inReads is an innovative new project, dedicated to a catchy new term called “social readia.” The website’s content is focused “on books, technology and culture and how the three intersect and influence one another.” The community is like a new, virtual book club and lets people learn and share what’s being read in today’s ever-changing world. One of our contributors, Felicia Pride, is the Executive Editor of inReads and discusses how the project came about.
When I first met with Michael Holstein, the executive producer of the then-unnamed inReads, he told me, “We want to do something different.”
What I knew: This WETA initiative would be online and it would be about books.
Everything else was up in the air.
And you know how vast that is.
The conference calls were actually endless, but luckily didn’t feel that way because the conversations about the site were so riveting. It led to debates like: Where are books headed? How are we reading? How do we talk about reading now? And because our talks involved a range of minds including techies, bibliophiles and business people, they were layered and thought-provoking.
Who knew building a web property would be so philosophical?
And then it hit us. What we were doing is exactly what we wanted visitors to do: converse. And do so beyond their usual comfort zone.
Aha: We’re going to be a destination for conversation and community.
We quickly realized however that within the realm of conversation, narrowing down the focus is helpful. We came up with ours: books, technology, and culture. Which, if you think about it, pretty much covers everything.
Our next question: How is this conversation going to be facilitated within our community?
We knew we wanted the conversation to mimic traditional discussion but also take advantage of the many ways that we’re now able to converse because of technology.
Simultaneously, we had to figure out what we were going to call ourselves. I won’t list any of my suggestions here as to avoid all judgment. Let’s just say there were some winners and some losers.
There was something about inReads that rolled off the tongue. And as we continued to develop and shape what this site would be, inReads became more and more fitting. We’re not just books. We want to discuss all types of reads. And we want to do it in an exploratory and engaging way, as well as a technological one—we want to be literally in reads.
Then it was off to begin the site’s design and coding. Poor IMG. We put them through it. I’m actually scared to ask Clint, our project manager, how many different mockups were created. In the midst of all our back-and-forth, the one thing that we didn’t waver on was simplicity.
And here we are, just a few weeks after launch, many work hours, ideas, and conversations later.
I can’t tell you how excited we are to spark conversation and build community with everyone—techies, bibliophiles, cultural critics, those in between, and those who blur the lines.
Isn’t that what the best reads make us do anyway?
Felicia Pride is an independent content producer, creative entrepreneur, and educator. She’s the executive editor of inReads.com, an initiative of WETA and the first community dedicated to “social readia.” She’s also a co-creator at 2MPower Media which focuses on projects that connect media, entertainment, and education. In addition to writing six books, Felicia has launched a youth film project, taught in the South Bronx, developed curricula for books/films, helped to launch an online teen book club, and completed her first feature screenplay which goes into production this summer. Currently, she is a fellow at the Hip-Hop Education Center at NYU. Visit her online at www.feliciapride.com or on Twitter at @feliciapride.
You can read Felicia’s posts every other Wednesday on State of the Re:Union’s website.