As some of you may know, I am currently working on a Master’s degree in Communications with a specialization in journalism. Because of that, I have looked a little bit more deeply at Facebook’s most recent update and effort to make their user experience more family and friend-focused. However, I am looking at how it will affect the communications industry and journalism in particular. (If you’re a fellow blogger, this may very well affect you too.)
What Went Down
Earlier this month, Facebook published a press release notifying everyone that changes were coming to the News Feed. This press release included a post by Mark Zuckerberg himself, where he explained that the News Feed will now be centered around posts by one’s friends and family resulting in less posts from businesses, brands, and media. The inspirations, according to Zuckerberg, was feedback that Facebook had received from the users themselves.
To get into the specifics, Facebook will determine how to prioritize content by the amount of conversation that it sparks. Facebook is defining meaningful interactions as that conversation. These posts will show up higher on one’s News Feed.
What Does This Mean for Media?
Ultimately, businesses, brands, and the media will adjust. The press release did explicitly say that this will most likely result in less engagement for those in the communications field. Those who are heavily affected will most likely find another platform. Others, however, will adjust their tactics to drive engagement on this platform.
Initially, this may seem like a blow to communicators and journalists who rely on this platform, but the press release gave all of us a way to move forward. It stated, “Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect…For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.”
Live videos drive engagement on Facebook. I think this works exceptionally well with journalism and reporting. Live reports already take place on television. The same can now be done via Facebook, and news outlets that are completely digital can now incorporate live reporting in this fashion if they have not done so already. Not only will this drive engagement for that particular story, but it is another opportunity to gain more followers and drive more traffic to news site.