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What new initiatives would help the National Geographic Society survive in a digital world? What might millions of Society members be able to accomplish together as a networked community that they could never accomplish alone? Suggestions, comments & votes are welcome….

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  1. Help us "citizen journalists" help the Society cover "the world and everything in it"

    We'd like the Society to see its members as potential contributors of content—and to help us buy the digital tools we need (i.e., cameras, computers, etc.) to do this work.

    Our idea: Create an online network where we can aggregate our demand for the digital tools of the trade. In other words: Instead of selling our 4-million-plus pairs of eyeballs to Canon for their one-page magazine advertisement, we could poll the community to find out how many of us plan to buy, say, a digital video camera this month—and then ask Canon: If we buy 3,000 units next week, what…

    51 votes
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    • Host annual meetings for NGS members in cities across USA

      Soon after the Society was founded in 1888, members got invited to annual meetings in Washington, DC. Then for some reason it stopped. Let's start it up again! It would be fun getting together with other Society members and with the people who work at NGS.

      41 votes
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      • Position the Society to capitalize on the next generation in digital book technology.

        So many photographers said digital would never replace film. Likewise, many magazine fans cling to the notion that paper magazines will never be replaced. Rollable, foldable, stash-in-the-purse types of electronic material are still in the lab, but will replace rigid plastic and glass handhelds and paper magazines one day. Something you can drop on the sidewalk without breaking it. NG should be actively invested, financially and intellectually, in what that technology will look like, feel like. They should take a leading role in its development, and optimize it to accept NG's text, photos, and video each month, week, day, minute,…

        32 votes
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        • Create a crowd-sourced topical photo feed

          Enable Society members to contribute to a crowd-sourced topical photo feed on a daily basis. Base it on Flickr technology and strike a deal with Flickr to be the data source.

          17 votes
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          • Create an API for NGS content

            Photographs, maps, graphics, film, stories, and an incredibly rich historic archive—NGS should provide an Application Programming Interface that enables developers to create new applications based on the Society's content.

            13 votes
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            • Partner with TV networks to get NG photography on the national news every night.

              Everyone knows the NG name. Video footage on the news is so often lame. Why not have archival and fresh photo material available at short-notice when geopolitical events occur?

              12 votes
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              • Bundle NG with a group of likeminded Natural History content

                Here's the reasoning: In 10 years I see two things happening: the ubiquity of a kindle like information view and retrieval device and the ubiquity of wi-fi.
                I also see ISP's like Verizon creating profit models along the lines of cable that is when you sign up you can sign up (for a small HBO like fee) to receive specialized content that is pushed to your viewer. So every morning instead of picking up your paper you pick up a kindle read the NYT, Washinton Post and NG Headlines. Walter Isaacson has suggested something very similar but none of this…

                9 votes
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                • Enable members to sell their photos through the NGS Image Collection.

                  Allow NGS members to contribute their own photography to the Image Collection and then allow resale through the Image Collection with proceeds being split appropriately. I envision it as an opportunity to create a "reality-based" alternative to iStockphoto.

                  9 votes
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                    I think that people who post photos on the NGS site actually do get a percentage of sales, but that benefit doesn’t seem to be a big selling point up front. I wonder if we could create a two-tiered system: NGS members get a slightly higher percentage than non-members.

                  • Re-establish the value of the NGS membership card, with discounts for photography, travel, etc.

                    Membership in NGS should include a discount card for preferred vendors for negotiated special rates for travel, photography, films, cultural institutions, books, and other perks. The cost of membership can then be made up with these savings.

                    8 votes
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                    • Invite member opinion on policy issues related to geography; tabulate and post the data.

                      Less than a lobby but more than a constituency. A means of expression for cardholding NGS members who feel passionately about international policy on the environment, science, cultures, and the other traditional National Geographic "beats."

                      7 votes
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                      • offer webinars with featured reporters and photographers

                        Webinars could be held so that members can hear from reporters about behind-the-scenes adventures in writing stories and learn from the professional photographers about techniques for photo journalism. It would generate excitement for the magazine issues and also let members feel we are getting more personal value for membership, learning sharing and growing as a community.

                        7 votes
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                        • Tell us about what all the Society's international partners are publishing.

                          I understand that NGM publishes in more than 30 languages. It would be interesting to know what they're reading about in Russia, Germany, Brazil, China—and what kind of restraints, censorship issues is the org having?

                          4 votes
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                          • Allow NGM readers to contribute personal accounts of their own explorations or travels, with photos.

                            Participation through words and pictures by members and other readers could offer a hugely diverse source of fascinating insights and images from places around the world -- without cost to the Society. Inspiration for this thought comes from my own recent experience searching for shed deer antlers in the wilds of Saskatchewan. How many folks know of the beauty, the vastness, the isolation, the teeming wildlife of that flat, expansive region? There must be legions of people making such personal discoveries who would be happy to share them gratis with the magazine. It offers a creative outlet and an audience…

                            4 votes
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                            • NGS enable opt-in online advertising

                              Create capability to allow members to select categories of advertising most relevant to their life needs and put them in control of making that selection process. Implement with programming smart enough to let members alter their choices when their needs change.

                              3 votes
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