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Brandwatch CEO on publishers & social media

Giles Palmer
Along with Mumsnet, Haymarket/, Sift and Havas Media, Giles Palmer, Founder & CEO of Brandwatch will be speaking at our next event on 17 May, on building smart communities online.

Find out more / book your place.

(Free places for publisher members - details below).

How successfully are publishers integrating social media with traditional content?

I would say not well. There are the standard methods such as putting a tweet this button on an article or the social bookmarking icons such as reddit, stumbleupon, digg etc. And many publishers have allowed comments to be added to their sites - but is that really integration of social media content? If it is, it's kindergarten stuff.

What technical challenges are there for publishers in embracing social media?

The technical challenges are around the technical nature of story telling, rather than 'technology' per se. The web is a beautifully engineered platform that has links at its heart so linking content and applications together is technically easy - but doing it in a meaningful way isn't.

Furthermore, there is the thorny issue of ownership and attribution of value. Complex content deals are likely to slow down the integration of social media into the publication model.

Can publishers make money from social media and, if so, how?

Its the $bn question. The short answer is of course - it's possible to make money from almost anything.

But to take a more imaginative and ambitious position - my answer would be to encourage publishers to look again at their model. The broadcast-only model has been disrupted and now readers have a voice. So how do you weave that voice into the publication? One approach that i think should be explored is mediated story telling.

Let's take the Joanna Yeats story - it's a narrative, not a discrete selection of news pieces. Of course there are announcements, but there is also public feedback and reaction, as well as threads that are born and die.

It seems to me that a wiki is a better analogy for a that kind of narrative than a 'traditional' publisher model. Media wikis is an area of development that has amazing potential and could easily give rise to different models, some ad based, some subscription that will generate very large returns.

Do you think that paywalls are incompatible with a successful social media strategy?

No - there are ways to make them complementary - but for me it's not an either or, rather a blended model.

Giles will be speaking at our next event on 17 May, on building smart communities online - Find out more / book your place.

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