ALM Properties, Inc.
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Permit me a moment of nostalgia. way back when (we're talking maybe a decade ago), when magazines on actual paper roamed the earth, we editors would spend untold hours making sure everything was just so. Phrases in feature articles were lovingly massaged until they went down easy, or provoked some kind of emotional reaction, the response painstakingly calibrated. And that was just on the word side; our art crew lavished the same attention on every image. They'd subtly alter the space between letters so words fit precisely, not to mention elegantly, in the columns on the page. It really is a form of artistry, and with modern desktop publishing software, there's a lot that you can do to make everything perfect.
Then we'd send it off to the printer and . . . well, not much. We assume people read what we worked so hard to produce. People at conferences talked to us about articles they read, or a source would talk about the magazine. Occasionally, we'd get letters, either praising a story, or taking us to task (or worse).
It's different now, of course. While we still do that print magazine thingsome of you might actually be reading this on paper, rather than at CorpCounsel.com or our iPad or iPhone appwe have lots of other ways of talking to you. And you have lots of ways of talking back to us.
Does anyone out there remember a short-lived dystopian television series called Max Headroom? It starred a TV journalist, a reality-show kind of guide, whose personality, or at least the mischievous side of him, somehow got absorbed by cyberspace. So when the human news character played by Matt Frewer would deliver a video report, his alter ego might pop up and say something embarrassing. But what struck me about this not-too-distant view of the future was a box on the TV screen that showed the show's ratings in real time. Woe to the show whose ratings showed a sudden dropthey'd pull the plug.
We have a version of this, at least when it comes to the magazine's only slightly mischievous alter ego, our online presence at CorpCounsel.com. We can see what you're reading, how many of you are reading it, and where you're coming from (literally, not philosophically). These statistics give us some good feedback. I won't say they decide what stories to runoften, there's news whose importance transcends such considerationsbut they give us a good idea of what our audience considers to be important.
Then, of course, there's that social media thing. Our Web editor, Brian Glaser, came on board about a year ago as I write this. And one of the reasons we hired him was because of his expertise in working an online audience. Brian gets it, and we needed someone who would make that an important part of what we do here.
He's made good on that promise. Brian's a constant presence on Twitter. If you aren't following him, you shouldhis account there is @corpcounsel. And he, along with our marketing folks, did a bang-up job starting a discussion group on LinkedIn. We've got more than 3,000 members, and the forums are pretty active. (We're also learning that our readers love to talk among themselves about how to work in, and run, a modern legal department.)
And if reading Brian's tweets aren't enough, you can see him now, too. He's started up something called Corporate Counsel 123, a short video preview of what's happening on the site. Give it a lookand be prepared to see the rest of the Corporate Counsel crew take turns in front of the camera in other video updates.