Journalism, Social Media

How Newsy Is The News Feed?

The Facebook News Feed, a stream of links, curated algorithmically, has become a veritable home page of a website. Or, if you care for the newspaper analogy, then its front page. Lately, it’s what’s driving traffic to websites, nearly thrice as much as Google Search is.

But much of what appears there isn’t “news.” It’s an assortment of evergreen” stories (with tell-tale headlines, typically, preceded by a number) and photographs that are flippant, mawkish, or dippy. Twitter is somewhat better in this regard, for we do encounter content that’s somewhat “newsish.

A review of the top 20 viral content of 2013 indicates that the bulk of it is journalistic chaff.

  1. How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk | NYT
  2. Two Years After She Passed Away, A Woman Gives Her Family An Unforgettable Christmas | BuzzFeed
  3. It’s Thanksgiving So We Asked Brits To Label The United States—We’re So Sorry, America | BuzzFeed
  4. 30 Signs You’re Almost 30 | BuzzFeed
  5. Guy Brings His White Girlfriend To Barbershop And Gets Hated On | eBaum’sWorld
  6. A Lot Of People Are Very Upset That An Indian-American Woman Won The Miss America Pageant | BuzzFeed
  7. Is This The Most Embarrassing Interview Fox News Has Ever Done? | BuzzFeed
  8. 27 Shocking And Unexpected Facts You Learn In Your Twenties | BuzzFeed
  9. Why Is Netflix Secretly Cropping Movies? | Flavorwire
  10. What Happens If You Text Your Parents Pretending To Be A Drug Dealer? | BuzzFeed
  11. 8 Foods We Eat In The U.S. That Are Banned In Other Countries | BuzzFeed
  12. 10 Old Fashioned Dating Habits We Should Make Cool Again | Thought Catalog
  13. 27 Surreal Places To Visit Before You Die | BuzzFeed
  14. 22 Things Miley Cyrus Looked Like At The 2013 VMAs | BuzzFeed
  15. 24 Photos You Need To Really Look At To Understand | BuzzFeed
  16. 17 Things That Happen When You’ve Been Friends With Someone For, Literally, Ever | Thought Catalog
  17. The 13 Creepiest Things A Child Has Ever Said To A Parent | BuzzFeed
  18. 37 Things You’ll Regret When You’re Old | BuzzFeed
  19. 50 Things That Look Just Like Your Childhood | BuzzFeed
  20. 18 Everyday Products You’ve Been Using Wrong | BuzzFeed

People who enjoy reading the “news” aren’t certainly reading it on Facebook. They do it elsewhere. But in defense of network, it may be said that it’s not Facebook that’s creates the News Feed. We do. We make it what we want to make it of it. It’s generated by what our “friends” read and share and what we “Like” and other factors.

So, if we do want to make it truly newsy, then we have to “hide” our most flippant “friends” and follow credible newspapers and magazines.



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