By Kevin O'Keefe

New York Times use of Facebook Live is social media at its best


NYT Image

The New York Times’ Liz Spayd (@spaydl) offers her critique of four months of Facebook Live videos from the Times. “A few earned gold medals. Several others finished strong. And a lot should never have made the team.”

Her point being that although some of the live video hit the mark, much of it did not live up to the Times’ standards. On Facebook, Spayd says “The NYT was smart to join up with FB to produce Live video. But it’s time to pause and reboot.”

I follow the Times on Facebook and am friends on Facebook with a good number of the Times’ reporters and editors. I am because of the things the Times has being doing on social media since its Innovation Report 2014 — as well as the quality of its journalism.

The Times’ Facebook live videos I have seen have been pretty good. Far higher quality than I have seen by others.

Even if I didn’t watch the whole video, the fact that the Times was letting its hair down connected with me in a real and authentic way – more likely to keep my subscription, pick up the paper with coffee in the morning and share their stories on Twitter and Facebook.

Watching a Times’ editor, that I am not sure has ever been on video, describe how overnight news has changed forever in the day of social media was wonderful. It caused me to pause and imagine a day at the Times when he first started and how dramatic the change has been in the last twenty or thirty years.

The Times catching David Axelrod in the hallway at the Democratic National Convention for an informal conversation where the reporter and Axelrod were relaxed, laughing and authentic is a view we don’t get of the newsmakers and the people who bring us the news.

Watching a Times’ reporter do her job, including calling a multi-billion company, whose trading on the stock exchange had just been frozen by the SEC for suspect trading, was great stuff. She went on to explain what her next steps were in accessing records (displaying her search on the screen) when she couldn’t get anyone at the company.

Social media is learned by trial and error. People play and have fun. The Times is learning, other media companies and papers are not learning like the Times.

Social media is having your news shared and distributed by those who trust you. Trust is established by hanging out with us – the people hanging out on social media reading and sharing news. Facebook Live, as the Times’ reporters and editors use it, builds trust and makes each of the reporters and editors of Times’ one of us.

Kudos to the Times for using Facebook Live. The last thing the Times and its editors, such as Spayd, should be doing is critiquing its reporters and editors who are learning to use new media and learning to connect with people in a real and authentic way.

Sure, point out what’s good, as Spayd does, and look for opportunities to improve, but give the folks out using Facebook Live a pat on the back. It’s good stuff.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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