All the News That’s Fit to Print
Bassey Etim is at the center of these efforts. He leads the 14-person Community desk, which focuses on comment moderation, while also helping the Times to unearth and maximize the value of their reader community – and the value they provide to readers.
We talked about how comments have improved the journalism at the Times, plus:
- How Bassey hopes to build a celebrity class of commenters
- The ROI of comments for news organizations
- Why he’s excited for the Times to build community one-on-one with readers
Our Podcast is Made Possible By…
If you enjoy our show, please know that it’s only possible with the generous support of our sponsor: Emoderation.
“If you run a news organization – if you run a content business – and you’re just allowing a piece of your content to go without any serious monitoring or care, of course it’s going to fail because people came to you for your content business, not for a random assortment of things from the internet.” -@BasseyE
“Since we’ve started having comments on, I feel that the quality of our journalism, in terms of its ability to talk directly to folks [and] the amount of complaints we get about the way something was contextualized, it’s just gotten so much better.” -@BasseyE
“To get people to subscribe to anything is a process. First, they need to hear about you. Then they need to realize what your mission is, and what the unique value proposition you’re trying to offer them is. Then they’ve got to have a unique moment with you that sticks in their memory. Then they’ve got to come back again and feel as if they’ve got the time and the opportunity to subscribe, but also that they want to, almost like you’re smiling as you subscribe, like, ‘you know what, I’m going to get these guys back for what they’re giving me. They’re going a great job, happy to support this.'” -@BasseyE
“There’s a pretty discrete value, in terms of getting somebody to become a registered user to your site. It’s a step that you can kind of look at it financially and say, ‘okay, this person is X more likely to subscribe because this happened.’ And once you can pinpoint where comments were involved in that, then that is when you really start to justify spending money to make sure that the comments are of really high quality and they reflect the value that you’re trying to advertise to readers.” -@BasseyE
About Bassey Etim
Bassey Etim is a journalist, author and musician who, as community editor, is the resident expert on community management at The New York Times. He runs a 14-person desk within the Times newsroom and is the editorial head of the Times’ community development team.
Bassey is part of The Coral Project, a team that won a $3.9 million dollar grant from the Knight Foundation to develop open source tools that help news organizations build better community.
He released an experimental cross-platform novel with WorldLive Mobile in 2012. The novel was integrated with the WorldLive Authors app, and included The God Project: A Soundtrack, with artists from Paper Tiger and Eyeball Records.
The child of Nigerian immigrants, Bassey is from Milwaukee and a University of Wisconsin alumnus. At the Badger Herald, the nation’s largest fully-independent college newspaper, he served as managing editor. But it was his column writing and live-blogging about local politics that drew the attention of the state’s political scene and ultimately, The New York Times.
- Meet Some of Our Top Commenters by Bassey for the Times
- Bassey on Twitter
- Minus Pedro, Bassey’s music group
Welcome to Community Signal, the podcast for online community professionals, sponsored by Emoderation: smart social, globally. Here’s your host, Patrick O’Keefe.
Patrick O’Keefe: Hello and thank you for listening to Community Signal.
Our guest today is at the forefront of smart community building and moderation for news organizations. Bassey Etim is a journalist, author and musician who as community editor is the resident expert of community management at The New York Times. He runs a 14 person desk within the Times newsroom and is the editorial head of the Times community development team. Bassey is part of The Coral Project, a team that won a $3.9 million dollar grant from the Knight Foundation to develop open source tools that help news organizations build better community.
The child of Nigerian immigrants, Bassey is from Milwaukee and a University of Wisconsin alumnus. At the Badger Herald, the nation’s largest fully independent college newspaper, he served as managing editor, but it was his column writing and live blogging about local politics that drew the attention of the state’s political scene, and ultimately The New York Times.
Bassey, welcome to the program.
Bassey Etim: Thanks so much for having me Patrick. I appreciate it.
