2 min read

Writing about the future from the past

I read an article yesterday in the most recent print edition of BtoB magazine about how "B-to-b media executives at the forefront of the digital revolution say they are adopting Web 2.0 as a philosophy as well as a growing group of technologies."
It was a pretty good piece. And I got a kick out of it ... but largely for personal reasons. Because when the reporter went looking for people "at the forefront of the digital revolution" she found Prescott Shibles, the smartest guy who ever worked for me, as well as executives from IDG and Reed Business, both clients of mine. And I like to think that I've played a role in getting these folks to embrace community and interactivity and to accept that the philosophy of Web 2.0 leads to superior forms of journalism.

So last night I sat down to write a post about that article and several others that appear in a BtoB special report on Web 2.0. But when I reread the article online, I found myself shaking my head rather than smiling.
Because I couldn't stop thinking how utterly silly this stuff looked on the Web site. There were no links. There was no feedback function. And the subheads were in the same font size as the rest of the copy. This was shovelware, pure and simple and ugly.
In other words, these are articles about Web 2.0 in a publication that continues to struggle with Web 1.0.
(Take a look at what I mean here, here and here.)

Regular readers of this blog know that I applauded Crain, publisher of BtoB, when it introduced links in BtoB's online copy several weeks ago. But that foray into a more interactive style of publishing seems to have died a premature death. I did a quick scan through more than a dozen recent stories on BtoB last night and found nary a single link.
I don't know what has changed. I don't know why BtoB experimented with links; I don't know why it has abandoned them.
But I do know this: you don't have to be one of the people "adopting Web 2.0 as a philosophy" to understand that writing for the Web is not the same as writing for print. And although links, comment functions and a cursory knowledge of design are not the ultimate goals, they are a start.
And mid-November of 2006 is awful bloody late to start.

To read an earlier post about a positive change that another Crain publication has made, click here.
To read about a scandal at another Crain publication, click here.
To read an earlier post of mine about linking, click here.
To read what Scoble says about what comes after Web 2.0, click here.

tags: , , , , ,