Readers of Buzzfeed and/or The Boston Globe can now enjoy a more personalized reading experience. If you’ve got an iPhone, that is.
Last week Buzzfeed announced an updated version of its iOS app (Android to follow), which allows users to completely customize what headlines they see upon opening the app. Because we all need another way to
waste time consume news, Buzzfeed wants avid news readers to determine our nonsense to substantive news ratio to make the process more efficient. So, your custom news feed might contain a wealth of stories about New Jersey politics (since Buzzfeed has increasingly become a source of balanced, original reporting) or, perhaps, 90s boy band lyrics (for those of us who prefer mindless entertainment while waiting in line for coffee).
The Boston Globe did something similar with its iPhone app, launching a customizing feature June 21. The Globe‘s executive director for emerging products Michael Manning explained it like this: “We know that readers want to stay on top of topics they care about, whether that’s the Red Sox, local politics, national news or entertainment. The new Boston Globe app lets the reader decide what news takes priority.”
Manning says the homepage will be a hub of all the reader’s preferred topics and sections, with an “infinite” number of relevant stories available.
It’s good timing for this rise in personalization of news consumption, too, since Google Reader was laid to rest yesterday.
Though writer Jeff John Roberts says personalized news feeds on apps may not have an earth-shattering outcome since the majority of people still get their news from websites rather than apps, that number may change as news organizations continue to develop more options for personalization on mobile devices.