Social reader plug-ins, which share what articles a user has read online on his or her Facebook feed, have become popular among the major newspapers worldwide, and now The Irish Times has become the first Irish newspaper to jump on the bandwagon.
The Irish Times Social Reader will appear alongside articles on the newspaper’s website. Users can connect with Facebook by entering their details and this will not only document and share what the user is reading but also recommend articles that their friends are reading.
Keeping users’ privacy in mind, the plug-in comes with controls that allow users to decide what is or isn’t shared. “Privacy is of paramount importance to internet users, and we have built it in to The Irish Times Social Reader,” said Dr Johnny Ryan, chief innovation officer at The Irish Times. “The Social Reader has a prominent on/off switch to give users full control of what they share. If they are reading an article that they do not want to share they simply switch sharing off.”
The introduction of the social reader is an effort by the newspaper to reach out to younger, digitally engaged readers, as well as Irish people living and working abroad. “There is a whole new generation of Irish emigrants who are eager to engage with Irish news and current affairs online,” said Ryan. “The Irish Times Social Reader allows them keep up to date with events at home and gives them a forum to participate in discussion as though they are still here.”