With all their power, what will platforms like Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter do to the world of publishing? Or is it more a question of what they are already doing?
For a while, Facebook has been ahead of the curve. A brilliant example is their exploitation of recent video trends by enabling auto-play by default as you scroll past any video on your timeline. Simple, and not without backlash, but 100% the right decision. Now users have fewer reasons to leave their site.
Looking forward, Facebook must continue to focus on other ways to keep users from leaving their site to explore other areas of the internet. Why do you think they have created the trending news feature?
We all know that sites and apps operated by news organisations are a dying breed. The head honchos in social media have more users, reach and technology behind them than any remaining news sites ever will, so why not exploit that? The more people Facebook keeps on it’s network, the more impressions they get on their advertisements and control they possess.
More recent proof of Facebook’s influence over, well… practically everything has come to light. Vox posted some great footage of it’s interview with President Obama directly into Facebook, resulting in over 250,000 views in 2 hours. Sure, it was an interview with the President so it was always going to be a big hit but only four other Vox videos on YouTube have surpassed this one’s success. After the milestone Vox released a detailed report attributing a lot of their website traffic to Facebook as well.
With companies now publishing video content directly to Facebook, we are forced to analyse what they may have in store for digital publishing. We already know most publications are well integrated with popular social media networks so people can share, comment and like articles. This will be enough for now, but what if Facebook chooses to fully integrate itself into our industry? It could consume our platforms! There is no question that it is currently eating media companies up at quite a rate, such as its acquisition of Push Pop Publishing in 2011.
It’s not been confirmed and we can speculate till the cows come home, but it is certainly more of a possibility than not that authors and magazines may directly publish their content into Facebook at some point in the future. One example is the emergence of LinkedIn’s new blogging feature, Pulse. They have fully integrated a blogging site into their social media platform for professionals, proving that digital publishing still has a very real online future.
For Page Lizard readers, the real question is: when Facebook stakes it’s claim over digital publishing, will you be left scratching your head or be ready to pounce?