This post comes inspired by The Rebooting, where it talks about different news articles styles that have been attempted over the years:
- BuzzFeed set loose on the world the listicle, leading to many regrettable imitators
- Vox bet on explainers with a “cards” format that fell short of revolutionizing news products
- Business Insider took slideshows about as far as they could go.
- Circa atomized news with the idea breaking a story into chunks is a better for mobile
- Axios turned one-sentence paragraphs into bullet points, inserted bolded section heads, and trademarked Smart Brevity.
- Quartz decreed its articles would be less than 500 words
- At Digiday, we tried a feature called TLDR that allowed readers to hit a button to get a truncated version of the story, while using the TLDRs for newsletters and other distribution channels. (Didn’t work; too much friction.)
I’m probably missing several attempts. The latest entry comes from Semafor, which is launching today. What I find interesting is that the stated goal is not to keep up with short attention spans but to try to add transparency to build trust through product design. After all, there’s a renewed vibrancy in longer-form content, from two-hour podcasts to sprawling newsletters (hope to keep this under 1,500 words). A “Semaform” consists of compartments that divide the factual information from analysis and context. Check it out in action.
Of course, when I read something like this, I naturally think about how this applies to community.
- What are ‘community content’ have you seen over the years?
- What no longer works?
- What is working right now?
- And how can we create a useful list of what works well?
For example, in community we create:
- text based interviews
- forum posts
- async chats
- live audio
- and more…
And within each of these, there are styles that work.
For example, in a podcast:
- it could be a solo podcast
- focused on news
- interviewing members
- interviewing influencers
- audio course
- repurposed (conference) talks
- and more…
Does anybody want to help me come up with a list? And/or share below what types of community generated content you have liked or created?