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Infographic: How Social Media Wins At Breaking News

Here’s some lunch-time fodder to consider. How reliant are you on social media to keep up on the latest news? How has this changed for you in the past decade?

To put this in perspective, think about this:

  • On September 11, 2001, how did you hear about the World Trade Center attacks? For those in New York and D.C., how did you connect with your loved ones to let them know you were OK? For everyone else, how did you show your support? Chances are you watched the towers fall on TV, read the full story in the next edition of the newspaper and grabbed a copy of a news weekly that week, which you perhaps hung on to as a moment in history. Likely, as well, you talked to your family and friends in person or over the phone if you could get through. It definitely wasn’t via Twitter of Facebook, neither had been invented yet.
  • On May 1, 2011, how did you hear about the death of Osama Bin Laden? (Or before that, about President Barack Obama’s planned press conference announcing the death?) Chances are good you heard about it on Twitter or Facebook, or from someone who heard about it from some sort of social media.
  • While both the old and new media clearly have a role in telling news stories (and especially the stories behind the news) today, social media has clearly become the way to find and share breaking news for a large portion of the population. This infographic from Schools.com uses info from a variety of sources, including the Pew Research Center’s recent report on “What Facebook and Twitter Mean For News“, to pretty aptly cover some of the seismic shifts taking place in the news industry, in particular how consumers receive their news.

    This graphic tips at, but doesn’t seek to explain the bigger problem: Trust. With news spreading so swiftly, it’s hard to discern fact from fascination when people eager to break news share it before verifying it. But that’s a question that needs answered another day.

    Here’s the full graphic:

    Social Media: The New News Source
    Courtesy of: Schools.com

    (H/T Mashable for pointing this out.)

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