Patrick O’Keefe: Your community origin story is that you didn’t do the final project for your journalism class, and after telling your professor you didn’t have time, she recommended you for a new department that was getting started. What was that department?
Bassey Etim: The Community Desk was that department.
Patrick O’Keefe: At The New York Times?
Bassey Etim: Yeah. That’s right.
Patrick O’Keefe: So, that was a great recommendation.
Bassey Etim: Yeah, it was great, and just goes to show you for all the kids out there, don’t do your homework. It’s a waste of time.
Patrick O’Keefe: How did you get over there? It’s more than a recommendation, right? Or was it that simple?
Bassey Etim: It wasn’t quite that simple. Heather Ward, who was the editor at the time, as I understand it, was interviewing quite a few folks for the job. I got the recommendation and ultimately, because they were looking for people my age in journalism, my resume, I think, looked pretty good compared to a lot of folks. A lot of practical experience, but I think the luckiest thing about the whole thing was, the day of my initial phone interview was the day that I was live blogging a College Democrats versus College Republicans debate on campus, so I give her the link to the Herald site, she goes on there, and in the A column there is just this long column out of me that our web editor put together almost … I felt like it was almost as a lark, just put together, here’s the live blog of the College Democrats, the College Republicans debate, and there’s me in front of my computer looking all professional, like I’m the live blogging expert, so that definitely couldn’t have hurt the whole thing.
Patrick O’Keefe: No, not at all. Live blogging doesn’t sound like much now, this would have been back in 2008, 2007? Something like that?
Bassey Etim: Yeah, this was very early in 2008. Live blogging was a thing, but I felt like it was a bit cutting edge at the time. It wasn’t particularly … Folks were doing it already.
Patrick O’Keefe: Never read the comments. Do you think that’s a smart thing to say if you work in journalism or news and plan to do so for the next 10 years or more?
Bassey Etim: No, I don’t think so. I think the societal expectation has changed in that a lot of times in journalism, one of the instincts that journalists have is when they’ve written something objectively clearly and they’ve written it in the past or they’ve written it as a part of a normal process, established a set of facts. If people are confused about those facts, it’s kind of standard practice in journalism to say, “Well, that’s just … These people just aren’t paying attention, clearly I have that in the previous issue.” or translate to the internet age, “A few dozen links down or something.” or it’s …
Patrick O’Keefe: Let me Google that for you.
Bassey Etim: … “Links to that are in the C column.” That kind of thing, yeah.
Patrick O’Keefe: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Bassey Etim: Now I think people have the expectation that you’re going to be a little bit more interactive with it, and if you’re going to be interactive, if news is going to be a conversation, then the key to any conversation is making sure that people have at least a semblance of the same basic facts about it, otherwise your conversation gets poisoned. So, by reading the comments and having the ability to filter them in your head and say, “Okay, this comment is although mostly useless, I can see the gist, I can see a way that we can get rid of this disagreement.”
I would say, for journalists, you can find the subtext of what is consistently confusing people and making sure that in your future writing, even just a couple half sentences here or there, just to clarify facts for people I think is really one of the biggest boons for a journalist who isn’t going to spend all their time in the comment section, but can still use it to make their material a little bit better for a confused reader, which is a big portion of readers.
Patrick O’Keefe: It sounds like when I ask questions on Facebook, I’ve noticed I don’t get very good answers, but if I add qualifiers, if I define it in a greater sense, if I explain more of what I’m talking about or what I’m looking for, I tend to get better qualified, more insightful answers.
Bassey Etim: Yeah, that’s so true. For me personally, just a guy who’s been on the internet for so long, just looking back, all the arguments and crazy things you see on message boards and everywhere else, so much of it is just resolved by being like, “Oh no, I was actually talking about this and not that.” Topics are complex and a lot of people are just so quick to jump on something, get angry at it. I think to a certain extent, yeah, those people need to train themselves to say, “Hey, it’s the internet. It’s possible that I don’t have the complete context of this or it’s possible that I don’t know who this person I’m talking to is, so I shouldn’t make assumptions about them.” That much is true, but there’s still things you can do proactively just to help yourself out in that regard definitely. That’s how I feel about it.
