Reclaim Your Newsfeed

Hey there, I’m glad you’ve come across this blog post, because it’s going to be so much more than that. Consider this a PSA – public service announcement – or even call it a movement. I want you all to reclaim your newsfeed. Let me explain.

It’s 6:15pm on a Tuesday evening, I’m on a train coming home from work. I’m scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed when I see a link to a Buzzfeed quiz. Its title reads ‘Make a breakfast burrito and we can correctly guess when your bedtime is’. I feel a mixture of confusion, anger and then shame. This is perhaps the single most stupid sentence I have ever read – and it’s on my newsfeed. But what is it doing there? I don’t follow Buzzfeed, and to be honest, I don’t really want to. I scroll back up a bit to review what I’ve skimmed over throughout my train ride. There are posts from a few pages I follow, some pictures of friends, but most of the content are things my friends have liked or commented on, or posts that are ‘suggested’ for me. Half of the content I’m going over each and every day is stuff I haven’t actively chosen to view. This is when I realise that I’ve lost control of my newsfeed.

This is probably exactly what Facebook wants, right? The less active role we take in choosing what we engage with, the more chances a company like Facebook can dictate the terms of the relationship and the more power they have. There’s mounting discussion that social media is the new opiate of the masses – but it wasn’t always like this. When the internet was shiny and new, you had to actually go out and seek content you were interested in. Upon finally finding a website with a topic of interest, you would bookmark the page and make sure to revisit later to check for any updates or new posts. Fast forward 20 years and we now simply chew through disposable content in a never-ending scrolling newsfeed.

So, again, I’m imploring you all to reclaim your newsfeeds and take a more active role in deciding the content that you engage with through each day. For example;

  • Go directly to a news website to read headlines rather than flick through Facebook or a collated news app
  • Chat about a topic in a dedicated forum rather than the comment section on a social media post
  • Change the settings on Facebook and prioritise relevant pages to appear first

If more people become selective in the content they consume, there are benefits for everyone. From the consumers’ perspective – they will be more engaged in what they read and enjoy that content more. They will feel a better sense of community in finding others with shared interests. Then from a brand and content creators’ perspective, it obviously better to have an engaged group of followers who have actively chosen to engage with them. Their audience will be more relevant, more invested and also valuable. They’ll be more responsive and closer to the brand than through a third-party app.

I guess it’s an argument of quality over quantity – and at The Interpreters, we’re definitely on quality’s side. When it comes to communicating research results, we wouldn’t want the findings to be merely glanced at in an email or have a single statistic used as click bait. We want our clients to have a rich sense of what the results mean to them and their business. We want our data to be valuable, for stakeholders to be engaged, and our recommendations to be relevant.

Furthermore, you won’t find this blog post with a click-bait style title or in your ‘suggested posts’ on LinkedIn. You’ll find it here on The Interpreters’ website, Twitter page and in our newsletter.

And in the end, if Buzzfeed quizzes are your thing, I didn’t mean to offend. In fact, if you love taking inane Buzzfeed quizzes, then celebrate that! But please reclaim your newsfeed, seek them out and complete them on your own terms. I’ll even give you a head start, here are some of the most ridiculous ones I could find:

Choose some potato foods and we’ll reveal if you’re an introvert or extrovert

This fast-food quiz will determine what dog breed you are

Make a fruit and cheese plate, and we’ll guess when you lost your virginity

And seriously, no judgement if you do click through these links, at least Facebook won’t get the pay-per-click revenue…

By James Shelley

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