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Social news

What does Facebook Paper mean for publishers?

17 Feb, 14 | by BMJ

The tech community has been watching closely since Facebook went public in 2012 and began its mission to engage mobile web users. News about younger users abandoning Facebook for the trendier Whats App and Snapchat have fueled many a doomsday warning, but refinements made to the platform’s app over the past year appear to have been successful. According to Facebook, an enormous 945 million out of 1.2 billion monthly active users were using the company’s mobile products by the end of 2013.

Now Facebook wants to offer content serendipity with Paper, a standalone iOS news reader app that delivers human and algorithm-curated full-screen articles and photos in categories you select like Tech, Health, and Pop Culture. Mark Zuckerberg said back in March that he wanted to make Facebook “the best personalized newspaper in the world.” However, it seems that the designers of Paper have come up with something closer to a glossy magazine. more…

How to engage with the diverse community that is Reddit

30 Aug, 13 | by BMJ

An article in The BMJ on muscular strength in male adolescents and premature death received over 55,000 page views in December 2012. On closer inspection, we discovered that 66% of visits to that particular article had come from Reddit, the social content sharing and news aggregator site. In fact, after tracking down the article on, we found that the article had generated quite a flurry of conversation, with just under 300 comments.

You would be forgiven for thinking that this was a one off, especially given the relevance of the paper to the adolescent users of Reddit. However, another BMJ article seems to have provoked a similar reaction. This study focused on didgeridoo playing as an alternative treatment for sleep apnoea and received a significant 59% of its total traffic from


Flipboard: a help or hindrance to publishers?

17 May, 13 | by BMJ

In the past month, almost 1 million new magazines have appeared on Apple’s iPad. Rather than heralding a long-awaited comeback from traditional publishers, nearly all of these collections of articles, photos and social-media updates are the handiwork of ‘armchair editors’, using a new tool from the social magazine app, Flipboard.



RebelMouse vs. Storify – what’s the difference?

30 Nov, 12 | by BMJ

I’ve already blogged about RebelMouse, the self-proclaimed “social front page”, that pulls in user content from social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Until it was created,  social data had no central hub and tended to get drowned out and lost as soon as it was published. RebelMouse filled a gap in the market by providing one central location to capture a user’s online output. However, RebelMouse is no longer the only product in this space. Storify launched its redesign last week and many have commented on its similarities.


Topic rather than date: a sea change in web publishing?

21 Sep, 12 | by BMJ

Structuring web content by topic or theme is not radically new. Over the past decade, tagging has been the most common method of creating organisation online. ‘Web 2.0’ companies like Delicious and Flickr built their entire businesses around user-generated tagging of content (a.k.a folksonomies) but topic pages never really reached their potential. This is evident in the chronological organisation of academic material and also in three of the biggest online services ; Facebook, Twitter and Blogs.

However, internet savants are predicting a big change in web publishing, which involves a move towards topic organisation. Medium, a new site launched by Twitter co-founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone, organises its content into pages. Each page is called a “collection” and is structured around a single topic, event or theme. As discussed above, people have consumed content largely on a chronological basis until now. Services like Medium, however, along with the more established Pinterest, are attempting to change that.


RebelMouse: an easy way to “deal with social”?

6 Sep, 12 | by BMJ

With more and more social networks appearing on a daily basis, many find themselves with multiple sites to manage and not enough time to do so. Enter RebelMouse, a self-proclaimed “social front page”, that pulls in user content from social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

At first glance, RebelMouse looks like a digital newspaper, hosted on Pinterest. After you spend some time on the site, however, it becomes clear that there is more to it than that. Founded by Paul Berry, the former CTO of The Huffington Post, RebelMouse has already signed up 32,000 users since it’s launch in June.


LinkedIn establishes itself as marketing platform for brands

18 May, 12 | by BMJ

As part of the longstanding strategy to position LinkedIn as a marketing platform for brands, a new program has been released that lets brands embed a “follow company” button from the social network on their homepages. The option is similar to Liking a brand on Facebook or following them on Twitter. Followers will receive automatic updates from the brand through their LinkedIn feeds.


What do Facebook’s “new breed of apps” mean for publishers?

14 Oct, 11 | by BMJ

The Guardian and Independent recently became the first UK newspapers to launch new style Facebook apps.  These are a “new class of apps”, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and “have the ability not only to change the way we think about news but have the ability to change the way the whole news industry works”. They encourage “frictionless experiences”, where users opt in once and avoid being repeatedly asked to agree to allow their friends to see which articles they are reading, enabling “realtime serendipity”, as Zuckerberg put it.

“As we worked with different news organisations there were two camps: people that wanted to bring the social experience onto their sites, like Yahoo [News] and the Independent; and those that wanted the social news experience on Facebook, like Guardian, the Washington Post and the Daily,” director of Facebook’s platform partnerships Christian Hernandez stated. more…

What are social news websites?

29 Oct, 10 | by BMJ

Social news websites are communities that encourage their users to submit news stories, articles and media (images/videos) and share them with other users or the general public. Depending on various factors, such as the number of user votes for each item, some of these articles will be given more prominence on the website.

Social news sites generally function via a wisdom of the crowds principle; groups of individuals with different points of views are able to collectively determine the value or importance of content disseminated through the community. The users are offered the editorial power to influence the visibility of content.

Different types of social news websites

Social news websites can be separated into wide-focus or narrow-focus communities. Some of them only cater to a niche audience and others cover just about every possible topic in a bid to appeal to a mass audience.

Digg is the most popular example of a social news website and it’s probably the most well known as well. It initially started as a community with a strong technological focus, before expanding its topics to include politics, science and other types of news. Other popular social news websites which cover a wide range of topics include Reddit and Mixx. Examples of social news websites with a more narrow focus include Showhype (entertainment) and Sphinn (Internet marketing/SEO).

How do social news websites work?

For all social news sites, content submitted by users is filtered by an internal algorithm that automatically determines the popularity of each story. This algorithm may involve various other factors apart from absolute votes: the discussion surrounding the story and the relationship between users (friends or not) may also be taken into account.

All our journal articles contain Digg and Reddit icons in the right-hand column (see screenshot below). If you find a particular article of interest, simply click on one of these icons and you’ll be taken to the social news website where you will be asked for a brief description of the item you’re linking to. Remember, the key to a successful submission is interesting content and a descriptive title.

Our blogs also contain Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon links (see just below under ‘Share this post’). So if you find this post of any use, do have a go at recommending it to others!

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