Mediatwits #108: Can Facebook’s Paper App Change the Aggregation Game?

    by Claire Groden
    February 7, 2014
    Facebook's new Paper app promises to change the way that users interact with the platform's content

    For Facebook’s tenth birthday, the social platform gave itself a new app: Paper. The app — not to be confused with a disgruntled app of the same name — promises a revolution in the way that users interact with content. While the current Facebook newsfeed features a melange of status updates, baby pictures, shared news links and the rest, Paper sorts all of this data into separate streams. The app, which launched on Monday, allows users to toggle between categories of content including “Headlines,” “Cute,” “Score” and “Ideas.” With this new product, Facebook offers its flurry of content in a more curated format, much like the “personalized newspaper” that CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he would like Facebook to become. On this episode of Mediatwits, we’ll be joined by Michael Reckhow from Facebook to discuss their new app. We’ll also have Andrew Lih of American University, Felix Salmon of Reuters and PR guru Sarah Evans, with PBS MediaShift’s Mark Glaser hosting.

    "People are actually really good at things," says Facebook's Michael Reckhow. "We don't believe it's going to be a world where it's a machine choosing everything that you want to read."

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    mark glaser ISOJ headshotMark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He is a longtime freelance writer and editor, who has contributed to magazines such as Entertainment Weekly, Wired and Conde Nast Traveler, and websites such as CNET and the Yale Global Forum. He lives in San Francisco with his wife Renee and son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit.

    AndrewLih_270x210Andrew Lih is a new media journalist and associate professor of journalism at the American University School of Communication. He is the author of “The Wikipedia Revolution” (Hyperion 2009, Aurum UK 2009) and is a noted expert on online collaboration and journalism. He is a veteran of AT&T Bell Laboratories and in 1994 created the first online city guide for New York City (www.ny.com). Follow him on Twitter @fuzheado.



    sarahevansSarah Evans (@PRsarahevans) is a social and digital strategist, correspondent and publisher with her company Sevans Strategy. She works with companies like Cox Communications, as a digital correspondent, runs popular digital lifestyle publication FAVES + CO. (http://sarahsfav.es), and shares a weekly email digital literacy resource for parents and teachers, #1StepAhead.

    felixFelix Salmon is the financial blogger for Reuters. He was named one of Time Magazine’s 25 Best Financial Bloggers, and offers his frank view on the maneuverings of Wall Street, Washington and popular culture. Watch him on Felix TV or follow him on Twitter @felixsalmon.

    michael-reckhow[2]Michael Reckhow is a Product Manager at Facebook where he works on Paper, a new app for browsing stories from friends and the world. Prior to Facebook, he was a Product Manager at Amazon.com for Kindle and worked at Microsoft. He graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Engineering Sciences.


    Facebook’s new Paper app is big on design: it even made the back button obsolete with a simple upward swipe that takes users to the previous page. Pictures take up the full top-half of the screen. Plus, the separate newsfeeds give Facebook users the chance to completely bypass the posts and photos of friends to toggle directly over to a highly curated news or humor section. As many commentators have pointed out, this move away from the social aspect of Facebook indicates that Facebook is expanding its field of vision to its potential as a news curator as well. But Facebook isn’t treading into open water: aggregation apps such as Flipboard and Digg already offer curated news pulled from all over the web. What does Facebook offer that is distinct from these other newsreaders? And how will this new app change the way that users interact with Facebook?


    Felix Salmon on Upworthy’s Viral Math, Reuters

    #FreeAJStaff Campaign Gains Steam, Huffington Post

    Google Reaches Settlement in EU Antitrust Case, WSJ.D

    Alleged Silk Road Mastermind Indicted, Mashable

    Claire Groden is the podcast intern for PBS Mediashift and a senior at Dartmouth College. You can follow Claire on Twitter @ClaireGroden.

    Tagged: aggregation apps facebook news platform news reader social media

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