How do you keep up with your news? Is it from a daily newspaper? How about a broadcast on television? What about reading online articles through social media links shared by friends, family and acquaintances?
A new study has revealed that Canadians tend to get most of their news from online sources spread through the online “word-of-mouth” platform of social media.
Does this mean Canadians trust their friends and acquaintances’ opinions on what’s newsworthy more than an accredited news source?
The recent study funded by Canadian Media Research Consortium (CMRC) says that this is the case. Conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion, CMRC surveyed a representative national sample of 1,682 adults and found that more than two-thirds of Canadians, amounting to more than 10 million citizens, use visits to social networking sites as their way in keeping up with news.
These results aren’t just limited to one demographic or age group; the CMRC results show that social networking sites are becoming personal news streams for Canadians of all ages and backgrounds. Using their social networks as a filter, Canadians are letting family, friends and acquaintances choose their news.
What is causing this phenomenon? The report states that more than half of Canadians on social networks say they feel they get a broader range of news and information from Twitter or Facebook, for example than what’s considered traditional media.
News is clearly becoming an important and shared social experience for Canadians online. “Almost two-thirds (59 per cent) who use social media say they are exposed to more news and information via their social networks, with the ﬁgure rising to 69 per cent for younger news consumers,” states the CMRC report.
Some Canadians who use social media as a news source do consider the limit of the breadth of information shared. However, news shared over the networks can be viewed as news that is tailored to individual interests as articles are recommended from people who know them personally. The survey found, in particular, that receiving a diverse range of news is fairly important to Canadians, while only one in five said they preferred news that particularly shared their point of view.
Social media, in general, has been shaking up the online world. Almost unimaginable just a few years ago, social media is taking communication, advertising, viral content and now news to a whole new levelof distribution. It’ll be interesting to see what’s next for social media in years to come.