Lovely readers, I have a confession. I kind of hate news. I am a writer, a creative writer, not a journalist. It’s not so much that I hate knowing what’s actually going on in the world that’s of any importance – that I highly value – but honestly, the majority of news sites are either really just celebrity gossip columns or the articles could all sport one headline, “Terrible Thing Happens in This Place.” Bombing. Another bombing. Car crash. Oh hey, that war in that place is still going on. Yup. Not much has changed. For the most part, my newspaper from today looks the same as my newspaper from yesterday, and from last week, and from last year. Go back five years and maybe the country and politician names will have changed, but it’s all just the same crap of people blundering around the world and being idiots to each other.
However. There are a few news sites that’ll make me perk up my mental ears and listen to what they’re saying. Buy their newspaper from a stack at Starbucks, click on that link that showed up in my facebook feed, spend a boring lecture browsing their articles on my cell phone…
You know. The big names. New York Times. Scientific American. National Geographic. Smithsonian. TIME Magazine.
Ahem, about TIME Magazine… for years, it’s been a interestingly written purveyor of impactful news across culture, technology, and current events. If an article came from TIME, it was legit. Probably. Often enough for name “TIME” to carry some weight.
But today, today I had to unfollow TIME on facebook. Because for the past few months, 99% of the TIME posts promoted to my newsfeed have been utter crap.
Okay, sure, maybe some of them were worthy of a giggle or a two-second “aawww.” Something about a puppy. A family rapping their Christmas card. I dunno. I assume those would have been if I’d actually clicked on them.
But I don’t follow TIME for giggles and aaww’s. I follow TIME for news. You know, the important stuff. I don’t give a crap about what Miley Cyrus has to say about her break up, whenever the hell that was, and I’d appreciate it if my supposed news page didn’t keep sticking shit like that on my feed.
Based on the comments I’ve seen on promoted TIME facebook posts over the past few months, it’s not just my feed that’s been infested. There are dozens – possibly hundreds, if I actually cared to look through all the contentless fluff that much – of other disgruntled commenters telling TIME that they’re unfollowing, unsubscribing, un-fuck-why-did-we-ever-think-that-TIME-was-legit-ing.
And I understand why. Please, I hear enough about sad puppies or happy puppies or neurotic puppies from all the animal rescue pages I follow. I can probably keep up with Miley Cyrus just as well by unthinkingly glancing at tabloid headlines while I’m in the checkout line at the grocery store.
But… I’m not content to just flip TIME off and call it a day. Because TIME has produced quality content for so long, and I don’t want to just give that up. I mean, if you actually pay to get their magazine, or browse their website, or even actually visit their facebook wall, there is still real content. The time we readers actually do have time for. Or, you know, make time for during boring lectures. But for whatever reason, TIME’s social media person has decided that apparently it’s more important to promote “trending” fluff than information of actual consequence. So all the crap flows onto people’s facebook feeds, and none of the hard stuff gets featured, resulting in a massive distortion of TIME’s image and content procurement.
Uh, yeah. I’d really like that to stop.
So, I emailed TIME’s editor. Did some search engine hustling and managed to find one generic email address to write my concerns to. And then, I decided that perhaps said editor hearing even more well-spoken complaints (instead of just angry “fuck you’s” left as facebook comments) might be useful. Might actually change something. It might not, but hey, at least then I’ll still know that I wasn’t just sitting back on my ass wishing TIME would get their shit together without actually giving them any impetus to do so.
If you honestly don’t care about TIME, that’s fine. I mean hey, throw a Wall Street Journal at me and I’m just gonna wrinkle my nose and chuck it back at your head. But if you do care about TIME and want to voice your opinion, I’ve tried to remove some of the energy barrier to doing so for you. I’m not calling for some massive movement, I’m just offering help to those who would like to at least get their own opinionated fingers wagging.
Ooookay. So, I’ve posted the message that I sent below. Feel free to copy-paste it into your own shiny new “compose email” box and send it as is. Warning, it is written in me-speak. I mean, one of the more professional dialects of me-speak, but it’s still my own voice. So. You could also change the wording a bit – or entirely – if ya want to. Yup yup.
Damn this is getting long. Okay, I’ll just plot the rest of the info below. Go ahead and check it out if you, too, are displeased with TIME’s recent content shift and want to tell the magazine – ain’t nobody got TIME for that.
Up till just recently I’ve been an unabashed fan of TIME. But since approximately two months ago, on TIME’s Facebook at least, it seems that TIME is diverging from its old reputation of “source of legitimate newsworthy, culturally poignant information” and has started to become just another tabloid magazine, full of trivial GIF’s or cutesy posts, like the “Christmas card family rap.” My feed has been flooded with uninteresting fluff and “entertainment” (a.k.a. celebrity gossip) pieces, like the “article” about Miley Cyrus’s break up statements. There are still noteworthy pieces linked to from the TIME Facebook wall, but few to none of those actually get promoted to followers’ news feeds. I’ve noticed from the comments on posts that other readers are feeling the same way, and that most of us eschew this change from news to nonsense. A quality, impact-based distillation of content would be much appreciation.
Thank you for your consideration.
(Your Name Here)