Last week I stopped by a friend’s office and found her reading what appeared to be news on her Mac, but through a pop-down Menubar app, and not a browser tab. So, I asked, “What are you reading?” She replied, “News.”
I took a moment to investigate. After all, Mac users have a few dozen RSS readers from which to choose, and a number of them fit into the Menubar. This one is a Mac app called Trending News. IT wasn’t so much a news feed as it was a BuzzFeed app that lives in the Menubar, making BuzzFeed headlines and news available with a click. This is wrong on too many levels.
News vs. News,
My friend likes BuzzFeed, and I’m OK with that. I still read the Chicago Sun-Times, but it’s not my only news source. I try to keep a variety of news sites in my RSS reader, just got turned on to the Texture app for my iPad (old fashioned magazine subscriptions in digital form). But my friend has decided that BuzzFeed is all she needs. Faux News syndrome, anyone?
There isn’t much to Trending News, other than the misleading title because BuzzFeed is less about news than it is about sensational frivolity in digital form. Officially, this describes the app.
Now you can glance BuzzFeed News at your finger tip. Just click an icon in mac menu bar and glance all important feeds in drop-down window. If any news interests you, just click on it and you can read in browser.
Categories are: LOL, win, omg, cute, fail, wtf, trending. That’s not exactly New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, or even the local Sun-Times. It’s more akin to Yahoo’s home page.
The problem here is not the Trending News app. It works much like reading BuzzFeed in a Safari tab. The problem is this. Trending News is more like Trending BuzzFeed, and what you won’t find is any kind of in-depth reporting, astute analysis, or what we once called news. No offense is intended, but BuzzFeed is shallow and sensationalist, and while that might have a place in today’s diet of digital news, information, and entertainment, it should not be the only ingredient on the plate.
Through the years I’ve done my fair share of RSS app reviews and recommend them often– most are good, some are great, but all have one thing in common. They allow Mac users and news readers to obtain news, information, and entertainment from multiple sources, and that gives a person a different, broader, more educated perspective on what makes the world go around.
Trending News is not so much news as it is Trending BuzzFeed and there’s something wrong if that’s the only source of information about the day.