WSJ.com to go social

Posted on September 15, 2008 
Filed Under Journalism, Social Media

 

AP’s Anick Jesdanun writes that WSJ.com will start its own social network from scratch.  

“We believe that in the future, social networks are going to be an important means of distributing content and of spreading news, and we want to be a part of those networks,” says Alan Murray, a deputy managing editor.

The new “Journal Community” launches Tuesday for paying subscribers to create and share personal profile pages with their real names, job details, interests and photos, similar to services at Facebook and LinkedIn.  The Journal plans to open the social-networking features to nonpaying visitors in future.

The AP report states that only 5 percent of the site’s users are currently paying subscribers. Latest ccomScore stats says WSJ.com had 4.7 million visitors in July, nearly twice July 2007’s total of 2.4 million.

One wonders whether WSJ.com’s cautious approach, aiming for such a small pool of “well-heeled executives” will gain any traction. 

WSJ.com hopes that its insistence that users post their real names — verified against their subscription info — will  “increase the quality of discussions.” That seems highly unlikely.

Mixing free and paying within the same site is always a pain for navigation. 

Free users —  frustrated too often by clicking into restricted areas — will eventually exclude the site from their most frequently visited list.

Paying subscribers who already social network-savvy may find the walled garden too claustrophobic.

MORE.

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