Facebook Paper: Friends, News Don’t Mix

Facebook PaperWhen it was released last week I immediately downloaded Facebook’s new app Paper. I like the app quite a bit and find it pretty engaging, with its Flipboard-like page swiping and turning.

For me, however, updates from friends and actual “hard” news don’t really mix. The combination of professional content sources with the informal updates from my Facebook contacts is awkward at best.

I would rather have the two apps (Facebook, Paper) be distinct from a content standpoint, rather than substantially or entirely overlapping.

I would be inclined to Like/follow many more news sources on Paper but I do not want to see them show up in my Facebook news feed. And when I’m reading about politics or climate change or some tragic situation in Syria I don’t really want that preceded or followed by friends’ pictures of food, babies and cats.

Each has its place. But I find their juxtaposition in Paper strange and even jarring at times.

I’m a fan of the new Yahoo News Digest app but it doesn’t offer enough content for me (yes there’s more content to be discovered but I’m talking about the featured stories). Paper reminds me of an expanded version of Yahoo News Digest.

People have been raving about how Paper can be a total replacement for the main Facebook app. Perhaps.

But if Facebook wants all the “personal” content to be available in Paper at least there should be a way to “mute” the appearance of that content for people like me who just want to use Paper as a digital newspaper. Equally there should be a way to prevent a dozen publications from spamming my news feed if I Like or engage with them on Paper.

In Paper Facebook potentially has a winner. However it would be better for users and ultimately for the company to carve out distinct content and use cases for Paper vs. the main Facebook site and app. It’s unlikely to do that however, which makes it less likely that I’ll be a long-term user of Paper.

Let me know whether you agree or disagree with my idea and what you think of Paper in general.

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2 Responses to “Facebook Paper: Friends, News Don’t Mix”

  1. Paul says at

    Greg, 
    Good points.  I’ve been playing with Paper for nearly a week and I like it.  However, I would like to customise my “cards” – (1) for Friends updates (2) for Liked News Feeds and (3) for Liked Pages (not news).  The cards they provide are pretty awful.

    I also don’t like that I can’t see who is online to chat.  I will not download messenger app because I don’t see the point – no additional functionality that I can find. 

    I would replace my FB app (because I like things all in one place) with Paper but right now keeping both.

    Overall, like the User experience with the above caveats.

  2. Greg Sterling says at

    I don’t want to mix all these things in a single place, although I know that many do. 

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