Mobile newsfeeds and how they govern our lives

Not so long ago, our window on the world was the newspaper, the radio or the television. Now with audiences on these mediums continuing to decline rapidly, our go-to news distribution channel is now the mobile newsfeed.

Whether it be LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Reddit, Tumblr, Flipboard - we choose to be our own editors, publishers and broadcasters. This represents a major shift in power away from the media moguls to the individual.

It has also given rise to the so-called 'fake news' phenomenon and the slow retreat to our very own 'echo chambers' rather than wanting to read information which conflicts with our world views.

At the same time as consumers of mass media, we are increasingly governed by algorithms, complicated scientific formulae which choose precisely what content appears in our newsfeeds.

For example, although you may be ‘friends’ with someone on Facebook or a ‘fan’ of a Page, there is no guarantee you will see what they post. Similarly, LinkedIn is now moving in the same direction. Both sites are ostensibly using them to cut down on spam content and ensure relevancy between contacts.

Couple the algorithm question with the fact that many of us now watch rather than read content, then add in the fact that we have shorter and shorter attention spans, and you can see what a challenge it is for brands to get their messages across to their customers.

The fact remains that a majority of human beings are now glued to their smartphone or tablet device. As businesses, we need to understand this relationship and create enticing as well as engaging content which will somehow give our brand online visibility.

An inevitable consequence of this is the need for all organisations – whether large or small – to start thinking more like publishers and broadcasters and filling deep reservoirs of content to keep the newsfeeds constantly ‘fed and watered’.

To do this requires further internal reorganisation in larger companies. Internal communications must be improved, there should be enhanced co-operation between departments and a virtual ‘newsroom’ should be created to keep the reservoir constantly supplied with good, fresh content.

In addition, large and small organisations alike may need to think about the type of content they are creating. Is it static, written, video-based or cartoon-like (Emoji, Bitmoji)? Who is best placed to create this content – someone in-house or an agency/consultant?

Then there is UI/UX – user interface and user experience. If the majority of us now consume the media on a mobile device, then companies need to tailor their content to be seen an engaged with on one. Too often the mobile UX is still stuck in the Noughties.

All of this leads to one conclusion. Namely, that if you or your brand’s shop window is online, you need to have the correct digital strategy to support it. If not you should consider digital transformation within your organisation.



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