Cutting your kitten quota

Cats trying to touch through a window in a screenshot from George Takei's Facebook feed

Cats trying to touch through a window in a screenshot from George Takei’s Facebook feed

Facebook wants us to get serious.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to be “the best personalized newspaper in the world.”

Apparently all of us merrily posting photos of our dinners, liking George Takei’s puns and sharing Buzzfeed stories is not that appealing to advertisers. So a redesign of the newsfeed is planned which includes larger photos in the main newsfeed, longer stories and newsfeeds for specific topics and sources.

But despite being announced in March it’s still not been rolled out to everyone – you can join a waiting list for it – but in the meantime Facebook is tweaking what will pop up in our newsfeeds.

“Our surveys show that on average people prefer links to high quality articles about current events, their favorite sports team or shared interests, to the latest meme. Starting soon, we’ll be doing a better job of distinguishing between a high quality article on a website versus a meme photo hosted somewhere other than Facebook when people click on those stories on mobile. This means that high quality articles you or others read may show up a bit more prominently in your News Feed, and meme photos may show up a bit less prominently.”

Facebook news announcement, December 2013

Is Facebook right? Do we really want more ‘high quality articles’ or do we think the latest cat gif is actually pretty darn good content?

The top 10 topics that were ‘most talked about’ by UK Facebook users this year were:

  1. Andy Murray
  2. Margaret Thatcher
  3. Champions League final
  4. Prince George
  5. Six Alex Ferguson
  6. Call Of Duty: Ghosts
  7. England retain the Ashes
  8. X-Factor
  9. The Bedroom Tax
  10. Grand Theft Auto V

Sport, entertainment, famous deaths and births are staples of traditional newspapers but isn’t it interesting to see that the Bedroom Tax – a very serious news story – also made it into the top ten?

Is is it possible that people who like cute animal pictures are also talking about austerity?

Screenshot of the Facebook Year in Review button

You can look back at your own personal 2013 (as selected by Facebook!) by clicking the ‘See 2013 in Review’ button on your page. You can share it and see your friends’ highlights of 2013 as well.

So what did you do, share and talk about in 2013? Kittens? The bedroom tax? Or both?

Lucy

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