declared: “The people are the content.”

However, “your staff are the uber–contributors,” pointed out Pacheco, speaking to a conference of the Suburban Newspapers of America which I attended in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

This is a speaker who livecast his speech in realtime from his laptop webcam, courtesy of a we–media–style website that hopes to make media moguls out of all of us – mogulus.com How cool is that!

Pacheco consults at a Bakersfield Californian paper, with a circulation of 70 000, and 10 different websites serving a range of niches. One especially offers social networking tools — “so we connect 39000 friends”.

You can click on people’s interests like scuba diving or body piercings, and you find out who else in the 330 000–strong town is also interested in it. It’s the network effect.

And by ranking people who have the top friend numbers, momentum was created for people to sign up their friends in the real world.
Bakoradio

Bakotunes is about social networking for bands and music fans. Groups can register and post mp3s. The newspaper has now started to sell a CD compilation.

bakoradio site
“Social media is taking place up there, although most of the money we are making is in terrestrial stuff,” said Pacheco. But it’s the social media action that’s generating the possibilities.

The latest thing for the paper is to create self–serve tools for online users to buy and place their own adverts on the site.

According to Pacheco, you can create a specialist social network site, with all the associated tools, in five minutes at Ning.com .