CNN.com and Interactivity

4 11 2008

No matter what your political affiliation, you no doubt have followed the election going on as we speak. As I look forward to tonight (likely a late night), I am reminded of how different things are than the were even just four or eight years ago. The Internet has both expanded and narrowed our ability to find information related to the elections.

It has expanded in that sites like YouTube are now probably viewed more for political videos more than news sites themselves! In fact, news sites are actually directing people to YouTube and others to view their videos. Plus, in general, I can search for and locate just about anything I want relative to a city, a state, a candidate or an issue. Amazing!

At the same time, I believe it has narrowed our ability because we have such specific choices to get our information from – meaning if I believe in the death penalty, gambling and underwater research, I can probably find a site that gives me all the information I need in order to choose a candidate or issue I believe in. The problem? I don’t open my eyes to all the other “issues” out there because I get so bogged down with the narrow opinions of those groups I’ve found that share my beliefs.

All this being said, I think the Web has enabled us to find what we want, when we want it. The same applies for business to business or consumer-driven web sites. Organizations should take the same approach as CNN (www.CNN.com), for instance, in that EVRYTHING on the site is tailored to the visitor – and it changes regularly, so that what I see today is different from what I saw yesterday.

It’s something to think about – taking the mindset of a new organization with regard to the content on your web site. Imagine! Imagine if you paid so much attention to the content on your site that people wanted to come back daily, even multiple times a day. What would that mean to the bottom line? Yes, it takes some dedicated time and money. But, the payoff will be there.

As you go through the next couple days, following the results of the election from tonight, think about how your web site might benefit if the same attention was given to it as the web site team at CNN!

Matt White

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