Here’s how many people now get their news and information:
In other words, through search and social media.
It works one of two ways:
- People go to a search engine, enter a search term, and then click on a link within the top 10 search results
- People scroll through their social media feeds and click on links shared by their friends and followers
In fact, 52 percent of Twitter users and 48% of Facebook users are using the sites as their primary news sources, according to Pew Research. That number is going to continue to climb.
What’s missing here are filters.
Because Google, Twitter and Facebook aren’t news sources. They are delivery systems. The actual source of a piece of news or information is still crucial, but many people are placing less emphasis on who wrote, researched and published the news because many times they don’t even know.
All they know is they read it on “Google” or on “Facebook.”
But news and information are not created equally. Journalists who work for the New York Times, for example, go through a rigorous process of reporting, fact-checking and having their news stories edited by professionals. This doesn’t hold true for bloggers and other online news sources.
We need trusted filters, but unfortunately even these filters are eroding at a rapid rate because of cutbacks and the speed of the Internet.
The latest evidence of journalism demise happened last week when a story about North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un murdering his uncle by feeding him alive to 120 hungry dogs circled the globe. It appeared in major news outlets like USA Today and the New York Daily News.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t true. It was fake.
It was first “reported” on a Weibo, a social media site in China – as a piece of satire. It then got picked up and circulated. Finally, getting into a Chinese newspaper and later being picked up by western media.
With the speed and convenience of the Internet, fewer people – and fewer “journalists” are paying attention to the actual source of the news.
Digital news sources have already surpassed newspapers and radio as the most common source for news (and it is gaining on TV news at an alarming rate). Already about 1 in 3 members of Generation Y use social media as their primary source for news and information.
So expect more “fake” news this year as filters continue to fray.
News Use Across Social Media Sites (via Pew Research)
How Do Americans Get Their News in 2013 (via Social Media Today)