In the media world, the overlap between conventional print publications and internet-based communications continues to grow. This doesn’t just mean that broadcasters or publications have a website; an increasing number are now adopting Web 2.0 tools and techniques – blogs, discussion forums, RSS feeds, Twitter, bookmarks, networks, etc – to find new levels of engagement with their readerships/audiences.
UK AEC media embracing Web 2.0
As I have noted from time to time in this blog, in the UK construction context, United Business Media’s Building magazine has been among the Web 2.0 front-runners, with several staffers writing their own blogs (as long ago as 2006) and Tweets, RSS, and a discussion forum launched in April 2008 (though I lost my patience with this last October after being ‘trolled’).
Among the Emap group of titles, including Construction News, Architects’ Journal and New Civil Engineer, there is a wealth of RSS feeds: CN, AJ and NCE all have multiple RSS feeds (some regional, some topic focused). A CN news blog appeared just before Christmas (though it mainly repeats news from the publication) alongside the CN Editor’s blog; I haven’t yet found an AJ blogger, but there are some NCE ‘blogs’ (even if they don’t look much like blogs). CN also jumped on the Twitter bandwagon last August, just ahead of NCE (though the initial @NCEmagazine experience was painful!); now, the CN feed tweets only occasionally, the new, improved NCE feed still repeats things from time to time, and the AJ editor uses Twitter (@kieranlong). No discussion forums on the Emap construction titles, so far as I know.
[Update (31 January 2009): AJ digital editor Simon Hogg has alerted me to Hattie Hartman’s sustainability blog, Footprint. Thanks, Simon.]
Reed’s Contract Journal sprouted its first blog almost two years ago and added more, including Brian Green’s Brickonomics, last year. Some CJ staff Twitter and now the magazine has created Construction Space, its own discussion and image-sharing forum. The design is bright and clean and the discussions to date seem to have been very much on-topic. It will be interesting to see how enthusiastically this facility is used (as of today, it had registered 92 users, compared to the 548 registered on Building‘s forums).
Overall, it appears the main UK architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) titles are becoming increasingly switched-on to social media. It remains to be seen whether their readership follows suit, and, if so, how quickly they do so.
Integration (or lack of)
Inside the back page of Building, the magazine devotes a page to a quick digest of various web-related matters, including a recently introduced feature called Short and Tweet giving sample messages sent by various construction Twitter users. After fellow bloggers Phil Clark (@zerochamp) and Mel Starrs (@melstarrs), last week it was my turn to feature (p.78). But, strangely, this page – of all pages! – isn’t available on the Building website!
I tried out the Contract Journal discussion forums this morning, posting a handful of comments. An hour later, I noticed that two extracts from my comments were used in tweets from @contractjournal – a nice way to link two separate Web 2.0 tools and to reuse material from one to stimulate traffic back via another (though to clarify the situation for other users, I did then use the CJ forum to ask will my comments be re-used elsewhere?).