Facebook, like the internet itself, has handed the media at least as many challenges as it has opportunities. News providers that once played town crier, for example, found themselves facing a whole new town square where everyone listened to their friends first.
But when Facebook introduced a new set of API's -- application programming interfaces -- at its F8 conference in September, the media was offered a new role. For those that take advantage of it, Facebook's new Open Graph lets users share the content they're consuming with their Facebook friends, who don't have to leave Facebook to join in.
Andy Mitchell, Facebook's manager for strategic media partnerships, is appearing at Advertising Age's second annual Media Evolved conference on Nov. 15 to explain how some media players already are seizing the opportunity and creating deeply social experiences.
We asked Mr. Mitchell three questions to preview his appearance. But he'll be answering many more when he takes the stage on Nov. 15. Use the comments below to tell him what you want to know. Then join us at Media Evolved.
Advertising Age: First and foremost, what exactly is the Open Graph, and why should media companies care?
Andy Mitchell: Really, what it does for media companies in particular is allow them to build apps within Facebook, but also integrate within their website to facilitate frictionless sharing across the platforms. We think that frictionless sharing, and we have evidence of this, should drive incremental referrals from Facebook back to the website or the application within Facebook.
Ad Age : What's a good, early example of media smartly leveraging the Open Graph?
Mr. Mitchell:We launched with a very limited number of partners at F8; more are poised to launch with the launch of Timelines in the coming weeks. In the news space in particular, we have four launch partners: Yahoo News, The Washington Post, The Guardian and The Daily. Obviously we are not in a position to announce any results from our partners, but The Guardian did announce that right at the one-month mark they had 1 million installs of their application.
The thing that 's the most exciting about the Open Graph is how open it truly is , and how much innovation we expect from media in general based on Open Graph integrations with media content. The partners that launched with us at F8 certainly have pushed the ball forward in a significant and meaningful way. That said, I think it's fair to say that 's the tip of the iceberg.
Ad Age : What's one thing media companies should do with Facebook that we haven't seen much of yet?
Mr. Mitchell: There are some really big and exciting ideas based on Open Graph implementation that are possible and we're really excited to see. The more social our partners are, the more successful they're going to be. If you look at what our launch partners have done and how they've put social first within their applications, ultimately that is going to deliver the most significant results. Because ultimately Facebook is a discovery platform through the lens of your friends.