Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Future of Facebook Journalism

Today, Facebook raised about $16 billion by selling approximately 421 million shares at $38 each, following through on the private company's initial public offering (IPO) announcement this past February. 

According to Reuters, investors have been eager to purchase shares that may deliver "big, even astronomical returns -- a rare opportunity in today's low-yield and turbulent markets." Now that Facebook has to answer to its shareholders as a publicly-traded company, its focus will certainly shift to the emphasis of money-making. With Wall Street grinning from ear-to-ear with Facebook's high profitability prospects, what does the addition of another player mean to the game of Facebook journalism?

Kristie Lou Stout delves into this increasingly complex question in her article, "Is Facebook a must-buy for journalism?" She asserts that because Facebook has transformed into a public entity, journalists (as well as the millions of other Facebook users) are now merely a product being sold. 

She questions the need for journalists to utilize Facebook as a tool for news sharing and various other forms of journalistic expression, arguing that its only benefit now is to create a "personal brand" catered to mass consumers. 

Though it is unarguable that Facebook's move to go public will not affect the dynamic of Facebook Journalism in some way or another, there is certainly more merit to the usefulness of Facebook than Stout would believe. 

Journalists and news companies have already made a significant presence on social media platforms like Facebook, engaging almost personally with its audience base whilst facilitating the notion of "trusted referral." Trusted referral is essentially Facebook's greatest gift to journalists -- the wildfire spread of content via shares and likes brings credible news and information to the forefront of a friends' eyes. 

Facebook has not only become a useful tool for seasoned, professional journalists, but to the Average Joe as well. Regardless of Facebook's newest alliance with Wall Street, citizen journalism will continue to find its way into the newsfeeds of the platforms 900 million users. 

Though some would argue that the IPO announcement of Facebook places the future of Facebook Journalism at stake, I believe this is not the case. Surely, the dynamics of the social site will continue to change (as it has been with the constant re-introduction of layouts), but that will not stop the word from getting out. Many of us have been accustomed to having Facebook as an almost integral part of our lives -- and even in our social revolutions -- that public trading will not change that. 

The future of Facebook Journalism will continue to stay ours.


  1. Cool blog post. Do you know if most journalist companies are using facebook now? In one of my communication class, we discussed the idea of facebook ending sooner than later. In fact many young Americans believe facebook will end in ten years, because they believe that it is a passing fad. What do you think?

  2. This is very relevant to a number of issues raised in our class, particularly as we start to talk about media conglomeration and the economics of the news. Certainly we have learned that reporters like David Folkenflik rely on social network platforms to disseminate their stories. Yet this argument against using Facebook as a news outlet is also compelling, especially in light of the company's potentially unethical future use of its most valuable asset: user personal data.

  3. What is the future of Facebook share value? Pls give some tips and advice to me......

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