Join 3,424 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Newspaper publishing via Facebook
June 14, 2011 9:43 AM   Subscribe

Newspaper drops website for Facebook, offers eight lessons on Facebook news publishing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (38 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
two outmoded technologies that don't taste very good even together
posted by DU at 9:45 AM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Nice try, Facebook. Not even the Rockville, Md. community news blog will get me to sign up!
posted by mrgoat at 9:45 AM on June 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


Maybe they can do an App Magazine next!
posted by Artw at 9:46 AM on June 14, 2011


From one sinking ship to another. If newspapers were cutting edge they'd offer 10 units of news for half price on Groupon.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:48 AM on June 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Archiving and search functions are weak. Facebook is optimized to spread things as they’re posted, but if you are seeking something weeks or days old, you must scroll through page after page. “The thing that it lacks is history,” Rourke said.

Even as a publisher, finding a note written weeks ago can be near-impossible, Rourke said. There’s no good way to search your notes on Facebook.
Hunh. It seems a certain MeFite said just this thing.
posted by adipocere at 9:49 AM on June 14, 2011


..and cuts themselves off from being found in Google reliably, limits easy access to readers to pretty much only existing readers' friends, and runs the risk of totally losing all of their archives when something changes or fails and Facebook owes them nothing.
posted by AzraelBrown at 9:50 AM on June 14, 2011 [15 favorites]


NewspaperCommunity news blog drops website for Facebook, offers eight lessons on Facebook news publishing.

Big difference.
posted by mkultra at 10:03 AM on June 14, 2011 [14 favorites]


At least you can read it.*

Maybe this will work out better for the newspaper. Newspaper comment sections are notorious cesspools. With facebook, the barrier to entry is a little bit higher, so maybe the comments will improve.

*The other day, I ran into a restaurant whose web presence was a facebook page you had to be logged in to see.
Since I don't have a facebook account, I quickly moved on.

posted by madajb at 10:05 AM on June 14, 2011


..and cuts themselves off from being found in Google reliably

This is an interesting trade off. What would I ever google that they would show up. How would I ever get to them, maybe spreading through "likes" is the way to go for them. Time will tell.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:07 AM on June 14, 2011


… So how do they pay for professional journalists?
posted by klangklangston at 10:18 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Interns!

Crazy idea: post the first two paragraphs of news stories (or Facebook Summary) on Facebook, link back outside of the walled garden to your Real Web Presence, where you have proper publication tools, archiving features, and general control over your own site (plus ad revenue!)
posted by filthy light thief at 10:21 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


What would I ever google that they would show up.

Anything local. Politics, restaurants and other businesses, obits and wedding announcements, "town news" (such as school/police/fire info), etc.
posted by DU at 10:24 AM on June 14, 2011


After looking at the Rcokville Central site this is starting to make more sense.

It seems to be a very small operation, and "hyperlocal". It is two people who were generating content and doing ad sales, seems like they got fed up.

A little more perspecive here.

They are also not concerned with making money

We’re not concerned about revenue. In fact, we’re returning money to our advertisers to make this move. Producing income was never a priority for us but when TBD approached us to be part of their network and share in revenue we gave it a try.

So labor-of-love community blog moves to facebook. Seems smart as they can concentrate on producing stories, and interacting with the community, and not have to focus on the nuts and bolts of running a site.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:26 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here are eight lessons Rourke shared with me.

I will share one lesson with Mr. Rourke. If you abandon your old domain.com for facebook.com/schoolnewspaper, you'd better redirect domain.com to facebook.com/schoolnewspaper.

Crazy idea: post the first two paragraphs of news stories (or Facebook Summary) on Facebook...

That's what everybody does. The Rockville Central needs differentiation!

*The other day, I ran into a restaurant whose web presence was a facebook page you had to be logged in to see. Since I don't have a facebook account, I quickly moved on.

My wife and I are always amused to see all these TV/print ads with "Facebook URLs" e.g. www.facebook.com/fritolays or www.facebook.com/suaveshampoo. Why?!

From one sinking ship to another. If newspapers were cutting edge they'd offer 10 units of news for half price on Groupon.

When I get off the subway stop downtown, there are often two competing newspapers trying to shove their offerings in my face for free. I do not suspect this business model will last.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:26 AM on June 14, 2011


I am moving my online presence to the local pub.
posted by srboisvert at 10:31 AM on June 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


My wife and I are always amused to see all these TV/print ads with "Facebook URLs" e.g. www.facebook.com/fritolays or www.facebook.com/suaveshampoo. Why?!

