Social Network News

I've been fascinated lately by the ways that journalism is blending with social networking. I first started thinking about this in regards to Facebook, with its "news" feed. The news on that site is mostly about friends and their activities, but it might be that as the site evolves that feed will include non-personal news, as well. Already, the news feeds have advertisements, and the advertisements are sometimes difficult to discern from the news feeds of friends. I can imagine a future when Facebook-like news feeds blend with the customizable news feeds already available on sites like My Yahoo, with news about Obama streaming in along with news about your mama.

The blending of news and social networking is happening on actual news sites, as well — such as this one — which blend professionally-produced content with blogs and other social networking activities. The hybrid space created when a magazine like Fast Company opens up its servers to the public is an innovative blend of journalism and networking, changing the definition of what a media site can be. Even local newspapers are starting to do this, going beyond message boards, comments on articles, and even citizen journalism to create communities where people don't simply consume the news, but create it, produce it, talk to each other about it, and interact with it.

These journalistically-inflected social networking sites are radically altering the production, consumption, and meaning of news.

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  • barry hurd

    I would agree with you, the transformation and adoption of traditional publishers opening up is really changing how the market works... but I don't know if it is happening at a fast enough rate. I've been watching several metro newspapers struggle with the fact that the editorial team has suddenly been displaced by the community. There are impacts far beyond the creation of the material- as those changes affect the whole business model of publishing.

    The future you describe is already in existence in some form, many newspaper sites and industry portals are using RSS and social community creation as a means to "ghost write" articles for other areas of publication.

    I think in the near future you will begin to be hard pressed to differentiate a large publisher like FastCompany from a technically savvy one-person publisher using the right syndication technology.

  • Syamant

    I read about an application called Blogit that allows a person to blog directly from Facebook to various blogs they may be writing about. Secondly, I noticed a plugin that posts an entry in the news feed of facebook when a blogger posts in their wordpress blog.

    The distribution of information, content etc thus is changing. Infact , BBC Radio has a Facebook application that allows radio programming to be listened to , straight from the profile.

    Increasing while the distribution options may increase, the credibility of news and information that one reads may become a bigger challenge.