Yahoo! Alerts, eh.

About two months ago I wrote about Yahoo! Alerts beta. Here is a followup to that.

For the past two months I’ve been receiving probably 15 text messages per day from Yahoo! One of these is a weather report for the next day, and the rest are ‘breaking news’ stories. While I still think the concept of this is great and important, I now think the content I’ve chosen is terrible.

Weather alerts
People love talking about the weather. If something ‘crazy’ is going to be happening with the weather, I usually hear about this from coworkers or hear random people discussing it. If this fails, I’m a big fan of looking out the damn window.

Breaking news
My news gathering habits are largely web based. I read newspapers infrequently (except for the local police beat, which I read religiously), and never watch TV ‘news.’ There are a number of periodicals I enjoy reading for news, but I’m not too fervent about keeping up with them. Using the web, I can largely ignore mainstream news and select the sources I like. I think I was too excited about the delivery of AP and Reuters headlines via text messaging to remember that I was going to be getting frequent bundles of crap sent to my phone. Not only were the headlines bad, they were often incomplete. British sources say a car bomb exploded on the Gaza Strip, injuring six people on Monday. Investigations are un and the like. There were a few standout headlines among reports of people killed in Iraq and turmoil in Palestine. That Clinton was having emergency heart surgery was somewhat interesting (although I’m not quite sure why). Also, I was watching a movie (at home) when the AP alerted me that a ‘mushroom cloud’ was spotted over North Korea. That was spooky and prompted me to a) text some friends and b) get to my computer for more info. I was confused as to why this was being reported three days after it happened at that point, and slightly relieved that there likely wasn’t a nuclear war going on.

There is different content available through Yahoo! Alerts beta and I might investigate it. I’m concerned though because I signed up with a throwaway account. I had no forsight. Now I’ve got to so some serious sleuthing to figure out how I’m going to login to delete the lousy alerts. Ouch.

When we’re offering text message alerts to patrons, let’s remember to make it easy for them to unsubscribe.

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