You Are What You Read

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"'Facebook Friend #384' read 'My Parents Turned Down Harry Potter Role: Daniel Radcliffe' on Washington Post Social Reader"

"'Facebook Friend #1276' read 'The World Mourns the Death of Dippin' Dots' on Yahoo!"

You may have seen similar postings to these popping up on your Facebook News Feed over the past couple of months. And, if you have lots of current events gurus as friends, you might be getting a little annoyed at seeing everything they read.

However, according to Facebook, this "frictionless sharing" is helping news organizations reach many new readers.

Jeff Sonderman from shares some lessons that Facebook and news organizations have learned since implementing these news apps in September.

First, early statistics show that these "frictionless sharing" apps have increased traffic to news sites from Facebook referrals. Yahoo News has 10 million app users on Facebook and its referrals from the social media site have increased 600 percent. The Washington Post and The Guardian are also seeing strong success with 3.5 and 4 million monthly users respectively.

Second, the struggle with finding young readers may be decreasing. According to Facebook, 83 percent of Social Reader users are 35 years or younger. This is good news to news organizations as they are appealing to a wider range of people.

Last, while no one seems to know Facebook's tricky algorithm for deciding which stories appear in one's News Feed, one thing is for certain: the open graph apps appear heavily within the News Feed, meaning that your friend's reading habits are consistently available.

Despite some criticism and leeriness over the inclusion of news reading on Facebook, I think that this is a great thing for news organizations as it is pulling in a wide variety of people to their website. Whether they read just one article or are drawn to the entire website, people that were getting no news before are receiving news via their social media habits.

We gain opinions and reccommendations from those in our sphere of influence and this is another way to help us decide what to read or what we may find interesting.

Or, you could just judge your friends on their own reading habits. As they (don't) say, you are what you read!


Kate December 4, 2011 at 9:11 AM  

I use social readers on Facebook because there are some quirky articles out there that are fun to read. But my big concern is privacy. Does everyone need to know what I am reading? If I read an article through the actual website, does that post it to Facebook? I'm still really confused by the process. It hasn't really been cleared by either Facebook or the news organizations.

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