I’ve been teaching my social media students about professional uses of Facebook in recent weeks, including Rockville Central, the Maryland news site that made news this spring when it moved all publishing to Facebook.
Imagine my surprise last Friday when I read its farewell note to readers, just as I was heading in to class to discuss Rockville’s success. As full-time, unpaid volunteers, Rockville site operators Brad Rourke and Cindy Cotte Griffiths explained they could no longer devote the time to do it right. But they made this clear: They counted the move to FB as a success. Yes, the Notes function was lousy for posting news and story archiving a nightmare.
But their audience numbers on FB jumped, they say, suggesting the act of creating a community of news followers within a social network made a difference. I think community makes a huge difference, especially online. I also think that’s the future of news, despite protestations from some in the industry.
It’s a delicate endeavor, though, especially on FB. The social network instituted some changes in recent weeks designed to attract more professional media workers by omitting the friending/fanning nomenclature that makes a lot of people queasy.
Lauren Kirchner, Beware the Twitter Echo Chamber