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The ‘siteless’ news organisation?

Steve Rubel has posted his thoughts on why it’s a clever move by the Associated Press’ to direct its Twitter followers back to its Facebook page through links in its tweets:

The AP is now changing the game for news by not only going where attention spirals are taking us but by also using their content to curate a conversation on Facebook and – above all – build relationships.

As of this writing, the AP page on Facebook has 9,400 fans. I bet this will grow over time as people spend more time on Facebook and slowly become more accustomed to getting their news there, in addition to friend updates, games,etc. Swap out the word fans and replace it with subscribers and suddenly you can see where I am going and why this is a smart idea. It’s CRM for news!

This idea and my own recent tinkerings with the Journalism.co.uk Facebook page got me thinking about how news organisations use Facebook, what the benefits might be and whether a Facebook-only news outlet is a foregone conclusion (if there isn’t one already out there).

With my own experiments I’ve been trying to work out and ask what readers of Journalism.co.uk via Facebook might want. Aside from bringing the news from the site too them via RSS/Hootsuite and adding links to other articles specifically relating social media and journalism, I think I need to identify what Facebook’s features or some of its functions that make it the point of entry for some readers.

With its own experiments with social media and Facebook, the AP (along with pretty much every other news org out there) is trying to reach what it thinks might be an untapped audience, members of which are already familiar with sharing links, commenting and drawing their friends and connections attention to other sites and services.

Hitwise figures suggest Facebook is the source of an increasing percentage of traffic to news and media sites in the US.

But could a news organisation without a destination site or other platform (printed paper, magazine, broadcast channel etc) set itself up as a Facebook-only outlet? BreakingNewsOn established itself as a breaking news service for Twitter. It’s since decided to develop a companion website and (its original Twitter account was bought by MSNBC), but its origins were in delivering exclusive bursts of news in a Twitter-friendly way, matching content to demand and the expectations of the distribution channel.

If the figures from Hitwise continue to grow, surely a Facebook-only news org can’t be far behind?


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