The Year in Mobile Push Alerts
It has been an exhausting, exasperating, anxious year. A year of relentless assault, as one news break after another pushed its way into our daily existence and found us where we live, interrupting family dinners and drinks with friends, errands and work, rough patches and best-laid plans. No matter who you voted for or what your politics are, life changed the instant Donald Trump won. The information faucet turned on, gushing scoops and leaks and scandals, and never stopped.
Something happened to the news this year. It wasn’t only Trump. It was the convergence of Trump and technology and the media landscape, with the invigorated news giants and hungry digital outlets duking it out for our bloodshot eyeballs. And there was no better way to get our attention, to barge into our days with the latest revelation, than with a push alert. A bubble of news, just a sentence or two, to alter the course of your day.
Of course, it’s more than the push alerts. There’s Twitter, and the minor panic of checking it when you are in line at the grocery store or commuting home from the office—the dawning realization that Something Happened, the frantic search to determine what that something is and whether that something actually matters. There’s cable news: Shows that used to cover multiple stories over several segments now just roll on, hour to hour, with a rotating cast yelling about what the president said that day above an urgent chyron also yelling about what the president said that day. There’s Facebook and Slack and texts from your mom that say I’m just sick about what’s happening to this country.