“All media will be personalized in three to five years,” says Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. “People don’t want something targeted to the whole world – they want something that reflects what they want to see and know.”
Sandberg’s comments, delivered at a conference in September, 2009, may have underestimated the speed at which it the personalization is taking place. Some fear that news aggregators will begin to take over the delivery of personalized content, based on user demographics extracted from your online grid profile. Media personalization is already well underway, but it’s not being crafted by an external source. Leave that effort to the adservers.
The personalization that Sheryl Sandberg describes is being shaped by the the users themselves. As they decide to “Like” a Facebook page, that content stream becomes an element in their newsfeed. Savvy business Website publishers are becoming content creators, learning to broadcast their news feed output to a Facebook page and to every other popular social media site, creating their own content-rich inbound “advertising” grid.
Now, It becomes much more important to “be about something” in order to be “marketing with meaning” as Bob Gilbreath describes. The old days of tell-and-sell, top-down advertising is being replaced by a people-centric model and it’s happening much faster than predicted.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, “Knowing is Better” on UStream live 09/22/09.
Four months later, Facebook’s Malorie Lucich announced that users and publishers would be further empowered in Creating Your Personalized News Channel.
“As news quickly travels, your friends are often the best filters you have for surfacing meaningful news,” says Lucich. “They are how I heard about Michael Jackson’s death, President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize and even ‘Balloon Boy’.”
Creating dedicated “lists” will allow the user to segregate and then display select newsfeed updates from friends and/or from the Official Facebook pages they “Like.” Facebook also provides publishers with Facebook Connect allowing offsite users to login at another Website and interact. After seeing referrals from Facebook grow 680 per cent in 2010, The Independent began redesigning different ways to personalize, aggregate and segment their news feeds into Facebook with a variety of new ‘like’ features on independent.co.uk.
So starting with a few key areas of the site, we’ve been developing the tools to let people get their news from The Independent through social networks in tighter categories, designed to better reflect the parts of our editorial output you particularly enjoy. To that end, you can now ‘like’ all of our commentators on Facebook, and if you do then when they publish a story it’ll appear in your news feed. So if you want to know what key writers such as Robert Fisk and Johann Hari are covering each week, just follow those links and click ‘like’. Commentator’s like buttons are, for now, confined to their author pages, which you can get to by clicking the names in the dropdown navigation visible when you hover over commentators on the Opinion section.
While none of my clients’ Websites nor any of my own publications can compare themselves to a major London news publisher, we can still take advantage of the opportunities presented by Facebook in terms of networking to create a grassroots distribution network. Facebook Apps like NetworkedBlogs permit content to be spread in a viral manner from one to many. With the consolidation of media that has taken place over the last decade, I often compare this community-based effort to Gulliver vs the Lilliputians.
Learn how… at our monthly Social Media Breakfast Door County meetings.