Leveraging Facebook and social networks

With a blend of surprise, excitement and dismay did I greet the news that ABC News is collaborating with Facebook to reach the millions of mostly college-age social networkers with the news, and with news about the news.

The nut graf:
The announcement is another sign that news organizations are looking to capitalize on the potential power of Facebook, which began as a database of college friendships, and other social networking sites. Media companies like The New York Times and The Washington Post have produced pages for use on Facebook and some newspapers, magazines and television stations have recently invited users to join special pages that are set up to follow reporters’ political coverage. But ABC’s new relationship is intended to be deeper.

The surprise is that ABC News is first on Facebook’s dance card. The demographics of the two would not seem to correspond. The excitement is for what will surely be a proliferation of these kinds of marriages. The dismay is because of the fact that we, the faculty at Berry and the new media team at the local Rome News-Tribune, collaborated on a grant proposal that, among other things, would have funded an effort in Rome to leverage Facebook to reach those college students in the area who elected to receive what we produced. This would have been content created with Floyd County college students in mind. Alas, the grant did not come through, but the idea obviously had great merit.

The explosion of interest in social networking, even in and by corporate America (see this press release from a software company in California, for example), means we will see a lot more collaboration of the kind ABC and Facebook are planning. Google, for example, with its designs for the mobile phone, will need collaborations like this latest one to provide the search-and-advertising giant with content. There is a mint to be made by netentrepreneurs with ways to make these connections.


And a note about Amazon’s new Kindle e-reader. Yes, we’ve seen lots of attempts to create electronic books, since before the Internet, and they’ve all been fantastic failures. Kindle might be different, however, and certainly it represents a new generation of e-readers, a generation more in tune with the ways we like to read. So I will be watching it most closely. I have heard that it sold out in one day, but have not yet been able to confirm this.

3 Responses to Leveraging Facebook and social networks

  1. Lauren Wright says:

    I am excited to see a news organization on Facebook. I would probably be a bit more excited if it was a different organization, but either way its a start. I am also glad that there was no money exchange. I think that shows that both groups involved in the deal are creating this relationship for our betterment instead of making even more money. The article was right saying that there are lots of debates on Facebook. With a legitimate source on Facebook, these debates could become much richer and help avoid rumors and misunderstandings. However, I can see how ABC could capitalize on Facebook. I have gone through the rise and fall of several other social networking tools on the internet such as Xanga and Myspace. I now hate those. Therefore I am always weary when Facebook adds something new. It started out as a fairly simplistic site. Anyone who had been on Facebook for say the past year saw the uproar when applications were introduced and the ability for anyone to create an application. Also when Facebook allowed high school to have an account. Groups were formed to petition against the changes, but, in my opinion, Facebook always pulled through to bring us the best for the general population of the site. College students feel that it is their site and no one else’s. So although I am excited to see a news organization, who will hopefully enlighten those non-TV viewers such as I on what is going on in our country and politics, I am concerned that Facebook will get too big and not as personal for college kids as it once was.

    The technology of the Kindle e-reader sounds really cool. I am not running out to buy one or add it to my Christmas list, but I bet it is going to be more of a success than past models.
    On a side note, I read a book today (not a common occurrence sadly) for a class and my eyes hurt. Perhaps my eyes are so used to the computer screen that a flat book with invariable font is not longer easy on my eyes. Also, to add to your note about the screen emitting light into your eye being hurtful, they are also hurtful because they (or at least older models) blink. I remember when I was younger I would go in and change the blink rate to as fast as possible so I wouldn’t get a headache. But technology has advanced and newer screens, such as the pretty mac displays, do not hurt near as much. Or maybe humans eyes will evolve to be able to stare into a screen for hours upon hours.

  2. L Myers says:

    I have a Facebook account, but I am not really big on Facebook. I prefer Myspace so I can include my family and friends. There is something about all of this that makes me want to say “enough already.” I read the AJC online and my local paper daily at home. I usually pick up a USA Today 3-5 times a week. My world is saturated in news as it is and I just want a place I can where I can go to talk to my family and friends and share pictures and ideas without having Vick’s dogs. etc., taking up space.

    The Kindle e-reader is a good idea for people who have the time and money to enjoy it. It’s not practical for me and the values that I am teaching my children. $400 for the device, then an average of $10 per book is too much. Instead, I enjoy bi-weekly trips to the library with my children where I teach them how to look up books and find what they need. They have an actual book in their hands that they have the satisfaction in knowing they chose for themselves, which can be read over-and-over without the fear of dropping it and breaking it. Technology is great and I can’t say enough about it. Yet, it will never replace the “look Mommy, I did it myself” expression on the faces of my children and the time we spend together enjoying our book selections. These are things money can’t buy.

  3. anonymous APP reader says:

    Be skeptical, I say.

    Is ABC’s goal to conform to the Facebook audience to appeal to them for advertisers’ benefit, or is the intent to slowly bring their narrow-minded, corporatist world view to Facebook? It may start with advertising, but as I’ve observed with my local radio and TV, the boundaries between authentic, unbiased content and distortions for political and financial gain have been significantly blurred in today’s corporate media.

    Read “1984,” if you haven’t already. Reread it if you have. Just a suggestion.

    The changes can be so gradual that people don’t notice, until they find themselves saying something they know isn’t reality but it seems like it is because they’ve heard it or read it so many times before, from so many “appealing” sources. Hey, if all the “cool kids” are saying it, you can’t go wrong, right?

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