Before the wis.dm site jumped ship, I wrote about how mainstream media has begun to engage end users in conversations. News sites like Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Wired, San Jose Mercury have been engaging their customers for a while. Readers have been posting comments, digging, tagging for some time. And most people actually like it. CNN.com has been a little late to the game and while they have the “revolutionary” Situation Room, they have not joined the true social network. Until now..
I use CNN.com for all of my mainstream news (can’t ever get enough Paris jail footage), and while I don’t spend a ton of time there, I do use the site on a daily basis to keep up with what everyone else is keeping up with (not everyone knows what NewsGator is for or how to use it). When they announced their beta I like any other beta tester jumped at the chance.
I have to say that I was not tremendously impressed at first. Since all of my news is read through a pretty plain RSS reader, I saw this as a simple re-design. Then I started seeing a few things that I liked. First was that they have a tab on some articles (the details page) which will display a video file if the article has an associated video with it. Then I saw it … the difference that I had been waiting for.
CNN.com has not only decided to allow people to add their voice directly to the web site, CNN.com has decided to “report” on conversations in the Blogsphere with a widget created by a company named Sphere. The basic idea for the widget, is to query the Blogsphere for content related to the article. I think that this feature will really improve the recongition of Blogs and expose the community to more people. I am not sure how many people will actually use this but I think that it is a great idea.