I've always been about community.
Ever since I started my journalism career several presidents ago, I've cared as much about people as I have about the writing. In fact, my very first bylined story was a man-on-the-street newspaper feature in which I gathered citizens' opinions about the hot news story of the day (which, by the way, was a dog sentenced to death for mauling a poodle).
I see a steady stream of thoughtful, insightful comments that totally enhance our content.
At the time, I had to stand outside the local grocery store, take handwritten notes as I interviewed passersby, and then snap their photo with a 35mm camera.
Today, I don't even need to leave my home office to solicit public opinion. I just have to hit "enter" and publish a piece that is instantly available to viewers worldwide.
Then, taking advantage of the Disqus-powered comment function embedded in each of our content pieces, readers anywhere and everywhere can submit their immediate reactions. Suddenly, the content isn't just us pushing it to the world. To some extent, it's also the world pushing back and saying "Well, wait a minute ... here's another point of view."
Count me, please, as the #1 fan of reader comments. Since we introduced the Disqus feature, we've cultivated an ever-growing cadre of loyal followers who weigh in frequently on the news of the day.
And I'm not talking about extremists or cranks. I see a steady stream of thoughtful, insightful comments that totally enhance our content. Here's an example in response to our recent interview on FFIEC Cyber Exams: Lessons Learned:
"It is true that banks cannot control the security of their customers," one correspondent writes. "However they can control what evidence they will accept in fulfilling their obligation to 'ensure that transactions are properly authorized.' For example, they can require strong authentication, provide real time confirmations, provide multiparty controls and apply reasonableness controls. They can minimize their exposure to bad customer security."
That comment was composed by William Hugh Murray, our most prolific correspondent. In fact, he's so insightful, we've even given him the opportunity to write occasional guest blogs.
Murray isn't alone. There are others like him - and more each day - contributing thoughtful commentary to our sites. To honor these individuals, and to invite even more comments, we're debuting a new, weekly infographic - ISMG Buzz - in which we offer a "best of" compilation of the latest comments. Here's our debut edition; just click to enlarge and read it:
What do you think? The insights are rich, I know, but how do you like the display? Does the graphic draw you into the specific stories? Do the quotes inspire you to craft your own response? How much do you value such comments on pieces you read?
I welcome your feedback on this new feature. What works for you? What needs additional work? Take time to drop me a line and offer some feedback, please. Our efforts only improve when you offer input.
And, yes, of course you could also post your thoughts in the comments box below.