At my request, HuffPo supplied some details: Facebook referral traffic is up 48 percent since the launch—and the already-heavy volume of comments jumped to 2.2 million from 1.7 million in July. Fifteen percent of HuffPo comments now come from Facebook. In September, Facebook referrals accounted for 3.5 million visits, up 190 percent from June and 500 percent from January. Those numbers continue to build, according to HuffPo’s internal stats.
“Our idea is not complicated: itâ€™s campaign reporting by a great many more people than would ever fit on the bus that the boys (and girls) of the press have famously gotten on and off every four years, as they try to cover the race for president.”
In other words, instead of just one or two reporters trailing John Edwards or Rudy Giuliani or whoever, the idea is to have dozens of people tracking different parts of each campaign, filing to blogs and stories and other formats, and then aggregating all of that and editing it and posting the best of it somewhere like Huffington Post.
Arianna Huffington’s post on the new venture is here. As she describes it:
“We are recruiting large groups of citizen journalists from around the country to cover the major presidential candidates. Each of these volunteer reporter/bloggers will contribute to a candidate-specific group blog — offering written updates, campaign tidbits, on-the-scene observations, photos, or original video.”
Ms. Huffington says that this is “the wisdom of crowds hits the campaign trail,” and that hopefully such a venture will avoid the kind of group-think reporting that the mainstream media can become guilty of at times, adding that “Exhibit A is, and will always be, the press’ shameful lack of questioning during the run-up to the war in Iraq.”