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Fast Company launches Social Journalism Network

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Ed Sussman president of Mansueto Digital (publisher of Fast Company Magazine) first publicly announced Fast Company was working on this super secret project during the opening keynote at last years BlogWorld & New Media Expo.  When Ed told my partner Dave Cynkin and I about the project Dave quickly chimed in that he had been a member of the “Company of Friends Network” years ago and how much he loved it.

This morning Ed announced the site has officially launched. What is it?

In Ed’s own words:

We are, however, an open forum.

Write an interesting blog post and you’ll find yourself featured on the homepage of FastCompany.com alongside Scoble, McGirt and Fishman.

Respond to one of our articles and you may find yourself in an exchange with the author. Or perhaps you’ll add the author to your contact list so you can keep talking about related issues.

Suggest an interesting Fast Talk question for the community to debate and you’ll find not only fellow readers mixing it up but our writers and editors as well.

Contribute a provocative video and tens of thousands of our million monthly visitors might take a look.

Join a group centered around a Fast Company core topic and engage other experts in your field.

Fast Company is about eight core topics: innovation, technology, leadership, management, design, social responsibility, careers, and work/life balance.

When you contribute content to the site, you can tag the content according to one of these topics and add your own free-form tags. We’ll automatically tag certain content, too (if, for instance, you’re responding to something, like an article about technology, that’s been previously tagged).

Sounds very cool!

I have been saying for a long time that new media and traditional media are merging. This is by far the most thorough integration of the two and hints at how powerful we can be together.

Chris Brogan loves the idea.

I’m all for it. I hope other magazines follow suit. How sick would a Wired network with all the right bells and whistles be? What other publications would make great social networks? WSJ anyone?

Social Media Explorer calls the new launch a home run:

I think the future of media outlets is bright if they follow Fast Company’s lead and build branded microcommunities for their readers instead of boring information sources.

Adam Kalsey is happy to see the site is build on the Drupal open source platform.

Erick Shconfeld gives a cautiously positive review at TechCrunch and sees a similar future as I do:

mainstream media and the blogosphere will become harder and harder to tell apart. It will just all become part of the bigger conversation.

It is worth reading the comments under Erick’s post as well which are very positive.

Stan Schroeder from Mashable doesn’t pan the launch but is has the least enthusiastic post I have seen so far:

Translated, this pretty much means it’s a lightweight version of LinkedIn, consisting mostly of a personal blog and professional recommendations.

Check out Ed Sussman’s reply in the comment section.

Shel Israel’s (now a Fast Company employee) take here:

As always stay tuned to Techmeme for more feedback from the tech blogosphere. What do you think about the launch?

Now I’m off to play with my Fast Company profile.

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