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Teen Magazine Thrives on Citizen Content

So Catherine Cook, while in high school, became the co-founder of myYearbook.com and is already worth millions. Then she started My Mag, a myYearbook affiliated online magazine for teens, and here is what she says in an interview at CNet’s News.com:

I think it’s so popular because all of the new articles are things that our users write. We do have professional editors–otherwise the articles wouldn’t be as good as they are. But about 2 percent of the articles (submitted) get posted to the site, and they’re all very relevant to teens, not just about celebrities–things like managing popularity in high school….

She adds:

Personally, I find a lot of the teen magazines only focus on celebrities, which kind of bothers me because I don’t care what Angelina Jolie is doing this week. That doesn’t affect me in any way.

The (most popular) articles that are on My Mag get about 3,000 comments a day. The other ones average around 1,000.

Here is her take on User-Generated Content:

I think that people will realize that user-generated content doesn’t have to be like, bad. A lot of older companies and print publications hear “user-generated content” and they’re kind of like scared because they don’t trust what people will come up with. But I think that’s the only way you can really stay in tune with what your members want, with what your readers want. So I think other media companies will realize that that’s kind of the key to staying relevant. You have to post what your members want by actually seeing what they write.

And the future of printed, off line stuff, is hinted at when she talks of snail mail:

When I was doing my college admissions, I couldn’t even remember how to address an envelope. I had to look it up. I couldn’t remember where the ZIP code went.

Oh, and here is the introduction to myYearbook.com:

Created by Two Teens!

We started myYearbook in 1 high school with just our friends. It exploded to 2+ million members because all our features — like Battles, Match, and myMag — come straight from members.


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