Facebook Assignment

4 Apr

As the most pervasive and prevalent social media tool in today’s world, Facebook is a unique tool for journalists.

A particularly interesting integration of Facebook is the news app. I see a lot of activity from these applications on my News Feed (mostly from the Washington Post one), and it’s tough to discount the impact of peer pressure here. You see your friends reading what look like interesting articles, but you have to get the app yourself to see them. It’s essentially a word-of-mouth effect that drives up traffic.

The major drawback is that unlike other sites, Facebook has no easy way to sort through old posts (the new Timeline profile helps, but there’s still no search function). Still, it’s become part of our daily lives, and many papers are using that to get back into readers’ consciousnesses.

Millions of people have a Facebook, making it as reliable as email for a contact attempt. This same availability can be useful for fact-checking, but it can cause privacy issues if information is obtained unethically. My two best friends from my pre-journalism days actually stopped talking to each other because one (who happened to be an editor for the Alligator) pulled the other’s (who had a leadership position on campus) profile picture off of a private profile to use as a mugshot.

For my topic blog, I’ve focused on using Facebook to share posts with my friends. Each completed post has been linked to my profile. Combined with the tweets I’m putting out for each post, this has hiked traffic up more than ten times its normal levels. I’ve learned that the best approach is to stagger the posts. The more unique the content seems, the more likely Facebook will bump it to the top of the page. I’ve also found that timing (morning or late-afternoon) is also key to maximize views.

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