NEW YORK—Magazine publishers thinking they can build their own mini-Facebooks to tap the social networking buzz should stop now, says Owen Van Natta, Facebook’s chief revenue officer.
His reason? Your audience already uses Facebook and isn’t going to migrate to your site. “I’m here to argue that will never happen,” Van Natta during a slightly contentious keynote interview at the Magazine Publishers of America’s Magazines 24/7 event today in Manhattan.
“Magazines should figure out how to get their dialogue to happen at their place of presence on the Web,” said Van Natta. “Through message boards, e-mail and online conversations, Facebook is an aggregation of real dialogue among people.”
While newspapers and bloggers have so far been “forward-leaning” in creating Facebook applications, magazines are now just catching on. “It’s been a challenge for magazines to figure out how to take their brands to where the online communities are happening,” Van Natta said. “It’s a no-brainer. Sites like Facebook help magazines engage with their readers, get new readers attracted to your content and even create buzz about their events.”
According to Van Natta, social networking sites are initiating a “socialization of the Web,” and creating an undeniable need for magazines to take advantage of their massive communities.
“Facebook has an intersection with peoples’ real-world lives. It’s authentic and that’s what people like,’ said Van Natta. “Having a presence on Facebook is a great way not only to increase your information flow, and find new readers, but to do it in a way that leverages an applied endorsement of products that you want to associate with.”
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