Online Magazines as a Community

Some learnings from an interesting article about magazines moving into the online space:
Wither Magazines? and ‘Radical’ Transparency by Jeff Jarvis.

It states that the magazine brand is the community, and we should be providing a way for the community to share relevant content online.

“The wise magazine will enable its community to speak among themselves. And it will also find ways to extract and share the wisdom of its crowd. This is true not just of magazines but of other, similar brands in other media (The New York Times, The Guardian, 60 Minutes, the Food Network, and most any trade publication. . .)”
Article: Wither Magazines? by Jeff Jarvis

He talks about the online magazine having a new role enabling people with shared interests share and gather together creating something bigger than a site or magazine…

“I do think the truly radical transformation would be to stop looking at the magazine as a thing — a product in print or online — but as a community, for that is what magazines really are and always have been: people who rather around the stuff they all like or need”
Article: ‘Radical’ Transparency by Jeff Jarvis


Some tips I got from this article include:

  • Enable commenting of articles – give readers a voice

  • Use bios for all writers giving them an identity

  • Nurture immediacy – this is the true nature of the web – this is where people look for the most current news/information.

  • Digg type functionality – allow readers to deem what posts are if value

Many of these points originally came from an article in Wired called
What would radical transparency mean for Wired?

Part 1 of this article has an excellent run down on the then and now concept for magazine sites:

Some ideas from this article

  • media as conversation (now) vs. media as lecturer (previously)
  • More and more people read via RSS, where content is divorced from context. Media is atomized and microchunked.
  • We share control with readers. Editors catalyze and curate (now) vs we control the site – editors are gatekeepers. (then)

Another good article discussing simlar issues can be found here called “A Tale of Three Communities”.

“The online world has created a culture of creation among ordinary people. Meanwhile, magazines are still partying like it’s 1899…. magazines need to realize that they really only have one community: the people who give a shit about their magazine.”

A magazine has three communities:

1. Subscribers

2. Writers and Editors

3. Advertisers

In traditional print magazines, the most important community the subscribers/readers is the least served. A well created online presence for the magazine community will change this.

“The internet has empowered a generation of media consumers to become media producers, and the result is unquestionably awesome. It’s time to take that empowerment and awesomeness into the magazine world”


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