Great post by Claire Wardle and Matthew Eltringham on some research they conducted into how social network users use news. Here are the highlights. Firstly, news as a social object:
“They all saw comment and discussion as a key component of enjoying news on Facebook. They shared and posted stories they were interested in, sure, but also so they could make a point or start a conversation. But the vast majority really only wanted to have that conversation within their own group of friends, partly because that was where they felt comfortable.”
And secondly, it’s all about the niche:
“They were ‘only interested in the news they were interested in’ – not what they thought they ought to be interested in, or what news organisations thought they should be interested in. Would they join a general news group that provided a wide diet of content? Unlikely. Would they join a specialised or thematic group offering education or entertainment or business news? Quite possibly. Would they join a programme page – like BBC Breakfast? Maybe.”
Finally, an argument against Facebook Pages:
“When we showed the participants BBC Facebook pages, they saw them as a discrete space on Facebook which they would have to choose to go and visit (seemingly confusing them with Facebook groups) and they all said ‘why would I do that when I could just go to the BBC website’.”
There’s more, including findings on how much users trust news on Facebook, at the post.