The Wall Street Journal announced Sept. 20 the beta launch of WSJ Social, a Facebook news application that allows users to read, share and comment on content within Facebook.
“It’s an app that will live on Facebook,” said Daniel Bernard, digital product chief of the Journal’s digital network, at a launch party Sept. 19.
The app presents a grid of WSJ stories, though some of the slots are occupied by ads. In the left sidebar, users can subscribe to “editors” – who can be WSJ staff or other Facebook members using the app – to customize the story feed. Currently, the stories can be viewed in full for free from within the app. The New York Observer’s Anna Sanders – who was cool enough to be invited to the WSJ Social launch party – reports that the app will go behind a paywall after the first month, despite the fact that it is (heavily) ad-supported.
“Instead of taking the old paradigm of driving traffic to our website and having people go back and fourth, why not create a great useable product and usable experience for someone right inside of Facebook? So that’s the direction we’re heading…it’s fantastic.”
The Facebook app will include a grid-like stream of content from articles and blogs on WSJ.com. Similar to linked materials on Facebook news streams, users can “like,”
“Basically every user of the app is an ‘editor,’” explained Maya Baratz, head of new products at the Journal, at the launch party. She said top editors are going to receive rewards for their activity on WSJ Social.
“We’re very excited for all of you to add the app to your Facebook, start using it and to start that competitive set to become one of our top editors,” Mr. Bernard said.
After the announcement, Mr. Bernard and Ms. Baratz joked that they’d become pretty competitive vying for a top editor position on WSJ Social.