Thursday, October 15, 2009

Facebook "Fan" Sites Drive News Views

Ben McConnell put it this way: "Facebook fan pages are the future."

He was talking specifically about marketing, networking, serving customers. I'm thinking, "Facebook fan pages are the future ... of media?"

What gets me thinking about this is the fact that the college newspaper I advise, The Commuter, attracted more than a hundred fans in less than a week. The students were surprised, having no idea that many people might care what the newspaper says or does online. What's most surprising is how fast the number of fans can expand. Naturally, you'd assume that it's because you're giving them something interesting and engaging to read and interactive with.

And that's the key. They can interact. Facebook makes it easy to "like" what you see, comment or interact with others who share your interests.

As McConnell notes:

Facebook fan pages are the future for three reasons: They're free, easy to create and build a nearly instantaneous pathway to evangelists, prospects or the curious.

When fans interact with a fan page on Facebook, that interaction is sent through the fan's news feed, which goes to all their friends, practically daring a chunk of them to see what the page is about.

Compared to Twitter, Facebook fan pages rule. You're not limited by Twitter's 140-character posts, plus it's far easier for fan page members to preview a photo, video or weblink than what Twitter offers.

The Commuter staff made a renewed commitment this summer to more fully integrate social networking into their news delivery mix, along with "thinking Web-first" in covering news and making it available ASAP to their readers and "fans."

It seems to be paying off.



Kent said...

This is very cool. I believe you are exactly right that the ability to interact is a big plus.

One mystery to me is why people who comment on the GT almost always use either no picture, or one that doesn't identify them They generally use made up user names as well. In such a small town it seems that it would make more sense to speak as a person instead of an anonymous entity.

It will be interesting to see if commuter fans identify themselves or try to stay anonymous. Any trend so far?

Kent said...

Duh. I just looked for myself. People are real people as Commuter fans. Not only is that good for discussions re the news, but it should be a way that students get to know each other. That seemed to be more of a challenge in a two year, commuter college.

I love it!

Rob's Media Blog said...

I think the anonymous comments on many media sites is part of the problem in terms of credibility and real dialog. What's the point of responding to someone who won't stand behind her/his statements? And why some media continue to enforce a "sign up" in order to comment is puzzling. It doesn't attract more readers, it just prompts people to opt out of the discussion.