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The Daily on Facebook

The Daily's new Facebook application allows users to interact with news.
March 29, 2009

Today The Minnesota Daily launches its improved Facebook application, allowing you to keep up with campus news on the most popular social networking site.
Not only can you get your news on this application, but can also win prizes and feel connected and engaged in a campus that often feels too big. It doesn’t have to be.
The application features Daily stories along with other campus-related stories, and readers can sign up to participate in the Daily Action Team, which gives users points for certain online and offline challenges, such as posting stories, sharing them with friends or participating in certain campus events.
Users are then eligible to redeem the points for prizes, such as “I Get it Daily” T-shirts or Twins tickets. We’ll make sure to continue to update these as supplies are available.
We encourage readers to join the Daily Action Team and take ownership in helping inform and spread news about campus issues, while being rewarded for it.
The Daily didn’t make this application on its own. We partnered with the Seattle-based news aggregator NewsCloud, which created the functionality and design of the application. Moreover, the application is being used by University of Minnesota researcher Christine Greenhow to test ways to engage youth in news through social media. By signing up to take part in the Daily Action Team, users can participate in the research study.
The research is being funded through a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and will end in May and be published next fall.
A potential Web business model
This Facebook platform could truly change the way our generation interacts with news through their social network.
But there is also a potential business model for news organizations that are struggling to make money on the Web. News organizations could use the incentive-based model to make revenue by working with businesses to post challenges for users that they would gain points toward prizes.
The challenges could be specific to businesses, such as receiving points for visiting a business’ Website or going to a restaurant’s happy hour, which gives advertisers direct results and rewards users for their actions. It is similar to promotions that newspapers have done through their print product, allowing readers to get coupons or participate in other giveaways, but this now puts it on the Web.
Creating community through sharing
Twitter has become a popular social networking site and tool for news organizations to share news and keep readers informed.
News organizations, including the Daily, use Twitter accounts to update followers on news with provided links to full stories on their sites. People often re-tweet these updates to their friends and comment on them.
This Facebook application will allow users to do something similar. It integrates their Facebook profiles with a Daily platform and allows them to post their own stories, share stories and comment on them while providing a place to go to get informed and connect with others on campus.
Users can also vote up stories that they find the most important and guide which story is more prominently displayed on the site.
We will be adding new features to the application, including the ability for users to blog. Let us know what you think and we’ll respond.

Visit the application at apps.facebook.com/mndaily

Vadim Lavrusik welcomes comments at vlavrusik@mndaily.com.

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