Mike Isaac

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The Washington Post Taps Socialcam for Summer Olympics Coverage

In a partnership for the coming Summer Olympic games in London, the Washington Post will work with the makers of Socialcam, the mobile video-capturing application currently circulating widely across Facebook.

The app — which allows users to capture and upload video to share with friends across social networks — will be on the iPhones of official WaPo reporters on-site, who will use Socialcam to record spot interviews and live footage of on-the-ground events. Further, WaPo also extends that invite to the average Olympic Games attendee; users who shoot video using the app may see their footage appear on “London Eyes,” the Post’s official site created for the event. (Editors, of course, will have carte blanche as to what footage is suitable to show up on the site.)

This isn’t the first time WaPo has tried going social. At last year’s Facebook F8 conference, the company launched Washington Post Social Reader, a Facebook application that allows for reading WaPo articles from inside of Facebook, while the reading activity shows up across the site in others’ News Feeds. The app, and others like it, was initially widely used due to its heavy News Feed distribution, though it has tamped down in recent months.

But the boost in readership has most likely proved encouraging to the ailing publication. Aside from massive newsroom cuts, Social Reader has been the Washington Post Company’s boldest attempt to clamp the flow of cash hemorrhaging from its coffers over the past few years. Monetization is still foggy — the app lets readers view WaPo articles from inside of Facebook, not requiring a redirection and link out to the Post’s own, ad-serving site — but an increased readership for WaPo-branded content could, at the very least, raise brand awareness enough to direct users to the Post’s site.

So a partnership with an app like Socialcam — which has exploded in popularity over a relatively short period of time — makes some sense, especially as the traffic tide for Social Reader begins to subside. The Post can stick more branded content in the faces of Socialcam watchers, while surfing the high-riding wave of sharing across Facebook that Socialcam currently enjoys.

Expect “London Eyes” to launch in mid-July, and to run throughout the remainder of the summer.

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