Today the WSJ (Wall Street Journal) announced a new Facebook app called WSJ Social designed to help Facebook users read and share news with other friends. Facebook users can use the app to read content posted by the WSJ and share these links with other Facebook friends. Users of the WSJ Social app are called editors, and you can follow other editors to read the content they curate from the WSJ by liking other WSJ content from the app. The WSJ Social app details how many readers each editor has, which adds a tinge of gamification to the app as users with egos will undoubtedly want to acquire as many readers as possible.
The WSJ Social app is a great way for Facebook users to consume and curate news, though only from the WSJ. Similar apps are being developed by other news sources, including the Washington Post, but there is no central hub on Facebook to consume news unless users follow each publication’s page and curate this content into a list. This method is obviously complicated, and the average Facebook user will not have the patience for using multiple apps to read and share news, or alternatively set up a custom list of Facebook updates from news sources.
Where Facebook is making amazing strides in becoming an all-in-one social hub, the segmentation of news sources and inability for readers to consume news in one place is a very weak spot. Twitter, on the other hand, makes consuming news from nearly every publication as simple as following the associated Twitter account. With Twitter’s intuitive lists, users can easily curate a stream of news to be easily accessed on the desktop or on a smartphone. Facebook’s apps are difficult to use on an Android or even iOS, but an aggregated list on Twitter is easy to read wherever you are, and third-party Twitter apps make this even easier.
Current users of Twitter have expressed that being able to consume news – especially breaking- in real-time is one of the best features of Twitter, and other bloggers and tech journalists rely upon this structure for their own reporting. As Facebook struggles to replicate this model, it looks like Twitter remains the best social network for consuming and sharing news.