The Power of The News Feed

The news feed is fast becoming the most popular way to consume content. From breaking news on Twitter to a friend’s lunch update on Facebook to the latest post from your fave celeb on Instagram, a lot of the information we process every day comes at us from some sort of news feed.


When you think about how many social networks you’re active on (mine, for example, include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, YouTube, Google+, Tumblr and Jelly) and how much information you ingest in one day, it actually plays quite an important part in our every day lives. Slightly depressing, I know.

I mean, just look at Facebook, when it rolls out another timeline redesign. Nobody’s happy. Not just because of the fact that there doesn’t seem to be anybody out there who’s open to change, but also because people like to receive their information in a certain way, and it can be unsettling when it changes.

What with mobile and tablet becoming the top ways to access social media and consume content, we now have a much smaller space to view a lot more information, so what’s the best way to make it work?

Call me a loser, but I’m a stickler for how things are designed, viewed and put together, especially online. When Google Reader disappeared and I had to choose another service to replace it, my main concern was how it looked and how it would display the information to me. Like any normal human, I like sites that are simple, clean and easy to use. So how do social networks keep it like that, but still display as much information as possible on one page?

Considering that the aim of almost every brand’s social media team is to get increased engagement, appearing in someone’s news feed organically is the online Holy Grail. It really is one of the most influential and important places to be, so much so that brands are actually paying real-life money to get there.

Buzzfeed has really hit the nail on the head with their use of lists. Ok, so your news feed isn’t strictly listed as such, but it essentially it is just one long list of information. You read the first line or so, and then you move on if it’s not for you, or click through to the story if it’s something you like. It’s content that’s easily digestible, but easily forgettable unless you’re doing it right.

This would be the worst Buzzfeed list in the history of time, but below are my top <INSERT NUMBER> news feed features from the social networks. These would be the things that I would be sure to include if (WHEN) I build the king of all social networks.

  1. Twitter’s character limit – Facebook would be a much happier place if we could limit those attention-seeking posts to 140 characters.
  2. Instagram’s picture display – Images are so hot right now, and the simple way that Instagram displays them is da bomb.
  3. Vine’s Videos – If you can’t get your message across in 7 seconds, then the video isn’t worth watching. That’s my motto.
  4. Pinterest’s Boards – Imagine being able to group all of your content from all social media channels. I mean, sure you can make lists on Twitter, but I forget about those all the time.
  5. Jelly’s Swipability – Imagine being able to just swipe away that annoying lunch photo in just one simple move. That’s the dream.


So that’s all, folks. Underestimate the news feed at your peril.

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