Online survey sites: News has gone social
According to online survey sites, more and more people now get their news from social media. But what does this mean for us?
Online survey sites say social news is on the up
There was a fascinating
recently published in America, which revealed that for the first time ever more adults in the US get their news from social media than by any other source (62%, in fact). That’s more than those who read newspapers, watch the TV news, listen to the news on the radio or who subscribe to news-related magazines all put together.
And, over on this side of the pond,
UK surveys have said that social media has now overtaken TV news as the main source for young people. These were the highest social news figures recorded yet, in both UK surveys and
US surveys, so the trend seems to be ever increasing. So is this good, bad, or just progress?
UK surveys on news sources – the risks
It can certainly be said that access to news via social media is not good for traditional newspapers. Even broadsheet giants such as The Guardian struggle for subscribers when faced with ad-filled competition from free social news sites like Huffington Post. Our demand for free articles may well compromise on the quality of journalism, if not for impartiality in the very least.
Another problem with social news is that it’s very much affected by our ‘bubble’. Pages which are promoted via Facebook are either paid for ads targeting your demographic, and/or are shared by your peers. As we are friends with most of our social media contacts we tend to share similar backgrounds, which can lead to a funnelling in article subjects and viewpoints. Sort of like losing half of your newspaper but reading it anyway and assuming you had the full story.
The most pressing problem with social news is the input of ‘fake news’. For some sites it’s all about the number of hits they get, so why not make up a completely untrue story with a sensational headline to attract you in? Real and fiction tend to start to blend on some popular sites; so if social news is not really news then what is its point? How many of us even realise the difference?
UK surveys on news sources – the rewards
Of course it isn’t all bad. The fact that young people from online survey sites even want to follow the news is surely a positive thing. Plus it’s easily accessible, the sites are free to access and usually readers are freely invited to comment on articles to gain an even wider perspective. This surely must be a good thing.
Probably what’s needed is some sort of badge of honour for genuinely accredited news sites. We can’t police the internet, so there will always be the risk of fake news, but a certificate of good standing in the corner of the page may help to guide people. Until then though, we eagerly await the results of the next UK surveys about how we get our news in the future. This may be the beginning of the end for TV news and printed papers as we know it.
What do you think of the results for the UK surveys and online survey sites about news? Is it a worrying trend or simply technology moving on? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Get in touch via our Facebook page, and don’t forget earn extra income with surveys for money at Opinion Outpost UK!