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NYTimes News Quiz Facebook app is a keeper

I have added several — and deleted many more — applications to my Facebook page over the past several months.

That page has grown progressively more crowded as I gave in to the temptation to designate my top friends, adorn my profile with “bumper stickers” and LOLcats, push my twitter updates to my status and even hand out and receive superlatives for my friends.

But my favorite news media application is something I stumbled on this week: The New York Times News Quiz

NYTimes News Quiz facebook app

As you can see, I’m doing well among my friends but have a ways to go among other players. I’m not disappointed or anything, the way I can figure the rankings work more by favoring recent performance and performance over time. I’ve only taken two quizzes so far. I scored 4/5 on one and 5/5 on the other. So I’m doing decent.

I can’t take a screen shot of the actual quiz because sadly — and I mean that as I wanted to take one today — there are none on weekends. But basically, it’s five questions about details of events in the news.

It’s made me realize I actually do pay more attention than I think I do. I just don’t have time to pay as much attention to events on a national and especially international scale as I would like. Ironically, when I was in college and we had news quizzes, I always hated them. I always did well (many of my j-school grades have that fact to thank for the extra boost). But I never felt prepared, I guess, then as now, apparently I absorbed much more than I realized.

Anyway, why do I like this application over others I’ve tried? It has some key components that in my eyes make the news quiz a winner:

  1. Interactivity — I come back every day to take the quiz. Every day it is different. It is not a “use once and look at how pretty it is” application, a la the Washington Post Compass, which was really fun to take but didn’t serve much point after that.
  2. Competition — It’s no fun to just play against myself, I want to know how my friends do and how smart I am compared to them and to other players.
  3. Content accessibility — I suck at all those movie and TV quizzes because I don’t watch TV and have missed many of the movie classics and many recent movies by choice. The news, however, is something that only relies on me having paid attention at all within the past 24 hours. If I did that, I can score decent. If not, I can come back tomorrow and take another stab.
  4. Recommendations — You can’t see it on my screen shot, but every day they recommend five Times stories to read as tips for the next quiz. I like that they’re encouraging people to read the news, even as a means of competition. It goes back to point two and three. I can beat the other players, and if I didn’t today, I can with little effort tomorrow. Over time, that little effort will pay off. Plus, there’s an even better payoff than besting my friends: I’ll be a more informed citizen. And isn’t that the point of the media anyway?

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