Readying for next month’s Blog World Expo presentation on traditional media members saving their audiences by using social media, I’ve been able to find out about some interesting things in the works. I’ve agreed to respect the media outlet’s readiness and am holding off spilling the beans, as it were, but one such media member gave me the green light to tell you about their social media stake today.

A sneak peak at the BusinessWeek Business Exchange interfaceBusinessWeek, apparently clawing for some online cachet in the wake of FastCompany.com‘s over-the-top social networking bonanza, is in private alpha for an interesting social bookmarking and pseudo-social networking toolset they’re calling Business Exchange. I’ve been asked to participate, along with a few other social media bloggers I’ve discovered are there, and though I’ve not had ample time to explore it deeply, here’s what they’re cooking up for you.

The concept is essentially a social bookmarking mechanism that allows users to post articles they find (or posts of their own — And don’t think they didn’t pitch it as an opportunity to drive traffic to my own site, those clever kids!) in a topic-organized knowledge stream. The stream can be organized under headings “Most Active,” “News,” and “Blogs.” As B.L. Ochman has already pointed out reacting to their bookmarking dialog box, separating blogs from news is rather short-sighted. When you bookmark a URL, your input fields make you choose between “News” and “Blogs and Opinion,” indicating a less-than-ideal, but understandable, respect level for bloggers. I think Ochman goes a bit overboard with her criticism, but that, of course, is understandable, too.

The “most active” organization is nice but there’s little indication other than clicks or users “Saving” the article on their own profile page as to what gauges activity. There’s no voting mechanism and no apparent commenting functionality for the articles.

You can view another member’s profile and see the articles they’ve posted, saved and so on. But there doesn’t appear to be a way to contact or message them, bring attention to links you think they’ll find interesting and etc.

While the organization of business-oriented information by topic is convenient and inviting the magazine’s users in to experience some nice social functionality together is a nice step forward in the social media world for the publication, there’s nothing that seems unique in the feature set. In fact, there are some basics missing, though sometimes keeping it simple is the right approach depending upon the audience.

The good news is that it is in Alpha with Beta to come next month sometime. I’ve been told the platform is in it’s 20th iteration or so and the in-house development team is continually adding to and growing it. There is potential there, but it seems like a less-functioning del.icio.us for the time being.

Is it something that looks like the in-the-bubble folks will be excited about? No. But BusinessWeek’s target audience includes a lot more than us. The baby steps approach may just draw the mainstream readers of theirs into some nice social media habits.

To sign up for the invite-only Alpha, look for the link on the left hand side at http://topicexchange.businessweek.com/

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog and signature Explore events. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://broadcasting-brain.com Mark Dykeman

    I think we're of similar minds about this, but I'll be curious to see what else BW comes up with.

  • krouda

    Jason,

    I enjoyed your sneak preview at the SMC tonight, and enjoyed the thoughtful discussion afterward even more. I hope you'll take my comments constructively.

    IMHO, your presentation is about packaging up for late adopters what the mainstream media is saying about the early adopters. There's a lot of money to be made among Doe Anderson's clients by doing that, but when you present that in Vegas, you'll just be proving what everyone already suspects about Kentucky.

    If you want to have an impact in Vegas, tackle a problem that the early adopters are having. THAT'S where the value add is.

    For one example in a field where there are a great many… suggest that the news media do exactly the opposite of what you said tonight.

    A) don't just turn the news into an elementary school cafeteria with everyone shouting whatever pops into their head at the same time

    B) adopt the attitude toward the “intelligent public” that you espoused today.

    If the public is intelligent enough to follow procedures you establish, then give them the protections that allow journalists to be journalists. When they merit it.

    Suggest this. Suggest that news outlets develop policies and procedures that WILL provide legal cover and protection to citizen journalists and their sources WHO FOLLOW THE RULES OF GOOD JOURNALISM. Why? Because the REAL citizen journalists are the people posting to WikiLeaks. Anonymously. With WikiLeaks servers being hosted in foreign countries and constantly shut down and blocked. Bring THOSE people in from the cold and into the fold, and you've extended the life of news media a hundred years. If those people can do their legwork and research and journalism, with access to materials your reporters would never have access to, and you can protect them and their sources… now you're changing the game.

    Figure some of that out, or even get people thinking more about it, and you're talking the language of the early adopters. You're ADDING VALUE. That's what I would like to see a Kentucky boy do in Vegas.

    Keith

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      WONDERFUL feedback, Keith. I'll add that to the presentation, I'll look into the topic more and I'll provide full credit in doing so. Bravo to you for pushing back, holding me to a higher standard and making the presentation better. Well done, sir.

  • krouda

    Jason,

    I enjoyed your sneak preview at the SMC tonight, and enjoyed the thoughtful discussion afterward even more. I hope you'll take my comments constructively.

    IMHO, your presentation is about packaging up for late adopters what the mainstream media is saying about the early adopters. There's a lot of money to be made among Doe Anderson's clients by doing that, but when you present that in Vegas, you'll just be proving what everyone already suspects about Kentucky.

    If you want to have an impact in Vegas, tackle a problem that the early adopters are having. THAT'S where the value add is.

    For one example in a field where there are a great many… suggest that the news media do exactly the opposite of what you said tonight.

    A) don't just turn the news into an elementary school cafeteria with everyone shouting whatever pops into their head at the same time

    B) adopt the attitude toward the “intelligent public” that you espoused today.

    If the public is intelligent enough to follow procedures you establish, then give them the protections that allow journalists to be journalists. When they merit it.

    Suggest this. Suggest that news outlets develop policies and procedures that WILL provide legal cover and protection to citizen journalists and their sources WHO FOLLOW THE RULES OF GOOD JOURNALISM. Why? Because the REAL citizen journalists are the people posting to WikiLeaks. Anonymously. With WikiLeaks servers being hosted in foreign countries and constantly shut down and blocked. Bring THOSE people in from the cold and into the fold, and you've extended the life of news media a hundred years. If those people can do their legwork and research and journalism, with access to materials your reporters would never have access to, and you can protect them and their sources… now you're changing the game.

    Figure some of that out, or even get people thinking more about it, and you're talking the language of the early adopters. You're ADDING VALUE. That's what I would like to see a Kentucky boy do in Vegas.

    Keith

  • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

    WONDERFUL feedback, Keith. I'll add that to the presentation, I'll look into the topic more and I'll provide full credit in doing so. Bravo to you for pushing back, holding me to a higher standard and making the presentation better. Well done, sir.