I am not surprised at all to see the statistics published on February 20, 2012 by the Pew Research Center that reveal very few Americans receive political news from social networks.
Where do we get our information about politicians, campaigns, platforms, etc? It’s not from social media. Here is the breakdown, when Americans were asked to identify the sources they used regularly to follow political news. Note this is not a “fixed pie” of 100%. Rather, these numbers reflect how many Americans sampled identified a source:
Cable news (36%)
Local TV news (32%)
National network news (26%)
Local daily newspaper (20%)
Talk radio (16%)
Late-night comedy shows (9%)
Why would this surprise anyone? Social Media is just what it is – it is social. It generates conversation, spreads opinions, and highlights reactions. Social Media is not a source that generates or distributes information. It is post-news. It is filled with what people think about what they already know.
It is not that Social Media is unimportant. In fact, it is the focus in my MBA research methods class this term at the University of Dallas. My students are learning research methods by focusing their research on Social Media.
Americans don’t get their news from Social Media outlets. Americans talk about the news through Social Media.
Are you surprised by this? If so, let’s talk about it really soon!