Ian Lamont, Senior Online Projects Editor, Computerworld


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Article ImageJob Function:  As senior online projects editor for Computerworld, Ian Lamont recently launched a user-generated feature called Shark Bait (http://sharkbait.computerworld.com) that relies entirely on user submissions and user feedback. “User-generated content has changed the model here at Computerworld and at other publications,” Lamont says. “It used to be that we, the gatekeepers, were telling people what they needed to know. But now user-generated content lets regular users, readers, and drive-by people come in and let us know what they think and also have a dialog with each other. We see this as an integral part of growing our business and growing the community.”

Lamont says that traffic on Shark Bait has grown significantly since its launch early in 2007. “Shark Bait is all about being engaged with ratings, points, and social networking features that are appropriate for our audience, such as career interests, the industry they are in, and hobbies,” he says. “It is a place where users can come in to sound off about IT. We are taking a hands-off policy; instead users choose the stories and headlines that they want to tell. Most
people are related to the IT field.”

In a Day’s Work: Lamont’s job is one that gives him wide visibility into many different aspects of the magazine and its online components. “I get on the Computerworld blogs such as IT BlogWatch and I also look closely at what other sites are doing,” he says. “I also frequently check the ratings at Shark Bait and also if we make it onto other sites like the ratings in Digg.” Lamont is involved with the interactive teams working on initiatives such as the Shark Bait newsletter. “I’m checking site traffic all the time and looking for what we can link to,” he says. “There is never a dull moment.”

Oddest Customer Encounter: “Our users are very passionate about old technologies. We posted a blog post about OS/2 and we had people coming out of the woodwork with rants and raves and memories.”

View From the Desk: “I’m in a cube with drawings by my pre-school daughter on the walls.”

Outside Interest: “It’s tough to have outside interests with two little kids but I am doing a master’s in history and my thesis is a computer-assisted content analysis of Chinese state-run media. I’m using that as a gauge of Chinese foreign policy views during the 1970s and 1980s.” 

If Not Econtent, Then What? “I can’t imagine a world without the web. I’d probably be a journalist with a strong data focus.”