Business 2.0, up until late yesterday, was unquestionably in the process of shutting down. Columnists had been told not to bother turning anything in for October. Staffers — both those whom Time Inc. hoped to retain, and those not on the favored lists — had been seeking other employment. And a squad of higher-ups at Time Inc. had set travel plans to fly out to California to finish shutting the magazine down.
And now, most of those travel plans have been cancelled. Employees have been asked to stay to work on the October issue, and freelancers have been assigned pieces. And, I can only imagine as the fellow who used to write these things, hurried revisions are being made to a valedictory editor’s letter. It’s good news of the exceedingly inconvenient kind.
As of last night, Time Inc. execs have decided to enter into some form of due diligence with prospective buyers, and keep the magazine alive while it considers the dozen or so offers it’s received. (Want to buy a magazine? It’s not too late to throw your hat in the ring: send email to Maurice Edelson, the VP who’s running the sale process.)
The question, though, is why? Did social media save the magazine? Perhaps so, in a roundabout way. The Facebook group “I Read Business 2.0 — and Want to Keep Reading!” numbers more than 2,000 people, but that’s hardly enough for Time Inc. honchos, who deal with magazine circulations numbering in the millions to pay notice. But Facebook, with its early-adopter audience, may have proved an ideal way to get the attention of serious prospective buyers.
What it means: Wow! Time Inc. just realized they had tremendous assets with this magazine, the writers and the readers. Did social media save Business 2.0 magazine? It’s too early to tell. Did social media give Business 2.0 a reprieve? I believe so. I think social media (in this case Facebook, blogging and Techmeme) played an important role as an amplifier (see my chronology of events here). Thanks to everyone who joined the Facebook group and posted comments in the Wall. Thanks to every blogger and journalist out there who relayed the news. Without you, Business 2.0 would not be publishing its October issue. Thanks again!!!