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.