Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.


On Monday the Tech editor and I will pitch the blog column idea to the top editor of the International Herald Tribune.

Great suggestions when we discussed it here earlier.

Current thinking:

The Column: Of about 700 words will appear occasionally (until we can be sure quality is high enough) in the tech pages of the newspaper.

The Title: Lessons Learned; Digital Conversation; Any other ideas? (Actually, any other ideas might be a good name!)

The Form: Could be broken into three sections of roughly 200 words or one long column if interesting enough.

The Content: Would come from you. Best, I think, to ask people to submit 100 words on a given topic. That would enforce tight writing and avoid the impossible task of trying to summarize a blog discussion. People could submit multiple items, but none longer.

The Ideas: Would come from you. But the topic would need to stay relevant to the issue of technology, since that is where the column appears.

Any thoughts? I need a strong pitch for Monday morning!!!


Very important point I forgot to mention:

I have been talking with several social networks who are very interested in getting involved. WE submit content that IHT can use and profit from for free, and YOU get paid. Interesting concept.

I'd make this an interaction between the Newspaper and the Blogger. Means let the newspaper decide on the topic (pick the topic), throw it out on us and pick the best comment to be published.

That way, the newspaper will still keep their editorial control but the actual content will be written by ever changing people (who ever has the most interesting story to tell).

As for the title, i'd call it "Noise", "White Noise" or maybe "Tech Noise".


which bookmark shall I cancel ? joi's or iht's ?

For the readers of the International Herald Tribune, what better form of advertising than the possibility that their ideas may be featured in the newspaper, helping to ensure that what they write will be well thought out and well written.

It's like that story David Ogilvy used to tell about Max Hart, a business tycoon, who summoned his advertising manager to complain about his latest ad campaign: "Nobody reads that much copy," Max asserted.

The ad manager begged to differ. "I'll bet you ten dollars, Mr, Hart, that I can write a whole newspaper page of solid type and you will read every word of it.'

Hart eagerly accepted the bet.

"I won't have to write even a parapgraph to prove my point," continued the ad man. "I'll just give you the heading:


I like it - it's not just a collaborative column, it's a collaborative pitch ;)

boo, I hope you've never written an Amazon review or similar. You'd just be helping them profit from your hard work.

Sarcasm aside, TC's not saying that he's going to rip off our comments wholesale; you'd have to choose to give them (at least that's how I read Point Four), which you're free not to do.

My job will be synthesis.

Meshing the energy and ideas of bloggers with interests of IHT readers will be the tough part.

Hopefully the columns would also inspire offline people to join the discussion the next time around.


I read (and pay for) newspapers so I can get some content that (in theory) has been edited, fact checked and vetted. I read these personal web pages for the latest in gossip, bullshit and speculative thinking. Please dont devalue the IHT product or sully its good brand name.

Right Chris, like Jayson Blair or Judy Miller?

More seriously I like Stefan's idea but perhaps the title "Web Noise" or "Blog Noise".

I think the key will be to allow the conversation to continue online. Also, I would assume that many of the contributions will come from bloggers who have blogs. I think that it will be important to allow them to publish the columns on their own blogs. What would be the best would be if the conversations continued on the blog of the person who submitted the column and you provide a link from the IHT site. I realize this may be tough, but this would really show the IHT playing by bloggers rules rather than just "using" them. Even if it were a short term experiment, I think it would be great. You could do it for awhile and do an analysis on how the blogs react.

My suggestion, considering the audience of the newspaper, is to focus on problems related to developing countries. If we can help a few of those countries, then the mission should be considered successful.
Or else, of course, you can write about different new gadgets, ideas, but that will have no influence or impact whatsoever on the people who most need it.

Great ideas!

Joi: The idea is definitely to marry the column to the blogs in whatever way works best.

Ideally this column would come from discussion online and bring out discussion online.

Those who contribute will certainly have references to their blogs published. Whether the discussions continue on their blogs or my blog does not matter really matter.

If someone leads a discussion on their blog that comes to an interesting/publishable form, be happy to publish that.

Veni: Tech solutions for developing countries is an excellent theme. Looking, for example, at how simple technical solutions can bring paradigm shifts to problems in the developing world.

Any other topics?

Thomas, as cynical as I am of msm - I think this is an experiment worth trying. Meshmash of column linking to a blog conversation. However all msm have alignments in terms of corporations and technology. For e.g, let say IHT largest ad revenue source is goog/yahoo and msft and I were to write a critical review (hmmmm or say blogged about the halloween doument) and that is one of the cutting edge stories, would IHT publish something like that in the column ? Go against the grain ?? Or will it jus pick and choose submissions that "fit" within their sandbox ?? Remember bloggers have rules- we make them as we move along !!

Secondly, I think you should extend the offer in terms of cash too. Pay the blogger if you take their posting and cover it in iht. Hey a chq for 25/- with a commendation /thank you from iht would be kewl frame up for any blogger. That is take the time to reconginze the blogger , other then just the column print. In this way they loop the loop again, as they tom tom themselves for getting published- where again ?? IHT !!

I think this a good experiment if you work out the strategy well. It is a win win for blogsphere and msm (in this case iht)

have a blog on middle age and online dating....would like to share..insight....true stories...ideas on the future on online dating(the perfect oxymoron)