WSJ launching social network

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The Wall Street Journal’s owners, News Corporation, is poised to launch its own social network in the near future.  This “platform for like-minded people to meet online and share ideas” was described in the Times of London.  Think of it as a LinkedIn for economics and finance.

The network is meant to complement the portfolio management hub WSJ Portfolio, which is a sort of one-stop aggregate for a person’s accounts that also feeds in headlines from the WSJ and Barron’s.  The new addition will add a social network-type “friends” list to WSJ Profile that links Dow Jones customers together in a discussion, forum-style, linked to investments.  An instant messaging and other private communications services will also be included.

It will work in a way similar to Facebook, in that each investment will have the option to open a discussion thread of investors. Users can then comment or talk about trends, analysis, or whatever they’d like, though it’s intended to stay professional.  They can also IM privately and participation or responding to posts is fully voluntary.

Obviously, these will be used to also drive advertising at users, just as the current WSJ Profile does, though News Corp hasn’t said much about how that will work.  The most obvious would be to include targeted ads in investment threads, but that would only be guessing.

Given the caliber of commentators on WSJ stories online, though, it will be interesting to see how well this new network works out.  If the WSJ can keep it narrow enough to only include actual investors, it may have a chance.

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