All Media Will Soon be Personalized, How to Create Your Own News Channel in Facebook

“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.”

Consolidation of Media put the making of news in the hands of a few Gullivers...

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 meaningas 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

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.


Facebook Could Become World’s Leading News Reader (Sorry Google)
How Media Will Relate to Facebook in the Future

Get Permission to Advertise… If Not, You Will Most Likely Be Ignored

“According to Forrester Research, 48 percent of consumers today now believe they have the right to decide whether or not to receive advertising.” – Bob Gilbreath in The Next Evolution of Marketing

Consider just exactly what that means as you sit there with that remote in your hand, as you turn on the pop-up blocker in your browser, as you skip past the commercials with your Tivo and put your phone number on the no-call list.

Now, a business needs to develop and nurture meaningful relationships in order to make sales and these relationships must be authentic. The public has actually grown hostile towards old-school snake oil sales-techniques like green-washing. And once that door slams in your face, it is very unlikely that it will ever open again.

Providing a way of “opting out” of any e-mail list is now a legal mandate so your content has to be of genuine value. As a business communicator, your message is now continually under evaluation. And your only hope in this day and age is to be about something… real.

And know the laws.

Doing good makes for good business. I am often accused of being too political, always speaking out about issues that affect me. There are two ways to approach this “condition” from a business perspective. One way is to try to present a well-crafted neutral “business face.” The other is to be honest and open about your beliefs and trust that you will attract as many people as you might “offend” by being about something that is possibly controversial.

Gilbreath says, “There are lots of compelling reasons why doing good makes good business sense, starting with an increase in sales.” He cites one 2008 behavioral research study that shows, “a whopping 87%  of consumers will switch from one brand to another that’s comparable based on its association with a good cause.”

Despite the fact that permission-based marketing may be a new concept to many,  Gilbreath says it’s so 1990’s – based on the theories of Seth Godin. Now it’s about Marketing with Meaning. If you are having a positive impact on people’s lives then, of course you will continue to be granted permission to co-exist in their social network. My next post will dig deeper as I read this great new book: The Next Evolution of Marketing.