Are Facebook’s ‘Social Readers’ dying? Let’s hope so.

People are bailing in droves from apps that tell everyone what you're reading or watching on Facebook. It's about time.


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Here’s something I really hate about Facebook.

Someone shares an article or video on my News Feed, it looks interesting, I click on the link, and suddenly I’m forced to download and install an app that tells everyone else what I happen to be reading or watching.


All I wanted to do was watch that damned video. I’m not asking to go steady. It’s a one night stand, not a relationship. Slam bam and don’t let the video window hit you as it’s closing.

So it is with a certain amount of glee I read today that millions of others agree with me. John Herrman at Buzzfeed reports that Social Reader apps are flailing miserably as users flee them in droves. The Washington Post alone lost 4.3 million users in the space of a week.

Why? AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka summed it up in less than half a tweet: “Terrible idea, badly executed.”

Even the inescapable Robert Scoble, who likes just about anything with bits attached to it, says he’s using the Social Reader apps less and less. That’s a death knell for anyone hoping that viral social apps are going to save them.

Unfortunately this is also bad news for worthy publications like the Washington Post and the UK’s Guardian, and services I love like Pandora. Apps like SocialCam, Viddy, or DailyMotion? They could disappear tomorrow and the world would be a better place.

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