Updated: See below
Ancient philosopher Heraclitis once observed, “There is nothing permanent except change.”
We live in an era where change takes place more quickly than ever. Take Facebook’s recent announcement that it plans to tweak (yet again) its “news feed” algorithm, changes which the New York Times described as designed to “favor posts by friends over material from news organizations and other businesses.” This quote is from a story entitled, “The End of the Social News Era? Journalists Brace for Facebook’s Big Change.”
On Friday, two local media outlets included coverage of this news. The News Journal’s piece, “Facebook is making a big change to your news feed,” is a factual piece that appeared in Gannett publications nationwide. Richland Source’s take was local in nature. “If you rely on Facebook to deliver local news, you need to read this” notes the likely impact on the ability to follow local news via Facebook, albeit with the offered solution – a subscription to their newsletter.
These two stories discuss the situation in some depth, and seem to agree that the result of these changes will be to decrease the likelihood that media and organizational stories will appear in your news feed on Facebook.
To us, this move on the social media giant’s part clearly demonstrates the value of having a centralized single source for local news. Sure, a newsletter from one or another news source gives a glimpse into what that particular company believes is interesting and important information – but, as you know WMFD, Richland Source, the News Journal, and other media routinely cover different stories and have differing viewpoints.
And how will you keep in touch with news from local businesses and organizations after the Facebook changes? Do you really want to visit dozens of sites and Facebook pages each day?
Each day, 1812Blockhouse – and only 1812Blockhouse — brings you not only our own stories and coverage, but curated links, posts, and pics from these sources and more than 75 local businesses and organizations. That’s why we’ve adopted the slogan, “Start Here” – because we’re the ideal daily launching pad for the well-informed Mansfielder.
Update – 1:30 p.m. on Saturday:
Not surprisingly, several stories about the Facebook news feed change’s potential impact for local media have popped up over the last 24 hours. In a piece entitled “Local news publishers talk to readers about big Facebook News Feed change,” Matt DiRienzo of LION Publishers shares how some of their members, including Richland Source, are breaking the news to readers and suggestions for maintaining news access.
Interestingly, one quoted source, the Los Angeles Daily Times, published a “how to guide” in maintaining access to local news on Facebook. “Facebook is changing its News Feed. Here’s how to make sure you still see important, local stories” shares the idea that setting news feed preferences will continue to work in allowing readers to see stories from sources they want in their news feeds. That was a question raised as well earlier today by an 1812Blockhouse reader on Facebook.
Time will tell if this feature will work in this fashion once changes are made. As this unfolds, we’re going to be monitoring the situation closely and sharing what we learn.