Patrick O’Keefe: Comments on news sites have a terrible reputation, I don’t have to tell you that, but I feel like the news sites that have bad comments only have themselves to blame. Is that fair?
Bassey Etim: By and large, yes. There are some cases where the communities they’re dealing with or the issues they’re dealing with just are really tough. For example, I was talking to somebody from some newspaper in Canada about getting rid of the comments just on stories about native Canadians because a bunch of racist comments were constantly coming in.
Patrick O’Keefe: Right.
Bassey Etim: In that sense, again, I don’t know the issue, but I can at least theoretically see a case where people who have these prejudice views are very weirdly likely to read these stories, and the people who don’t have the prejudice views, regardless of the comments quality, simply just don’t really care enough about the issue to engage in the comments or they will always be a pretty small minority, even though most of society doesn’t think that way.
In that case, I can see where it’s like, “Well, really you’re kind of damned by your demographics right now and by the nature of activism because perhaps, and again this is all speculative, but perhaps there isn’t a lot of liberal activism around native Canadians local or on the web in that area of Canada, as opposed to people who are against the native Canadians for some reason I frankly can’t imagine. I would say in most cases it’s definitely their fault.
Patrick O’Keefe: Yeah. I think you mentioned something that comes up with managing comments on large scale, news organizations or sites who publish a lot of content, and kind of the old approach we have comments on everything or we have comments on nothing, and of course there’s a more enlightened approach which is that we open the comments on certain stories and not on others.
Bassey Etim: Right, exactly. I don’t know why a lot of the industry has trouble with this, but to me it’s pretty simple. If you run a news organization – if you run a content business – and you’re just allowing a piece of your content to go without any serious monitoring or care from the people who make your content business the success that it is, of course it’s going to fail because people came to you for your content business, not for a random assortment of things from the internet, from people who are incentivized to try and find open spaces to share their obnoxious views because those views can’t be said in public or off on their personal Facebook or whatever, so you’ve always got to think about your mission with this as an organization. As long as you just include comments as part of your organizational content mission, you’ll do just as fine with it as you do with the rest of your content.
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You recently tweeted this, Bassey. I’m going to pull out your Twitter here. “Every community manager needs a cherry picker from which to yell – I’M SORRRYYY!!!! toward the general public. Would save time on email.” What’s the story?
Bassey Etim: Very recently … We fixed it I’m happy to say. Very recently, we at The Times, we had trouble with our email notification software for a certain weird portion of our emails. From looking at our records, everything just wasn’t getting sent out to people. We were getting a lot of complaints about that and then just the average day-to-day stuff. Why didn’t this have comments on? Why did you close this article for comments so soon? Those 2 classic comment complaints and it was reaching a point where I was about an hour into writing emails, I got 3 windows open, 1 with my form letter telling people why we close comments after 24 hours, 1 saying “Oh yeah, I’m sorry that comment shouldn’t have gotten up. We’ll talk to the moderator about that.”, and then one saying, “Oh hey, can you please tell me if you used mobile to post that comment.” I was like, “Yeah …” It’s getting more efficiently done probably.
Patrick O’Keefe: Yeah, it’s funny because there’s a whole lot of things you can do, but it doesn’t ensure people necessarily will go read it. Right? You could have a box above the comment form, you could have support desk where they can get asked … If they type something like notification, they’ll instantly get an answer like, “Were you talking about a recent notification error? Well, we just fixed that.” and blah, blah, blah.
Bassey Etim: Yeah.
Patrick O’Keefe: Even then people will still will follow-through and want to send you that email. Even the announcements don’t get read.
