“Me and my big photo of Mark Zuckerberg” - Wired’s Nate Lanxon at news:rewired

Martin Belam by Martin Belam, 16 February 2012

A couple of weeks back I was at news:rewired to talk about the Guardian’s Facebook app, as part of a panel discussing social media optimisation. I’ve already posted my notes on the contribution of the BBC’s Chris Hamilton and MSN’s Darren Waters. Here is what I made of an entertaining turn from Nate Lanxon of Wired.

“Me and my big photo of Mark Zuckerberg” - Nate Lanxon, Wired

Nate’s talk revolved around a prop - a picture of Mark Zuckerberg. This, he explained, was passed around the room at Wired, and whoever had it on their desk was in charge of Wired’s Facebook page for the day. As well as Mark’s face reminding them to post to Facebook, the picture came equipped with a sticker pointing out the most effective times to publish content to the platform. Cheesy, yes, but Nate suggested that the physical presence of the image had helped embed Facebook into the daily publishing routine.

Having decided to be more active on Facebook, Nate stressed that just pushing an automated headline feed wasn’t good enough. On Twitter he said you can pretty much publish “Wow! Look at this!” and a link and generate click-throughs. If you do that on Facebook though, people don’t feel like you are actually talking to them. He made a vital point about the way that the Facebook newsfeed algorithm works. The chance of your content appearing increases when people interact with your content, and one interaction is likely to lead to more interactions.

Nate said that one of their key learnings was that having a presence on Facebook wasn’t about driving fans to Wired, it was about driving Wired to fans.

It turned out, Nate said, that the Facebook channel has become more of a behind-the-scenes view of what Wired is doing, rather than a publishing channel. They got far more interest in posting some pictures of when a portion of the office ceiling came down and nearly crushed someone, than simply posting links to published content. They now treat the Facebook page as a sort of “members club”. A particular favourite with this audience has been posting pictures of the most ridiculous things the magazine has been sent by PR firms.

To be honest, I expect this just actually encourages PRs to send ever more outlandish freebies.

Next...

I’ve already published the talk I gave as part of the session, but tomorrow I’ll have some notes about the Q&A session that followed Chris, Nate, Darren and myself talking at news:rewired...

This is one of a series of blog posts featuring my notes from news:rewired:
“Did we get something of journalistic value?” - Liz Heron
“The Guardian’s Facebook app” - Martin Belam
“Great for users. Great for publishers. And great for Apple” - Alex Watson
“The Economist’s shift to digital”- Tom Standage
“The alchemy of media business model innovation” - François Nel
“Social media, investigative journalism, ethics and security” - Nicola Hughes
“Less is more - social media at the BBC” - Chris Hamilton
“Watch this (social) space...” - Darren Waters
“Me and my big photo of Mark Zuckerberg” - Nate Lanxon
“Social media optimisation” - Q&A

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