A Fake AF Guide to Real News
It is 2017, and nothing has changed. Get ready to keep reading a barrage of depressing headlines! Since “Fake News” has an early lead for buzz word of the year, and I am a person who consumes way too much content on a daily basis, please read this extremely serious, important, and not-at-all cynical primer on news aggregators to help you shake your head with confidence:
Apple News: In classic Apple fashion, this newly revamped service just showed up on everyone’s iPhone lock screen after the iOS 10 update. Credit where it is due: This stream of juicy headlines is generally informative, and it is refreshed just frequently enough to be addicting. It is essentially a better version of the app Flipboard, but catered to those who want to see what’s going on in the world without seeing mundane posts from friends. The fatal flaw is that unless users take advantage of the customization feature, the app seems to focus on the sensational, like a slightly left leaning successor to Drudge Report. A sample “Wednesday Morning Briefing”: Salads Are Probably Poison, Your Fifth Favorite Celebrity Died, and What Life After a Nuclear Holocaust Would Really Feel Like in Excruciating Detail.
Snapchat Discover: This is a product clearly for younger millennials than myself, but I think it could also be of use to older millennials who desperately need a refill on their Adderall prescription. Snapchat’s news stories are bright, loud, busy, short, cumbersome, and just plain obnoxious. They are also apparently quite popular, so I guess this is one of my first old man takes.
Still, unless something changes, I’ll gladly die on this hill. I enjoyed the addition of brands to my social network for disappearing pictures when Discover originally launched, but that’s because I mostly used it to watch the best of Comedy Central in 5 minutes or less. Scrolling through Snapchat for news reminds me of flipping through magazines in a book store. For those too young to understand why there were once book stores, allow me to explain that before amazon prime, this activity was a way of pretending to be smart for a few minutes, but then saying “Eh, not today”.
Google News: Since the Alphabet Corporation already knows more about your life than you do, they just went ahead and started giving you answers to your future searches. I’m not going to lie, I find this service to be as useful as it is creepy. My big brother Google knows that I want to see high level summaries of the latest conflict Middle East right next to the latest rumors concerning the release date of Rick & Morty Season 3.
Facebook News: Facebook’s algorithm likes to pretend that it knows you as well as Google does, but it actually is like a friend that shows up twice a year and then thinks they know everything about your life. Facebook listens to every third sentence and then still proceeds to jump into a conversation with a punchline that does not land. The best thing you could possibly find on Facebook News is a Jimmy Fallon bit you missed while sleeping earlier in the week. It is the clickbait equivalent of eating cold pizza leftover from the weekend because it’s cold outside and the supermarket feels extra far away.
Twitter Moments: This is Buzzfeed in disguise, right? Buzzfeed, but faster because of crowdsourcing? I’m almost positive it is curated by former Buzzfeed employees, but I could be talked into it being curated by current Buzzfeed staff due to some private agreement between Twitter and Buzzfeed to steal clicks from Facebook and Upworthy. There is *something* underneath my tinfoil hat here.
Regardless, “23 Iconic dog tweets of 2016” is probably an affront to the word “iconic”, and maybe also to dogs. Likewise, “People are trying to help protect Betty White from 2016’s wrath” probably did not belong a swipe away from “At Least two dead, several injured as train derails in India”. This feature is a great way to quickly digest breaking news, but, much like the rest of twitter, it constantly feels like it should be better in some way.