Bassey Etim: Yeah, it’s true. It’s just one of those things, you’ve just got to deal with it. I think one of the key things about this industry, which anybody works on it realizes right away is there’s always going to be a lot of complaints. You’ve just got to be able to relax and say, “Okay, which of these is a new and troubling issue and which of these is a result of a systemic decision that I made that is immutable?”
Patrick O’Keefe: Yeah, it reminds me of … I forget if it’s Facebook or, I’m sure it’s numerous platforms that do this, but when you report a post, they have an option for annoying.
Bassey Etim: Yeah.
Patrick O’Keefe: Like, this annoys me. So, the person can feel like they filed a report, but because it’s not really necessarily an actionable thing like being annoying or disagreeing with someone …
Bassey Etim: Twitter does that, that’s Twitter.
Patrick O’Keefe: Twitter does it too then, but it’s funny, it’s one of those things. Of course, when you have a problem at The Times, when the notification system goes down for a little while, of course it’s magnified by the scale of visitors.
Bassey Etim: Yeah, definitely. It’s also narrowed by the fact that we don’t really give people an address to reach us, just because enough people always find a way to reach us where I hear about every problems anyways, but also if I gave it to everybody without having to do digging like those people apparently do somehow, we just don’t have the resources to answer those questions unfortunately.
Patrick O’Keefe: Speaking of resources, you lead a team of 14 journalists under the community banner. What sort of role do they have? What do they do?
Bassey Etim: Right now most of what we do is moderating comments, picking NYT picks, and pulling out content from our comments and sending it off to the desks or to corrections departments, that kind of thing to try and help out our journalism.
The funny thing about this desk is that for so many years it’s been intended that we would start off with this really hardcore moderation approach, like everything by hand, and then we’d move over to something where the team is really doing a lot of more hands on community building. You know, more carrots rather than sticks, right? Over the years it’s just been you go from 1 administration to another in terms of how the newsroom is run and just the way priorities work, and you wind up years later where you’re like, “Wow,” what we feel like is the best comment section on the web or a general news site, but then it’s like, “Wait, what happened to all those plans all those years? They’ve kind of gotten …”
We’ve been doing a lot more. We’ve been writing a lot of articles about community and doing a lot of public facing stuff like that, but in the next year our huge goal is to really be able to realize the promise of the desk which is to yes, have a lot of manual moderation, but also use automation to be able to free up our big teams to be able to go out there and do the really fun work of building a community. That’s the promise with which our folks on this desk were hired, so doing this the way we’ve done it has been much more fun than any of us suspected, which is why I suspect that there’s such a low turnover rate and everybody seems to be having a pretty good time, but next year we’re really going to be getting into the core of community building one person at a time, kind of getting that snowball effect going, and looking forward to that.
Patrick O’Keefe: So, what does that look like? What does that look like, building community one-on-one, one person at a time, for an organization as large as The New York Times?
Bassey Etim: Right. First, and perhaps simplest, is the idea of establishing a point of contact. If people have just simple questions or organizational questions, or just being able to have a very readily available place where your frequently asked questions are answered and you can go there every day and it’s constantly being updated, that’s a big deal in terms of making people who are moderately involved in the community get extremely involved with the community.
Obviously we have an FAQ now, but let’s face it, those are the 13 … whatever we have … the 13, 14, 15 biggest questions we get from people who are new and it’s very important to have that but, we can’t make our FAQ 50 items long because that just dilutes the value of the super important items we have up now. So, some of that going on. Also, I’ve always felt like the best communities are always microcosms of the site they’re on. I’ve mentioned that idea already, and in public a bunch.
What we want to do, really because we’re The New York Times is report on our readers and do that regularly, make that be a big, big part of the reward in terms of contributing to the Times, having a pretty decent chance that, “Hey, the Times is going to write about this area of expertise that I have or follow-up with me with my unique experience in X community.”
