Posts Tagged ‘Discover’


Facebook’s business is journalism’s business

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The social network will roll out Instant Articles to all publishers April 12. (Photo: b_d_solis/Flickr under CC)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The social network will roll out its Instant Articles program to all publishers April 12. (Photo: b_d_solis/Flickr under CC)

Next Tuesday (April 12th), at Facebook’s F8 conference in San Francisco, the social network is to open up Instant Articles to every single publisher in the world.

Instant Articles, which was launched last May, started a revolution into Facebook’s relationship with journalism, and how users consume journalism on social media. Publishers including the BBC, The New York Times, BuzzFeed, The Guardian and MTV have been utilizing Instant Articles, which hosts content produced by those organizations on Facebook.

In a blog post from earlier this year, Josh Roberts, a Product Manager for Facebook, said opening up Instant Articles would allow users to be connected to content and subjects they cared about.

“Facebook’s goal is to connect people to the stories, posts, videos or photos that matter most to them,” Roberts said. “Opening up Instant Articles will allow any publisher to tell great stories, that load quickly, to people all over the world. With Instant Articles, they can do this while retaining control over the experience, their ads and their data.”

As the social network prepares to open Instant Articles up to the world’s publishers, it comes at an interesting time for the relationship between social media and journalism, where content has become the strategic core of engaging new audiences to platforms. This is particularly the case for not just Facebook, but also Twitter and Snapchat.

Twitter introduced Moments late last year as CEO Jack Dorsey tries to increase the amount of users, while Snapchat has been trying to make its Discover feature more accessible to users, with potential changes coming as early as next month. This also comes as the satirical news site The Onion becomes the latest publisher to join Discover.

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel. Snapchat has been one of the platforms competing for audiences through its Discover feature. (Photo: Techcrunch/Flickr under CC)

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel. Snapchat has been one of the platforms competing for audiences through its Discover feature. (Photo: Techcrunch/Flickr under CC)

Separately, Facebook introduced late last year to iPhone users a notifications app called Notify, with content from organizations including CNN and The Weather Channel.

However, this relationship has been beneficial to publishers and news organizations, who have been presented the opportunity to engage with new audiences alongside retaining current ones. At the same time, it has raised questions on the quintessential social strategy to have the most impact and potential for audience engagement.

As Facebook and other platforms continue to try to increase their audiences and change user experience, journalism has become part of the equation of the future of social media. The business of social media has now become a fundamental component of the business of journalism, and both businesses have one thing in common — they are constantly evolving.

One thing however is for certain in this ever changing, yet mutually beneficial relationship. It has established that there is always going to be a need for journalism and those who work in it. The platforms may change, but there is always going to be a need for people to analyze and make sense of the day’s events, irrespective of beat.

Social media is going to evolve, but journalism will be the one that comes out on top, a big win for the industry that, like social media, is trying to answer the big question: “What is next?”

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is SPJ’s Community Coordinator and is a contributing blogger to Net Worked on social media’s role in the future of journalism. 

Outside of SPJ, Veeneman is Long Form Editor and a contributing writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post unless otherwise specified are that of the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital community, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

Has Snapchat truly discovered Discover?

Snapchat hopes to boost traffic for publishers on its Discover feature.(Photo: AdamPrzezdziek/Flickr under CC)

Snapchat hopes to boost traffic for publishers on its Discover feature.(Photo: AdamPrzezdziek/Flickr under CC)

Since its launch last January, Snapchat has been trying to make its Discover feature work when it comes to social journalism. It attracted the likes of many various publishers, from ESPN and CNN to Comedy Central.

Yet, traffic to those stories had been difficult to achieve, as users of the Los Angeles based social network had to seek out these channels through search, located in another screen. In addition, a selection of clips were only made available on the Stories page.

Now, Snapchat now wants to change that. According to a report from Recode, the company is looking to allow its users to subscribe directly to the content that is being made available, instead of going through the separate search methods. The ability to subscribe to that content would guarantee its appearance on the Stories page, the report adds.

While it is unclear how it would work (the Recode report suggests either deep links by the publishers themselves or push notifications by the social network to suggest new content is available), this is good news for publishers, and indeed Snapchat, as it tries to make a significant foray into the always evolving and competitive world of social media journalism.

Discover has over twenty publishers, and Snapchat has over 100 million active users.

The ultimate question for the platform is if chief executive Evan Spiegel and his colleagues will follow through with it, as suggestions have been made the change could happen as soon as May. If Snapchat is to market itself as viable for journalism on social, especially for younger audiences, it is essential that this move is done as soon as possible.

Once that move is done, there is potential for credibility to be gained amid competition from Facebook and Twitter. If not, it may prove fatal and may see a decline in users for Snapchat, as well as publishers severing their ties in the hopes to find better ways to engage new audiences.

For now, the next move goes to Snapchat, in the hopes that it will truly discover not just the purpose of Discover, but the reason why it entered the world of social media in the first place.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is SPJ’s Community Coordinator and is a contributing blogger to Net Worked on social media’s role in the future of journalism. 

Outside of SPJ, Veeneman is Long Form Editor and a contributing writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post unless otherwise specified are that of the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital community, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

Is Snapchat discovering a journalistic comeback?

