Broadcast radar
A new alerts system allowing journalists, news outlets and others to send push notifications to mobile phones has launched.

Called Broadcast, the push notifications option is a new feature within the mobile apps for App.net, a Twitter-like service that launched last year attracting $1 million in crowdfunding.

The new alerts system allows anyone with an App.net account – which are now free of charge – to set up a broadcast channel and send important announcements and breaking news stories to those who subscribe to that channel and use the App.net Android or iOS apps.

The idea is that the alerts will allow publishers and individuals to push through the noise. Much in the same way as news outlets' apps, such as the BBC News app, sends push alerts along with a distinctive sound, the new App.net feature will allow individuals and outlets without apps to flag up key stories to mobile.

App.net Broadcast
Images supplied by App.net

The advice from App.net is to not overload followers. "A good broadcast channel will send at most two messages per day, and usually far less."

These can be sent manually or be automated by entering an RSS feed.

A guide also suggests cross-posting Broadcasts to other social networks to give non-subscribers the opportunity to see the alerts and sign up to receive future alerts.

Dalton Caldwell, founder and chief executive of App.net, told Journalism.co.uk that Broadcast is aimed at making the platform more useful and more of a utility.

He explained that the App.net mobile apps launched four months ago. "The idea was to make it easier to create and manage an account from a mobile device."

But before today's launch the apps offered limited functionality. "This Broadcast feature is going to make those apps do something useful," he added.

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