The great thing is, just about every single person has something that they’re somewhat of an expert in that the paper is going to touch on eventually. If we can essentially categorize those folks so that we’re able to know and that other readers are able to know that those things they are experts in, and if we’re able to bring that into the side bar of our stories or as new bars of the story, and really be able to add that to the news, it just adds so much depth.
Obviously, the whole thing at the Times, “all the news that’s fit to print,” yeah, that’s always been a little bit of a lark, more of a grandiose ambition than a realistic goal, but this kind of thing gets you that much closer to that goal. In a 1,400 word story, you can only cover so many perspectives, maybe 2 or 4. Really, so many of the issues that our culture deals with these days, there’s so many layers and possible permutations of points of view or different ways of approaching it, so if our story is focusing on 2 to 4 points of view in our comments, we can really leaven that and add another 5 or 6 ways to look at it, then you’re getting even closer to that goal of really being a comprehensive news source.
Obviously it’s impossible to be totally comprehensive even if our 14 folks were truly unleashed, but we can definitely get closer to doing that, and that’s I think really important for journalism. If we can kind of provide a model for doing that, and once we provide a model, starting it is the expensive thing, then what I strongly suspect is that down the line the industry will find cheaper ways to be able to replicate that model and it will spread out to even more papers.
Patrick O’Keefe: It sound like because of the goal of having the comment section reflect the editorial quality of the Times writing, that you’ve had to focus this team on pretty much approval and denial of comments. Right?
Bassey Etim: Yeah.
Patrick O’Keefe: This is approved, this is good, this is not, this is … and that’s sort of the focus. You’ve had areas where maybe people who manage smaller communities might take them for granted, like having a point of contact, like always being accessible to people in the community, and now you are working toward putting the tools in place to free yourself up to do those smaller scale things and interact on that smaller level.
Bassey Etim: Yeah, that’s right. What we do right now, the approval/rejection, NYT pick, which I think is so important because the vast majority of people always, even in our news system, the vast majority of people are always going to see that as their first point of contact with us at the community desk. That has to be our #1 priority, and it has been, but to be able to take it to the next level and have tiers of people, like here are our 50,000 huge fans coming back every day, if you can get 50,000 people and they’re really into this thing, the amount that you can do with them, even if it’s not going to have as huge an audience as a comment section does, it leads to big, big things for our ability to bring subscribers into the paper at the very least, and obviously as a journalist I’m more interested in the journalistic implications of it, but that’s a consideration too.
Patrick O’Keefe: Yeah. I wanted to talk a little bit about how the Times integrates community content into wider efforts. I know you’ve been doing some of this lately and have done it for as long as I’ve known you certainly, but what is the process there? Is it, again, journalists on staff so you have them in the comments, they can recognize good opportunities for stories and they put it up the chain, or how does it work?
Bassey Etim: It really depends on the story and on the circumstance. In a lot of cases, if it’s a big enterprise story, we’ll have the reporter, he or she, will have agreed to say, “Okay, we’re going to respond to comments on this.” and then it becomes … by the time their comments are done, it’s almost as if you’ve got a whole other side bar, there’s just so many words and so much rich detail about the documentation, especially after reporters spend so many weeks, sometimes months reporting on a single story, and it’s edited down. Some folks get so excited about the idea of using the comments to be able to get in the material their editor has cut. It’s like, “Yes, this can … All this work still exists. This was a really important point and now you’re giving me a chance to put it in there.”
A lot of times it doesn’t involve us at all. Because our comments are known for being quality, I walk by people’s desks all the time here and so many people just have the comments panel open, even on their own story, just like reading through the comments one by one. As time goes on and as somebody gets more and more comments on the stories, you can start to see the way that they contextualize their background information, the concerns that they address in the follow-up stories, it’s just a natural thing.
