A few weeks ago, I was working from home when my News Feed suddenly became inundated with status updates about a small earthquake that briefly shook near Facebook's headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif.... Though I was only about 40 miles away, I didn't feel the quake but still heard about it as it happened thanks to the posts of my friends and coworkers. My News Feed became my source of news before any outlet had a chance to cover the event.
As news quickly travels, your friends are often the best filters you have for surfacing meaningful news. They are how I heard about Michael Jackson's death, President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize and even "Balloon Boy."
Whether it's a minor event like the small earthquake in the Bay Area or something as life-altering as the recent tragedy in Haiti, you can turn to Facebook to share news, connect with news outlets and discuss current events with others. The news you read on Facebook can be as diverse as the friends and news media you connect with.
When the earthquake hit Haiti, victims in the area, news affiliates and people around the world used Facebook to learn what was happening, connect with loved ones and quickly disseminate information. ABCNews.com and France 24 added Facebook live stream boxes to their sites to enable people to share their feelings on the disaster and relief efforts, and publish it back to their Facebook status. Meanwhile, The New York Times created a special Facebook Page dedicated to Haiti coverage, resources and updates from their reporters on the ground.
Clearing the Clutter
In this era of social news, information is more ubiquitous than ever before and the rate at which we consume and share news has never been quicker. Your friends on Facebook help you cut through the clutter so you can read what's most relevant to you, discover new items and carry on thoughtful discussions.
Just as your friends can post news throughout the day, so do many news outlets. By connecting with their Facebook Pages, you can stay updated and interact with outlets such as The New York Times, The Guardian and CNN, and directly with reporters and anchors such as Katie Couric of the CBS Evening News and CNBC's Nicole Lapin.
At any given time, the news on your home page can consist of celebrity gossip posted by your sister, sports scores from the ESPN Page, and a political debate among your friends as they cite their favorite blogs. With so much information at your fingertips on one site, Facebook can serve as your personalized news channel.
You can even create a "News" list to filter news-oriented Pages into one view on your News Feed. Simply add relevant Pages to the list, just as you would with a friends list. The next time you sign on to Facebook, you can click the "News" filter to see stories from all of the news outlets of which you've become a fan.
Connecting with News Everywhere
In addition to reading news on Facebook, you can share news with your friends on external sites with Facebook Connect. Outlets like The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, USA Today and countless blogs have become more social by adding Facebook Connect to their websites and iPhone applications. You can sign in with your Facebook login to see what articles your friends are reading and comment on articles with your authentic identity.
Startups are also using the power of Facebook Connect to provide social news experiences. Daily Perfect is a personalized news website that you can sign into with Facebook Connect, and it will deliver news tailored to you based on your Facebook profile. For example, I've included in my Facebook profile that my interests are "San Francisco," "technology" and "religion," and Daily Perfect surfaces current affairs related to those interests.
Join the cycle of sharing news with your friends on Facebook and off by posting news, commenting on the links your friends post, and checking out news organizations that are using Facebook Connect or have created Facebook Pages to build a well-rounded collection of news for yourself.
For more examples of how news organizations are using Facebook, become a fan of the News on Facebook.
Malorie is reading her friends' thoughts on the recent State of the Union address on Facebook.