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.