Once you have good comments and the journalists read them, the journalists internalize the kinds of things that really rub readers the wrong way or that they get confused about, and so I actually feel like the quality of so much of our journalism since we’ve started having comments on, going from like 5 things a day to now where we do 23 things a day, I feel that the quality of our journalism in terms of its ability to talk directly to folks, in terms of the amount of complaints we get about the way something was contextualized, it’s just gotten so much better.
It’s a great thing to be able to like, yeah, we do a lot of work ourselves trying to make that happen, but it’s a great thing to be able to sit back and say, “Wow, in this follow-up story.” Or just in this first story, because we’ve had comments vaguely about the issue, that the reporter is clearly responding or trying to address things that commenters always point out in stories like this. That’s always great to see.
Patrick O’Keefe: Yeah, that’s amazing. I love to hear that.
Bassey Etim: I think for us, another real interesting thing is we kind of created this format for writing reader reaction story and comments, not as lists, but in the exact same format as a Times story, and what we’ve seen is just like … Back when we started this, we’d give it to a desk, it’s going in the paper, and they’re like, “Oh yeah, we were kind of just expecting a list, but this works too.” Now, you look across the Times and you see a reaction piece. Yeah, there’s a lot of lists, but there’s also so many stories that use that exact same format that we use for reader reaction and social reaction stories, don’t even ask us about it, they just started assigning their own reporters the stories that we used to do ourselves and then pitch to them. That’s pretty cool, too.
Patrick O’Keefe: That is. You talked about some of the great benefits of community, I wanted to ask about the business dollar benefits, the financial resources that are created that allow you to have a 14 person team, right? I can see some of it. Time on the page, more time spent, having these great comments turn into great content for the Times which then leads to further page views and further interaction, but I imagine there’s also a component to it tied to subscribers and subscriber loyalty and converting subscribers. Is that true? What is the picture of the business value of community at The Times?
Bassey Etim: I think everything you said is true and what I just want to add from a bit of a higher level is, and also beyond the journalistic value too, to get people to subscribe to anything is a process. First they need to hear about you and then they need to realize what your mission is, and what the unique value proposition you’re trying to offer them is, and then they’ve got have a unique moment with you that sticks in their memory, then they’ve got to come back again and feel as if they’ve got the time and the opportunity to subscribe, but also that they want to, almost like you’re smiling as you subscribe, like, “You know what, I’m going to give these guys back for what they’re giving me. They’re going a great job, happy to support this.”
Patrick O’Keefe: Yeah, they need you in their lives.
Bassey Etim: Exactly, so you want to bring people … These concentric circles, you want to bring people in closer. You want to bring them closer in and in to the center circle. For us, the first big leap is going from somebody who’s a casual reader who just shows up on the site when it’s on Twitter or Facebook or wherever, maybe occasionally they check it out if they hear about some big news event, to somebody who has registered to the site, who has a log in name.
There’s very few reasons to have a log in name without subscribing and getting full access. Newsletters is one of those big reasons. I believe the Cooking product is a big reason, and comments is a really big reason for that too. There’s a pretty discrete value there actually in terms of getting somebody to become a registered user to your site. It’s a step that you can kind of look at it financially every step along the line and say, “Okay, this person is X more likely to subscribe because this happened.” And once you can use techniques to pinpoint where comments and when comments were involved in that, then that is when you really start to justify spending money to make sure that the comments are of really high quality and they reflect the value that you’re trying to advertise to readers.
Patrick O’Keefe: It sounds like it’s safe to say that once someone registers they are far more likely to become a paying subscriber of The Times as opposed to just being a visitor of the site, and once they comment, they’re even more likely. Is that what you see in the numbers?
Bassey Etim: Yeah, that’s correct.
Patrick O’Keefe: In November, the Times published a story you authored titled, “Meet Some of Our Top Commenters.” The story definitely hit my various Twitter, Facebook streams. I saw a community professional remark that they would like the Times to do this more often, and I jumped in quickly to tell them that you highlight commenters all the time, and I’ve seen it, but was this the biggest and most visible effort yet?
