A few items related to Facebook's Instant Articles announcement that came in the middle of the night.
I was briefed on this project last summer.
It got me interested in the Facebook API.
People who use Facebook want this. How do I know? When I post full text of stories on FB they read it and comment. When I post a link to my blog post, they still comment, but very often without having read the piece. As a writer I can only take so much of this!
The place to put this functionality is in the CMS or blogging tools. If I were FB, I would have gone to the toolmakers first. Made sure there was broad support. Why do they care so much about the big brands? Maybe there's something strategic about this. Do the big brands really move first, fast, with confidence and innovation? Or are they driven by fear of missing out? Which motivation creates better user experience? (In my experience love is where creativity comes from, not fear.)
I was told last summer that they were building on RSS. Of course that's a good thing, if true. It means that the content could flow not just to Facebook, but anywhere that's prepared to receive it. This creates many interesting options. In this, Facebook is being a good corporate citizen and Friend to the Open Web (with the qualification that I don't know for sure if it is true).
I have asked for access to the tech now that it's out, but got rejected!
I hope they change their mind.
Bloggers matter, imho as much as any professional reporter. I want parity for bloggers. In this way they are not being a friend of the open web.
The NYT, National Geographic, Buzzfeed, et al, are right to publish their content to Facebook in full. It's one of the big places where people who read news congregate. But they should also quickly develop new channels that are not dependent on the tech industry.
Journalism pundits will re-litigate the michegas over The Algorithm. The time to debate that was when it was new, five years ago. It's done now. The next thing is whether or not the news industry invests in its own future, or lets the tech industry continue to own it. The Algorithm wouldn't have mattered if journalism had done its job. I guess that's where my frustration comes from reading the hot angry frustrated powerless pieces by Jay Rosen, Zeynep Tufekci and Emily Bell. Where were you when this was news? And why are you missing the current issue? Why are you always five years late? Yes I was ringing the bells about this then. Now it's time to finally compete with Facebook and Twitter. It might already be too late, but it might not be.