May 7, 2012 at 2:17 pm

‘Forced’ Sharing Works for Listening to Music, but Maybe Not Reading the News

washington post reader social facebookThe Washington Post is in bad shape, and its social reader app, which spams your Facebook friends with the fact that you just read an article about Kim Kardashian’s latest hangnail atrocity, isn’t helping.

As noted by Forbes, usage of the Washington Post Social Reader plummeted over the last 30 days from 17.4 million to 9.2 monthly active users according to AppData — presumably because more people are learning the trick depicted here, which is quite useful to those of us who don’t want our reading activity on Yahoo, WaPo, and other social readers shared automatically on Facebook.

“Forced sharing is doomed,” observed Tomahawk developer and chief product officer Jason Herskowitz in response to Forbes’ story on Twitter.

However, “forced” sharing of music seems to be doing just fine, unless you’re Grooveshark, which appears to have been velvet-roped out of Facebook’s global sharing-fest.

For example, Spotify’s chart experienced hockey stick-style growth after integration with Facebook. It’s still going strong today, during the same period in which WaPo suffered this big decline:

spotify facebook forced sharing

Meanwhile, MOG also put up solid numbers following Facebook integration. And most recently, Deezer’s newfound ability to share listening habits to Facebook automatically exploded its usage too.

Social sharing is one thing: You take an action, and Facebook reports that action to your friends.

However, reading is not listening. News is not music.

According to the same source Forbes uses to imply that Washington Post is doomed because it forces people to share their reading habits on Facebook, music services have measurably benefited from people sharing what they hear.

  • J Herskowitz

    I think there is an important distinction about whether the app adds any of it’s own value. I’d argue forcing users to share their behavior for reading and watching freely available content is different than providing a service worth using and then letting users opt-in/out of sharing their activity.

  • Thisiswendyday

    Maybe the difference is that music fans tend to skew younger (13-25) while WaPo readers are much older. Perhaps it’s youth that could give a hang about their habits made public, and older folks who have a lower threshold of embarrassment who care about what they’ve read being shared….

  • Matt Dyke

    Spotify has a private listening mode…so you can listen to ‘cheese’ without the embarrassment of your friends seeing it. News apps just share whether you like it or not…which can be much more embarrassing/revealing about what you are actually reading (Kim Kardashian? or Mayoral election race?).