According to the New York Times via Bulldog Reporter, Facebook, the social networking site is teaming up with ABC News to create political content through a new “U.S. Politics” category. Facebook, which used to be limited to college students is now available for public use. Even old people like me can now connect with friends and colleagues on the site.
To underscore their collaboration, the two organizations will announce this week that they are jointly sponsoring Democratic and Republican presidential debates in New Hampshire on Jan. 5, three days before the primary election there. “Through this partnership, we want to extend the dialogue both before and after the debate,” Dan Rose, Facebook’s vice president for business development, told Times writer Brian Stelter.
The announcements are another sign that news organizations are looking to capitalize on the potential power of Facebook, which began as a database of college friendships, and other social networking sites. Media companies like the Times and the Washington Post have produced pages for use on Facebook and some newspapers, magazines and television stations have recently invited users to join special pages that are set up to follow reporters’ political coverage. But ABC‘s new relationship is intended to be deeper.
“There are debates going on at all times within Facebook,” David Westin, the president of ABC News and a new Facebook member, told the Times. “This allows us to participate in those debates, both by providing information and by learning from the users.”
Is your organization taping into the power of Facebook? Compared to rival MySpace, Facebook is carving a niche for themselves as a go-to site for professionals and organizations. Many of the groups I belong to, such as PRSA, have a presence on Facebook. It’s something to consider adding to your communications mix.
Look for a “Storytellers Network” Facebook group soon!