“Using Facebook Like the Experts Do”
The Publishing Industry is rocking the social media craze by creating apps for smartphones and tablets. In a Gigacom (a technology website) article written by Matthew Ingram entitled, “Memo to media: A Facebook app is not innovation,” he touts the publishing industry’s immersion in Facebook apps that tie together a user’s reading history with a particular publication’s Facebook page. Everyone can now see who is reading The Washington Post, The Guardian, even Forbes magazine. While their ingenuity is less than timely, since Facebook pages are the norm now, not the standard, the publishing industry’s enthusiasm is admirable. These companies are embracing social media in an attempt to keep readers interested and engaged, while giving them a platform to voice their opinions and respond to news articles.
However, Ingram states that these publishing companies are not creating anything of innate value for their users. The Facebook pages are just recreations of content that is already on a web page somewhere. There is nothing new and compelling about using their Facebook apps. He opines that the companies would better spend their time in creating interactive pages that present something new rather than rehashed news bits.
While the value of individual journalists using Facebook to “brand” themselves in the public’s eye is immense, it remains to be seen how publishers can best use the medium. Currently, journalists are finding Facebook platforms to be of particular benefit in many areas that publishers would be wise to consider. For example, Vadim Lavrusik states in his article, “How journalists can make use of Facebook Pages,” that journalists benefit through their Facebook pages by a wider distribution of news. In particular, Lavrusik wrote, “The average news site saw Facebook referrals increase by more than 300 percent since the beginning of 2010.” This is a tremendous amount of coverage via Facebook. In addition to branding their names, journalists having Facebook pages also allows them to showcase multimedia, such as photos and video, along with their text. Breaking news can also be uploaded wherever and whenever a journalist acquires it. This leads to up-to-the-minute reporting of events that you can’t get with a television viewing audience.
The publishing industry should take note of how journalists are using Facebook pages and revise their Facebook apps more in line with what is working out in the field. Just rolling out a Facebook app doesn’t cut muster like it used to.