Wednesday, November 12, 2008

NYT "If You Were President" game: An assessment

The New York Times has created this cool "If You Were President" tool where you can vote on who you should think Obama should appoint to various cabinet posts.

What's "future of news"-y about it:

-- It's fun. The news doesn't have to be serious. Yes, choosing cabinet secretaries is serious business. And most of the players appear to be making serious choices. (Daffy Duck has yet to make it into the rankings.) But anything a reader can play with is fun. And fun is good--for building brand loyalty and generating return visits.

-- It's putting control in readers' hands. It moves away from the old school "we tell, you listen" mindset and invites readers to participate.

What's "old school" about it:
-- It doesn't go far enough. Why aren't they taking a
Fantasy Football approach to this? Why don't they let people create individual accounts, so they can "own" their teams? Why don't they let people debate the pro's and con's of each candidate? Just imagine the discussion it would generate. That's a huge missed opportunity to score return visits -- and multiple ad impressions.

Good on the New York Times for going beyond the text-only mindset. But come on guys. Let go completely. Put it in the readers' hands and let them go wild.

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