​Facebook's Notify app: The fine line between useful and overload

Facebook's Notify app will probably boost engagement and advance the company's mobile strategy. For you, Notify may just result in notification overload.

A look at Facebook's Notify app. Will it be useful or annoying? Credit: Facebook

Facebook has launched its Notify app on iOS and the primary thing to watch will be that fine line between being useful and a notification pain in the keister.

For Facebook, Notify is part of a larger strategy to absorb content from around the Web and become more of an information broadcaster. Facebook wants to engage you constantly (and serve ads of course). The other strategic thread revolves around how Facebook has broken its various services into standalone apps.

It's hard not to see the value of Notify to Facebook. But as a consumer Notify will be a boom or bust proposition. I'm one of those folks feverishly working to ditch notifications. I don't need every app sending me notifications and certainly don't need another sound effect. Notifications have become clutter and a distraction.

From my perch, Facebook could have just called the Notify app Distraction.

When your personal interests combine with your work notifications, it doesn't take much to spike your heart rate. It takes practice to ignore notifications and to focus.

Simply put, Notify doesn't look all that relaxing or useful to me especially when you lump in the other notifications on your lock screen.

Facebook's reply is that Notify can be customized and that its "stations," or categories like sports and tech populated by content partners, can be customized and minimized. But if you already have a news app--and most of us do--Notify will just create clutter if I'm charitable. If I'm not charitable maybe Notify is a notification spam machine.

We'll see what the crowd says about Notify soon enough.