Combining Content and Community: The Potential and Pitfalls of WWW Publishing

Jonathan Steuer, Cyborganic Media

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University March 3, 1995


In August, 1993, the newly-launched Wired magazine decided to pursue Internet-based publishing. On October 27, 1994, Wired begat HotWired, one of the first commercially-supported content-oriented sites on the World Wide Web. The goal was to create a new kind of online space, one that both permitted traditional magazine-like distribution of content, and one that served as a discussion space in which readers could interact with each other, and with the architects of their online environment, in novel and meaningful ways. In other words, the goal was to combine content and community via the Web.

These goals were achieved with varying degrees of success. This presentation will address the difficulties of Web publishing in relation to these goals, highlighting in particular the following:


Jonathan Steuer led the construction and development of HotWired, Wired Magazine's successful new World Wide Web-based publication. Jonathan led online activities for Wired from September, 1993 through December, 1994, and has been involved in getting Wired wired since the magazine's launch in January, 1993.

He has been on the Net and attending PCD seminars since 1989, and is very interested in the social implications of networked interactive media. His company, Cyborganic Media, hopes to launch the Cyborganic Clubhouse, and integrated real / virtual community space, some time in 1995.

Jonathan received his BA from Harvard University in June, 1988, and his Ph. D. in Communication Theory and Research from Stanford University in January, 1995. As a graduate student, he helped found the Social Responses to Communication Technologies research group with Professors Clifford Nass and Byron Reeves. Some of this work has become the cornerstone for Microsoft's new "social interface" operating system, "Bob."


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