Talking about online news

Are you busy on Sept. 22? Interested in a hearing about the current state of the news business or how news organizations are putting social media and online technologies to use to help keep us better informed?

I’ll be on a panel that night at Varsity Grill in Tacoma discussing those very things. The panel is organized by Social Media Club Tacoma and Tacoma’s own Mark Briggs will moderate. I’ll be joined Doug Conarroe, AME for Online at The News Tribune, and Brent Champaco, editor of Washington’s first Patch.com site in University Place.

Thanks to Walter Neary, my former editor, for putting this together.

RSVP

Facebook outage

As if to underscore one of my earlier concerns, Facebook crashes and sites using their social plugins get big holes in their pages.

What I want instead of Facebook’s OpenGraph

Facebook makes a great pitch, don’t they? One line of javascript. More user engagement. Viral distribution on the world’s largest social network. It’s compelling.

The downsides, though, are worth examining. Limited access to your visitors’ contact information means that converting visitors into repeat customers is not necessarily easy. Not all of your visitors use Facebook, and might want to connect profiles from other social networks or public profiles. Further, with Facebook positioned in the center of the exchange, what happens if Facebook suffers access problems? Facebook could become one of the largest single points of failure on the internet.

While their offering from this week’s F8 event are compelling – and I’ll likely add some of their tools to my sites – I want something else. A set of easily plugged-in tools not tied to any particular social net, but which can access any or all social nets – not unlike the OpenLike project, but bigger.

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