it’s official ladies and gentlemen, people still have absolutely no idea what socially driven news means. a study from the project for excellence in journalism finds that news promoted on socially driven sites like digg, reddit, and del.icio.us is significantly different from the news reported in mainstream media and that the many of the stories selected by the users often don’t appear in mainstream media at all. furthermore, the sources used by these sites are much different (70 percent of them were blogs or other sites) from the sources that more established outlets use for their content.
to some of the claims in the study i can’t help but say ‘no shit sherlock’ while others are simply misguided.
- nytimes – featured 44 times – ranked 3rd
- yahoo news – featured 32 times – ranked 6th
- cnn – featured 32 times – ranked 7th
- washington post – featured 30 times – ranked 8th
- bbc news – featured 27 times – ranked 9th
i would hardly make the case that news from mainstream media isn’t represented on social media sites. regardless, the study has prompted nick gonzales to wonder, does social media make you dumb? at the same time, nick carr refers to the social media audience as the people formerly known as informed, and matt ingram is one of the few people to have a levelheaded response to the study.
when you replace professional editors with a crowd or a social network, you actually end up accelerating the dumbing-down of news. news becomes a stream of junk-food-like morsels. the people formerly known as the audience may turn out to be the people formerly known as informed.
what he fails to understand is that social media is driven by the people and the news that is submitted and promoted is what the people are actually reading and what actually matters to the people. just because the new york times prints something, doesn’t mean that the people are reading it or that they care about it. all it means is that the publishers think that’s what should matter to you. that said, if people (like nick and other haters) think that their view, or what they think is important, isn’t being represented in social media, rather than jumping to half-cooked conclusions, these same people should register on the sites and have their say.
all socially driven communities rely on the law of large numbers and are only as good as the communities that powers them. as these communities grow, they start to more accurately represent the community at large, and the content promoted on these sites changes to reflect that. social media is just a platform and the results are exactly what people want them to be. it’s not social media that’s dumbing the people down, rather it’s a reflection of people’s true interests (no matter how shallow they might be).