No, my friends aren’t driving me crazy. The problem is not their opinions of this weekend’s health care reform vote, nor their envy-inspiring jaunts to Paris and Antigua. In fact, my friends generally keep me sane. The problem is the rest of my news feed. Take a peek:
A two-hour snapshot of climate change news, the consequences of a natural disaster, pesticides, and water issues. Happy happy joy joy.
The truth is, there is a great deal to worry about: overpopulation, climate change, pollution, depleted natural resources, overfishing, poor soil, toxic pretty-much-everything. Because I work with many different clients, I have become a “Fan” of a wide range of news outlets, businesses and organizations on Facebook. And because of the nature of my clients (including a science museum, a wellness portal, a burger joint serving pasture-fed beef, an environmental non-profit, and an emergency preparedness non-profit — several of which appear above) I am constantly fed a diet of articles and other links about food and water issues, climate change, natural disasters and more. In addition, many of my friends have the same concerns that I do, and will often share articles as well.
Of course, it’s not like this news wasn’t available previously. The internet is chock-full of this stuff and has been for years. But until Facebook became a regular part of my life, I didn’t consume news throughout the day. And it certainly wasn’t interspersed with things that I do want to read, such as my friends’ humor, news and opinions. I have never had a good relationship with a portal, a dashboard, an RSS reader or any other structured form of news delivery. (There are relatively few people who actually make RSS work for them in a news reader. Don’t believe me? Check out Forrester Research’s profiling tool. “Collectors” are a relatively rare.)
Today, thanks to Facebook, I read news constantly. And not just any news: curated news from organizations and friends. I am so much more informed than I ever was.
I’m sure I am not the only person to experience this. Facebook is a very different sort of distribution channel than we have experienced in the past. The only times that I go directly to a news channel is when I follow a link from Facebook. (Or occasionally Twitter, but Facebook, with its longer posts, images, and videos, is more likely to compel me to click.)
Because I use Facebook so heavily in this way, I have taken the time to review which pages show up in my feed. The tools are basic, but usable. The result: News tailored to me. Which is now making me miserable because I wish I could ignore it. I think I need to find some more upbeat Pages to add to my Feed.