Bringing social to Independent.co.uk
‘Do you remember where you were when…?’: So begins the recognised way of collectively recollecting the great news events of our time. But an equally important question, and one to which I imagine we’d answer with similar reliability, is ‘Do you remember who you were with when…?’. Most of us can recall with whom we witnessed, heard or read about momentous events in our lives just as accurately as we recall the location.
Which is my round-about way of introducing some new features we’ve been testing to make social experiences a more central part of independent.co.uk. As of this week, in the top right corner of each article page (not yet on the blogs) you’ll see a recommend button, with a count of how many of your fellow readers have recommended a story. The button is powered by Facebook, which means that if you’re logged into your account you’ll also see which of your friends, if any, have recommended a story. We’re also trialling a box on the front of the site and on some article pages which pulls in your Facebook friends’ interactions with stories across the Independent site.
There’s a Tweetmeme counter, indicating how many times a story has been linked to on Twitter, as well as a button to retweet it yourself (with one of our natty custom URLS no less). For users of Digg, we have a submission and counter button for you too. And finally, there’s a comment counter which links down to the Disqus comments at the foot of the page.
With more than 24 million active Facebook accounts in this country and over seven million Independent.co.uk readers in the UK last month, we’re following your lead in adopting some of Facebook’s functionality for the site. And, as Facebook have pointed out, we’re the first major newspaper site in the UK to utilise the recommend buttons, as well as being the first (and not the last) to roll-out Disqus to let you comment on our stories using your Facebook or Twitter (or Disqus, or Yahoo, or Open ID…) profiles also. Crucially, everything is opt-in, and if you’re not a social network user you should see no serious effect on how you use the site. But we’re aware that its difficult to overestimate the importance of social media in the ongoing news revolution, and we want to be as much a part of that as possible. As we do so, all feedback is greatly appreciated; feel free to leave a comment below, tweet one to me @_JackRiley, or even send a good old-fashioned email to j.riley [at] independent.co.uk.
And one more thing… we’re also now available now on the UK Kindle store, at a very reasonable subscription price and with a free two-week trial period.
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