Fast Company is about to shake things up again.
Back in 1995, in our first issue, we announced on our cover: “Computing is Social.” It became a Fast Company mantra and helped open the eyes of a generation of entrepreneurs to the possibilities of the Internet.
In November of 1997, before social networking on the Web was called social networking, FastCompany.com started the “Company of Friends,” dubbed the “Fast Company Readers’ Network.”
The network featured members’ professional profiles, online business discussions that were moderated by volunteer group coordinators, and in-person monthly meet-ups of more than 200 regional groups around the world. (Sound familiar? MeetUp.com was founded five years later in 2002 and LinkedIn followed in 2003.)
As progressive as Fast Company was, serving our online community of about 100,000 members was a secondary mission to creating great editorial content.
But no more.
Starting today, we become the first major media website to tackle the following problem: Can a business publication blend journalism and online community to create something better than either by itself?
We think so. If done right. That’s what we’ve been thinking about and working on at FastCompany.com for more than a year now.
Why bother in the first place? I could get high minded and talk a bit about what my colleague Jeff Jarvis of www.BuzzMachine.com and the director of the new media program at the City University of New York calls the rise of “networked journalism.”
There are a lot of important reasons why amateurs should be powerfully enabled to participate in journalistic endeavors.
But we’re also doing it because it’s fun. It’s innovative. And it’s very Fast Company.
So what is it?
First off, here’s what it’s not: It’s not a pure social network. A pure social network tries to recreate what Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook calls the “social graph” of a community that already exists. You go to Facebook or MySpace and find the friends and co-workers you already know. The real world gets reproduced virtually. Maybe you meet a friend of a friend.
We’re not that.
We’re an entirely new community of people brought together because we want to share ideas about business. We like business. We think it’s important. Work gives more meaning to our lives. We believe business profoundly helps define our culture.
We don’t always know each other yet. We’re an open community. Feel free to introduce yourself to a stranger with interesting ideas. Try not to pay too much attention to the resume info on their profile pages – pay attention to their ideas, what they write or say.
Personalized profiles collect most everything a member contributes to the site: from a blog if you choose to write one, to your answers to daily questions from our editors, and much, much more.
If members participate actively, we’ll all get to know each other very well.
Second, the site is not an end to professional journalism. We’re still the website of one of the most influential business magazines in the world. Journalists like Robert Safian, Ellen McGirt, Chuck Salter, Linda Tischler, Will Bourne, Charles Fishman, and Adam Penenberg will continue to produce thought-provoking, ground breaking stories.
Post from: Fast Company Magazine