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New ‘like’ features on independent.co.uk. The Independent uses Facebook ‘likes’ to create custom topic feeds. ReadWriteWeb The Independent news site in the U.K. has begun using Facebook’s recommendation tools to push customized content to its readers’ news feeds.

The Independent uses Facebook ‘likes’ to create custom topic feeds

Marshall Kirkpatrick reports that the strategy involves attaching the recommendation button to specific authors and topics: “Instead of just ‘liking’ the entire site and getting all its articles pushed to your Facebook newsfeed, you can now limit your like to particular authors and some topics on the site. I just subscribed to trailblazing journalist Robert Fisk’s Independent articles on Facebook. This might seem like a small change – but it’s not. Media sites all over the web are sure to implement this kind of feature soon.” Facebook’s “like” button, which can be changed to “recommend,” has become ubiquitous on media sites recently, including Poynter.org. The use of the feature to provide custom feeds is not new, however.

How The Independent uses Facebook “Likes” to push specialized content to readers. Robert Fisk, the Middle East correspondent for The Independent in the United Kingdom, is surging in popularity on Facebook, with more than 13,000 “Likes” since mid-January.

How The Independent uses Facebook “Likes” to push specialized content to readers

In comparison, the publication’s primary account has garnered about 39,000 “Likes” in about a year. What’s behind Fisk’s recent rise? Two things: lots of news in the Middle East and an effort by The Independent to use the Facebook “Like” button to push specialized content to users. According to The Independent’s Digital Media Editor Jack Riley, Fisk’s popularity shows that consumers’ loyalty to publications may be waning, but their desire to find specific types of news is strong, if not growing. Riley argues that readers do associate types of coverage with brand names.

How The New York Times Is Incorporating Social & Algorithmic Recommendations. The New York Times released Thursday a finished version of the Recommendations platform it quietly introduced in beta in late January.

How The New York Times Is Incorporating Social & Algorithmic Recommendations

Available at nytimes.com/recommendations and on the "Recommended For You" tab on article pages, the tool is designed to help logged-in readers “see through the news fog,” as NYT lead technology reporter Nick Bilton put it. It serves up recommended stories based upon the kinds of articles visitors have read. "We wanted to make the site more engaging, to expose content to our readers on a more customized, personalized basis — and not customized in the way you select your topics like a My Yahoo or iGoogle, but more of a passive personalization," Marc Frons, CTO of The New York Times, explains.

"We created an algorithm that exposes users to content they may not have seen otherwise," he adds. The algorithm is one of the most sophisticated we've seen on a news site. Mashable, tackling info overload, launches a Follow function keyed to user networks and interests. Mashable currently boasts 12 million unique visitors per month — making the social media-focused news site the largest independent tech news site on the web.

Mashable, tackling info overload, launches a Follow function keyed to user networks and interests

It churns out huge quantities of stories, every day. And while that’s great for the site — not to mention its 3.4 million followers, spread across the Internet’s social networks — it also creates what you might call a nice problem to have: How do you scale in a way that doesn’t overwhelm your readers? How do you serve tons of users with tons of content — without contributing, at the same time, to information overload? Today, Mashable is launching, in closed beta, its response to those questions: Mashable Follow, a new social layer intended to help users personalize their experience on the site. New York Times Launches TimesPeople Social Networking Site « Mashable. The New York Times is launching the public beta of its TimesPeople social network this evening, an offering we first reviewed earlier this summer.

New York Times Launches TimesPeople Social Networking Site « Mashable

In the morning, readers of the NYTimes.com will see a new toolbar at the top of the home page and most NYTimes pages. They'll be able to register and join TimesPeople for free and start sharing recommendations and comments with fellow Times readers immediately. They'll also be able to view public activities of other members. Users will also be able to share ratings and reviews of movies, Broadway shows, restaurants and more. Here's the member's home page where you will see a live feed of activities by TimesPeople members and what they're sharing and saying: All members will have profile pages which will show their public activities as well as the activities of other network members and lists of people they follow and those that follow them just like on Twitter.

