Social Dialog v. Broadcast

From an inside-baseball perspective one of the more anticipated iPhone apps for this quarter is the CNN app.  It rolled live this week in the iTunes app store, and from what I can tell from an initial download and tour of the app its pretty solid.

For publishers like CNN (and CBS where I work), what has become core functionality is the way the app leverages social networks like Twitter, Facebook etc–as a means of sharing content.  Meaning, it’s a one-way broadcast of me to my friends and followers:

Hey there 1100 Twitter followers and 650 Facebook friends here is something I saw and thought it was pretty cool.  You may like it too.  Enjoy.

But there is nothing social about that from the publisher side.  Its a broadcast.  We are enabling the end-user to broadcast a piece of content (that links back to us) but we are not engaging our core user–or any part of their network.

And that to me seems like a missed opportunity.  Now, I don’t pretend to have all of the answers to this–but I think the soon to roll CBS News app starts to address some of this–but its scratching the surface.  We need to do more to not just be a voice in the social media darkness–we need to engage the end user.

That is the way to build our brand, build your loyalty to our brand and to be a part of the fabric of the social network-and not just a patchwork part of a broader quilt.

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