Facebook apps

What newsrooms or writers have developed Facebook
apps
that turn Facebook into a distribution channel for their work? Marc
Ambinder at The Atlantic has a Facebook group, Atlantic Politics.
Chris Cillizza has The
Fix
, a Facebook group for readers of his work for
washingtonpost.com. TechCrunch offers a TechCrunch app that users
can use to add to their profiles. Others?

update There is a Facebook group where this is being discussed. Sample
exchange
excerpted below:

Hmm… Search for an event. Invite friends. Events your friends plan to attend. Most popular events in your network(s). Suggested events based on your profile info…

Suggested events based on profile info would be cool. I hadn’t thought of that. Need a programmer to build something with Amazon-ish peer recommendations, but it’s all doable, I think.

Never actually used upcoming.org before, but it looks interesting. A newspaper (or any news outlet) could do events better, though, because they’d have broader content beyond a simple calendar. Link an event to a place with a story line and now people have something to talk about.

The
Compass
application is from The Washington Post. Users answer questions and
get an indication of where they are on the left-right political spectrum. Rob
Curley writes in
his blog
about developing the app:

“For us, one of the most
important things was to build something that we thought would work on Facebook
and do it in a way that showed respect for what The Washington Post and
washingtonpost.com stand for — and at the same time, try to get those Facebook
members who had an interest in politics to remember that washingtonpost.com is
the definitive site on the web for national politics.

And we hope they are reminded
of our newspaper’s commitment to political coverage every time they see The
Compass with the washingtonpost.com logo on it.”

Jeff Haines, who is doing some great multimedia work for The Inquirer, pointed me to the Curley blog. He added this note:

The
blog makes important points about how people probably don’t just want an app
with the latest headlines—even sports headlines. It has to be something
innovative, interesting, and useful. The Inquirer has a wealth of resources in
its Journalists and columnists—Specialists and experts in their fields. A great
Facebook application would leverage their expertise, presenting information,
possibly allowing users to comment on or add, customize, or create additional
information, fashioning something that they would want to share among
themselves—All with Inquirer branding and a link to our Philly.com site.

Eliza Fox, who is working in our newsroom this summer, suggests in a note that a news feed can work (excerpt):

I believe that the best place
for a philly.com add-on would be on each user’s News Feed.  The News Feed
is the first page a user sees after he or she logs onto Facebook.  It
updates him on what his friends have been doing – who is in a new relationship,
who has posted new pictures, etc.  Most current add-ons appear on the
user’s profile page, but the format of listing new information concisely – as
it is on the News Feed page – would work well to briefly apprise users of
current news. (I envision such listings much like the current News Update on
philly.com.) 

The
add-on feature would probably be most effective if it allowed users a choice in
the kind of news they received.  Options might be broken down into “news,”
“entertainment,” “sports,” “movie and TV reviews,” etc., with perhaps an
additional “local news” option for those within the Pennsylvania
and possibly New Jersey  networks.

There
are more ideas, and more are being discussed every day. It’s a long-tail trend, of course. As John Graham-Cumming shows, 62 percent of all Facebook apps have fewer than 1,000 users. But about 60 of the 1,200 apps have more than 100,000 users each. Need more inspiration?
Listen to Mark:
"Together, we’re going to start a movement."

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1 Comment

Filed under Social networking

One response to “Facebook apps

  1. Chris Krewson

    Here are some more links for those interested in further reading.
    The best is from TechCrunch, where the ex-COO of PayPal talks about the upcoming primacy of social networks in the spread of content. (He says the spread of power in terms of content referrals online went thusly: step 1, the portal; step 2, search; step 3, social networks and recommendations from others like you, personalized by people who like the same things you do.)
    http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/05/31/the-new-portals-its-the-bread-not-the-peanut-butter/
    The second is a fascinating paper from Danah Boyd about American class divisions as viewed through the prism of social networks, ie most preppy, college-bound American kids choose Facebook; myspace is for rebels and/or kids who plan on leaving high school for the Army or a career right out of school, etc. I’m not judging, I’m just summing up:
    http://www.danah.org/papers/essays/ClassDivisions.html
    Finally, Rex Sorgatz over at Fimoculous.com points to a Web page that aggregates the most popular Facebook apps on any given day:
    http://appaholic.com/dashboard.php
    … so you can quickly see what’s resonating with an audience.

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