Despite a brave R&D project that ended without any concrete output, The Economist may yet start a “social network” for its readers. The magazine’s £100,000 Project Red Stripe ended in July, but publishing director Ben Edwards says a new conversation portal for “incredibly bright and influential people” is in the early stages of development: “It will include threaded conversations, connections, independent groups, social networking and profiles. As generic social networks grow, there’s an opportunity for brands with a narrower audience to adopt some of these technologies.” (Via NMA).
Even when Red Stripe collapsed after toying with the idea of building an altruistic social site, the team was intent on putting ideas generated over the project’s 10-month lifespan in “cold storage”, and CTO Mike Seery in November confirmed several plans could see the light of day. Edwards’ comments are the first early steer on just how the ideas may finally come to fruition, and it looks like a site revamp heavy on debating and profiles in the business-and-news niche is in the offing. Until then, the magazine has launched an audio-video section.