Thursday, December 18, 2008

The next killer app

My husband is no IT expert but he came up with a good idea this morning:

"Google should develop an algorithm that screens out bullshit," he said.

I knew there was a reason I married this guy!

I say this because I'm working on an article now about social media and its use as a marketing tool and I'm coming across an unbelievable amount of drivel as I hunt for sources. The main word that comes to mind after looking at all these marketing websites is: NARCISSISM. People seem to think that someone might be interested in their childhood or other details of their personal lives, when really, readers are looking for information.

After looking at the umpteenth website promising expertise, I realize that journalists will eventually have the upper hand on the web. They must!

Here's why: as a journalist, you recognize that you are not the story. The story lies in a well-conceived idea, well-researched material, well reported, and well-told. As concisely as possible.

Journalists write to convey some level of truth, and to be read, not to be admired or loved.

Journalists know and respect their audience.

At some point, this is bound to have some value in such a noisy place as the web. It takes a lot to keep these sites going after all.

I hate that word "content," but that's the term being used to describe writing on the web.

And here's another job title that you all should get comfortable with: content strategist. This is what they used to call an "editor." Here's a site that explores these ideas.

But again, this writer could have used an editor. Go down about five screens to get to the point.

And one more thing: if you have an idea for an Iphone app, now is the time to get together with a computer science major. Could pay off your school loans.


Jeffrey said...

Ms. Roche,

I trust you won't mind my writing you, sans editor? I think highly of the three editors, and handful of colleagues, who guided the piece to publication this week and would prefer you not impugn them. Yes, the story was verbose--it was also a special opportunity, granted me by my editors, to raise my voice around a particular sort of complaint that, feedback suggests, has resonated with some of the audience for whom it was written. "Writing to be read," as you say, and not to be loved. But blast, my editors were swell.

Jeff MacIntyre

Lucy Lion said...


The above comment just further proves your point. I agree, we will win. I'm keeping it short.