How Media Will Relate to Facebook in the Future. All media will be personalized in three to five years, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in September.

How Media Will Relate to Facebook in the Future

One of the ways that's likely to happen everywhere just appeared on the UK Independent. The site announced last night that it now offers granular subscriptions by Facebook. Instead of just "Liking" the entire site and getting all its articles pushed to your Facebook newsfeed, you can now limit your Like to particular authors and some topics on the site. I just subscribed to trailblazing journalist Robert Fisk's Independent articles on Facebook. This might seem like a small change - but it's not. With now over 600 million users, Facebook has succeeded in connecting people to the world in ways that RSS readers aimed to and failed.

It's clear though that Facebook has come up with a winning formula: emphasis on effective user experience, easy and meaningful social interaction, casual gaming and multi-media reading and writing, not just subscription like Google Reader offers. Rob Fishman: Stories You Might Like: Join Our Beta Program to Test HuffPost Recommendations. In 2009, we announced HuffPost Social News — "a collaboration with Facebook that connects HuffPost users to their Facebook friends, the news they are reading, and the stories they are commenting on," as Arianna wrote then.

Rob Fishman: Stories You Might Like: Join Our Beta Program to Test HuffPost Recommendations

The past year has seen that vision realized — and then some. Reading the news is no longer a solitary experience. Today, news is shared and social. If you want proof, look to the past few weeks: There was Aaron Sorkin's blog post about Sarah Palin's Alaska, which garnered nearly 100,000 Likes on Facebook; a news story on a possible cure for HIV that brought in over 300,000 readers from Twitter; and Michael Moore posting bail for Julian Assange, which saw 30,000 Likes and Facebook shares. Not to mention HuffPost's Facebook page (with 187,000 fans and growing) and our Twitter page (nearing 775,000 followers). Suffice it to say, Social News is big and getting bigger. Stories You Might Like Then, click here to try it out!

How do we compute such things? HuffPost Beta. Many Huffington Post Readers Hate Site's New Facebook-Powered Recommendation Engine. The giant online publisher and aggregator Huffington Post began experimenting with a new content recommendation engine today, powered by Facebook and built by AdaptiveSemantics, the startup the company acquired last June.

Many Huffington Post Readers Hate Site's New Facebook-Powered Recommendation Engine

The feature uses the "Liked" Pages and shared articles of logged-in Facebook users who visit the Post to recommend recent content from across its wide swath of articles. It looks like a good and relatively simple feature. Surprisingly, HuffPo readers responding in comments on the announcement absolutely hate it! The feature sounds simple, but is a great example of the power of Facebook: the social network is not just a tool for publishers to push content onto, to increase distribution and pageviews, Facebook Connect is also a form of data portability that allows 3rd party websites to offer personalized content to their visitors.

Introducing Mashable Follow, Our New Social Layer Mashable. We're excited to announce today the beta launch of a new social layer we call Mashable Follow.

Introducing Mashable Follow, Our New Social Layer Mashable

This project is the start of a significant shift for Mashable in 2011, as we evolve from being a purely editor-driven news site to becoming a true news community that seeks to engage our readers in the news process. ‘Mashable Follow’ focuses on power users with curation, sharing tools. Considering that Mashable stories are retweeted 40,000 times a day and shared on Facebook with the same frequency each week, the people at Mashable understand that their success depends on social media.

‘Mashable Follow’ focuses on power users with curation, sharing tools

On Tuesday, the social and digital media news site launched a new “social layer,” Mashable Follow, aimed at helping users find and share Mashable content that is most interesting to them. The tools enable readers to curate their news streams by selecting topics and people of interest to follow within the site. In themselves, these features aren’t groundbreaking. However, what strikes me is who would get the most out of these features — power users. Such users would be interested in being able to efficiently traverse the site’s content, which has grown in volume and diversity. I picked up on this when Vadim Lavrusik, Mashable’s community manager and social media strategist, told me that success will be measured by the number of active users, not just how many sign up.

Tags: Mashable.