I signed on the CNN.com this morning and saw a curious thing. Under “Popular on Facebook” was the name of Jim Kavanagh, a former colleague of mine who now works for the CNN.com out of Atlanta. He was recommending a story.
The previous day, I had noticed Jim recommend another story.
I don’t recall the coverage he called out, but that’s OK. He’ll likely point out something else later today or in the ensuing days.
Welcome to the continually blurring lines between social media and mainstream media. Thanks to changes in Facebook designed to expand the service’s horizons, mainstream media are moving fast to become more interactive, more relevant, and more immediate. In other words, more fun.
Who’s jumping on this bus? Try ABC, ESPN, along with CNN and others. The New York Times is preparing its own version of Facebook interaction, according to this article by the Poynter Institute’s Mallary Jean Tenore.
ABCNews.com now features an “ABC News on Facebook” module that “that lets users who are signed into the site via Facebook Connect see the number of people who have “liked” a story,” Trenore said.
Jonathan Dube, vice president in charge of ABCNews.com, told Trenore that he “hopes the new features will motivate people to stay on the site longer and ultimately decrease its bounce rate. So far, the results have been promising.
“We’ve seen an over 250 percent increase in referrals from Facebook to ABC News since the launch of the Social toolkit on ABCNews.com,” Dube told her.
The Washington Post has launched a “Network News” feature, which integrates Facebook’s new plugins in a module that appears on the Post’s home page, article pages, blog posts and videos.
Washington Post Managing Editor Raju Narisetti told Trenore that the goal is to help increase engagement on washingtonpost.com and give people a way to see what their Facebook friends are reading without ever having to leave the Post’s site.
“We find that, increasingly, it’s important for us to go where audiences are,” he told her. “A lot of our content is circulated on Facebook, so we ought to make it easier for our readers who are on Facebook to share content and also see what their friends like and are reading without having to leave our site.”
The blurring of Facebook and mainstream media boundaries is bound to upset some who want their news sites separate from their social sites. But revenue starved media increasingly are going where their audiences are, as Narisetti said. So if you “like” Facebook, will you “like” ABC News?