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This is the second part of the community content section of the Blueprint for the Complete Community Connection.

The experience of MonroeTalks.com, detailed in Newspaper Next 2.0, shows the potential for community conversation platforms. The Iowa.com iTalk section has barely begun to explore the possibilities that the Complete Community Connection must pursue.

A community conversation platform needs to be engaging, with opportunities to post photos and videos, with easy-to-follow directories and easy-to-use search windows to help users find the niches and discussion threads that most interest them. We should offer blogs to people in the community, organizing them by type — community affairs, club news, family blogs, politics, sports, neighborhoods, congregations, etc.

We should integrate our conversation content with BlockTalk, so people are able to quickly find the conversation and news happening closest to them. While the content will be user-generated, an editor (and/or software) should monitor to highlight new content and interesting content, so the conversation constantly has a fresh look and keeps people coming back to see what’s new. Monitoring software should highlight the most popular discussions. Just as the small-town paper for years paid stringers to supply chicken-dinner sorts of news, we might pay some local discussion leaders to spur the conversation by frequently posing questions or posting some of that chicken-dinner news online. The conversation site should present a host of targeting, search and direct sales opportunities.

We should seek ways to encourage full, accurate identification of people in the community conversation. We can do this multiple ways:

  • Bloggers will need to use their real names, subject to verification, and to complete accurate user profiles.
  • We should News Mixer with its Facebook Connect interface, which will encourage identification (of people who use real names on Facebook).
  • We will encourage users to register by name, giving more prominent placement to all comments and other contributions from people who submit to a verification process.
  • We might seek some commercial sponsors for our efforts to encourage more identification in public contributions. They would provide some sort of gift certificates or other incentives for people who register and submit to verification of their identities.
  • We can develop two levels of user profiles: One completed by the user voluntarily (again, we might use incentives) and whether the user completes a profile or not, we would hyperlink every user’s name to a collection of all his/her past comments, so you can view each comment or other contribution in the context of all contributions from that user.

Continue reading the Blueprint for the Complete Community Connection with Community-content opportunities: Calendar.

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