Ever since I saw a story about Now This, the video news service designed for social media, I knew that something was going to change soon. Now This doesn't have a website per se, more of a note posted to let browsers know where to find them - which is on social media.
It's the idea that websites, at least for the purposes of news, articles, and other typical daily information, is old-fashioned. Just like email is said to be old-fashioned in many circles. The question that I keep wondering about is if the social media universe is about to assume control of content distribution almost wholly. Are websites being replaced?
Yes and No
First of all, no. Websites aren't quite
When you think about improving the customer experience, this shift is perfect. People already spend most of their online time on social media sites. When they aren't on social media they're often reading or watching content that they were redirected to when they clicked a link in social media. Why not remove that extra step? ready to be left behind as a relic just yet. Although their function may alter in the future, I have a feeling they aren't going anywhere. However, for information distribution outlets they may be on their way a bit quicker.
Which is exactly what Now This is doing, but they aren't alone. There is a gentle, but quickly moving, push to eliminate extra clicks by publishing directly to social media, making Facebook and Twitter the actual news outlets and not just the sounding board for news posted elsewhere.
Facebook's Instant Articles
In response to this growing movement, Facebook has released Instant Articles, a feature widely misunderstood initially. As of now anyway, nothing is exclusive to Instant Articles. It's simply an app to get your news for you that loads really fast. The content will still be posted on a website and on their Facebook Page as well. The assumptions made in this reporting aren't wild, they're just the obvious conclusions people are seeing.
Which is that they want to have exclusive news content distribution, of course. The more time Facebook (and others) can keep users on their site the better. Becoming the new home for news would be, well, kind of a big deal. Especially when you throw in the bit about Facebook testing their own search engine, which would have access to all the normal search info but also to the endless information from within Facebook's own data - which Google can't access. The walled garden seems to be growing.
Sign o' the Times
We're creatures of convenience, that's the bottom line. And since that awareness exists, businesses that make things easier for us will thrive. Social media is establishing itself to become the new online planned community, with everything we need in one place - entertainment, news, communication, information, fellowship, even work. This is simply the next obvious step in that process.
Publishers love this idea for the same reasons that marketers do - there's a captive audience there. And it's a big one. The more mod-cons that get added, the bigger the audience will get. When you're marketing in this environment, using a quality social media dashboard is essential. The more engagement and activity that occurs, the more there is to analyze and work with. Make sure you're using the right tool for the job, or the future might get ahead of you.