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Tech Talk: News Consumption in a Twitter, Facebook World

Where do you get your news? According to the recently released Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism’s State of the New Media in 2012 report, not Facebook or Twitter. While Facebook has made a concerted effort to expand its relationship with journalists and new organizations through Social Reader and Twitter has always been seen as a mini “newsfeed,” the numbers tell a different story.

The study determined that only 9% of digital news consumers regularly get their news from these social networks while 36% of people go directly to the publication’s website, 32% use search engines to get news and 29% use a news organizer site or app. These numbers rise to 52% when you look at people who “sometimes” get news from Facebook and Twitter – but that’s still drastically lower than the 92% who sometimes go directly to news sites and the 85% that use search.

Digging deeper into Pew’s State of the News Media, we learn that for the users who do get news from social channels, Facebook and Twitter function differently. On Facebook, for example, 70% of the news people read were from family, 13% from news organizations and 10% from non-news organizations that suggested a story to read. On the other hand, people on Twitter get 27% of news from organizations, 18% from non-news organizations and only 36% from family and friends.

While we had a bit of sticker shock at how low these numbers were, there is no denying that Facebook and Twitter should still be a part of your news distribution strategy. You just have to ensure that you’re using the channels to your advantage and sharing the news in a way that your audiences will take notice. As we shared last year, when you’re creating content for your social community you have to play to specific social audiences and should speak with an authentic voice, sharing relevant news and unique visuals to tell your brand’s story. Take the time to study how your audiences react to different posts and types of news. Experiment with continued personalization, visuals and editorializing of content to see how it boosts engagement across specific channels, then give them more of what works.

In time, we predict that there will continue to be an increase in the consumption of news from news sources across social media communities. But it’s clearly not there yet. So in the meantime, remember the power of personal connections. Don’t be afraid to ask for action from friends, family, colleagues and industry connections to spread the news and involve them in your company’s story.

Expert Sourcing…When You Have No Skin in the Game

It doesn’t matter where you go for your news—everyone is talking about Super Bowl XLVI right now. Here at DGC, we’ve probably read just as many articles this week about game predictions and player line-ups as we have about the 2012 election—in fact, I bet if Eli Manning announced his candidacy after the game he’d probably be our next President.

But, despite what most of us might think, the world doesn’t always revolve around football (this coming from an avid Ohio State Buckeyes fan). So, if you don’t have a spot airing during the big game, or a POV on the action, here’s a selection of recent stories you may be able to capitalize on in the meantime to earn some media real estate:

  • Apple announced its best quarterly earnings to date for Q1 2012. The company brought in $46.33 billion in revenue—almost double what Apple made last year at this time. How can Apple’s competitors compete with results like this?
  • Obama’s State of the Union (SOTU) address scored at an eighth-grade reading level on the Flesch-Kincaid scale. All three of his SOTU addresses rank among the six lowest scoring addresses ever, and are–on average–more than two grades lower than those of his 12 most recent predecessors. What does this say about Obama’s approach to reaching his constituents? Does the decreasing reading level of the SOTU reflect poorly on American society?
  • Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney continue to battle it out for the Republican nomination, with Gingrich getting defensive in response to questions about past failed marriages, and Mitt Romney fielding allegations that his tax returns detail funds not identified in his ethics forms. Do you think they’ll be able to move beyond these issues to have a real chance at the Presidency?
  • In its first year implementing its new voting system, the Academy Awards announced an odd number of movies in the running for best picture. They include: The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life and War Horse. Why is this relevant? Will social media play a role in this year’s awards ceremony?

If you have a strong opinion on the timely topics above and some credentials to back them up, then you have a chance to get in the news…despite the country’s current fascination with football. Leave us a comment with your thoughts below.

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