What would happen if you owned a newspaper but you asked your readers to do the distribution for you? The Washington Post has implemented the Social Graph from Facebook:

Use your Facebook network on the Post Web site

Note to readers:

Today you will find a new home page feature, at the top right, that allows you to create a more personalized, social way to experience the news. We call it Network News.

The new box highlights the washingtonpost.com articles, photos, blogs and other content most popular with Facebook users, who click a “Like” button to indicate their interest. The feature will also allow you to log into Facebook from washingtonpost.com and see what your friends have enjoyed on the Post’s Web site. Similarly, if you are already logged into Facebook and visit washingtonpost.com, you will instantly see your friends’ recommendations.

If you want to know more about how Network News works, clickĀ here and click on the tab that says “About.”

Want to Opt Out?

By logging out of Facebook when on washingtonpost.com or when on washingtonpost.com via Facebook Connect, you won’t see any of your or your friends’ activity on our site. You will still see the module showing which Washington Post stories are being shared on Facebook.

For those of you who don’t want Network News, we are also working on a clear opt-out feature that will be in place soon.

This is just the first phase of Network News. Look for more developments in the coming weeks. And let us know what you think.

— Raju Narisetti, managing editor (NarisettiR@washpost.com)

This is why “Like” is different from “Fan”. The connection is happening off the Facebook Page on the newspaper’s own site. It’s like having Facebook’s “Posted Notes/Links” spread all over the internet.

Though of course, it does appear on Facebook as well (on the wall, “the Face of Social News comment I made on Washington Post):

Forget my leaving a Digital Footprint on the ‘net – more like Digital Hobnail Boots šŸ˜› Wonder what Murdoch and his paywalls thinks of all these changes, hmm?