The Shocking Success Of The New Yorker’s Facebook ‘Like’ Campaign

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The New Yorker hid a story by Jonathan Franzen about David Foster Wallace behind a Facebook “Like” wall.

The result: An impressive social media success story.

The magazine’s Facebook page gained 17,209 likes between the posting of the story and the time they took it down on Monday morning — about 1,200 more than the 16,000 figure reported elsewhere.

But the success goes beyond the 17,000+ Facebook likes.

The story — or more accurately, the story about the story — resonated in the media cycle far more than a typical New Yorker article.

Outlets from Mashable and Time‘s Techland to Forbes and The Atlantic wrote about the strategy. The plan itself was not new, but using an article written by Franzen about DFW was a masterstroke to appeal to the Facebook set.

ForbesMichael Humphrey summed it up best: “As Mashable pointed out yesterday, this technique is nothing new to the music industry and even Self magazine tried it recently. But they didn’t have one of the greatest writers of this generation writing about, perhaps, the great writer of this generation. A man whose last hours before suicide were apparently spent writing notes to prepare a final book, which is out this month. So it made the news yesterday.”

The result was that The New Yorker — not exactly known for its wonderful Web practices — received a lot of attention to the story as well as its social media efforts.

According to the magazine, as of Tuesday morning there were almost 100 million press impressions on the campaign and 3,354 tweets about the topic.

David Remnick has to “like” those figures.