With WSJ Social, the Journal is purposely “navigating the content within the app around people,” Baratz told me, and making “every user an editor”; the app, in large part, she says, is about “elevating the role of people as curators of content.” The end result: “When you walk into the app, you have this very curated publication,” Baratz says — one that could, if done right, provide users with a nice mix of personalization and serendipity.
There’s a competitive element to the app, as well. WSJ Social ranks each of the app’s user-editors on a leaderboard according to the number of people that have added those editors to their editor lists. The plan is to reward top editors over time — the reward after the first month being, potentially, a WSJ stipple portrait of the winners. “We really want to show that it’s not a game,” Baratz says. “We really think that these people are curators,” doing important distributive work that, at scale, could prove immensely valuable to the WSJ — and prizes are meant to acknowledge that.