Evolution of “raw.”

Kirk MacDonald Internet Publisher, Digital Transformation Expert, Innovator.

Earlier this month I launched a new daily curated news digest called “raw” exclusively on@twitter. Call it a publishing experiment.

A 2009 April Fool’s Day story in @Guardian suggested the newspaper would abandon print for the @twitter platform. Of course it was “fake news” as we know it today but it was an interesting idea if you understand @Jack #twitterverse.

I decided to play around with idea for three reasons:

1. An existing publishing platform that was “news friendly.”

2. Backend analytics that provided views of subject matter links I tweeted. How many people viewed RAW tweets? What was the level engagement?

3. The ability to use @twitter tools and my customized list of @twitter accounts I follow to support the content strategy.

In other words @twitter provided a high quality turnkey publishing platform without any investment other than my time and ability to post links of interest that my audience valued.

The idea still needs a business model to support the content strategy because RAW is ad free. That being the case there are several options to consider: commercial sponsorships, memberships or contributions.


Charting what has worked and not worked is always a valuable exercise and RAW is no different.

Insight and foresight are the underpinnings of innovation.

In a previous @medium post titled “How RAW Came To Be” I outlined a content strategy that did not include political vitriol or breaking news with the tag line “Opinion is yours.” The last thing the world needs is another publication that fuels the political firestorm called Donald Trump. It is exhausting to absorb.

After a few weeks of spending 2–3 hours a day handpicking and posting links a new tag line emerged: Pure Learning.

It is based on “most viewed” analytics and User Experience feedback I sought.

There is an appetite for stories that provide knowledge. To that end the original sections which can be found in a “pinned tweet” atop my @kirkmac feed are being changed effective Monday, Oct. 23.

Most Insightful and Possibilities becomes The Future (of Things). BizFi (Business and Finance is new). Gizmos becomes TechMedia. Respect is new and features women’s accomplishments. Tube, Pods and Binge are all new and feature videos, podcasts and selected Netflix shows. Visual Graphics replaces and consolidates Moments and Infographics. Statistics are new and one of my favorite things so I took Publisher’s license to add it to RAW’s daily content selection.


Here is what I have learned so far:

  • Pushing tweets to LinkedIn did not work.
  • My tweets commenting on stories drew more views than I anticipated.
  • Publishing RAW on my iPhone7 Plus magnified the wonders of technology and the Internet. In 2000 one of my former colleagues included in a LinkedIn testimonial on my behalf that I had predicted the meteoric rise of the smartphone. In 2004 I signed a purchase order for new newspaper presses that cost $84 million.

Today the smartphone is the CMS (Content Management System), publishing platform and distribution mechanism. It costs $1,000.

  • Including RAW in my @twitter feed did not work. As my super smart millennial mentor and business partner Greg Messinger said: “The context seems a little bit off.” So I will only publish RAW content and nothing else to my @kirkmac account. I will use my @kirkmac11 account for anything else I choose to tweet about.
  • Listing the sources of links I tweeted were surprisingly popular (and important with the advent of “fake news”).
  • Video plays are indeed popular. The video of my nephew @ijmccoshen3 scoring his first #NHL goal for the Florida Panthers holds the RAW record for views. The next iteration of RAW will include audio as well.

In presenting his third annual Future of Media and Tech outlook for 2018 at the WSJ.D conference this week Activate CEO Michael Wolf said consumers are spending 12 hours a day with digital media. Five hours were spent watching video (another two hours were spent listening to audio).

  • The contribution model for RAW (suggested minimum contribution through Venmo to kirk-macdonald has produced no revenue) to date. I plan on leaving that in place going forward.

On to the next stage of digital publishing. I will continue to regularly update those interested in what I am discovering.

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