Forbes Embraces Convergence Culture


I selected two recent articles published by Forbes that exemplify the four key aspects of convergence mentioned in Chapter 2 of Media Work which are: (1) the content of the communication; (2) the relationships between media producers and consumers; (3) the structure of firms; and (4) how communication professionals do their work (p. 70). The first article discusses how social media is not only inspiring social change in societies across the globe, but also a revolution amongst corporations, noted as the “Corporate Spring”. Because social media gives individuals a voice, corporations and their leaders are no longer hidden from the dissatisfaction of consumers across the globe. For example, “In the Netherlands earlier this year a social media campaign against bankers’ bonuses focused on Amsterdam-based ING. People began threatening en masse to withdraw deposits. CEO Jan Hommen voluntarily waived his upcoming $1.8 million bonus and ordered all company directors to do the same.”

One day later, Lewis Dvorkin wrote a piece discussing how this social media revolution has already affected Forbes, citing the changes the company has launched in response.

What does social media and social power mean to FORBES? […] It means Web pages that come alive with individual voice and activity, not the static, lifeless news pages I see on so many other news sites (Content & Structure). It means providing our staffers and contributors with tools that enable them to easily publish text, photos and video — then knowing they will engage, one-on-one, with readers as passionate as they are about the world of business (How Media Professionals do their work). It means putting real-time usage data in the hands of journalists and writers so they can better understand audience interests and consumption patterns. It means respecting the audience by deeply integrating comments into the flow of our product experiences, online or in print (Content, Structure, & Relationship between Producers and Consumers). It means understanding that our marketing partners are experts, too, and providing them with the opportunity to participate in the news stream, or what we call The Content Continuum (Content & Structure). It means integrating these actions and sensibilities across our print and digital products to create a fluid FORBES experience for our three vital constituencies — content creators, the audience and marketers (e.g. All Four).

These changes represent how convergence culture is leading to changes amongst some of the largest media organizations. Consumers are no longer simply just audiences consuming media but also producers who want more interaction and to have a voice. As a result, Forbes has implemented a new “model for content creation, with self-publishing mechanisms, new editing processes and audience development techniques rooted in data analysis.” It should be interesting to see what the results will be of such changes.

-Chris G

Social Power and the Coming Corporate Revolution

The Rise of Social Power and What It Means for Forbes and Our Brand


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