It's the new hotness. No different than the "AOL Keyword: Suave" tags that they used to toss on in the early days of the dot-com boom.

For small companies, I get why facebook seems easier than a proper webpage (though it is ill-suited for the task) but at the very least, make it publicly accessible. That is the point after all.
posted by madajb at 10:35 AM on June 14, 2011


NewspaperCommunity news blog drops website for Facebook, offers eight lessons on Facebook news publishing.

Ack, sorry about missing that and thanks for the correction. Was passed the link by newspaper working pals and we were talking about it.

It's an interesting idea for a newspaper and they should definitely be experimenting with publishing on Facebook, but currently it's a dead zone, IMO. Facebook is Facebook, they are there for their bottom line, not yours, mine or anyone else. There's no up to a partnership because it is not a partnership.

It breeds contact with readers, but until someone can figure out a way to sell that, it shouldn't be a huge focus.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:42 AM on June 14, 2011


… So how do they pay for professional journalists?

That's the beauty of it, don't have to!!! User Generated Content can do that now!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:43 AM on June 14, 2011


Facebook is the new "can you make my logo spin?"
posted by MegoSteve at 10:44 AM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Anything local. Politics, restaurants and other businesses, obits and wedding announcements, "town news" (such as school/police/fire info), etc.


They don't have most of what a traditional newspaper would have, this really is a community blog, I've been reading the comments and it seems like they have been going around teaching little old ladies how to get to their site.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:49 AM on June 14, 2011


With facebook, the barrier to entry is a little bit higher, so maybe the comments will improve.

This isn't even sort of true anymore. I've been tracking an astroturfing empire here in Toronto since last October, and it's almost entirely based on a network of false FB accounts and group pages.

If there's even a chance that an outlet will gain viewership, regardless of its host, someone will find a way to infect its dialogue.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 10:50 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


My wife and I are always amused to see all these TV/print ads with "Facebook URLs" e.g. www.facebook.com/fritolays or www.facebook.com/suaveshampoo. Why?!

I used to run one of these when I was freelance. I had a lot of fun until the brand started telling me what to say/do.
posted by Summer at 10:53 AM on June 14, 2011


well, he does recommend a facebook bureau.
posted by clavdivs at 11:04 AM on June 14, 2011


Why?!

Assuming an honest question: Because Facebook is, for many users, a practical walled garden. They won't go looking for a web page. They can't interact with one. But they can certainly "Like" a page for Doritos. <-- That to me is key -- a page should be for a specific product people use, not a corporate entity.

I have my issues with Facebook, and a website migrating there is certainly not helping the whole net neutrality problem, but it's their business if they want to. Obviously it sucks as a publishing platform, but it shines as a social platform, and if you can make that paradigm shift work for you as a publisher, props.
posted by dhartung at 11:16 AM on June 14, 2011


Area Teen Cuts Of Fathers' Head, Places In Box and Lights On Fire.
206 People Like This
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:25 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


dhartung: "But they can certainly "Like" a page for Doritos. <-- That to me is key -- a page should be for a specific product people use, not a corporate entity."

You're half right. The problem, to the brands, is that if you don't claim Doritos, someone else will. And when you Like a Page on Facebook, you're giving that Page permission to talk to you via your feed. If I run Frito-Lay, and the millions of people who "Like" Doritos suddenly get feed spam for my competitor, I'm gonna blow my stack. I want to be sending Doritos coupons to those millions of people.

For better or for worse, FB Pages are the new .com domain names.
posted by mkultra at 11:36 AM on June 14, 2011


The Big Picture moved its comments section to facebook a while back, and invited feedback on the change. I couldn't believe it - if you want to comment on one of the web's most well-known picture sites (which has a viewership well outside of the core facebook demographic, I'd think) it is suddenly compulsory to join facebook?!

I sent them an extreeeeeeemely shirty email about it, including the word "asinine". No wonder they haven't replied.
posted by paperpete at 12:04 PM on June 14, 2011


This isn't even sort of true anymore. I've been tracking an astroturfing empire here in Toronto since last October, and it's almost entirely based on a network of false FB accounts and group pages.

