The Wall Street Journal has unveiled WSJ Social Beta, a new way to consume news on Facebook. The effort from the News Corp. paper provides users full access to Journal articles within the walls of Facebook, along with the Journal's own advertising. The basic idea of WSJ Social is to create a curated news experience where you read articles recommended by others, as well as provide an easy way to read and share news with your friends. The effort also appears to fall in line with Facebook's rumored strategy of including more original content such as music and video within the site. The social network's original content plans are expected to be unveiled Thursday during the company's F8 developer conference.
WSJ Social is available for free for a limited time thanks to launch sponsorship partners that include Dell and Intel. Users can try it out by logging in to Facebook and then visiting social.wsj.com, which will redirect you to the new app.
Here's a look at WSJ Social Beta.
As with any Facebook app, you first have to sign off and agree to allow WSJ Social to access your Facebook information. The newspaper asks for access to your basic information and the ability to send you e-mails, post to your wall and access your data.
When you first land on WSJ Social, you will see news stories organized into tiles that include a headline and photo, as well as the number of likes and Facebook comments the story has already received. WSJ Social calls this collection of stories your latest news feed, and should not be confused with your regular Facebook news feed where you see likes and shares from your Facebook friends. The stories you see in WSJ Social are not based on the WSJ's top headlines for that day, but on the Facebook likes of other Journal readers.
This is where the social aspect comes in, as your WSJ Social experience and the stories you see depends on the likes of other readers (WSJ Social calls them editors) who you choose to subscribe to. When you open the app for the first time you are automatically subscribed to The Wall Street Journal's default editors and you will see everything this group has liked. Other people can also add you as an editor, meaning they will see your Facebook likes of Journal stories.
When you use WSJ Social, you are both an editor and a reader, which is similar to Twitter's idea of having followers and following the tweets of others. On WSJ Social, anyone who chooses to follow you as an editor will see a stream of stories based on your Facebook likes (just commenting on a story won't cut it). And anytime you choose to follow an editor (including anyone on Facebook who uses the app, not just your friends), you will be able to see the stories that person has liked.
You can choose to view stories in your WSJ Social news feed based on the likes of all your editors at once, or you can view the specific likes of one editor at a time. Once you subscribe to an editor you become their reader.