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Doing our part to add more clarity to sharing on Facebook

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It has probably happened to you in the past.

Something comes across your Facebook timeline. A friend you haven’t seen in a while gets tagged in a post or a share. For a moment, you are surprised. ‘I didn’t realize that person moved back to Georgia … ’ you think -- or something like that.

It takes a few moments to realize that the post is from a few years ago. You’re just glad you didn’t comment on the post like another old friend did, showing just how confused they are.

The scenario plays out in the news business, as well.

Take last Saturday, for instance. We realized on the morning of March 12 that one of the most read stories on NewsOK.com was from 2 ½ years ago. The publication date of the report was clearly evident on the article when users clicked through to the article. The actual link on NewsOK shows the date of publication, giving the headline and article the needed context and relevance.

However -- and you might want to sit down for this revelation -- not everything that’s posted by people on Facebook carries the appropriate amount of context and relevance.

The story that was trending on our site was trending even more on Facebook. We searched all those who were sharing the article. The vast majority were sharing the article with no information about when the story was written or the context at the time. People posting the story were either intentionally misleading their friends or, more likely, were sharing something they thought was a recent headline based on other shares.

It’s a snowball effect.

I’ll re-state here that the actual article on NewsOK.com was very clear about the publication date. But we wanted to see if we could make it more clear when others share on Facebook. So, on Wednesday we added meta-data to be displayed when people share on Facebook.

Here’s an example on a blog post I wrote.

 

 

See the date that was added in the summary of the article? I like that. It makes it more clear on the post that the new NewsOK.com site that launched was in 2008. There’s a big difference between 2008 and 2016.

We hope that adds a bit more clarity to what can be the nebulous world of social media. After all, we know that a lot of people get to NewsOK based on Facebook posts. Not everyone comes directly to the home page – though we believe they’d be well served to do just that.

We’re just doing our part to make the social media world a little bit more clear.

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Alan Herzberger

Alan Herzberger is the Vice President of Audience Development at The Oklahoman Media Company. He focuses on digital strategies for The Oklahoman and for NewsOK.com. He’s been with The Oklahoman since 1997, when he joined the sports department.... Read more ›

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