Monday, May 9, 2011

Study: Twitter "Barely Registers" As A News Sharing Site

Well, so much for Twitter being the future of news.

A new study from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism finds that Twitter "barely registers" as a "news referring source" among the top 25 news sites. In everyday speak, "news referring source" means "sharing links to news stories."

In fact, Pew concludes Twitter has almost zero impact on news sharing:
Despite its growth and the amount of attention it receives, the micro-blogging service Twitter appears at this point to play a relatively small role in sharing of links to news sources. Of the top 21 sites for which there were data, Twitter showed up as referring links to just nine. And for all but one of those nine, Twitter sent only about 1% of total traffic.

This makes total sense to me, because how can anyone possibly follow tweets from 9,134 people or 20,121 people or however many people they're following on any given day? I have a sneaking suspicion that people are pulling up a few specific Twitter pages ("what is Rachel Maddow tweeting today?") and everyone else they follow is simply a Peanuts parent muttering away unintelligibly in the background. I said only that I'd follow you, not that I'd actually pay attention to anything you're saying! One wonders if the "home/what's happening" page on Twitter is becoming a ghost database that few people visit, because who has the time or energy to wade through hundreds of random, mostly useless links? It's just too overwhelming to the human brain.

Facebook, however, keeps gaining wider acceptance as a news source, which means we can look forward to cable news anchors saying, "let's see what's trending on Facebook!" Hey, they have to get their news somewhere.

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