03 October 2007

News Groups ‘Should Face Facebook Facts’

Publishers and news editors need to start developing Facebook strategies if they want to reach a young audience, claims a new media specialist.

Online journalist Steve Outing asserts that news providers need to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the social networking site to reach a young audience which is not spending much time on news websites at present.

Writing in his regular Editor & Publisher column, Outing suggests that news groups should work on developing applications which can be added by Facebook members and then get picked up by their friends.

The self-styled citizen media entrepreneur highlights several companies which have already entered this arena, such as the political orientation survey application developed by WashingtonPost.com and the news quiz launched by the New York Times.

Outing writes: “The key is to understand that the Facebook experience is about connections. And this can apply nicely to news.

“For example, a Facebook user adds an application that includes headlines from a news organization that's supplying a headline feed. The user's friends see this when visiting the user's Facebook profile. The user reads an interesting article and highlights it.

“This shows up in the "newsfeed" that Facebook users see which alerts them to activities by their friends and within groups that they belong to. That is, if you add an article pointer to a group, your friends will all see this in their newsfeeds.

“A piece of content that's particularly good or unusual has the potential to spread virally through friend networks just within Facebook.”

The column, entitled ‘What’s Your Facebook Strategy’, is available at Editor & Publisher.

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