As Snapchat updates its Discover feature, its still trying to figure out its purpose in the world of social media. (Image: Flickr user ryan.nagelmann under CC)

As Snapchat updates its Discover feature, its still trying to figure out its purpose in the world of social media. (Image: Flickr user ryan.nagelmann under CC)

The last couple of weeks have seen changes to Snapchat’s Discover feature, the platform established in January by the Los Angeles based social network that has seen content from providers including CNN, ESPN and the Comedy Central network.

Two weeks ago, a new iOS update was made available, putting the feature front and center before stories and updates from other users. The update came amid concerns of decline in engagement through Discover, according to a report from Mashable.

Earlier Monday, it was announced that the iHeartRadio streaming service and BuzzFeed would start publishing on Snapchat, according to a report from the tech news site Recode, which added that Vox.com would also begin publishing on the platform later in the summer.

These moves from Snapchat comes as it continues to make a name for itself in the world of social media journalism through Discover, as the concerns of engagement decline continue to make themselves known. But in order for Snapchat to reverse the decline concerns, there must be an appeal to engage with that content. Is the engagement responsibility down to the publisher, or is it down to Snapchat?

Snapchat is still seen as an underdog as far as social media platforms, but brands and publishers are ready and willing to engage with as many different audiences as possible. The addition of brands like BuzzFeed to Discover signal that publishers want to engage with Snapchat’s audience. Indeed, for Snapchat, this signals that it wants to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the interaction of social media and journalism.

Yet, more must be done by the social network to convince younger audiences that Discover is worth their time, in an age where the media environment for them consists of a multi-screened, multi-platform experience. On the other side, the Discover feature should be able to signal that Snapchat is ready to be a part of the ever expanding world of social media journalism, something that will please its early investors, as well as become credible competition to Facebook and Twitter.

Even as new publishers join the list of making their content available on Discover, Snapchat is still trying to figure out the role Discover should have. It will take some time to come to a conclusion, and to convince publishers that engaging through this platform was the right move.

Until then, Discover has taken on a new form – a way to figure out the answer to what all the buzz is about when it comes to Snapchat, something that remains, for the most part, mostly unanswered.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is a contributing blogger to Net Worked and SPJ’s community coordinator. He is also Co-Student Life editor and media correspondent for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post are that of the author’s unless otherwise indicated, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital executive, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

Can social journalism thrive on Snapchat?

As Snapchat hires its first Head of News, there are questions as to whether it can revolutionize social media journalism. (Photo: AdamPrzezdziek/Flickr under CC)

As Snapchat hires its first Head of News, there are questions as to whether it can revolutionize social media journalism. (Photo: AdamPrzezdziek/Flickr under CC)

Social media has changed the course and direction for engaging audiences, especially younger audiences. Instagram is at the core of that, with a recent study from the Pew Research Institute saying 53 percent of 18-29 year olds use the photo sharing app, while 49 percent of users use it daily. It has also become a way for many journalists to tell stories, including NPR’s White House correspondent Tamara Keith, who was featured on this blog in January.

But not far behind Instagram in the context of social media for younger audiences is Snapchat, and this week it made a major move toward it becoming a new journalism hub. The social network, based in Los Angeles, announced that CNN political correspondent Peter Hamby would be departing the network to join Snapchat as its Head of News. CNN is a partner with Snapchat through its Discover feature.

In an interview with the On Media blog at Politico, Hamby said Snapchat had potential when it came to news.

“Snapchat is one of the most exciting young companies in the world,” Hamby said. “They have a big and growing audience, and we’ve seen Discover is a huge success. Their live stories around big events, around places both here and abroad, the potential to take users to new places — we can see some application of that with news.”

Hamby declined to discuss any specifics of his new role with Politico, but added that he would be with CNN as a contributor through its coverage of the 2016 elections. Neither CNN nor Snapchat did not respond to Net Worked’s requests for comment for this piece. Other partners through the Discover feature include Vice, ESPN, Yahoo and People Magazine.

The news of Snapchat’s acquisition of Hamby comes as a report from the web site The Information said that traffic for Discover had been down 50 percent since its launch in January.

While Snapchat has thus far shown itself to be influential when it comes to social media and younger audiences, it is still early days as to whether it can truly be in the running as a platform for social journalism, though it does have potential to change how younger audiences consume journalism, especially with key events including the lead up to the elections.

The days and weeks ahead will certainly be a test for the social network, but there are also some lingering questions, not just on content, but also engagement, considering the drop in traffic with Discover. Can it compete with Instagram, Twitter and other networks to be one of the top social providers for journalism in a demographic whose media habits are in a constant state of flux? Would newsrooms adopt Snapchat as part of the overall social strategy? Or will it be an outsider on social media, intended solely for its colorful messaging and communication techniques?

The ball is now in Snapchat’s court, with many wondering what its next move will be.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is a contributing blogger for Net Worked, and serves as Community Coordinator for SPJ. Veeneman also is Deputy Editor, Media Editor and a writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. Veeneman also blogs for the web site ChicagoNowYou can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post are that of the author’s unless otherwise indicated, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital executive, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

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