Facebook friends the news media

Posted on April 10, 2011

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As the news media struggles to increase online traffic and revenue, Facebook is extending a helping hand. “Like” buttons have already done this; they allow Facebook users to pass their favorite reads along to others in their news feed, bringing more traffic to the article and news site. The AP clipping of this story contains an interesting quote from the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, as she spoke to the American Society of News Editors at a convention recently.“In a world where people are spending so much time on Facebook … we want news to be a big part of that,” she said.

I think that the  “like” and “recommend” buttons are popular because offer news consumers an outlet to share not only what they are reading, but their comments as well. I also feel like people who are not all that interested in the news are also more likely to care about stories that their friends share; it’s a way to draw in people that might never go directly to the news site.

For people who have news consumption habits similar to my own, it’s just another way to get us to keep checking back. While I check out news headlines in the morning and again before bed, the only things I check more are my email and Facebook. So even when I’m not searching out news specifically, I like that often times my friends link to interesting stories that I hadn’t otherwise seen.

Facebook also recently created pages for members of the media to discuss and implement ways to make their online platforms more successful.  One of the pages, “Facebook + Media” is designed as a group where members of all media outlets (television, news, sports, music, etc) can share and learn about tools to bring about traffic and user interaction to their sites. The other page, “Journalists on Facebook” is geared specifically toward journalists looking to  interact with other journalists.

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