Social Media is Growing as a News Source

newspaper folded up

Despite the Plethora of #FakeNews, social media is growing as a news source. Even more shocking, its rapidly growing in the over 50 set, while younger Americans seems to have peaked, albeit at 78%.

Thanks to Pew Research for the breakdown, Key trends in social and digital news media. I hope that they’ll update this, because it’s a few months old already, but the trends are clear.

Social Media is Catching Up with Television

News Sources Over Time

In 2016, Television beat Online News by 19 Points. In 2017, Television beat Online News by 7 Points. We’ll expect that 2018 numbers will show that Online is overtaking Television. The shift is rapidly, with explosion is those getting their news on mobile devices.

It’s NOT the Young Driving these Trends

Kristen Bialik and Katerina Matsa Report:

More than eight-in-ten U.S. adults (85%) now get news on a mobile device, up from 72% in 2016. The recent surge has mainly come from growth among older Americans. Roughly two-thirds (67%) of those ages 65 and older now get news on a mobile device, a 24-percentage-point jump from 2016 and about three times the share in 2013. Mobile news use also grew among those ages 50 to 64, with about eight-in-ten (79%) now getting news on mobile, about double the share from 2013. Large increases in mobile news use also occurred among those in lower-income households.

If you think that this is a trend among the younger demographic, it’s not. Younger people embraced mobile years ago, the growth is in the senior demographic.

Two out of Three “Senior Citizens” (65+) get their news on a mobile device. Contrary to the image of elderly voters staring at Fox News for hours on end, the growth is among older Americans and lower-income Americans.

Online News Matters. Mobile News Matters.

Do They Believe The Online News

They say that they don’t, they see lots of fake and misleading news, but they keep consuming it. How does a plethora of fake news being consumed impact your perceptions of reality? Is your brain capable of filtering out the misinformation?

Only 5% of people have a lot of trust in the news that they are consuming. People only recognize the source of the news 50% of the time, which creates tremendous opportunities for purveyors of questionable news to impact people that may or may not realize that it is coming from a questionable news source.

The efforts at “Fact Checking” are largely limited to national sources and campaigns. At local levels, there is little to no attempts to filter out fake news. We saw a plethora of nonsense news explode nationally in 2016, but how many local sources are we seeing explode now, pushing nonsensical stories to a willing audience.

How Does This Opinion Leaders

You need to be online, you need to engage with online news, and you need to be promoting in Social Media. Even the people you think aren’t paying attention online, are. The vast majority of Americans now get some or all of their news online, predominately on a mobile device. This shift has happened rapidly, with rapid increases in the last two years.

If you reach out to people the same way in 2018 that you did in 2016 or 2014, you will be shocked at how much the electorate has changed.

Internet Upscale Success – Net a Porter Hits Successful Women

After spending so much time in sub-prime finance where most of the SEO/Internet Marketing Industry lives, and helping eCommerce businesses in a race to the bottom of price and service, it’s nice to know that the premium industry is surviving and even thriving in this space.  Fortune Magazine had a great article on the success of Net a Porter, selling high end clothing to wealthy but time strapped women who was a virtual fashion magazine, think of it as Vogue that delivers the clothing to you.  Much of the online fashion buzz has been for companies with rapid fire sales like Rue La La, which lets designers dump excess inventory to those with free time… young professionals who can sit at their office computer waiting for the 15 minute window where the good stuff all goes when a boutique opens.

Net-a-Porter is offering a mobile and web experience, letting a busy professional woman that is on the go have the latest fashions despite an industry that ignores them.  The successful women that I know have more disposable income than time, and the boutique industry still targets the trophy wives of the idle rich.  A female executive working 80 hour weeks as a dealmaker simply doesn’t have the time that the wife of her male counterpart does to go and be waiting on in a fancy boutique, but there is no reason that she’s can’t be properly dressed.

It’s nice to see that in a race to the bottom, a company focused on service found a profitable niche.

Google Unveils New Engine, Press Confused

Google has a new engine, Caffine, and the press goes crazy. In non spammed out areas, Google is pretty good.  They want to cover more and expand their coverage, terrific.  They aren’t going to dramatically shift results, and people focused on content oriented sites instead of spamming Google should do fine.

However, the Internet has expanded rapidly, content has moved into walled gardens like Facebook and semi-open Twitter, so Google needs a new engine.  I don’t see a fundamental change to Google’s thought process happening, as they still analyze content and links for relevancy, even as they’ve gotten trickier.

We could see some shake outs, but most likely, Google will still provide relatively relevant results and focus on fighting spam.  But to SEO “experts” < 25, this is probably a huge deal.

Reuters gets it, AP Doesn’t

The AP was complaining about Google News and the linking to stories was denying them revenue.  Reuters MediaFile blog is carrying a column by Chris Ahearn, President of Media entitled, “Why I believe in the link economy.”  Some points he makes are that if you link and attribute, he has no complaint, and attacking new players and suing everyone is like what the music industry is doing, and rhetorically asks how it is working for them.

The news industry is going through a MAJOR transformation, in a manner that hasn’t hit it since the original wire services involved themselves in the market in the late 19th century.  But the AP is foolish, they aren’t at risk.

The model for news has been, a few wire services publish information, AP being dominate, and UPI and later Reuters being competition, and a few other services provided the global and national coverage.  Most local news markets bought their national/international feeds instead of sending out reporters, leaving them to add a little local flavor and advertising.

The fact is, the AP has the product people want, the news story.  The “editorial” provided by local media to pick and choose which wire stories to run may seem important to people in the industry, but seems like minimal value add, especially since bloggers and other people seem willing to do it for free.

Mr. Ahearn suggests that public discussion as to what is a reasonable quotation and other codes of conduct seems perfectly reasonable.  The term Fair Use is intentionally broad, left to the courts to interpret, and therefore causes lawsuit adverse people to shirk back from.  Publishing a reasonable usage guideline could include Fair Use rules, and most people will behave if you are reasonable.

Reuters and the AP have the product people want, and it isn’t them in danger if they are smart.  Threatening to sue bloggers and Google is foolish, building your own advertising model makes sense.  The Internet cuts out middlemen, Reuters isn’t the middle man, the local paper is.  I expect the local papers with news feeds are going to die out, and ultra-local papers covering city and regional issues without national feeds, no subscription model, and advertisements for local pizza shops are the future of local news… and that’s okay.

Reuters collecting a lot of links helps them with traffic and search engine ranks, and gives them the ability to build a real business model online, the death of local papers in smaller markets seems to be okay, if there is a demand for local news, a business will materialize.