Becoming Professional: A Blog

Mixing News and Social Media

Posted on: May 26, 2011

twitter bird

by shawncampbell on Flickr

How are you reading this blog? Did you find it on Twitter? Perhaps we’re Facebook Friends and you saw it there. Chances are it’s one of these two since Facebook and Twitter provide the majority of the visits to this site. As you also getting your news through Facebook and Twitter?

Twitter has been touted as the RSS Feed replacement on CNet’s Webware and Facebook is encouraging users to use its services as their own personal newswire, according to this article on ReadWriteWeb. Are these good trends?

Social Media Is Filtered

Sure, you could be like Don Reisinger, the author of the Webware article, and follow everyone who follows you on Twitter, but while a broader slice of the world than just those who you are personally interested, it’s still a filter placed by the population. If you don’t follow back everyone who follows you, which I do not, then your Twitter feed is filtered expressly by your choices. This also applies to Facebook. You can Like news organizations on Facebook and get your news that way. You could also Follow them on Twitter, but chances are, you are still getting at least some of your news through your friends. They are sharing articles which you then read.

the great wall of china

by Francisco Diez on Flickr

This filtering is a double-edged sword. It can isolate you. Social filtering is why I do not hear much news out of China. I’m not following anyone who is either in China or Tweets about it. But social filtering also keeps you from being bored with what news does find its way in front of you. You know you’ll like what you see, or at least be interested in the topic. Filtering makes discovering a new topic difficult. After all, even if you are following the actual news outlet, if you are following its Sports section, you still won’t hear much about China.

Social Media Is Easy

At the same time, it also makes getting your news really easy. You just visit the websites you were visiting anyway and the news is pushed out to you. Little, or no, effort on your part. The most you might have to do is go to your “News” List on Facebook to see what the BBC has put out recently. It’s a few clicks and you’re never leaving the party on Facebook. You can still Facebook Chat with your friends.

This is a good thing for society, I think. As well as making news more easily accessible, it makes it easier to discuss it. This encourages debate, both amongst the social media community as a whole and amongst friends.

Social Media Makes It Easy to Miss Things

farm ville opening screne

by tarikgore1 on Flickr

But there are still problems. Let’s assume that you are being very good and following respected news outlets on Twitter and Facebook. It’s real time. As Reisinger said, sometimes the Tweets go up even before the RSS article is released. So you’ll have to be on Facebook and Twitter constantly, or you might miss something. Now, many people are. They can’t stand to be away from Facebook for one second or their Farmville plants might die, but I’m not. I like movies. That’s roughly two hours away from Facebook I spend a day (when I can fit it in). I jog. That’s a half hour a day away from Twitter. My God, the news I’m missing!

I Don’t Use Social Media for My News

google reader snippet

by Search Engine People Blog on Flickr

Of course, I do keep an ear to the ground in social media to pick up on any new trends, but I use a Feed Reader as my main way to catch my news. Reisinger doesn’t like Feed Readers. They aren’t fast enough for him. If you want your news before anyone else has it, then yes, social media is probably more your speed. However when it is important not to miss anything, as with professional information, you might want to use a Feed Reader. If you are okay with missing information occasionally, then social media might be okay for you.

I need to have reliable, accurate, and consistent news for my profession, so I don’t rely on Social Media to get my news. There is always the option of a mix, or doing as Reisinger suggests and actually visiting the news outlet’s Twitter feed (or Facebook Page) to catch up on the missed items. I’m too lazy for that.

Feed Readers do have drawbacks. They aren’t very social and they can be a bit confusing. That’s why Mashable posted HOW TO: Get the Most out of Google Reader. Even the RSS icon and sign up process can be confusing. “Fan this Page to get news” is a much simpler call to action. It’s a news version of Amazon’s one-click purchase.

Other News Sources Do Exist

This post does make it seem like there is an either or choice between Feed Readers and Social Media, but there are other choices. How about those old favorites, bookmarks? Actually visiting a news website is one choice. Social magazines like Flipboard that mix social and feed information are another option. Even just Google searching interesting events and topics can yield plenty of useful information.

I just tend to use my Google Reader plus a dose of filtered social media shares. How do you get your news?

*This post was written as part of an assignment for my

Masters in Digital Marketing from Hult International Business School,

but since the topic was interesting, I decided to use it for this blog.


2 Responses to "Mixing News and Social Media"

For technology news, social media is often the first breaking source. So, you shouldn’t discount the power of social media in news.

I wouldn’t doubt it, but it isn’t for me. I think it is too easy to miss news on social media. That’s why combining it with a good Feed Reader is necessary. In reality, social media breaks news in politics and weather, as well as tech, faster than most other outlets. But I don’t need fast. I need complete, which is why I prefer feed readers. In general, unless it is important that you be the first person with an article on the subject, others will get an article up in due time. If you know who these people are, you can follow their RSS feed and not miss the news. If you are a journalist or pro blogger who likes to cover breaking news, the social media, particularly Twitter, are the places for you.

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Who Am I?

I am a Digital Native who is trying to puzzle out what exactly that means. I share my thoughts on social media, digital business models, and PR here on this blog.

I am currently getting my Masters in Digital Marketing from Hult International Business School, having gotten my B.S. in Marketing from Arizona State University. Everything is on track and I am making headway towards my dream: World Domination... or being a productive, helpful citizen and marketer. Whichever comes first.

Don't hesitate to get in touch. I Tweet daily at @KateDavids and also have a science fiction and fantasy blog ( and Twitter (@Masked_Geek).

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