(Screengrab of the USA Today Facebook Timeline App)
By Charlie Warzel / @cwarzel
McLean, Virginia based newspaper, USA Today launched their Facebook Timeline App today and we took it for a very quick test-drive. Here’s what the USA Today’s President and Publisher had to say (via Potomac Tech Wire)
”As more and more people turn to social sites and their peers’ recommendations as a means of determining which news and information they will consume, it is more important than ever to reach our audience wherever they choose to consume their news,” said Dave Hunke, the president and publisher of USA Today.
The layout, we noticed, is aesthetically pretty nice, but there doesn’t seem to be too much the user can do to uniquely customize their experience…at all. The press release from the newspaper says that, “Users can customize the visual layout of USA TODAY + Me, choosing between a dynamic grid design or traditional list view” but we don’t believe this is much to write home about…in fact, it feels downright lazy to call that ‘custom’ in this day and age.
What is significant is the ability for USA Today to curate content for their Facebook app users based on information that the users share and even the information that friends are sharing with the user. This type of integration and targeting allows for Newspapers, which often struggle to retain readership these days, to throw pointed information toward their audience and thus, engage them. This doesn’t change the age old saying that, ‘content is king’…bad content won’t get read or shared. But this app could be instant marketing and focus-grouping for content distribution and that, if executed right, is pretty special.