The title of this week's poll is taken straight from Matthew Ingram's post about USA Today's re-design. The new-look USA Today incorporates many of the social networking features that have become popular over the last year or so. Or as the editor of USA Today put it: "the real change is in the approach, not the appearance." And the approach, in a nutshell, is to merge traditional journalistic reporting with social software. The changes, as summarized by USA Today, enable their readers to:
Ä¢ Scan other news sources directly on USATODAY.com;
Ä¢ See how readers are reacting to stories;
Ä¢ Recommend stories and comments to other readers;
Ä¢ Comment directly on stories;
Ä¢ Participate in discussion forums;
Ä¢ Write reviews (of movies, music and more);
Ä¢ Contribute photos;
Ä¢ Better communicate with USA TODAY staff.
The USA Today re-design has predictably caused a massive weekend scrum at Techmeme, with many bloggers excited about the changes. But as Don Dodge precisely points out, 92% of USA Today's own readers dislike the changes. This is reminiscent of the Netscape re-design last year, when the portal Netscape changed overnight into a Digg clone - causing howls of outrage from Netscape's traditional user base.
So to the poll. We're interested in the high level trend here. Are newspapers going to morph into social networks over time, a place where people not only read the news but socialize with other readers (and journalists)? Or is this more evidence that the MySpace craze has gone too far...