Monday, November 10, 2014

Facebook cuts down gratuitous posts from news feeds

Facebook is making changes to make it easier for people to winnow their news feeds, keeping some as Friends but not following them, or reducing news content from companies just because they have “liked” them at some point in the past.  The most recent story in Time is here. I guess the term “boring friend” sounds like an oxymoron.  Time has an older story, linked there, indicating that Facebook was concerned that the Timeline “annoys” some users.  
I’m not sure how this would affect users who mainly let their Facebook feed be populated from Twitter, which, because of the 140 character limit, tends to consist just of links and pictures.  Yet I find that this combined use of Facebook and Twitter (which also populates my “doaskdotell” home page) is an efficient way to notify dozens to hundreds of people about major news headlines that they might of missed and that might be important.  Today I did that with president Obama’s video on network neutrality.

I find that followers and friends vary enormously in what they want to see.  Some people want to see only new photos and personal experiences (like trips to interesting places), but other people really do get news through me.  There is no logical way to satisfy all simultaneously. Some news items of a "negative" nature that people should see could drive them away as followers.  So it's hard to be "objective" in partially white-listed social media, as opposed to purely public blogs, sites and books. 
I do find that tweets are often retweeted by people who do not follow me (even MLB players), so tweets and Facebook posts do have quite a bit of non-follower viewing if left public.  Once in a while, snarky answers come (particularly with respect to Ebola, from someone who did not like the behavior of at least one health care worker who did not self-quaratine voluntarily in time). 
Tweets to specific accounts don’t forward; but general tweets do.  Some wind up in my Facebook timeline but not my own news feed, and I haven’t figured that one out!

I do find that page requests and visitor counts (especially new visitors) on both Blogger and Wordpress are highest for truly original content.  That is, a news story where I actually saw it happen, made photos or video, and where there is relatively little major media coverage in comparison to the possible future importance of the story fort many more people  Ability to relate a current story to past events, especially personal history events, even decades ago, tends to add to visitor counts.  It’s not so much specific keywords or titles that draw visitors as is the amount of new material in the story that readers didn’t find elsewhere easily. 
The word for this in the news business is “scoop”.  Yes, that’s a theme in the movie “Nightcrawler”, which I expect to hear AC360 comment on.  (No, I don’t ambulance-chase or drive recklessly to scenes or manipulate evidence.)   Remember the 1950s board game, “Star Reporter”, which had a real “geography”?  Maybe it’s still in the attic somewhere.  

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