Tuesday, March 16, 2010

TimesPeople: The New York Times' Response To The Social Era

Right after I finished reading the post "It’s Hard To Watch The Newsosaurs Turn A Blind Eye To Their Own Extinction" from Techcrunch, which lampoons many of print media's slow response to the digital media revolution, I encountered one “Newsosaur” ,The New York Times, and their endeavor in adapting themselves to this new media world. The timing was just too good and the contrast just too big, I could resist blogging about it.

I remembered that not too long ago, when I was reading articles from The New York Times, it was always a pain for me to share its articles on Twitter, as the little share button at the end of each articles did not include a shortcut to Twitter. But today after I finished reading an article, I was surprised to see a little button below exclusively devoted to Twitter along side other Share and Email buttons. After I finished rejoicing about how the New York Times has finally moved to embrace Twitter, I was hit with an even bigger surprise: The New York Times has rolled out an online community for their readers: TimesPeople!

While people can join TimesPeople by logging in with their New York Times membership account, they can also use their Twitter account to register, and NYT will pull Twitter profile information and contacts to their TimesPeople account from the beginning. Score one for good interoperability! This got me right on board.

NYT defined TimesPeople here:

"TimesPeople is a social network for Times readers. But it's not a social network like Facebook or MySpace — you won't have Times friends, and it won't get you Times dates. Instead, you'll assemble a network of Times readers. Then you'll be able to share interesting things on NYTimes.com with others in the network. For example, when you recommend an article, comment on a blog post, or rate a movie or restaurant, these activities will become visible to other TimesPeople users in a special toolbar at the top of every NYTimes.com page. You'll also have a personal page that keeps track of your TimesPeople activities and lets you browse your network of readers.

TimesPeople is a great way to discover things on NYTimes.com that you might not otherwise have found and to share your discoveries with other NYTimes.com readers."

Looks like NYT is very clear about what they are doing with TimesPeople. It’s not another Facebook, it’s not another Myspace. It’s a community that is especially designed just for you to better find and share NYT's content, and of course it supplies you with your pre-existing offline social networks which has been proven to be the panacea of engagement in online communities. While social media like Twitter are becoming more and more prominent news centers on the internet, traditional news sites cannot escape this trend, nor can they be ostriches putting their heads in the sand and pretending that nothing is happening. They might as well just face their problems and try to turn them to own advantage, like what The New York Times is doing now.


  1. Great post. I think that TimesPeople has been around for a while, though maybe not as clearly defined as a community. I'm definitely a member and think it's a great tool. Of all the "newsosaurs," the NYT will hold out the longest.

  2. Curious.... How do think TimesPeople compares to what, say, NPR.org is doing in terms of community?