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May 26, 2010 12:00

white noise

TODAY’S TOP STORY IS?

That is the question that the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism sought to answer with a study that tracked the top stories in traditional media, the blogosphere, YouTube and Twitter. They found that each platform rarely agrees on the big story of the day. During the examined time the top story was shared by all three social media platforms (blogs, YouTube and Twitter) only once, in the aftermath of the protested Iranian elections June 15-19 of last year. The ADD-addled news cycle is especially evident on the most ADD platform, Twitter, where 50 percent of top stories hold that distinction for 24 hours or less. Though social media platforms often focus on stories ignored by the traditional media outlets, blogs still depend on mainstream media for the genesis of 99 percent of their stories; 80 percent of all links in blog posts came from the BBC, CNN, The New York Times, and the Washington Post. Forty-six percent of top stories on YouTube dealt with politics and government or foreign events – especially those with strong visual appeal, like Pope Benedict getting knocked over during Christmas Eve Mass. Meanwhile the only platform where technology encompasses a significant portion of the top stories is Twitter, where tech stories accounted for 43 percent.

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