Bassey Etim: Definitely, without a doubt. This was our biggest effort and it was the result of just me and Cliff Levy years ago, back when he still worked with Metro, he’s the … I don’t know what the correct title is, but he’s essentially the web editor for the Times right now, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, but back in the day when he was running Metro, we had so many ideas to pump up community content. We wanted to do community projects so bad, but both of us were just not in the right rank in the company to be able to make it happen, and so now, a few years later, me and Cliff are all grown up in several ways, and we kind of got back together again and we’re like, “Hmm, interesting, I’m pretty sure we can just do this now,” and we can just sign off on it ourselves and do it. Even though it’s going to cost some money, it’s like we’re the experiment.
Cliff was so great about it. He was a great help with the editing of it and that was just really exciting to get together. It was just amazing to see so many commenters who were just like, “Oh my God, I was reading that and I was yelping in delight seeing these bios of my favorites and their photos.” Just the idea of being able to … so many of them being anonymous, and even the people with names kind of being anonymous, to be able to unmask them and show them in these really beautiful stunning portraits was just like really cool to be able to do.
I think what that really was for us was the first salvo I think in our new strategy which Margaret Sullivan wrote a little bit about. I don’t really talk about it in these terms, I’m starting to understand that the way I describe things and the way I imagine them can sometimes be a little different, but what I told her initially then and kind of sticks with you, is being able to create a celebrity class of commenters.
I’ve really started to think about comments, our community strategy, not so much in the context of other newspapers or other comment sections, but more so in the context of something like Twitch or like other technology companies along those lines to where it’s like, “Well, what can we do to further incentivize the people who are already broadcasting their politic views and have other people be able to follow them discreetly?” By those broadcasters being able to publish comments on whatever particular issue they publish comments on, to be able to use that to draw in a new crowd of people to that article who wouldn’t have gone to that article before, just because this person they follow is posting a comment on it, now there’s something very, very powerful about that, and I think that ultimately that kind of thing is the model that will make comments an obvious and profitable thing for large news organizations.
That piece was kind of like our first bid in that kind of twitchification of comment sections. Hopefully the beginning of a new era of it, not just here but if I can speak grandly, across news organizations generally. If we can kind of show that it can work in that way, I think we’ll have done a great service to the industry, especially as different companies in the industry try to differentiate their own offerings from just the mush of different organizations you see on social. Yes, it’s exciting.
Patrick O’Keefe: Amazing. I think it goes to what you’ve been saying about ensuring the comments are as equal in quality to the editorial where people aren’t just following the writers and the authors at the time, they’re following the commenter because the level of value created is so great.
Bassey Etim: Yeah, right. Definitely. I definitely think there’s many layers of communication. People say … It’s like a cliché at this point, people say the news is a conversation. Yes, it is, but there’s more to that. The news being conversation is just a seed for this big, big flower, so we’ve got to try to water it and not drown it, and build it up in the most cost effective way possible. That’s my New Year’s resolution right there.
Patrick O’Keefe: Bassey, it’s been a pleasure having you on. Where can people find you online?
Bassey Etim: I’m on Twitter at @BasseyE and I’ve got a band called Minus Pedro as well and you can find us on Facebook. I would like to say that being a hip hop artist in my past has taught me something very important about community management, but as soon as I have that almost entirely disingenuous talking point figured out, I will be sure to spread it far and wide across the internet.
Patrick O’Keefe: That’s definitely a South by Southwest talk right there.
Bassey Etim: Yes, it is.
Patrick O’Keefe: Thank you for coming on.
Bassey Etim: Thank you.
Patrick O’Keefe: This has been Community Signal. Thank you for listening. Visit our website at communitysignal.com for subscription options and more. Community Signal is produced by Karn Broad, and I’m Patrick O’Keefe. We’ll see you in 2016.
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