Pew Study: Facebook Users Get 70% of News Links from Friends and Family, Not News Orgs

The Pew Research Center’s The State of the News Media 2012 is out and the section on What Facebook and Twitter Mean for News makes for an interesting read.

The figures on where users get their news links from is already being covered as a sign that Facebook and Twitter may not be as strong of a news source as previously thought.

But when I look at those charts I just see common sense:

Pew Research Center - State of the News Media 2012 - news sources

ew Research Center - State of the News Media 2012 - Twitter and Facebook

Facebook is still dominated by real, personal connections so why wouldn’t friends and family be the primary source?

Things like Facebook Pages, the Open Graph protocol and frictionless sharing, as well as the Subscribe button for journalists, are giving news organizations an increasing number of ways to forge relationships with users and gain prominence in their streams.

But your mom is always going to care a heck of a lot more about what you are sharing (whether it is a family photo or a news link) than what a newspaper or local TV station shares.

Another thing to remember is that even when Facebook and Twitter are not the primary source for news they are an amazing supplementary source.

Users regularly look to news organizations and reporters (as well as individuals) on Twitter for additional information particularly in breaking news situations. And a Facebook Page is a good place to aggregate and curate user-generated content to tell more of a story, particularly at the local level.

Furthermore, Twitter and Facebook are about much more than just news delivery. A diversified social strategy incorporates a wide range of methods for growing audience and making meaningful connections with users.

Thus through social media news organizations offer not only news and information but also community and even entertainment.

One last thought on the Pew study: hey social, search still owns you!

ew Research Center - State of the News Media 2012 - news sources

It is not quite that simple, but it is good to remember that natural search is still a major traffic driver to news and content sites. So don’t let social push SEO out of the mix.

Comments

  1. “But your mom is always going to care a heck of a lot more about what you are sharing (whether it is a family photo or a news link) than what a newspaper or local TV station shares.” — that about sums it up Adam. Great quote.

  2. Thanks Frank.

  3. This information is also useful for brands trying to promote their content. Facebook is primarily a place to connect with friends and family. Twitter, on the other hand, is more of a place that people look for information.

  4. Good point Nick.

  5. It is true that family relationships are a huge factor on Facebook. On the other hand it also offers a good way for businesses to create a presence and connect with new and loyal customers for promotion and to improve top-of-mind brand awareness. Definitely, Facebook is a good way to build deep relationships and to gain fans if you use it correctly.

    The main benefit associated with Twitter is real-time gathering of information. For me it is the best supplementary source of information.

    Twitter also offers a powerful way to manage your online reputation. For example if someone says something wrong, it is possible simultaneously flag it. For businesses this is helpful tool to monitor their competition. Through information shared via Twitter, you can learn about launches, new stores, brands, products or any strategy targeting a new niche.

  6. Thanks for your input Cruzmar. Both sites offer a wide range of opportunities not only for news organizations but for all types of businesses. You just have to find the right fit.

  7. Hi Adam,

    I agree with Frank…”But your mom is always going to care a heck of a lot more about what you are sharing…” that is a GREAT quote and speaks to the beauty of social media. I work for an Australian company, Think Big Online, where we have clients who avoid Facebook and Twitter out of fear and misunderstanding. http://www.thinkbigonline.com.au/why-twitter-facebook-and-google-are-must-haves-in-your-seo-arsenal/ But we want them to understand that even if social media doesn’t yet drive the news or drive the bulk of sales, it’s happening, Mate!!! Nice article. Alisa

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