Starting today, every Friday we’ll round up media & tech industry news you may have missed while you were busy winning the week.
Like or Share?
Facebook is jettisoning the “Share” function in favor of a “Like” button, which could change the way news is spread around:
Now after hitting the Like button, a full story with a headline, blurb and thumbnail will be posted to your profile wall. You’ll also be given an option to comment on the story link. Previously, only a link to the story would appear in the recent activity, often going unnoticed by users.
Though users may now think twice about hitting the button, given how prominently it will appear on their walls and in their networks’ newsfeeds, it should ultimately increase traffic to publishers’ websites.
But Nieman J-Lab’s Joshua Benton asks, “When I click a button next to a story, does that mean I like the fact that ‘Tunisian Prime Minister Resigns,’ or that I like the story ‘Tunisian Prime Minister Resigns’?”
In other words, will this shift benefit news stories that are more positive and discourage the sharing of more serious pieces which can be downright depressing at times?
Related: Facebook is also upgrading its comment plug-in and analysts now say that Facebook will leap past Yahoo! and Google in online display ad revenue this year by raking in $2.19 billion dollars.
A Redesign Is No Tigerblood
In a Monday communique to his staff, Nick Denton addressed some of the headaches caused by Gawker’s recent design, including an admission that web traffic and SEO took a significant hit:
So where does that leave us? Some people say we should be flattered that readers have such an intense relationship with the sites. That people typically hate even small design changes; and this was a big one. That an overhaul is always painful — and particularly so on the web, where critics are amplified by the medium itself.
The logic — that we need to showcase our strongest stories and visuals, not merely our most recent — remains as powerful as ever.
To Be Determined
In the wake of TBD‘s de facto demise, social media guru and AAN-pal Mandy Jenkins shares “Four Key Things TBD Did Right,” each of which are useful lessons for other media outlets, alt-weeklies included, such as a willingness to let outsiders in:
Be it from social media or aggregation, the world outside our walls had a huge impact on what news we could provide.
Sometimes it woud mean highlighting the work of our blog network, who are routinely miles ahead of larger media. Other times, we’d have to (at least initially) link to the work of our competitors. On social media, we’d regularly ask for help when we needed info from a scene we couldn’t reach. We’d regularly (multiple times a day) receive news tips and photos of interest via email or Twitter that would serve as the basis for a breaking news post (pending verification, of course). We could utilize Twitter searches to find out info and eyewitnesses from fires, shootings and events – before ever sending a reporter.
Jenkins also describes the initial hiring process as one that valued “mindset over predigree” and says that the TBD editors likely “couldn’t really put into words what they were looking for, but they knew it when they saw it.”
The result was a tight-knit team that collaborated easily and, also, is making the slow trickle of staff departures all the more painful.
Elsewhere, TBD community engagement director Steve Buttry disputes the notion that TBD didn’t engage its communities.