Social Media Innovation by Prof. Johnson

Is Facebook a viable publishing platform?

Facebook IconVadim Lavrusik posts at Mashable.com on “Facebook’s Growing Role in Social Journalism.”

A Facebook-only news organization? It was only a matter of time. The Rockville Central, a community news site in the Washington, D.C., area, will move all its operations and news coverage to its Facebook Page starting on March 1. This risky move by the site’s editor, Cindy Cotte Griffiths, highlights Facebook’s growing role as a platform for journalists to use for social storytelling and reporting. When it comes to journalists using social media, Twitter has been the go-to platform for real-time reporting and reaching out to sources, largely because it’s a public platform and most of its content is accessible. But with Facebook continuing to scale and in some ways become more public, it offers journalists an arsenal of content types beyond 140 characters and an alternative destination to connect with new sources of information.

Lavrusik points out a potential disadvantage:

Whether it’s through a Facebook Application — built to be a destination for news and discussion — or a Facebook Page that users can subscribe to and receive posts in their News Feed, news organizations are experimenting with building Facebook-only news portals to take advantage of the social distribution on the platform and an existing audience. The Rockville Central is taking its community news site to Facebook and will focus on curation and civic engagement, instead of duplicating content others have produced. Of course, the big disadvantage is it can’t host its own ads, which isn’t the site’s goals. A larger news organization, Boston.com, which is dependent on ad revenue, has built a Facebook News Application called “Your Boston” using NewsCloud’s Open Source application platform.

(Click through for a screen shot of the two sites).

What do you think, is it viable to launch a Facebook-only news portal? What are some major advantages and disadvantages? If you were going to create an online news organization, what would it look like?

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