For astroturfing sure. But when it comes to local newspapers, the comments seem to be more of the cranky old man variety.
If you've got a commenting system that requires no sign up at all, then you're going to more dreck than if people need to actually create an account.
If they've already got an account that they share with family and friends, they may be even more reluctant to get as nasty as newspaper comments seem to get.
posted by madajb at 12:11 PM on June 14, 2011


The Big Picture moved its comments section to facebook a while back, and invited feedback on the change. I couldn't believe it - if you want to comment on one of the web's most well-known picture sites (which has a viewership well outside of the core facebook demographic, I'd think) it is suddenly compulsory to join facebook?!

I'm curious why you would prefer to register with the Boston Globe as opposed to Facebook?

If you provide them both with the same information, what's the difference? I'd bet the privacy policies are not that different.

Why?!

Assuming an honest question: Because Facebook is, for many users, a practical walled garden. They won't go looking for a web page. They can't interact with one. But they can certainly "Like" a page for Doritos. -- That to me is key -- a page should be for a specific product people use, not a corporate entity.


I will buy the fact that companies want FB users to "like" their products (b/c those likes get turned into sidebar ads), but I don't buy the walled garden argument.

You're telling me most FB users won't go looking for a web page and simply can't interact with one? I think there is a very small percentage of users who treat Facebook like AOL.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:11 PM on June 14, 2011


I couldn't believe it - if you want to comment on one of the web's most well-known picture sites (which has a viewership well outside of the core facebook demographic, I'd think) it is suddenly compulsory to join facebook?!

Unless set up that way by the web site, "Facebook comments" do not actually require a Facebook account. In fact, looking at The Big Picture right now, you can comment using Facebook, Yahoo, Aol, or Hotmail accounts.

Pros and cons of the other 3 accounts are left as an exercise to the reader.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:36 PM on June 14, 2011


I couldn't believe it - if you want to comment on one of the web's most well-known picture sites it is suddenly compulsory to join facebook?!

Had you never read their comments?! They were a cesspool. After Alan left I'm not surprised they lost the inclination to plough through them all, opting instead for the quick-win of turning them over to a non-anonymous host.
posted by bonaldi at 12:40 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


"If I run Frito-Lay, and the millions of people who "Like" Doritos suddenly get feed spam for my competitor, I'm gonna blow my stack. I want to be sending Doritos coupons to those millions of people."

Psst. Frito-Lay owns Doritos.

And both are owned by Pepsi-Co. (Since '65!)

Now, the Pringles dude is probably flipping his stache over it, though.
posted by klangklangston at 12:40 PM on June 14, 2011


klangklangston: "Psst. Frito-Lay owns Doritos. "

Yes, that's why the comment makes sense when read that way ;). My point is that Frito-Lay doesn't want someone other than themselves running that page.
posted by mkultra at 1:04 PM on June 14, 2011


I assume they meant for comments, are they actually just publishing directly on facebook itself? How will they make ad revenue? (I suppose they could make it a 'facebook app' -- which would mean hosting the content themselves. But you can run your own ads)

Anyway, it's kind of lame to think news will be stored on facebook, but I do think that some FB content does end up in google's index, so you're not actually banishing yourself from googleland if you go that rout.

Not that facebook isn't totally evil in other respects, though.
posted by delmoi at 2:00 PM on June 14, 2011


This doesn't seem to be the smartest decision they've ever made... But I guess I'm not an extremely huge fan of Facebook.
posted by Dominic. Allen at 2:44 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


You're telling me most FB users won't go looking for a web page and simply can't interact with one? I think there is a very small percentage of users who treat Facebook like AOL.

Let me introduce you to my family, half of my clients and most of my neighbors. I worked hard to liberate them from AOL and this is how they repay me? Tsk.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:49 PM on June 14, 2011


madamjujujive: "Let me introduce you to my family, half of my clients and most of my neighbors. I worked hard to liberate them from AOL and this is how they repay me? Tsk."

Seriously. People can mock all they like but 250 million people log onto Facebook every day. It's where people go, so if you want to bring news to them, it's the ideal place to do it.

Metafilter: Not your average internet user.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:09 PM on June 14, 2011


Yes, 250m people are on FB, but how many of them are going to like this particular page? People have a limit on how much non-friend stuff they'll allow into their feeds.
posted by Summer at 1:28 AM on June 15, 2011


« Older Your Sweet Justice story for the day: In February...  |  As time has gone by, though, T... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments