In a move to compete with Twitter, the popular social media platform for up-to-the-minute information, Facebook released the Notify app last month. Similar to other news aggregating options such as Google News and Apple’s News app, Notify pulls headlines and tidbits from your choice of sources and pushes them straight to your iPhone’s lock screen.
Yes, only iPhone users in the US can utilize this new app, which I find an interesting choice upon launch. Given the global reach of Facebook, I expect more diverse options for using their products.
Another surprising limitation—or perhaps not so surprising to some—is the limit of sources. Rather than allowing you to add any RSS feed of your choice to Notify, like you might with newsfeed apps such as Feedly, Facebook has culled approximately 70 options ranging from major news networks and sports channels to travel companies, pop culture magazines and entertainment sites like Bandsintown.
Once you’ve chosen which sites can shoot headlines your way, Notify provides you a straightforward news feed of headlines and short snippets of information—much like a Twitter feed. The app also sends real-time notifications through to your iPhone’s lock screen.
The reviews I’ve read show that this feature is perhaps the make or break point. Having live updates, especially for breaking news like the recent Paris attacks or scores throughout a championship game, is a boon to consumers.
But the constant updates can be both overwhelming and untimely, such as when you’re getting pinged at 3 a.m. with Buzzfeed’s latest collection of 20 new ways to make mac and cheese in the microwave. If your company is one of the lucky ones chosen by Facebook to broadcast on Notify, take note that your mission of regular updates doesn’t become a constant, nagging thumping on the forehead of your subscribers.
If you’re a news junkie or searching to quell your social media news-hopping with a single app, you may find Notify useful. For the everyday user, however, the volume of notifications can easily become overwhelming, encouraging one to hit unsubscribe or delete the app as a whole.
Have you downloaded Facebook’s Notify? Did you find it useful or annoying? Let us know in the comments!
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Harvin Bedenbaugh—Content Writer/Editor