As editor of RSA Comment, I am slightly cheating in posting this piece. But I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all those who have contributed since we launched the space with Matthew Taylor’s first post a year ago. Since then Comment has included over 70 articles, which have covered a broad range of issues and perspectives. <!--more-->RSA Comment was created to respond to Fellows’ suggestions for a space where they and others could share their views about the ‘live’ issues of the day. Being quarterly, the RSA’s journal takes a longer term view and is broader in coverage: it includes updates on Fellows’ and project activity and a range of high-level features by some of the world’s best thinkers and writers, relevant to RSA’s mission.
Comment is different: its primary purpose is to provide Fellows – many of whom are not active bloggers – with a space to write one-off pieces where they can share their opinions, ideas and arguments for change. It aims to reflect the diversity of opinion amongst the Fellowship. In just the last few weeks this has included a piece arguing for a new national employment service, one on the mainstream media’s response to Wikileaks and a piece criticising the role of management courses.
Comment aims to compliment other RSA platforms, including the Fellow’s social network platform. While content is intentionally broad, all pieces add something to the RSA’s themes: social innovation and enterprise, and understanding and building human capacity.
Pieces should avoid promoting one particular company or organisation but can certainly include links. The most successful tend to be well written and have a clear narrative argument. Where possible we ask people to ground this in Fellows’ activity, RSA’s themes and projects. Articles tend to range from 500 to 800 words (although some come in a little over) and are edited and approved according to the authors’ timetable and preference. To send in an article, please go to RSA Comment, click on submit article and this gets sent automatically to me. Alternatively feel free to send ideas direct to me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Over the year, we have seen a steady rise in the number of pieces coming in direct from Fellows unprompted. We have also seen a rise in hits to the site (to around 15,000) and a small increase in the number of responses, including tweets and links to facebook and other online networking sites.
In 2011 I would really like to see the number of articles published rise (with a target to double the number and further increase readership) and in particular to increase comments. Each author is asked to send the link live to his or her stakeholders and RSA do the same. We now have a link to Comment from front page of the main website and I will be looking at how we can build on this in the new year.
As Fellows’ activities increase, I believe Comment has a useful role to play in profiling new networks and projects, setting these in the wider context of the RSA and external challenges. I would welcome ideas and feedback from those who read the site. Again, feel free to respond to this online or if you prefer, do email me.
Contributors tend to be busy people. I hope that the flexibility of comment continues to provide you with a useful space to get your opinions and ideas out there. In the meantime, I hope you all have a well-earned break and wish you a peaceful and happy new year.
Rachel O’Brien is a commissioning editor for the RSA Journal and editor of RSA Comment. She can be contacted at email@example.com