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On reaching readers directly with push notifications


"Well there are at least two ways in which these push notifications have been crucial, especially for organizations that specialize in hard news, breaking news. One is that the economy of online news uses attention as a currency. So anything you can do to get people's attention and to get their eyes on your site is going to drive your business. And the second is that just getting people to click on your stories or just getting people's eyes on your site when you have a particularly sensational headline or a provocative tweet or Facebook post is not enough because what these platforms like Facebook and Twitter have done is to untether the headlines you see from their source, right? So you see the headlines in your Facebook feed, but who they're coming from, what news organization those headlines are coming from is — you know, that's not the first thing you see. And so you click the headline rather than selecting your source, as you used to do in the print days. You know, you would buy the Times or the Post and then read whatever headlines they had. And the issue for the media companies has been that that has eroded their direct connection with readers. They now are reaching readers via these intermediaries and their algorithms. Push notifications restore a little bit of that direct connection with readers because if readers turn on push alerts from your publication on their phone, all of a sudden you have a direct line to them that skips the Facebook and Twitter algorithms, and so you can finally reach them again with stuff your editors think is important, rather than just whatever headline happens to surface in their social feeds."

On whether these notifications lead to an unnecessary level of stress

"Yeah, and I think anybody who's feeling that might want to consider doing ... the same thing I do: By default, I turn off all my push notifications, and then I can sort of opt in, on a case-by-case basis, say, 'You know what, I do want to get notifications from this one app.' Because it's too much. I mean, it really has changed the way we use our phones. We used to open our phone and then sort of proactively decide what we wanted to do on it, right? We would look through the home screen and maybe another screen full of apps, choose the app we wanted to spend some time with and then spend that time. Well when you give your phone over to push notifications, the phone sort of controls you, right? Like you don't decide anymore, 'I'm going to open my phone, I'm going to do this on the phone.' You know, your apps decide, 'Hey I'm going to reach out and tap you on the shoulder and force you to look at me for a little bit,' and that can just — I mean, it's already hard enough to control the time you spend on your device without having your device constantly nudging you and saying, 'Hey, look at me, listen to me. I've got something very urgent.' "

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Source : http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2017/12/28/2017-push-notifications

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