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Two Choices For Future Editors—Be a Cyborg or a Robot

Chartbeat founder: Cyborgs enhanced by technology; robots replaced by it.

Matt Kinsman By Matt Kinsman
01/04/2011 -12:49 PM

All Things Digital's Peter Kafka has an interesting video interview with Tony Haile, founder of Chartbeat, a real-time Web analytics firm that just introduced Newsbeat, which Haile touts as the "first publisher-focused analytics service."

Rather than focus on driving overall SEO for an entire site, Newsbeat offers individual editors the ability to see how their stories are performing and make tweaks to headlines or links to boost performance (most smaller publishers we're aware of already offer editors access to Google Analytics but at larger sites things get a little more tiered).

During the interview Kafka makes an interesting point about what the daily role of the online writer should be, asking "Shouldn't your main job be producing content" rather than obsessing over back-end analytics?

Haile responds by saying that the industry is moving away from the "fire and forget" model of posting something and just hoping for the best, and that editors in the future will be either "cyborgs" or "robots," which he defines as cyborgs being "people who are enhanced by technology" and robots as "people who are replaced by technology."

Smart publishers have already abandoned the "fire and forget" model. Questex Media defines areas where certain editors excel and tries to extend those lessons to other editors, even categorizing roles such as "Acquisition Expert," "Optimization Editor," and "Retention Writer."

There is an increasing drumbeat (and not just at content farms either) to evaluate and pay editors not by the quantity of stories they generate but by the traffic and response they produce. I firmly believe that link sharing and riffing off other people's stories (uh, sort of like I'm doing here) will never equal the response generated by original enterprise reporting, at least for independent publishers. If your future reviews are going to be analytics-based, it's past time for every editor to understand what producing Web content really means, and take advantage of every tool at their disposal.

Matt Kinsman By Matt Kinsman --

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