Introducing Notify, Facebook’s New Mobile Notification App

Nov 18, 2015 admin

Facebook’s new app Notify is neat. To be honest I thought it’d never use it. I figured I already receive Patriots alerts from ESPN and breaking news alerts from CNN, what could be different? Turns out there is a lot more to Notify.

The app is being called a competitor to Twitter Moments and Apple’s News app. Notify sends notifications to your phone’s screen from publishers and broadcasters you subscribe to. It is currently only available to iPhone-owning Facebook members in the U.S. About 70 organizations are already signed up to be sources including media partners like Vogue, The Washington Post, Comedy Central, Billboard, and CBS.  These sources create "stations," or channels of content, you can subscribe to. Most sources have more than one  station.

With Notify, you have the option to subscribe to the usual notifications, like CNN's "Breaking News" station and CBS Sports' "Final Scores" station, but the list goes on. Categories range from news,  sports, business, entertainment, politics, culture and “fun.” For example, there are also lifestyle sources like shopping websites Racked and Groupon and cooking magazine Bon  Appetit. The stations within sources get specific too, many mimicking the blogs and micro-topics within their publications. Sports Illustrated's stations include News and  Rumors, The MMQB, Fantasy Football Tips, Campus Rush and more. The New York  Times has stations for a recipe of the day, breaking developments in medicine, climate change and TV recaps - to name just a few.

What's great about Notify is that notifications can also be local  and timely. You can choose to have a notification sent with your local weather at  7:00 a.m. or workout tips sent at 5:30 p.m. when most people are leaving work  and heading to the gym. Fandago can send you notifications when new movies are  released. Eater can let you know when new restaurants open near you - there is  literally something for everyone.

Sources are getting creative too. For example,  Vice has a “Hide Your Screen” station (that I’m too scared to subscribe to) and  Quartz can send you a daily haiku that sums up the markets at the close of  trading. The more I explored, the more the app reminded me of Snapchat’s  Discover, but instead of opening an app to see what each source thinks are the most  important and interesting stories to share each day, they come to you.

You may be wondering why though. Why  does Facebook need a notification app? After all, these sources have their own  Facebook pages people can “like” to see what they are sharing. And, more recently,  Facebook launched Instant Articles , a platform that brings content from select publishers directly  into the News Feed. The answer: mobile notifications are poised to become the  next medium through which we consume news. Forget about being the fastest  publication to tweet breaking news, you will soon need to be the fastest publication  to send a notification.

I can’t say I disagree - I think  watching Snapchat’s Discover and scrolling through Twitter is fun, but who has  the time? If I get notifications for interesting and important stories straight to  my phone screen, I can decide if I want to read more or favorite the  notification to look at later.

What does Notify mean for public  relations? If the app catches on, we might find ourselves pitching The Verge’s  “Editor’s Pick of the Day” station or Quartz’s “Chart of the Day” station. Plus, headline writing  will have to be better than ever before - they’ll need to be clickable  and  tell the story in one pithy sentence. Maybe one day instead of aiming for your story to land  on the cover of The New York Times, you’ll celebrate a story on The New  York Times' “Read of the Day” station.
Topics: Mobile, Facebook, Social Media

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