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Should Journalists Be Using Pheed?

I’m going to confess right off the bat that I’m mega late to the party on this one, but it’s true — I’m just now discovering Pheed.

Oh, you’re late to the social media app party, too? I’ll fill you in — Pheed is a website/app that lets users offer quality content to subscribers for a fee (anywhere from $1.99 to $34.99, per view or month, if they so choose) and operates as a social network that essentially marries all the functions of Facebook, Instagram/Vine, Twitter and YouTube.

Or, as one iTunes app reviewer wrote so eloquently, “It does everything, if Twitter, Insta(gram) [and] Facebook had three kids, this would be the hot young one that’s the prom queen!” So there ya go.

Pheed, which is free to join, is coming up on its one-year anniversary. An ambitious startup launched out of LA in October 2012 to rival the most popular social networks on the scene, the tool allows users to post all types of digital content — audio clips, video, bits of text and photos — to their individual channels. Like Twitter, you have the option to follow, or “Love” your favorite Pheed profiles. (You can read a piece in which Forbes asked whether Pheed is the “new Twitter” here; for whatever my opinion is worth, I don’t think we have an answer yet).

There has already been talk about Pheed’s favor among teenagers and certain celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, but I’m a little surprised at how Pheed hasn’t caught on among journalists and news organizations. I consider myself pretty “with it,” and I hadn’t heard of the thing until a few weeks ago.

Even perusing “popular” users and using the hashtags #news and #journalism to search, I couldn’t find any significant number of verified accounts from popular publications. I did happen upon a social media editor at ABC News (what else would you expect from a social media editor?) whose Pheed was quite active. He uses his Pheed for sharing valuable information in addition to relatively inconsequential text-centered posts, in the same way news org executives might tweet breaking news right above a tweet detailing that morning’s breakfast menu. This particular user offers his “content” for free to his subscribers.

Let’s assume you, the journalist, already have a built-in Pheed audience. Your thousands of loyal Twitter followers magically become your Pheed “lovers.” Would you use Pheed over Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Vine, or in addition to those networks? I could see it being a unique way to connect local readers, especially, to news as it’s unfolding. With Pheed, you can post live broadcasts as well as videos and photos, so with one app, you’ve got the capability to tell the story from several angles. Being accurate and efficient in breaking news isn’t enough — it’s gotta be interesting. Pheed might be one more way to provide readers with compelling, easily consumable content in all forms, plus it has the same viral potential that Twitter, Vine and Instagram have.

Would you/should you feel comfortable charging for your Pheed’s content? Would say, the New York Times be right to charge Pheed subscribers for exclusive video or audio that regular site visitors didn’t have access to? Or is Pheed more for promoting/sharing the content of independent bloggers, rather than big media players?

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