Constructing Customer Conversation with New Media the Open Source Way

30 05 2007

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OS Radio

Open Source Radio’s lead in of its radio broadcast from inside Second Life.

“Ready, Fire, Aim” or “Pitch, Revise, Report”

Your communication and media can’t just be a like a bullhorn anymore. It has to be an invitation, a conversation or it misses out on the ability to create life around your content.

Would you be brave enough to “let go” by constructing a new, more dynamic two way conversation with your information consumers like this?

  • Every time you have an idea for a story you post it to the website for member comment. The story idea will not be produced for another month because the direction of the story isn’t finished until suggestions or questions from members on the story concept are considered and followed up.

  • You know that quite often your consumers have more expertise and experience on any story than you do – so you invite them to share it BEFORE the story is written.

  • You’re willing to tap the blogosphere to find someone with the “local” knowledge on the content you plan to report. In fact, you make sure at least one blogger is included in the story itself as it never hurts to generate word of mouth marketing for your stories.
  • You let your consumers pitch story ideas. Every day one of your editors reads the submissions and responds in the thread. You make sure to read every suggestion and respond to as many as you can.
  • Editors take pitches that could make a good story and present them to the editorial staff in a story meeting. If the rest of the staff thinks the story might work too, you prepare a short description and post the idea as a new story on the website.
  • The story is completed and posted while you facilitate continuous discussion on its content.

Open Source Radio does all this.

In their own words:

“Open Source is a conversation, four times a week on the radio and any time you like on the blog. We designed the show to invert the traditional relationship between broadcast and the web: we aren’t a public radio show with a web community, we’re a web community that produces a daily hour of radio.”

In their case, the medium is audio podcasts wrapped around a community of engaged listener-contributors who post ideas, thoughts and questions – before, during and after the shows are produced. Recommendation tools help fellow listeners follow the most popular content. A profile system helps users learn and build relationships with other listeners.

250,000 + listeners from the US, Canada, Australia, Spain United Kingdom and more…

It’s time to take your listserv software behind the woodshed and shoot it dead.

You can’t bring your content to life unless you create experiences that fully integrate different kinds of content (in this case posted text and photos with podcasts) to create a contextual experience that will make it compelling.

As we saw with Gannett’s new news production strategy, you will need a different approach to satisfy the “lean in audience” who want to interact with their content versus the old “lean back” crowd who were satisfied with being “talked at.”

Those days are fading away.




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