Sorry Facebook. Your new lists don’t equal a personalized newspaper


Nancy M. Preyor-Johnson

I love Mashable–really. I subscribe to its newsfeed, follow it on Twitter, share its blogs with clients and associates. But just now when I read Mashable’s Facebook Interest List Blog I was a bit miffed.

Now don’t get me wrong–the new feature that Facebook will roll out soon seems all sorts of cool. But in essence, it seems like a simple list of RSS feeds or bookmarks by topic. Convenient? Definitely. Personalized? Sure. Like a personalized newspaper? Not quite. But Facebook’s public relations team issued this press release that described the new feature as a personalized newspaper. Mashable and other blogs used that same language.

But a newspaper–or even a newspaper site–is very different. Full disclosure: I am a freelance journalist who used to work full time as a newspaper report. But I’m also a public relations and marketing consultant and I’m a social media enthusiast and I’m a mom and a wife and I’m from San Antonio. You get the picture. Like you, I wear many hats and my perspective is shaped by my experiences.

But I don’t think many will argue that newspapers–and even newspaper web sites aren’t a different machine. In newspapers, you know that journalists and editors have researched and written stories. In a “Facebook Interest List” you will get a bit of everything–from individuals, businesses, media, you name it. Useful? Indeed. But it’s no newspaper.

When Facebook rolls out its new lists, I will be one of the first to organize all the topics and people I want into nice neat packages and it will make me very happy. But I won’t stop reading newspapers.

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