The space in between

After TechCrunch decided to stop using Facebook to manage its comments, Dan Gillmor wrote a perceptive piece, "TechCrunch's teachable moment: media sites must own the conversation" for the Guardian.

in his post, Gillmor makes a couple of useful points. Bolstering his claim that "creating and nurturing community is hard", he observes:

No internal or third-party service can fix the fundamental issue: to what extent a site owner values real community, where audiences aren't just "eyeballs to be harvested and monetized", to use the parlance that's become common in internet commerce circles. Comments are the antithesis of community in most cases … unless one's idea of community is, say, Lord of the Flies.

After naming some of the good alternatives to Facebook (Livefyre and Disqus among them), Gillmor warns "I wouldn't be surprised to see these services acquired by the giants that want to own this space (namely, Facebook and Google)."

His message is clear: don't get too comfortable. There are plenty of businesses who hope to make a living in the space between you and your community.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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