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CNN and Facebook create the next great news-watching experience

There’s no shortage of post-Inaugural commentary available on the web today. So I’ll keep this short.

But I have to say that the CNN/Facebook integration absolutely rocked. Look at this:

On the left, had my workplace’s network not been jammed with other streams, you’d see CNN’s coverage. On the right, though, is where the magic happens. Those are my Facebook friends, talking about what’s happening live.

Yes, chat has been done before. And, yes, live streaming video has become commonplace. But the combination of the live stream and my personal friendstream seems to me to be a real leap forward.

Recently, David Carr got a lot of attention for suggesting newspapers need an iTunes of their own. In his case, he was speaking of Apple’s ability to get web users to pay for content, a topic which has presented an obstacle for traditional news operations. But I think this is a far more profound iTunes/iPod Moment right here in that CNN, like Apple does so well, hasn’t really created anything new, but given us an easy-to-use tool that presents existing ideas in new and surprising ways.

There are no instructions needed. You see an event happening. You see your friends. You know what to do, and you dive right in.

What do you think? Did any news organization raise the bar higher than CNN did with this brilliant mashup of Facebook and their live stream?

UPDATE: C.C. Chapman posted a video about this during the event yesterday. “Do you see that? That’s the world changing right there.”

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  • Joshua Benton

    That was pretty great — I followed that same feed during the parade (when it seemed no longer tenable to sit in front of a TV during work hours) and thought the integration was spot on.

    If the NFL ever gets around to offering live-streaming of their games online, that’s another environment where something like this might work. I wonder, though, how dependent it is on having a truly HUGE, Obama-sized audience — I wonder if it would work with anything smaller than a presidential inauguration/debate/convention.

  • Zach Seward

    Josh, Tim: I think it could work fine with even the smallest audiences if the feed were integrated with other services like Google Talk, AIM, and Skype. People “mash up” those chat programs with their TV watching all the time, and I’d certainly appreciate an elegant interface that put it all in one spot.

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